Still life by Louise Penny

amy still lifeIn a small, picturesque village in Quebec, an older woman is found dead in the forest. A group of detectives from the big city move in to solve the mystery, and find out the secrets of the villagers. I enjoyed the setting, and finding out about Quebec and the tension between French and English speakers there. The mystery itself was interesting, but on the whole I wasn’t enthralled. Some of the characters were twee, over done, or confusing, and it wasn’t quite as sweet as I expect a cosy mystery to be. It is the first in the series, though, so I won’t rule out trying another.

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Lethal white by Robert Galbraith

amy lethal whiteIt’s a big book, but it fairly flew by. Detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott take us through London, Westminster and the English countryside as they work for a government minister and try to find out how a troubled young man is connected to him. The mystery is convoluted and complicated, and the ending satisfying, but I don’t really read for plot. As ever, there is a great sense of place, and I have really come to care for the characters.

Raven black by Ann Cleeves

Amy Raven Black InstaI love reading a book after loving a film or television adaptation; there’s always so much more depth. In this case, it’s also really different. Jimmy Perez looks different, and he is at a different stage of life, so it was like discovering new things about a beloved character. Despite the fact that I knew who the killer was (at least one of the mysteries) it was still an exciting, atmospheric ride.

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Mockingbird songs by R.J. Ellory

Cynthia Mockingbird SongsA slow burning thriller with an undertone of menace throughout. A story of small town USA and broken families. Henry is released from prision and is asked to deliver a letter to his cell mate’s daughter. Through alternating chapters we follow Henry’s story of keeping his promise to deliver the letter and the story of Evan (his ex cell mate) and his brother Carson and what the contents of that letter may reveal. Loved this format of storytelling as the stories, secrets and carnage are exposed.

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Goldstone

Amy GoldstoneAnother beautiful, sad, complex and moving film about Indigenous policeman, Jay Swan, solving a mystery in an outback town. Jay Swan, burdened with grief, is struggling to keep himself together as he searches for a missing girl, and meaning for his life. The cast is stellar, the scenery is stunning, and the story is about human trafficking, land rights, racism, corruption, and a place to belong.

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The lost dog by Michelle de Kretser

Amy The Lost DogAn English lecturer, Tom, is staying in the Victorian bush, trying to finish the book he is writing, when his dog goes missing. From that starting point we go back and forth, to India and Melbourne, to the past and the present, exploring Tom’s life and relationships. There is mystery, but it’s not about what happens, but about place, love, relationships with parents and lovers, art, poetry, and belonging. The language is beautiful, and it’s full of thoughtful insights on things like ageing, and consumerism.

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