The King's Evil
by Edward Marston
Published by Allison & Busby
September 1666. Meeting in the ashes of a devastated London, Christopher Redmayne, an architect with Cavalier instincts, and Jonathan Bale, a Puritan constable, are hardly kindred spirits. Redmayne dedicates himself to rebuilding the city that Bale believes was destroyed by its own inner corruption. The two men are thrown together when they catch thieves who are stealing from the house that Redmayne has designed for Sir Ambrose Northcott. The foul murder of Sir Ambrose joins them again, albeit reluctantly, in a complex and dangerous investigation that takes them through the brothels and gaming houses of Restoration London, right to the heart of the King's court.
I had mixed feelings about this one. The mystery was interesting enough, but I couldn't quite believe in Christopher as a man of his time. Not a series that I'm desperate to keep following.
The Water's Lovely
by Ruth Rendell
Published by ARROW BOOKS LTD
Weeks went by when Ismay never thought of it at all. Then something would bring it back or it would return in a dream. The dream began in the same way. She and her mother would be climbing the stairs, following Heather's lead through the bedroom to what was on the other side, not a bathroom in the dream but a chamber floored and walled in marble. In the middle of it was a glassy lake. The white thing in the water floated towards her, its face submerged, and her mother said, absurdly, "Don't look!"' The dead man was Ismay's stepfather, Guy. Now, nine years on, she and her sister, Heather, still lived in the same house in Clapham. But it had been divided into two self-contained flats. Their mother lived upstairs with her sister, Pamela. And the bathroom, where Guy had drowned, had been demolished. Ismay worked in public relations, and Heather in catering. They got on well. They always had. They never discussed the changes to the house, still less what had happened that August day...But even lives as private as these, where secrets hang in the air like dust, intertwine with other worlds and other individuals. And, with painful inevitability, the truth will emerge.
A reread, of a book that I didn't entirely remember from previously. As it turned out this was probably because a gripping plot is let down by the ending. Not one of Rendell's best in my opinion.
by Natasha Moore
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
When it comes to sexy and sassy, Piper, the most popular waitress at Ben’s bar, has it all going on. Now that they’re dating, though, Ben wishes she’d dial down the skimpy clothes and flirty attitude, and her habit of dancing around the bar and flashing to her favorite song. Every teasing peek at her body, every laugh at some customer’s lousy joke, is certainly good for business—but it sends his jealousy meter into the red zone.
Sure, they’re dating, but he’s no muscled, tattooed stud with diamonds in his ears. How can he compete, especially when she refuses to even spend the night at his place?
Desperate, Ben books a room at his friend Paolo’s fantasy club, hoping an erotic night in front of a two-way mirror will get her exhibitionist streak out of her system. Praying it won’t prove his greatest fear—that she lives only to show off. And he’s not that special to her at all…
I loved Moore's previous stand-alone story, See Me and I'm intrigued by the premise of this new series. I felt that while this one had engaging characters and did a splendid job of introducing the set-up for the rest, it could have done with being just that little bit longer. I'm looking forward to the next one now...
Hickey of the Beast
by Isabel Kunkle
Published by Candlemark & Gleam
Connie thought freshman year might suck. She never thought it'd be literal.
Bad dreams? No big deal. After all, Connie Perez is starting her first year in the prep school her mom runs. Anyone would be a little stressed, right? When she starts dreaming about strange creatures and places that don't make sense, she doesn't think much about it: there's other stuff on her mind. Then she starts noticing that the people she dreams about get sick right afterwards.
Then everything gets weird.
There's something bad on the campus of Springden Academy. Something that feeds on students and warps their minds. And, as Connie and her friends try to figure out what's going on, it starts to look like she's the only one who can stop it.
Freshman year was hard enough without having to fight evil after class.
So far I've only read this in its serialised form, and that had me anxiously waiting for midday on Tuesday each week. Told in the form of one long letter from Connie to her friend Amanda, this was just delightful for the sheer sense of teenagerness that it encapsulated. I had an idea what the solution would be from early on, and I was partially proved right, but the jouney was the thing with this story. I just wish it could have been longer.
by Anne De Courcy
Published by WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
The parents of Anthony Armstrong-Jones (he was given the title Earl of Snowdon in 1961) were very different. He was Welsh to his fingertips, she an exotic mixture of English and Jewish. They divorced when he was five and Tony's relationship with his aloof glittering mother never recovered. His inventiveness was soon apparent, at Eton and then Cambridge, where as cox in 1950 he designed a new rudder for his (winning) Boat Race crew. The engagement of this motorbike-riding freelance photographer in 1960 to Princess Margaret was a bombshell. Friends privately predicted disaster. And so it proved. But meanwhile in the 1960s, mixing with actors, artists and pop stars, they were the epitome of stylish and unstuffy arts-loving Royals. Along with John and Jackie Kennedy or Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, they were one of the iconic glamorous couples of that era. Tony continued to work and both began to have affairs. They divorced in 1978, the first royal divorce since Henry VIII divorced Anne of Cleves in 1540. Snowdon married again but this marriage collapsed after the birth of a secret love-child in 1998 and the suicide in 1996 of his mistress of twenty years, Anne Hill. His low boredom threshold and waspish cruelty are balanced by his fabled charm and genuine concern for the disabled and underpriviledged. One of the great British photographers, up there with Beaton, Bailey and Parkinson, at 76 he now suffers from a recurrence of childhood polio and needs sticks or wheelchair to get around. But by any standards he has had an extraordinary life.
A fascinating picture of a man who is endearing and exasperating in pretty much equal measure. From a safe distance the former wins, but like many of my favourite fictional characters I really wouldn't want to spend too much time with him. Illustrated with a wonderful selection of photographs, and just misses out on a higher level of praise because some facts were repeated a little too often for my liking.