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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Three More Catch-Up Reviews

Ellicott's Murder in an English Village is a light, cozy  mystery set in 1920.  

Blurb:  "As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn't be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they're the perfect match . . ."

The friends won't compete with Miss Marple, but a quick read, and I like the cover.

NetGalley/Kensington Books 

Historical Mystery.  Oct. 31, 2017.  Print length:  304 pages.

Block 46 is one of those books that has gotten rave reviews from a blog tour, but fair warning, it is a gruesome book about the serial murders of children.

Taking advantage of the current popularity of Nordic Noir, the book moves back and forth between Sweden and London for the contemporary portion of the novel.  It also moves back and forth in time as the genesis of the present-day child murders has roots in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1944.

The  style is choppy--moving from one point of view to another, from place to place, and from past to  present.  The two female protagonists are an interesting combination--acquaintances more than friends.  Emily Roy is a profiler and Alexis Castells is a true crime writer.  Only hints of their backgrounds are given and will no doubt be expanded on in their next outing.

I wasn't convinced by either of the roles of the protagonists, however; Emily's profiler skills are pretty specific, but not always helpful initially in making progress in the case.  Alexis is involved because she was close friends with a woman murdered in the same manner as the children, and since she is, coincidentally, a true crime writer--she is accepted into the investigation. ?

The "project" (the reason for the deaths of the children) goes back to medical experiments in Buchenwald, but the purpose is never explained.  

Not eager to read more by this author as neither the characters nor the plot appealed much to me.

Read in September.

NetGalley/Trafalgar Square Publ.

Crime.  Oct. 1, 2017.  Print length: 300 pages.

Yep, I know I've been fascinating with a lot of WWII nonfiction--and most of it has been as fascinating as fiction.  Most of it, however, has been specific to England, Bletchley Park, the SOE, Turing, the Blitz, and MI5 or MI6.

Code Girls differs because it addresses the American code breakers, and most particularly the women who were recruited initially from elite women's colleges and then from teachers' colleges.  It covers the way the Navy and the Army recruited these women, continuing to broaden their nets to enlist more and more to decipher, decode, and translate German and Japanese messages.

Code Girls provides impeccable research into previously classified materials about the women cryptographers whose crucial efforts saved thousands of lives and were mostly unacknowledged.

The first of the book was absolutely fascinating, but there are portions that become a bit repetitive.   These women contributed greatly to the success of the war, and I love that Liza Mundy has provided recognition of their important efforts.

Read in July/August.

NetGalley/Hatchette Books

History/Nonfiction.  Oct. 10, 2017.  Print length: 500 pages.   


  1. Think I might skip Block 46...really graphic books involving children are just too hard to read. But the other two sound like fun.

    1. Code Girls was such an interesting look at the times. I found the way the Navy and the Army began their recruitment efforts so interesting and loved the personal insights to many of the young women.

  2. Murder in an English Village sounds like a good read to me. And I love that cover!

    Not sure of Block 46 though; the topic about murdered children already bothered me, let alone the gruesome part.

    1. The cover for Murder in an English Village has a particular charm, and although I'm not a big cozy fan, the cover was what made me request it. I enjoyed the contrasting personalities of Beryl and Edwina, and there were so interesting elements about the time period shortly after the end of WWI.

  3. Bummer Block 46 wasn't a better book. I have an eGalley of this one but sometimes I don't like to read books that move back & forth in time in e-format. I prefer to have the actual book so I can go back and forth easily.

    1. I found Block 46 disappointing, but it had some elements I didn't like and plot holes that weren't explained. I don't mind books that move back and forth in time, but the moves from place to place, point of view to point of view, and from past to present were choppy.

  4. I will have to read Code Girls! That falls in line with some of the nonfiction books that have caught my attention in recent years. I am glad you liked it, Jenclair.

    I'm sorry Block 46 wasn't better. Murder in an English Village at least looks cute.

    1. Code Girls covers an era of history from a completely different point of view. :) Have you read Hidden Figures? It was even better!