The Language of the Dead by Stephen Kelly, mystery. Bombing runs by the Luftwaffe are only the most obvious sign of conflict in journalist Kelly’s first novel. It’s July 1940. Despite the proximity of a Spitfire factory, nobody thinks there’s anything in the Hampshire village of Quimby that the Führer would want to destroy. So the locals have plenty of leisure to ask who thrust farmhand Will Blackwell’s pitchfork through his neck, carved a cross onto his forehead and impaled his scythe in his chest, and who beat pregnant infirmary volunteer Emily Fordham to death along the roadside, and other seemingly unrelated (but we mystery readers know better, don’t we?) crimes.
DCI Thomas Lamb and DS David Wallace, both facing running battles in their private lives, wonder how the crimes are related and what Peter Wilkins, the mute teenager who lives on Lord Jeffrey Pembroke’s estate, may know about the case—and may be trying to communicate through his beautifully executed, deeply disturbing drawings of insects.
I liked much of it, but the attitudes of Lamb and Wallace put me off.
Cape Diamond by Ron Corbett, mystery. This is the second of Corbett’s mysteries, both featuring detective Frank Yakabuski. Set near the Northern Divide — as was the first book — this one opens with Yakabuski called to investigate a gruesome crime scene. A body has been left hanging from a schoolyard fence. On closer inspection, Yak finds a large diamond in the murder victim’s mouth.
Two criminal gangs — the Shiners and the Travellers — are fighting each other, and Yakabuski turns to his father, a now-retired detective who has a long history with the gangs, for advice in the interrogation. Is the conflict over the murder of two men? The kidnapping of a little girl? Or, possibly, the diamond found in Augustus Morrissey’s mouth? As if this weren’t enough for one detective, a serial killer is taking a deadly road trip through the United States, heading towards the Northern Divide.
This one is really good, and recommended, once you have read the first book.
So how about you?
What have you been reading?