It Should be a Crime
by Carsen Taite
Published by BOLD STROKES BOOKS
Two women meet in an alley and fulfill their mutual desire with a night of passion, neither expecting more than the few lusty hours they shared. Weeks later Morgan Bradley and Parker Casey meet again, but this time one is a law professor and the other her student. A series of events lands them in the middle of a high-profile murder trial, but the twists and turns of the case are no match for the spiral of increasing attraction as they work side by side in the defense of justice.
Morgan, a famous defense lawyer, is newly back in her home town, having moved across town to take up an academic post and move into a new home with her longtime lover, only to discover that her lover has other ideas. Planning to drown her sorrows, she takes the wrong door out of the bar, and has to be rescued by one of the barstaff. They spend the night together, only to discover later that Parker is one of the more mature students on the course Morgan is teaching. When the opportunity comes up for Morgan and three of her students, including Parker and the other former police officer in the group, to provide the defense in what seems to be an open and shut case, the women have to try and work together while deciding between their attraction and keeping a professional distance until the course and the trial are over.
I liked this book a lot, although there were a few points early on where I would have edited it differently, but the official blurb doesn't fully do it justice. A big cast of richly drawn characters, and mostly believable situations for the standards of the genre.
I was already a fan of Carsen Taite's video posts on the Women and Words blog; now I need to read more of her books.
Styx and Stones
by Carola Dunn
Published by Robinson Publishing
The hot summer heat could put anyone on edge but to Daisy Dalrymple, it does seem that her brother-in-law, Lord John Frobisher, is exceptionally tense - and with good reason. Someone with an evil sense of humour is sending him a series of poisoned pen letters that threaten to reveal racy secrets which could ruin him completely. Promising to protect Lord John from public scandal, Daisy travels to his village in Kent only to discover it's teeming with enough gossip, resentment and intrigue to make everyone a suspect...or victim. But then a murder is committed, and Daisy is forced to find the killer before the ink dries on her own death warrant.
I love Daisy, but this wasn't my favourite of her adventures. Too much of the solutions to the two main mysteries seemed to rely on luck rather than deduction, and the romantic subplot also got resolved too easily. Hopefully the series will pick up again with the next book.
A Murder on London Bridge
by Susanna Gregory
Published by Sphere
Thomas Chaloner has forged a living as spy to the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Clarendon, since the early days of the Restoration. Now, in February 1664, he is aware of an undercurrent of restlessness on the streets of London. The coffee houses are thick with rumours. There is anger at the new laws governing church attendance and a deepening contempt for the loucheness of the court. And there is murder. The infamous church-smasher Dick Culmer is killed among the tottering, ramshackle buildings of London Bridge and Chaloner's investigations into the death link Culmer to a group of puritan conspirators. Further west, in the opulence of Somerset House and in the Palace of White Hall, Chaloner gradually realises that the ring-leaders of a rebellion are planning an explosive climax to achieve their goals. Desperately racing against time, Chaloner is determined to thwart them ? as determined as they are to prevent him revealing their true intentions ...
I definitely preferred this out of the two Restoration era mysteries I've borrowed from the library recently. A few anachronistic words/concepts such as 'teenager', but the central character was a man of his time, whose problems could nonetheless be familiar to modern readers. Plus I enjoyed the historical details of the endnote, regarding who really existed, and who was an invention..
by Posy Simmonds
Published by Jonathan Cape Ltd
Tamara Drewe has transformed herself. Plastic surgery, a different wardrobe, a smouldering look, have given her confidence and a new and thrilling power to attract, which she uses recklessly. Often just for the fun of it. People are drawn to Tamara Drewe, male and female. In the remote village where her late mother lived Tamara arrives to clear up the house. Here she becomes an object of lust, of envy, the focus of unrequited love, a seductress. To the village teenagers she is 'plastic-fantastic', a role model. Ultimately, when her hot and indiscriminate glances lead to tragedy, she is seen as a man-eater, a heartless marriage wrecker, a slut. First appearing as a serial in the "Guardian", in book form, "Tamara Drewe" has been enlarged, embellished and lovingly improved by the author.
I picked this up, not having seen the film based on it. Pretty artwork, but I was a little disappointed with the characters and their (possibly predictable) lack of development. It definitely reads like an outsider trying but not quite succeeding at empathising with the rural dispossessed.
More reviews soon, although I need to organise my time to fit in more reading of ebooks.