Sunrise on a run

Sunrise on a run
Showing posts with label Agatha Christie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agatha Christie. Show all posts

Monday, September 02, 2013

Val McDermid: Wire in the Blood; the Retribution

Having read these back to back last week, I felt they deserved a mention.  I sometimes marvel at how much the girls enjoy reading; once Boo's lost in a book, the only place you'll be able to find her is once she's got to the end.  She's spent most of the summer reading Lemony Snickett's series of unfortunate events.  There's 13 books, I don't know whether each book chronicles just one event.  Plus she's been engrossed in the local library summer reading challenge.  

Having downloaded and read Wire in the Blood, I was trying to find which Tony Hill/ Carol Jordan book to read next.  As the Retribution follows the escape of the Wire in the Blood's killer from jail and the subsequent series of unfortunate, but premeditated events, it made perfect sense.  (The pricing helped but maybe that's for another post)

There must be something about being on Summer holiday as I last read a couple of her Tony Hill/ Carol Jordan books last summer.  Wire in the Blood is good.  You find out fairly early on, whodunnit, but there's two parallel crimes being investigated. This is a structure which is used in the Retribution, I can't remember whether it's used in any other of her books.

I preferred the Wire in the Blood.  The Retribution was a good sequel but I wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone read.  We are reacquainted with the killer from Wire in the Blood, he's out of jail and out for revenge.  In fairness, the ending comes as a complete surprise.

One criticism is that the use of new technology as a way of contrasting how time has passed too obvious and there are a couple of moments where it is a little too contrived.  Before the first murders, the killer is viewing his quarry via hidden cameras and over an Internet connection.  I found it hard to believe that his 3G connection would be that reliable up in the Yorkshire Dales.  Secondly, there is a moment when someone is given details of the killer's residence but the development is too new for his Satnav to pick up.  That I can understand.  What I don't understand in these days of smartphones is why he doesn't just look on Google maps to find it.  Maybe that particular character doesn't have a smartphone.

There are useful references back to other episodes in the other books, it helps make the characters believable and you have faith in their fallibility.  However, it does also mean that the book doesn't stand up on its own.  

Interestingly, I've realised that my favourite (only) crime writers are female: Val McDermid, PD James and Agatha Christie.  Is it just that I haven't read any male crime writers, or is there something about their writing styles wch I prefer?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Agatha

(Thanks to google for today's image)

I first read Agatha Christie around the age of 10 or 11. At that age I had a voracious appetite for books, I would wolf down several a week but I'm not sure how fully they were digested. At school we had to write a book, this was in year 4 (now called year 6) and I wrote an attempt at a murder mystery. I no longer have a copy but it was a poor imitation (although bear in mind I was 11 at the time) of an amalgam of Miss Marples, complete with house in the country, a glamorous actress with a vendetta to pursue and probably a secret passage or two behind the wood panelling.

Back in 1997, a university friend compiled a list of his top ten Christie's:

Crooked house
Towards Zero
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Endless Night
Death on the Nile
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Cards on the Table
Peril at End House
The Hollow

When discussing this last year, a further two were added:

Then There Were None
Murder on the Orient Express.

Thirteen years' later, I have yet to work through the list. Once I do, that's 12 posts for here...