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Sydney Bristow "Syd" (UK)

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Murder In The Afternoon: Number 3 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
Murder In The Afternoon: Number 3 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
by Frances Brody
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping up the standard, 31 Dec 2012
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Very good third installment of the Kate Shackleton series and it keeps up the improved standard set in the previous novel, Medal for Murder. The plot is tight, the characters nicely drawn and the story draws you in. I was a bit perplexed about her sister's reticence to disclose anything to Kate, but I did like the children's characters very much. Finding out more about Kate's past was a good focus of the story and although I thought the ending a bit convoluted, overall the novel is very entertaining and a good read.


A Medal For Murder: Number 2 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
A Medal For Murder: Number 2 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
by Frances Brody
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first one, 31 Dec 2012
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I think this is my favourite of the Kate Shackleton mysteries. The mixing of tenses the author used in the first book has gone. She still uses flashbacks to the past or to describe the predicament of other characters, but in this novel, it works well & the whole plot/writing is much tighter and more structured. The characters are very good and the plot twisty and surprising, which definitely holds the attention. A very satisfying and enjoyable read.


Dying In The Wool: Number 1 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
Dying In The Wool: Number 1 in series (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
by Frances Brody
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably enjoyable, 31 Dec 2012
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Overall a fairly entertaining jolly wheeze of a story. But the author's constant mixing of tenses within a sentence, especially to describe people, drove me absolutely nuts, that along with the constant too-ing & froo-ing between the present story-line & the past of various different characters. I assumed it was deliberate & perhaps done to show off a literary prowess, but it spoilt the whole reading experience for me. But I kept at it and in the end, found it a reasonably enjoyable read that did hold my attention.


Digital Fortress
Digital Fortress
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a load of tosh., 6 Dec 2012
This review is from: Digital Fortress (Paperback)
I cannot believe I wasted a whole day of my life reading this drivel (the only reason I did because I'd run out of books on holiday and borrowed this one). I should have known better than to read on when I realised in the the first few pages that the idea had been lifted from the 1990's film Sneakers, even quoting a line from the film ('no more secrets'), without even so much as a nod to it! Then when the perfect woman meets the perfect man, I was torn between putting it down or throwing up in the nearest bin! Perfect woman (who every man is in love with of course) has an IQ of 170, is the worlds leading genius in the code-breaking field, yet somehow manages to do absolutely nothing at all (apart from get in the way)& is the most gullible, naive & useless article I've ever read about. She 'teaches' her perfect boyfriend basic code-breaking & he turns out to be better at it than she is! Perfect boyfriend, who is a mere language genius, then turns out to be stupid enough to accept an undercover mission without so much as a slight raised eyebrow & turns into James Bond, engaging in every chase/pursuit cliche in history! Added to which, the 'twists' in the tail were more like 'written in letters six feet high obvious' and the 'cliff-hanger' ending was as long as a bank holiday weekend and just as predictable. People say his later books get better - well, here's another thing that's predictable - they sure as hell can't get any worse!


Daisy Dalrymple Omnibus (Books 1-4)
Daisy Dalrymple Omnibus (Books 1-4)
Price: 6.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Flapping great!, 11 Nov 2012
I just love Daisy Dalrymple. Of course its light, easy reading but there's nothing wrong with that. I find Carola Dunn's character the nearest thing to a young Miss Marple I've read and hugely entertaining. Daisy's a great character, as is the detective Alex and his associate Sergeant and Constable. The description of the 1920's period is fab, the characters are enjoyable, the neat plots more than satisfactory. These four stories are each very good and the whole set is a great intro to the Right Hon. Miss Dalrymple. The only downside is, I can't stop reading them & end up buying more & more.


The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
Price: 1.79

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't think it could get any better but..., 11 Nov 2012
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After loving 'Poisonous Seed', I just had to plough headlong into the next Frances Doughty mystery, which was equally as good and didn't disappoint on any level. All the qualities from the previous book are here - wonderful sense of period, great characters, a lovely sympathetic but strong main protagonist and twisty plots. This story however, has even more twists, turns, sub-plots and intrigue. I must admit I've never read a novel with quite so many strands going on at one time (even more than Agatha Christie - & that's saying something!). At one point, I was quite dizzy with it all - thank goodness I was lying down whilst reading it! But fairplay to the author, she keeps them all the plates spinning in the air beautifully and brings them all to a wonderful resolution. Cannot wait for the next in the series!


