See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Oh, Sarah Schmidt can write! What a strange strange thing to start a review with! But there is writing and there is writing and Sarah Schmidt can write! Not only can she create a…

The Black Book of Secrets, F. E. Higgins

Every year, I determine to teach at least one text which is new to me that year – which with a shrinking pool to choose from at GCSE becomes harder year-one-year – and that is why I have stumbled upon F. E. Higgins’ The Black Book of Secrets. It is an odd little book –…

The Pure In Heart, Susan Hill

I’m genuinely unsure of what to make of this book. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad book; listening to it as an audiobook was a pretty pleasant way to spend my journeys to work. But it didn’t seem to be what it was packaged as and marketed as: a crime mystery. It felt…

In The Woods, Tana French

This is my second Tana French novel, and it was her debut with the Dublin Murder Squad series. And I do enjoy her writing style.    We have here, ostensibly, a crime novel. A twelve year old girl, Katy Devlin, is discovered dead on the altar stone at an archeological dig. Detective Rob Ryan and…

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

There is so much to admire about this book that I feel almost guilty that I didn’t love it. And I feel I might struggle to explain why without losing sight of the fact that it is a great book and beautifully written in places. As you’d expect from Waters, The Paying Guests inhabits a…

The Yard, Alex Grecian

What was this book about? Murder and a new detective in the Murder Squad of Scotland Yard. What was the detective like as a character? (Shrugs) I didn’t think he was a very confident person in what he did but he was actually very good at it. How would you compare him to other detectives?…

Faceless Killers, Henning Mankell

I’m not sure why but I had high hopes for Kurt Wallander. Perhaps it was the fact that it had been adapted for TV, wherein he was played by Kenneth Branagh; perhaps it was because I’d read some good reviews. And certainly the opening chapter of Faceless Killers looked set to fulfil those hopes. An…