Tag Archives: Deborah Crombie

Two Disappointing Products of Book Churning.

English: The Crystal Palace in 1910, London
English: The Crystal Palace in 1910, London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here it is Wednesday, time for another book review. I’m afraid it isn’t pretty.

Charles Todd has been one of my favorite writers for years. The Ian Rutledge series and the Bess Crawford series are a pleasure to read. At least until Proof of Guilt entered this reader’s world.

An unidentified body turns up in London with a man’s watch that can be identified as having belonged to a wine merchant. The body is a victim of a hit and run but the accident happened elsewhere and the victim moved. And the body is not that of the wine merchant. No, he has disappeared though.

The story shambles all over the place with the lead investigator, Ian Rutledge driving back and forth all over England. There was one exciting part near the end of the book, which I thought would turn the story into a good one, but when the scene was over so was the excitement. I never did figure out the point of the mystery. And where was the missing man? Does this imply that we will see this shadowy figure again, as in a future villain? Or was there no point in his body never turning up?

I am sadly disappointed in all of this. Does it mean we have come to the end of Ian Rutledge as one of the most innovative characters in fiction today? I hope not. I hope this was a bubble in a wonderful series. Perhaps mother and son team Todd’s editor needs to give them a break from this stereotypical churning out of one book a year business.

Another sad entry into this category is my other favorite author’s new book.

Deborah Crombie’s  latest is called The Sound of Broken Glass. It isn’t quite as pointless as the above example but there were times while reading it that I thought it could have been about half as long as it was.

For one thing the characters don’t seem to be cohesive to the story until everything is tied up at the end.

A lawyer turns up dead in an odd and disturbing way. He has ties to the world of music. There are some guys in a band. There is one in particular who seems to be a suspect. There are flashbacks in italics to a young boy’s point of view of growing up in Crystal Palace.

I love the setting details and the factual bits about the Crystal Palace at the beginning of each chapter. I love to learn things when I read. Another thing I love about her series of books is the continuing interesting relationship between Duncan and Gemma and their growing family of kids and dogs. This always add such a warm point of human interest you can’t help but love, love, love her books.

But of all her Duncan and Gemma series of books this is the weakest. I really believe this is a result of a constant pressure to produce at least a book a year. That pressure is set up by her editors and agents, probably because of a perceived demand by the public. Sadly, it isn’t unusual. I saw it with the series with Kay Scarpetta written by Patricia Cornwell.

There is a demand by the public! But it will go away if the product isn’t up to the standard set by wonderful previous books.

Book Friends

English: Open book icon
English: Open book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s funny how some books feel like old friends. It seems I have a lot of them. Madeleine L’Engle‘s first book of her Crosswicks Journal, A Circle of Quiet, is such a book. In it the author reveals so much of herself, both good and bad, that I felt I had met someone I could have spent a lovely afternoon with, walking in the woods, sitting by the stream, retracing foible life in the quiet stillness of the sun-kissed woods.

While I’ve been known to throw a book in the waste bin if, in my opinion, it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, most books I purchase stay in my house a short while and then are moved on to other homes. The best ones are given away. I have been known to sell some good ones to the half-price shop. But that isn’t often, and only because I don’t know who to give them to. The best of the best of what I read remain on my shelf. Those are my friends, the ones I plan to read again and again.

Thing is, I can’t keep a copy of A Circle of Quiet. It keeps slipping off into a friend’s hands and more often than not, time goes by and I know I must buy it again. They are becoming thin on the ground, these good little books. The last one was part of the set but I might be able to find it on Amazon again. They’ve been out of print for so many years.

Another lovely read is Rosamund Pilchner’s The Blue Room. I’ve got my copy back again after lending it out. The stories are sweet but not too. A good book of short stories. None of them end in violence or death. Despite the author’s best-sellers, I wonder if such a book would have ever found a publisher these days. It’s so nice, no death, no violent or shocking endings. It’s got two marks against it. The niceness and it’s short stories. I doubt it would be published today. I really do.

My mother had many book friends. She had been collecting all her books for so many years because there was no library near enough for her to be able to use. Her house was impacted with books. Unfortunately when my father passed away suddenly three years ago, she had to be uprooted and she lost many of her books. It was a completely tragic time for her.

I had to move her from her five-bedroom house to a small one bedroom apartment. She was able to squeeze in many of her cherished things but not many of her books made that transition. To assuage her book-friend loss I now take her to the library every two weeks. At eighty-five my mother reads everything. Her two favorite authors at this moment are Deborah Crombie and John Gresham. I only wish those two had more books at my mother’s library.

Her love of books rubbed off. I hope when I’m her age I have as many beloved book friends as she has.