Round up of the last few books of last year. Not quite as many as last year, but I seem to have had a lot of audiobooks I rejected halfway through this year!
Dead water, by Ann Cleeves. London: Pan, 2013.
The fifth of the Jimmy Perez/Shetland series. Perez is still on leave and shattered by recent events, but when the body of a Shetland-born London journalist is found in a racing boat by the Procurator Fiscal herself, he summons up the interest to join DI Willow Reeves and her team. The Fiscal is definitely hiding something, but so are others in the islands. Sandy Wilson makes another appearance, and I hope we see more of Willow. This is the sort of tightly-plotted page-turner we're used to from this series.
One cold night, by Katia Lief. Kindle edition.
Susan and her husband Dave are providing a home for Susan's teenage sister Becky; but Susan has a secret - Becky is not her sister, but her daughter. When Becky decides to go looking for her birth-parents, Susan knows it's time to tell the secret. Becky, upset, leaves the house, and is then abducted. At first all clues seem to lead back to Susan's high-school boyfriend, Becky's father, but it's not as straightforward as that... This is well-written but somehow I didn't really warm to the characters.
The Moat Farm mystery: the life and criminal career of Samuel Herbert Dougal, by M W Oldridge. Kindle edition.
In 1903, Samuel Herbert Dougal stood trial for the murder of Camille Cecile Holland, a spinster he had seduced and murdered, afterwards clearing out her bank account This account of Dougal's life shows this to have been the culmination of a thoroughly unpleasant life. After a reasonably successful army career, Dougal soon found he was both entirely unsuited to civilian life, and somewhat irresistible to women. He tried his hand at pub landlording at Royston but was tried for arson after his pub burned down in suspicious circumstances; he applied for the position of public hangman but was turned down; and he had a history of forging cheques even before he met the wealthy and reclusive Miss Holland. This narrative is fascinating, if unpleasant, and very readable.
Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking, by Susan Cain. Kindle edition.
This is one of the most interesting books I've read this year - and I can't work out why I didn't review it when I read it in September/October! Cain talks about the differences between introverts and extroverts, and explains some reasons why contemporary (particularly US) society is more comfortable for extroverts. She talks about the Asian-American experience and how cultural values play into introversion, and discusses situations in which introverts perform more strongly. This book told me some things I didn't know about myself, and explains some things I did; I found it fascinating.
A shilling for candles, by Josephine Tey [audiobook]. Read by Stephen Thorne. [S. l.]: Chivers, 1993.
I'd forgotten this one despite having read it years ago. The body of Christine Clay, a prominent film actress, is found on a beach near a cottage she's renting; the initial suspect is a young man who has been lodging with Clay. Although he's exonerated early on, his continued disappearance is a worry for Grant and his colleagues. Rivalries on stage and in the theatre are exposed, and recurring Tey characters Grant and Marta Hallard feature. Having read the excellent Nicola Upson books set among these characters, I found it slightly difficult to straighten out the time period and relationships, and particularly to keep my Lydias straight! Definitely worth re-reading though, and Thorne's dry narrative style fits Tey's sly humour very well.