If mysteries fall on a continuum from light and fluffy cosies to dark and gritty thrillers, the ones I read are found on a narrow strip somewhere in the middle. I want a realistic plot (which means most cosies are out) but no psychopaths or serial killers, no terror and no blow-by-blow descriptions of murder or its results. This means that I’m always on the lookout for new authors, since there are relatively few mysteries that fit my specifications. So I was pleased to discover Pat Capponi’s new series featuring Dana Leoni, of which The Corpse Will Keep is the second. (I read and enjoyed the first in the series, Last Stop Sunnyside, a few years ago.) Although this series is a bit more unrealistic than my favourite mysteries, the characters in these books are what keep me hooked. Dana, a budding PI, lives in a rooming house in Parkdale, a fairly down-and-out working-class neighbourhood in Toronto. The other residents in the rooming house help her solve the mystery, and through them, Capponi gives us a glimpse into the lives of some of Canada’s most marginalized citizens without turning them into problems or statistics. This is a fun, relatively light read.
Luanne at A Bookworm’s World also reviewed this book.
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending me this book to review.
Another mystery series I just discovered (thanks to a LibraryThing recommendation) is the Small Change books by Jo Walton, of which Farthing is the first. This novel is set in an alternate history in which the Allies didn’t win World War 2, Britain has “made peace” with Hitler and Lindbergh is president of the United States. For the first half of the book, I felt slightly perplexed as the whole thing reads just like a traditional country house whodunit. Although the story is intriguing, the characters well-drawn and I enjoyed the alternating points of view of the inspector who is investigating the murder and Lucy Kahn, the daughter of the house who has fallen out of favour by marrying a Jew, what was the point of the alternate setting? It turns out I was being impatient because the second half of the book suddenly veers sharply to the right and the results are chilling in their implications. The book definitely lives up to its dedication (to “everyone who has ever studied any monstrosity of history, with the serene satisfaction of being horrified while knowing exactly what was going to happen, rather like studying a dragon anatomized upon a table, and then turning around to find the dragon’s present-day relations standing close by, alive and ready to bite”); however, the ending does feel like a set-up for the next two books, Ha’penny and Half a Crown. Regardless, I highly recommend it and am looking forward to reading the next two instalments.
This was one of my favourite books in 2008.
Other reviews of this book:
bookshelves of doom • Giraffe Days • My Individual Take (On the Subject) • OF Blog of the Fallen • Rat’s Reading • Stella Matutina