The Poisonous Seed: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
The Poisonous Seed: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)
Price: 2.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grabs hold of you and doesn't let go, 11 Nov 2012
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Brilliant book. I believe the author wrote non-fiction historical books before turning her deft hand to novel writing & it certainly shows. That being said, a good writer of non-fiction doesn't automatically make a great writer of fiction (as you need more than an accurate back-drop) - but it does here. The book starts off quite slowly, yet it pulls you in and keeps you reading. Frances is a lovely character, that you like from the beginning. Other characters are well drawn and clearly defined, with some moments of real sadness and humor. The plot is twisty and keeps you guessing all the way to the end, although its a detective style novel based on insight and deduction, rather than endless bodies & procedural detail. Personally I prefer the former and just loved and enjoyed the book for its excellent writing, storytelling and amazing sense of period.


Hamish Macbeth Omnibus (Books 1-4)
Hamish Macbeth Omnibus (Books 1-4)
Price: 5.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light reading at its interesting best, 11 Nov 2012
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Oh I loved these books! Light,easy & enjoyable. One thing Beaton does superbly is craft characters - from lovely ones like Hamish (who'd quite want to sit down to a wee dram with) to the requisite unbelievably annoying victim, that you would quite happily murder yourself! Add to that suitable dashes of humour and some joyous scenic description, plus neat little twists of plot and you have (or at least I do) everything you need for a satisfying reading experience.


George Gently Omnibus (Books 1-4)
George Gently Omnibus (Books 1-4)
Price: 5.99

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the TV series., 10 Nov 2012
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If you are buying these because (like me), you love the TV series - be warned! They are nothing like the TV adaptation. Peter Flannery who predominately wrote the TV adaptation said that the only thing he took from the books, was the name & the fact he was a detective! They moved location, added in Bacchus and kept the series well & truly in the 60's. Basically the TV series is its own original, with very little taken from the books & the books are....well, the original books. I must admit it irks me a little that Flannery took this slant, as the books would have made a wonderful detective and a great series...but there we are, that is what adaptations are about.

If you want books very similar to the TV series, then don't bother - just keep watching the series. If however, you can divorce yourself from the TV series, I would thoroughly recommend reading the books (or at least trying them on for size) & this omnibus is a great introduction. Although his perpetual chomping on peppermint creams irks some people(though I believe it tails off in subsequent books), Gently is a such a brilliant character...he is...well, Gently. Professional, quiet, thoughtful, with a mind as sharp as a razor & really likable. There is loads of sarcastic humour in the book and Hunter's descriptions of people, places and surroundings are superb.

The books started in 1955 & continued until 1999, virtually yearly. The books in this omnibus are therefore, set in and written in the 50's - which probably should be taken into account when reading them, as the plots may seem simplistic & maybe slightly formulaic, reading them now. I haven't read the later ones yet, but if Hunter captures the time and place in them as well as in these books, then they should be equally (if not more) entertaining.

I loved Hunter's 'Gentle reminder' in the introduction to book 1, which about sums him & the books up: 'This is a detective story but NOT a 'whodunnit'. Its aim is to give a picture of a police investigator slowly building up his knowledge of a crime...I thought it worthwhile mentioning this. I hate being criticized for not doing what I had no intention of doing'. If you want enjoyable, well crafted novels dealing in characterisation and that simmer away nicely, like a rich winter Sunday stew - trust me, you could do alot worse.


The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No mystery, 26 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
I remember this being billed as a murder mystery. Well it is about a murder, that's true but its certainly not a mystery. Firstly because the murder is explained right at the beginning and secondly, because the plot is cliched & predictable - everything that happens can be seen a mile off. By the end of the first couple of chapters, you know exactly what's going to happen.

I have no problem with a story that is predictable if it is done well but this just really isn't. The narrative is way too fragmented - it flits between heaven, earth, Susie, her family, the past, the present, etc. Again, that is not a problem, it can be a useful technique when done well - but my problem with it here, is that nothing is written in any sort of depth or with any kind of impact. Its not badly written, but its not well written either - its just bland and uninspiring.

The subject matter of the story should make it an important one & I wanted to care, I really did - but its butterfly-style narrative just left me absolutely cold. I didn't care about any of the characters or what happened, all I cared about was being able to stop reading it. In the end, I gave up a third of the way through. I tried flicking through the remainder, in case something there might have grabbed me back into the story, but sadly no. Normally I will read a book til the end, even if I'm not enjoying it, but with this my over-riding emotion was pure lethargy & I just felt life really is too short to complete it.

Sometimes, there are books or films that become hugely popular & you have absolutely no idea why. This book's huge popularity is its only real mystery.


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