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R. A. Bentley

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The Glimpses of the Moon (Gervase Fen Book 10)
The Glimpses of the Moon (Gervase Fen Book 10)
Price: £4.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh, 25 Jun. 2017
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Some laugh-out-load lines make up for the silly and some might say rather tasteless plot. Worth reading for those alone. Anyone not enthralled by this one shouldn't be put off reading Crispin's others. They, too, have their humorous moments but they are quite different in tone. I've read them all now, I think, and don't regret it. The Long Divorce is perhaps the best. Certainly Crispin writes far better, in the literary sense, than the general run of crime novelists of his era (which is 1940s/50s. This is a very late one) and, yes, I had to resort to the dictionary a few times too. But what can be more pleasurable than learning new words? I might try to work one or two into my next opus.


The Moving Toyshop (A Gervase Fen Mystery)
The Moving Toyshop (A Gervase Fen Mystery)
Price: £3.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Often in people's list of top 'cosies' and probably deserves it., 20 May 2017
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Seems a bit affected at first, the author trying to impress with his erudition, but once it gets going it's funny and absorbing. Enough to make me want to read another anyway. Wildly improbable plot, but it's that sort of book, and it does hang together, just about; although it wouldn't have mattered much if it hadn't. Who was it said a novel doesn't need to convince, only mesmerise? I liked the collegiate setting.


Laurels Are Poison (Mrs Bradley Book 14)
Laurels Are Poison (Mrs Bradley Book 14)
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Read this one, 20 April 2017
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Definitely not to be missed, if not, perhaps, for the plot. It's such a cracking depiction of a teacher training college (of the time, or perhaps of any time) and it's various students and staff, that you don't need to care about the mystery. The 'Three musketeers' (all of whom figure in various later tales) are marvellous and entirely believable. Women, of course, are Gladys' strong suit. In fact 'strong women' are her strong suit, which ought to please a certain sort of reader, I guess.


Dance to your Daddy (Mrs Bradley Book 42)
Dance to your Daddy (Mrs Bradley Book 42)
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one for the shortlist, 20 April 2017
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This is about as close as Gladys comes to a 'proper' whodunit. I.e. you stand some chance of nailing the murderer from the clues dropped. It looks a bit of a mess, but when all is known you realise it makes perfect sense and is rather clever. The tale is set on my home turf of Purbeck, not too far from Gladys' Bournemouth home, so I cannot understand why she opted for what sounds, if anything, like a North Devon accent for the yokels. She even apologises for it! Dorset is one of the easier dialects/accents to render in print, although she scarcely needed to bother in 1966! Apart from that, a fun read.


St Peter's Finger (Mrs Bradley Book 9)
St Peter's Finger (Mrs Bradley Book 9)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read., 9 Mar. 2017
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One of her longer ones and takes a while to get going as the characters are introduced and the scene is set. Soon gave up trying to sort out the seemingly endless supply of double-barrelled nuns (they were still arriving in the last pages!) but it doesn't seem to matter much. Gladys' MO appears to be to confuse the reader with detail so that you soon forget, or stop caring, who went where and when, but that doesn't matter much either. There is some beautiful writing here, which entirely makes up for it. The convent life and its rituals are very nicely realised, although, like another reviewer, I wondered where the cruel, repressed 'religious' of that era had gone (so graphically described to me by my mother, who would now be 92). The denouement, again as another reviewer has said, was a bit perfunctory, and not, to me, either particularly plausible or very satisfying. But how many denouements are? (Apart from mine, obviously!) A pleasant way to spend five hours.


Come Away, Death (Mrs Bradley Book 8)
Come Away, Death (Mrs Bradley Book 8)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, 13 Feb. 2017
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This won't appeal to everybody. It seems that many folk find it slow-moving, which I suppose it is. So what's your hurry? If you want something to gallop through, and a body on the first page, I'd say don't buy it. Those who are prepared to be patient will find it, like all her books, extremely well written in the literary sense (streets ahead of the 'queens of crime,') and she builds up the tension beautifully. Who of all the well-described characters is for the chop? How? And why? And who, in the end, dun it? That ought to keep you reading surely? This isn't, after all, a police procedural. Gladys Mitchell's titles to do vary in quality admittedly, but I should say this is one of her best.

And why do some reviewers have to give you half the story? Do they think it helps? One hardly dare read a review of some books for fear of the 'spoiler.'


Penhallow
Penhallow
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 29 Jan. 2017
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This review is from: Penhallow (Kindle Edition)
A marvellous yarn. Much the best I've read of Heyer's to date and entirely different to the others -- much richer characterisation and sense of place, and a great plot (though whodunnit purists are unlikely to agree -- this is not for them). One can always criticise, of course. It's a bit slow (but necessarily so) to start with; there is perhaps a little too much iteration of individual characters' states of mind, and she does rather sound at times as if she's swallowed a book on horse breeding, but these are minor quibbles. You really find yourself getting inside the characters and caring about them (well, some of them -- some I'd gladly have murdered myself!) and that, after all, is what a grown-up novel is all about.


Behold, Here's Poison
Behold, Here's Poison
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice one, Georgette, 21 Jan. 2017
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This is really rather good, with quite a clever plot. True there is one wincingly heavy-handed clue and a somewhat obvious murder method, but the denouement still came as a surprise to this admittedly rather lazy reader. As for the characters, there is the inevitable young gel in her twenties -- not, for once, in possession of a bull-terrier -- but the others are interesting and not too noticeably taken from stock. If you only read one of Ms Heyer's crime oeuvre, I suggest this one. You won't, of course; you'll be suckered into buying all the others. Well there are worse ways to spend your money.


Why Shoot a Butler?
Why Shoot a Butler?
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Heyer's are never very puzzling mysteries but great fun, with humour and well-rounded characters, 18 Jan. 2017
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Heyer's are never very puzzling mysteries but great fun, with humour and well-rounded characters. This one has some really suspenseful suspense.


Boats To Build / Dublin Blues (Jewel Case)
Boats To Build / Dublin Blues (Jewel Case)
Price: £10.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the price. Only one dud., 18 Jan. 2017
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great CD. All tracks but one a winner. That one, unfortunately, is Dublin Blues. I first heard it performed by Guy on an episode of Transatlantic Sessions, sung slow and full of loneliness and regret. Marvellous. Here it's altogether more upbeat and doesn't work so well. (In both cases it would have been better as a solo, though). Buy it for all the others, especially those on Boats to Build; you won't regret it.


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