New to Me Authors: April-June 2016

new-to-meAnother three months have past so it is time to participate in Kerrie’s (from Paradise Mysteries blog) New to Me Authors meme. In comparison to the last time  I did this post I read fewer books from authors new to me, reading only 5.

The first was E. M. Channon’s The Chimney Murder (1929), which I loved for its unexpected humour, especially within gender roles and relationship dynamics. This is definitely a novel for readers who enjoy character driven stories, as Channon focuses a lot on how the suspects are coping with the unfolding investigation, once the dismembered body is discovered.

The Chimney Murder

My next author new to me was Camilla Lackberg and I read her collective work: The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories (2015). Her variation on the And Then There None (1939) theme in the novella The Scent of Almonds was particularly intriguing. Lackberg is also adept at ending her other short stories with satisfying twists and it is interesting how she overturns reader assumptions. She is also good at infusing her tales with moral ambiguity, which makes them thought provoking reads as well. Although dark in theme at points, Lackberg’s work is not depressing or oppressively bleak, something which has turned me off some other Scandinavian crime stories. This collection also impressed me for the way they were not male dominated stories and naturally showed women in various careers, on both sides of the law.

The Scent of Almonds and Other Stories

The Mulgray Twins were my next new author to me. Writing duos always interest me, as did the premise for their book, No Suspicious Circumstances (2007), involving an undercover operative and her cat in a Scottish hotel, on the trail of a drug ring. I think my main issue with this book was pacing, as it felt quite slow due to too much unnecessary information at times and that the plot mostly focused on proving someone is guilty, as opposed to just finding out who is guilty. But it did have a number of good elements and the role of the cat is not overdone.

No Suspicious Circumstances

My next new author was Margaret Scherf, reading her book Glass on the Stairs (1954), which was a very interesting read for the comments it makes on female body image and how it depicts women. However, out of all my new authors to me this quarter, this was the most disappointing one, despite the initial crime being engaging. Unfortunately the central amateur sleuths, a married couple, let the book down and the choice of killer also was not a satisfying one. I wouldn’t say I have given up on this author, but I think it would take a lot of convincing for me to try another of their novels.

Glass on the Stairs

My final author new to me was Eilís Dillon, an Irish writer who wrote a trilogy of detective novels. In June I read Death in the Quadrangle (1956), an academic set mystery featuring Professor Daly, an entertaining and interesting amateur sleuth. She writes with gentle, yet effective humour and is good at recreating a closed social milieu well, so well in fact that her academic friends wondered if she was writing about them! Definitely an author worth giving a go.

Death in the Quadrangle

Over To You

What has your favourite new author been these last three months?

 

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About armchairreviewer

Qualified English teacher, with a passion for literature and crime fiction. On a random note I also own pygmy goats and chickens with afros (it doesn't get any cooler than that).
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6 Responses to New to Me Authors: April-June 2016

  1. John says:

    I read 28 books over the past three months (not all yet reviewed) and of those books 19 were new authors for me. I can tell you that many of them were impressive enough to get me to buy more of their books: Elizabeth Hely (I now own three of her four crime novels), William Mole, her husband (I have three of his six books), George Limnelius, Manning Long and Donald Cameron Clough.

    There is one more writer who I think was a re-discovery for me: Stanton Forbes and her other writer identity of “Tobias Wells”. Back when I was a teen in the 1970s I’m sure I read a few of her books but I couldn’t remember having read the five that I chose over the past three months. I have a long essay planned on her books which are very odd with strange plots, and extremely eccentric characters. The mysteries are not always altogether satisfying because of the not too surprising wrap-ups, but she certainly displays a rich and varied imagination in her plotting. Over the thirty years she was writing mystery novels not one of her books is remotely similar to the others. Quite a feat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an impressive amount of new authors! None of which I have heard of. Guessing they’re probably not easy ones to find either. You must have an epic detective fiction library!

      Like

  2. Wasn’t Kate Ellis new to you in these months?

    Like

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