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Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Moneylender of Toulouse by Alan Gordon

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: France in 1204 AD

First Sentence:  "It's up here," said the landlord, leading us up a steep flight of steps.

This novel is the seventh book in the author's Fool' Guild series.  This series currently runs to eight books.

At the outset, the Guild seems a place where entertainers go to be trained as jesters or fools.  However, the fools in the author's tale act as covert agents.

Under the guise of being fools,  they gather and transit secrets.  They occasionally get involved with political and religious matters.

In this novel, our main character Theophilos and and his small family, travel to Toulouse. There they are to arrange for the retirement of the local bishop.  Once they arrive, the fools uncover scandal and murder.

Will the fools find the truth?

I enjoyed this book.  It was an interesting, fun read.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Girl in the Window by Jake Needham

Genre: Thriller

Setting: Singapore

First Sentence: The apartment wasn't very big and it wasn't very appealing.

This novel is the fourth in Jake Needham's Inspector Samuel Tay series.  This series currently runs to four novels.

There is a terrorist at large.  Hundreds of people have been killed by this dangerous man.

Now the intelligence agencies in Singapore and other countries have hatched a plot to assassinate him.

One fly in the ointment is Inspector Sam Tay.  Sam has the reputation of being some what a loose cannon.  The powers that be know that they need to keep Tay busy when the operation goes down.

Sam is too smart for that.

Sam soon finds himself in the middle of the action.  Shots are fired, the terrorist  gets away, and sadly, one of Inspector Tay's team is killed.

Now, Tay wants to see that justice is served.

Sam uses himself as bait to attract the terrorist.

Will the terrorist rise to the bait?

And will Inspector Tay bring justice or vengeance?

This is another great novel of intrigue by Needham set in Singapore.  Needham's Inspector Tay is just an average cop trying to do a good job.  Due to his inheritance from his deceased parents, Tay doesn't need the job.  So he does what he wants.

Sam is not a super sleuth or a chick magnet.  He is just a cop who sometimes talks with his mother, who happens to be dead.

It's a good book. Read it.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Dead American by Jake Needham

Genre: Thriller

Setting: Singapore

First Sentence: Samuel Tay stood in his tiny garden and squinted at the sky.

This novel is the third in the author's Inspector Tay series which currently runs to four novels.

Due to the events in the previous book, we find Inspector Samuel Tay under suspension from his duties.  And then, out of the blue, a young American reporter arrives at his doorstep.  It seems that an American software engineer has been found dead.  The police quickly label the death a suicide.

The reporter believes that the engineer's death is  a murder.  She asks Sam for help.  Since he has a lot of time on his hands, Inspector Tay agrees to help.  Sam soon finds out that the suicide was staged.  Someone high up in the Singaporean government wanted the engineer dead.

Who? and why?

Then the reporter  is killed.  In the same manner as the engineer.

Now, Inspector Tay feels that he needs to discover the truth, and find justice for the two victims.

His questioning leads him into the dark world of covert operations,  Tay is just a policeman But over the years he has made acquaintances among some very dangerous people.

Will Sam discover the truth?
Will he find justice for the dead Americans?
Or, will he learn that justice can be a very tricky thing?

This is another great novel, from a great writer.

What I like about Needham's novels is that the characters behave like real people.
And in the end here is no neat and tidy ending.

Now I have to go to Singapore.


Friday, December 1, 2017

Relentless Pursuit by Alexander Kent

Genre: Naval Fiction, Historical Fiction

Setting: At sea on a British Warship, and at the Bolitho's family estates in the earl 1800's.

First Sentence: Plymouth, always one of England's most important and strategically situated seaports, seemed strangely quiet, subdued.

This novel is the twenty-fifth of the author's Bolitho Navel series which currently  runs to twenty-eight books.

It is 1815,  The war with Napoleon is over.  England now uses its mighty navy to end the slave trade.

Ships are sent to patrol the Atlantic in pursuit hunt down slave ships.  And a great armada is amassed to attack and destroy the military power of an Algerian overlord.

In this novel we follow the exploits of Captain Adam Bolitho.  He is the nephew of one of England's greatest admirals - Sir Richard Bolitho.

While at sea, Adam fights against the slave runners.  Unfortunately, he gets injured  several times.  While recuperating from his wounds he meets, and falls in love with, a young woman with a mysterious past.

