I’m back from the holidays and I haven’t got the pictures to prove it. Suffice it to say that Crete was beautiful, hot but not unbearably so, full of history as well as good food and long beaches… and that it was lovely to spend time with some of my dearest friends. Yet, despite all these distractions, I also managed to get quite a bit of reading done. All with a holiday theme (or, at the very least, a beautiful location suitable for holidays).
- Anne Zouroudi: The Bull of Mithros – well, how could you go to Greece and not opt for the mouth-watering, sensuous descriptions of Greek landscape, food and way of life… oh, and crime too?
- Paul Johnston: The Black Life – also a Greek setting, but much more sombre subject, dealing with the deportation of Jews from Thessaloniki and its present-day consequences
- Takagi Akimitsu: The Tattoo Murder Case – intriguing glimpse of life in post-war Japan in the floating world of kinky-ness, tattoo artists and dubious bars
- Murakami Haruki: Kafka on the Shore – reread this novel of magical realism and permanent search set in Shikoku, Japan – this time in translation, hence with a lot more comprehension
- Melanie Jones: L’Amour Actually – fun, farcical but not terribly realistic portrayal of the transformation of a Louboutin-touting London gal into a French farming enthusiast
- Cathy Ace: The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb – corruption, death and intrigue in Mexico, with a lesson in tequila-making for an engaging, feisty middle-aged heroine
- Nicola Upson: Fear in the Sunlight – another installment in the murder mystery series featuring Josephine Tey, this one is set in the purpose-built fake village of Portmeirion in Wales and also features Alfred Hitchcock – yet it’s much more thoughtful and darker than it sounds
- Marissa Stapley: Mating for Life – a mother and her three daughters struggle with love, secrets, family and fidelity in this charming but not quite substantial enough tale set largely in the family vacation home on an unspecified lake in the United States.
- Graeme Kent: Devil-Devil – the first novel I’ve ever read set in the Solomon Islands just before independence, this is not just an interesting crime story, but also a lesson in anthropology, featuring the delightfully unlikely detecting duo of Kella, a native policeman with tribal peacemaking responsibilities and Sister Conchita, a Catholic nun with a penchant for breaking the rules.