A shorter BotW post this week, because you’ve already had three great books from my reading last week in my Summer Reading post! But I finished Picture Miss Seeton on Sunday afternoon and wanted to give it a mention.
A retired art teacher, Miss Seeton witnesses a murder after leaving a performance of Carmen. Despite only getting a shadowy view of the killer, she manages to draw a picture that enables Scotland Yard to identify him. Soon she’s facing peril in the rural cottage she’s just inherited, where the villagers are also taking an interest in the new arrival.
This really scratched my itch for cozy crime with added humour. Miss Seeton is a wonderful send up of elderly lady detectives. She’s impossible to shock, utterly unflappable and practises yoga in her free time. She’s always one step ahead of the police and always manages to be in the right place at the right time to pick up the vital clue. I found the switching points of view occasionally a bit jarring or confusing, but I forgave it because I was having so much fun reading about Miss S’s adventures. It was a perfect book to read while recovering from nightshifts.
I’m fairly sure I’ve seen some Miss Seeton’s at the library (or maybe in the discount bookshop) so I suspect I may be reading more of her adventures in the near future. Picture Miss Seeton is available on Kindle and Kobo and should be available (probably to order) from all the usual sources.
This week’s BotW is Bricking It by Nick Spalding. I read a lot of books last week, many of them good but Christmas-themed – and of them more in the next few days. But Bricking It made me laugh despite the tonsillitis so it was an obvious choice for my non-festive Book of the Week!
Bricking It tells the story of Dan and Haley Daley, who have inherited a run-down farmhouse from their grandmother and decide to do it up to make some extra money. And of course the road to profit does not run smoothly. There’s an eccentric architect, a gang of builders, a TV crew and a few skeletons in the cupboard. Oh, and a bit of sibling rivalry too!
I thought Bricking It was a bit different from the usual run of house renovation stories. Haley and Dan both have their issues to deal with and that gives the book a great heart as well as a lot of jokes. If you’re off work for Christmas but not feeling in the mood for a Christmas-set book, this may well be the perfect solution to read curled up in front of the Christmas tree after you’ve finished wrapped (or unwrapping) your presents!
I know, I know. I’m repeating an author again, but Janet Evanovich’s One For The Money was my highest rated book that I read last week – and it seemed churlish not to give it book of the week. Trouble is, as I said a week or so back, I think Evanovich may be my new obsession, so there’s no guarantee that one of her books won’t crop up here again in the near future. Here’s hoping that the to-read pile also contains lots of other really good books so that I can get some variety going on…
So, One For The Money is the first book in the Stephanie Plum series – which has now run to twenty-one novels – with a twenty-second due out this year. As a side point, I love discovering a series like this when it’s been going a while – it means you have lots of time with the characters and lots of things to discover, before you reach the point where you have to wait a year for the next book to come out so you can get your fix.
Anyhow, I digress. When we meet Stephanie Plum she has lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a very third-rate company. Her flat is emptying of possessions as she hocks them to make rent, and a repo man is following her trying to take her car back. Her mum sends her over to her cousin Vinnie – who needs a secretary for his bail bond company, but Stephanie ends up blackmailing him into letting her take on a case to try to make some quick cash. Trouble is the man she’s trying to bring in is her high school crush come hate figure. And he’s a cop on the run from some very dangerous people…
I laughed out loud on the train reading this – several times – drawing a level of scrutiny from my fellow passengers that I try to avoid. It’s a bit out of my comfort zone in terms of my usual type of crime novels (you’ll have noticed by now that I tend towards the cozy and the Golden Age end of the spectrum) but it’s so funny that it didn’t bother me that the violence and suspense level was a step up from what I usually read.*
Stephanie is a little bit too dependent on getting herself helped out of trouble that she’s walked herself into for my liking, but I’m putting that down to the fact that she’s walked into bounty hunting with no clue what she’s doing and without the requisite skills – which is naive and foolhardy almost beyond belief, but I went with it because the book swings along at such a pace that you only really think about that once it’s over – because you’re laughing and turning pages too fast to notice!
I put an order in for book two within 24 hours of finishing book 1 (it’s been dispatched!)and I’m hoping that as Steph wises up, she doesn’t lose the humour and fin that I’ve enjoyed so much in this first book. Cross your fingers for me!
You should be able to buy your copy of One for the Money from the usual suspects – Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles – although I haven’t been able to find it on Kindle or Kobo.
* And it’s not much worse, really, than some of the crime-y thriller-y sections that you get in some of Charlaine Harris’s novels.