Reading on Cruise

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I have had something of a read- a-thon on my recent cruise holiday. Managing  to read six novels in nine days this is a personal best. Three books from my tablet and three from the ship’s library.

The books in the ship’s library were all good and volumes that I would not have searched out.  Nothing like making  do with what you have. Two were from English TV shows or rather the TV shows are based on the books. A DCI Banks novel the 21st in  the series a great yarn and an easy read. The other was an Inspector Thorne mystery Time of Death which was intriguing. The last of the books was Called Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty. This is a s far as In=know not a TV series. A great yarn set against the backdrop of the ‘Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

Two different authors made up the last three books. Prequels to the Inspector Erlendur series by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indriðason. I have really enjoyed the series and the two prequel volumes Reykjavik Nights and  Into Oblivion were up to the mark. Rounding out my reading was the The Keeper of Lost Causes by Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen the first in new series for me and another great read.  Next in the series is The Absent One which I have already made a start on..

Well that’s holiday reading !

 

 

Time of Death by Mark Billingham

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Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)Time of Death by Mark Billingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another cruise read and starting at the end of the series because that what was on offer. I was vaguely aware of the Inspector Thorne TV series starring David Morrissey but had never read any of the books by Mark Billingham. Time of Death was very enjoyable and convoluted enough to keep me turning the pages.
Tom Thorne and his girlfriend Helen Weeks also a police officer are on a short holiday’ Whilst away they see a new story about an abducted girl in the village where Helen grew up. After seeing the mother of the abducted girl Helen Weeks is moved to go to the village to support her. Reluctantly Tom agrees to go along  thus ending their holiday.
The story set in the village is almost claustrophobic, police all over the place and the intrusive tabloid press. This along with Helen Weeks trying reconnect with the village that she left a long time ago.
I won’t focus on the crime itself for that you will need to read Time of Death for yourself. I did enjoy the read and may never have looked at if I hadn’t been on holiday.

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The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must confess that it was the title of this book that attracted me the in the first place “The Keeper of Lost Causes”. This is the first in a series by  Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen about a fictional cold case department called Department Q. . Readers of this blog will know that Scandinavian crime fiction is my favourite.
The Keeper of Lost Causes focuses on Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck. He he’s been sidelined  from homicide after a case that went horribly wrong for him and his colleagues. Carl Mørck is irascible and difficult to get along with as we have come to expect from fictional detectives. The new gig is to run the newly created Department Q for cold cases. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she’s dead and that it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.
The interactions between Carl Mørck and the other member of Department Q provides some humorous relief to the tense story. I’m looking forward to the next instalments because if the first is anything to go by it will be a great series.

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Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty

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Rain Dogs (Detective Sean Duffy, #5)Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a new series to me DCI Sean Duffy in Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty. This is the fourth or fifth installment in the series. I started writing this in the middle of the Pacific whist on a cruise. At home I have this and discovered that this is the 5th in the series by Adrian McKinty. The backdrop to the story is the troubles in Ireland the time 1980s. Central to the story is the death of a young reporter is seemingly impossible circumstances. She is found inside a locked castle with the only other person inside being the caretaker is it murder or suicide.
Aside from the ever present reminders of “the troubles” with references to the IRA and a the protestants there is a contemporary reference. There is a link to the modern operation Yewtree involving pedophiles and the most infamous of all Jimmy Saville. His inclusion is quite bizarre but the novel does touch on historical sex crimes.
I found Rain Dogs  fast paced and a very enjoyable read. There are enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The book is peppered with lots of great one liners which breaks up some of the tension between characters. I will be tracking down the previous installments.

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Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indriðason

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Into Oblivion (Inspector Erlendur)Into Oblivion by Arnaldur Indriðason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second inspector Erlendur novel and as far as I can see this completes my reading of this series having started with the third book in the series. Well that is what I thought but after reading Crime Lovers guide to Inspector Erlendur this novel and its predecessor are in fact prequels. The article implies that the author Erlendur Indridason decided to revisit his character Erlendur and explore his beginnings. I can say that have been very pleased about this the previous installment Reykjavik Nights felt like I was back in the saddle.
Oblivion doesn’t disappoint either a body discovered in a lake  frequented by people taking advantage of a lake for therapeutic reasons. The investigation proceeds slowly as they  become stalled by American military personnel. What becomes apparent is the Icelandic people’s dislike of the American presence and the discord that it causes. There are many references to local food and material shortages. This is all compounded by an illicit trade in cigarettes alcohol and illicit drugs.
As is the method of Erlendur novels there is a cold missing persons case that he investigates in his spare time. The unravelling of the missing persons has parallels to the contemporary investigation. In this novel contemporary is 1970’s Iceland.
Of note is Erlendur’s relationship with his boss. Erlendur is conservative and from the country and he likes traditional food boiled sheep heads and fermented shark. That is not for the faint hearted .
I won’t spoil the outcome but I enjoyed this novel. There is according to Crime Lovers another novel written in 2011 that is being translated into English, here is hoping.