Since Adam has the reputation of being a daring captain, Adam has been given the dangerous position of leading the fleet into battle.

Will Adam survive the battle now that he has someone to live for?

I enjoyed this book.  The author has an easy to read style which I like.

I suggest that those interested in reading this series read the books in order.  there are several plot lines which carry through several. novels.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Umbrella Man by Jake Needham

Genre: Thriller

Setting, Singapore

First Sentence:  Samuel Tay pushed himself up from the chair and walked over to the French doors that led to his small garden.

This novel is the second in at the author's Samuel Tay series which currently runs to four volumes.

Detective Samuel Tay is a good cop.  One reason for this is that Tay doesn't need the job.  He has inherited enough money from his parents to live comfortably.  He is a good cop because he wants to ensure that justice is done in the cases he works on.

Then one night, several explosions rock Singapore.

Like all good cops, Tay runs into danger. Unfortunately, he becomes a victim of the bombing.  As he recuperates,  Inspector Tay becomes restless.  As soon as he can, he gets the doctors to release him.

As you can imagine, the explosions are the greatest crime in the history of Singapore.  And Tay wants to be a part of the investigation.

Instead, he is assigned to investigate a dead body report in one of the poorest parts of Singapore.  When Tay observes the body, the victim seems familiar to him.  Then, a forensic specialist tells Samuel that a safe deposit box key has been discovered in an unusual place on the victim's body.

So, Tay investigates further.  Along the way he meets secret agents and international criminals.  And he discovers that there might be a connection between his parents' inheritance and the explosions.

In the end, I will leave it to you, Dear Reader, to determine if justice has been served with Samuel's investigation.

I liked this book.  To me, the novel reads like a television miniseries.  The plot moves forward with each chapter.  And in the end you have read a most enjoyable story.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Lost Innocents by Denise Domning

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Twelfth Century England

First Sentence: The shivaree at last.

This novel is the third in the author's Servant of the Crown series.

Sir Faucon de Ramis is the new Crowner of the shire.  He has had the position for a little while.  Yet his investigations have kept him busy.

He is aided in his duties by Brother Edmond.  Brother Edmond is a bit strict in his interpretations of the law.

Sir Faucon, or Sir Crowner as the people call him, has earned the people's respect by his fairness.

The town of Wike has a small population.  Yet there are plenty of secrets and lies.

There has been a murder in Wike.  The hue and cry is raised.  The body of a young girl. has been discovered, unclothed, in the town's well.  The accused young man has escaped into the crown's forest.

Sir Faucon quickly determines that the accusations are incorrect.  The girl did not die from drowning.  She was put in the well after she had died.

So Sir Faucon begins asking questions  The knight learns that this murder is connected to other deep, dark, secrets.

Will Sir Faucon sift though the clues and discover who is responsible for the death of the girl?

I really like the author's characters.  They are realistic.

The author has included an overarching mystery.  Tantalizing clues have appeared at the beginning and end of each of the novels in this set.  I was disappointed that the mystery still hasn't been solved.

 I hope to get a chance to read more in this series.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Season of the Fox by Denise Demming

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: 12th Century England

First Sentence: Blasphemy! Rage drives my feet until I am almost running - disgraceful behavior! - along the red brown track away from that ... hovel.

This novel is the second in the author's Servant of the Crown series.

Our main character, Sir Faucon de Ramis, is a newly appointed coroner.  His duty is to investigate any untimely deaths. to determine if any fines and duties are due to the King.

Sir Faucon doesn't want to only determine if a murder has been committed.  He wants to discover who the culprit is.  Thus he can ensure that the fines and taxes are levied in a fair and just way.

In this novel a young man has been accused of murder.  He is discovered with the body, and with blood on his hands.  When the hue and cry is raised, the young man  makes a mad dash for the church and claims sanctuary.  He has forty days of safety before he can be prosecuted and punished for his crime.

Fortunately, Sir Faucon is in town investigating another death.

Sir Faucon begins to ask questions.  He soon determines that the young man in the church is not guilty.

If he is innocent, then who is guilty?

I enjoyed this book.  The author has an enjoyable easy-to-read writing style.  The characters seem real, and the plot moves forward.

Also, the plot of the book is bracketed with clues from another evil murder.  Sir Faucon  will soon learn about this horrible and evil crime.

Now on to book three.