Review | A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh #2) by P. D. James

I doubt this is James’ best, but it was a good place to start. 3.5/5.

A Mind to Murder by P. D. James

The blurb: When the administrative head of the Steen Psychiatric Clinic is found dead with a chisel in her heart, Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. Dalgliesh must analyze the deep-seated anxieties and thwarted desires of patients and staff alike to determine which of their unresolved conflicts resulted in murder.

My take:

I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting from P. D. James… perhaps something more spectacular? Anyway, this is a perfectly well-written detective story. In fact, it reminded me of the two Poirot stories I’ve read, although the detective in this case – Dalgliesh – isn’t as much of a “character” as Christie’s Belgian sleuth. In fact, he’s practically personality-free, which isn’t a bad thing, as it means the focus is on the “whodunnit” aspect of the book.

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Review | Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith

Please, someone, edit these books! 3.5/5 stars.

Career of Evil Robert Galbraith

The blurb: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

My take:

If you’re unfamiliar with my mixed feelings towards books 1 and 2 of this series, here are my reviews of The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm.

I’m pleased to report that there are a couple of ways in which Career of Evil is an improvement on its predecessors. With the first two books, I was irritated that the mysteries were impenetrable right until the end when we finally get some idea of what the heck is going on. This isn’t any fun for the reader because it feels like we’re being shut out rather than carried along as part of the investigative team. Thankfully, Career of Evil is much more inclusive of its readers because it begins with Strike setting out his four clear suspects and then working to eliminate/incriminate each of them. This made motive and connections between events and suspects clearer. I actually managed to figure out bits of what was going on this time!

We also get more Robin, which can never be a bad thing. And, in general, making this case personal to Strike and Robin was a good move. After 2 books we now care enough about them to be invested in their personal safety and so putting them in jeopardy is great for building tension.

But my largest issue still remains. Once again, the book is far too long. In fact, I think this book had more unnecessary length than the first two. There were whole sections I thought could have been cut to move things along more quickly without losing anything crucial in terms of plot, characterisation or drama.

So, if the next book is a snappy 400 pages or less, I think I’ll stick with the series. If only because I’m now so invested in Robin’s happiness I want to know what happens next for her. Personally, I’m still hoping Matthew – the devious little weasel – has an unfortunate accident!

Overall: this series continues to entertain and is becoming increasingly involving and inclusive of its readers. I’d still say to get them from your library though… just in case they’re not for you!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

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Review | The Safe Word by Karen Long

A gripping series opener. 4/5 stars.

The Safe Word by Karen Long book cover

Thank you to Karen Long for sending me a copy of The Safe Word in return for an honest review.


The blurb: There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.


My take:

I met Karen at a bloggers/writers meet-up in London back in March and she kindly offered to send me a copy of The Safe Word. Thank you Karen. It’s a total coincidence that this week is also her blog tour for this book. And, if you head over to Have Books Blog, you can enter a draw to win a copy 🙂

This first installment in the Eleanor Raven series has everything fans of police procedurals could want. An escalating, chilling serial killer. A competent, hard-boiled female detective on his tail, struggling as she totes round a new partner who also happens to be an irritating rookie. A likeable cast of colourful secondary characters. Hell, there’s even a dog! Ultimately, the experience reminded me of watching some of the best crime drama I’ve seen. In fact, this book could easily be adapted into a cracking TV mini series.

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WWW Wednesday 27th April 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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WWW Wednesday 20th April 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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Review | The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Another fun, glittering mystery. 4/5.

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Julia Sarda book cover photo

Look at how beautiful that book is! Silver embossing, my friends!!!

The blurb: The honour of your company is requested at Lord Beaucastle’s fancy dress ball. Wonder at the puzzling disappearance of the Jewelled Moth! Marvel as our heroines, Sophie and Lil, don cunning disguises, mingle in high society and munch many cucumber sandwiches to solve this curious case! Applaud their bravery as they follow a trail of terrible secrets that leads straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind, and could put their own lives at risk… It will be the most thrilling event of the season!

This is a fast-paced and compelling mystery adventure with gorgeous Edwardian period detail. This is Mr Selfridge meets Nancy Drew!

My take:

I reviewed the first book in this series, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, last year. I bought it because the beautiful blue and yellow cover with gold embossing called to me. And then, once it was in my clutches, the blurb made it sound like a fun mash up of Nancy Drew and Mr Selfridge. And it turned out to be just that. I enjoyed it a great deal and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 2 and more of Sophie and Lil’s adventures.

I’ve gone back and read my review of book 1 and, to be honest, I have little to add for this review for book 2: Jewelled Moth is more of the same excellent stuff.

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WWW Wednesday 13th April 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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WWW Wednesday 6th April 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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WWW Wednesday 3rd February 2016

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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Review | The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith

A slight improvement on book 1: solid and entertaining but still overlong and overly complex. 3.5/5 stars.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith book cover

The blurb: When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

My take:

I read and reviewed Book 1 in this series – The Cuckoo’s Calling – back at the start of December and gave it 3/5 stars. As you can see, I’ve rated this second installment slightly higher, mostly because it’s mercifully free of the over-blown language which featured in the first book and irritated me by no small measure. If you missed my slightly ranty review of Book 1, you can see it here.

Otherwise, I could pretty much copy what I said about Book 1 and paste it here. To be brief:

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