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Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

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Children of the RevolutionChildren of the Revolution by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is first DCI Banks novel that I have read. I quite like the TV show but usually try to avoid the books if I have seen the show. I’m on a cruise so beggars can’t be choosers and the ship’s the ship’s library well it’s really a trolley. I took a chance and read it in a day or so. Stephen Tomkinson voice was firmly in my head as I’m reading the yarn he stars in the TV version.
The trouble with books and TV shows and films for that matter is how the stories diverge. I suspect this is to simplify the story or more easily explain a character. Case in point DCI Banks TV version has a very difficult relationship with his father which in many ways shapes his character. DCI Banks book version seems at ease with his parents and his anguish is mostly located within which a book can explore more easily. Anyway enough moaning I did like Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson which had elements of the British class struggles one law for the rich and so on.
The origins of the story go way back traversing through the troubled times of Britain in 1970s. It starts as a curious suicide in a small village emerges as a tragic tale of murder and greed. Sandwiched in amongst all of this a glimpse of romance for the lonely DCI Banks. The dead man is something for recluse and hardly known to the locals. The team start unravelling his life and it leads back in time to the turbulent 1970’s and to the upper echelons of the local elite.
Might be tempted to chance some more of DCI Banks book version. Although this was number 21 in the DCI Banks series it was quite readable as a standalone novel. I do think having seen the TV series provided me with an entrée to the novel.

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Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík by Arnaldur Indriðason

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Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík (Inspector Erlendur, #1)Reykjavík Nights: Murder in Reykjavík by Arnaldur Indriðason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reykjavik Nights is the first of the Inspector Erlendur series by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason. The story lays the foundation for what is to come in subsequent stories. A young Erlendur is still on the beat and as the name of the story implies he’s working the night shift. Along with his fellow officers they are dealing with fights, drunks ,homeless people and thieves.
Erlendur’s fascination with missing persons drives him to look over cases where there is no resolution and person is not found. His obsession with the missing is almost at the core of his being and once on the case he is unshakeable. This obsessive nature sets him apart from his colleagues and makes personal relationships difficult.
Reykjavik Nights focusses on the apparent suicide of a homelessness man. Erlendur’s pursuit of the circumstances of his death and the reasons for his homelessness uncovers a tragic life. This is an interesting exploration of the plight of homeless people and how their life has evolved or perhaps devolved.
Having read most of the subsequent Inspector Erlendur novels and this is a fine beginning.

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Isle of Pines

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A beautiful spot in the Pacific with something of a tragic past. This island is part of the Loyalty Islands which are part of the French territory of New Caledonia. We were there om 15th July  2016 as you can see by the photo it was a glorious day.

Today the Isle of Pines is about pristine waters snorkeling and tourism. We arrived on a cruise ship which anchored of the coast and we’re ferried in on the ship’s lifeboats.

The locals were friendly and didn’t really tout for business making for a relaxed day on the beach.

History

The history of the Isle of Pines is darker. It was a French penal colony from 1872 until 1913. Besides criminals there were also political prisoners  banished to the Isle of Pines. These political prisoners were from the Paris Commune. I have linked to the Wikipedia article on this period of French History.

According to plaques near the ruins of the old penal colony the indigenous people the Kanaks, the link is to a  Wikipedia article on theses people. In short the French annexure of these Islands did meet with resistance from the indigenous people.

 

Lost posts

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I’m trying to post across three devices using the WordPress app on android. I had been writing post off-line on a recent holiday but the drafts are no more. I can redo but that’s not the point.ANDROID

This then becomes test post. I had only written two posts so no big deal. I did discover that it’s not possible to attach images whilst offline. Now the app can’t access images on the device a bit useless really. Arrgh!

Completing this on a PC after logging in to the dashboard. I wasn’t able to upload any images from the Android App.