Search This Blog

Friday, November 30, 2018

He Is Watching You by Charlie Gallagher and Dear Laura by Jean Stubbs

From description:  "A young woman’s body is left in a metal container in a remote location. The killer is careful to position her under a camera that links to his smartphone. He likes to look back at his work."

I liked the two main characters, DI Blaker and DS Maddie Ives, in this new series.  Blaker is the older more experienced detective; Maddie, whose undercover role in Manchester has been exposed, is the unhappy new member of the  department in Lennockshire.

A hit and run, a missing person's case, and a serial killer--how are these three connected?  Well, the reader is knows, but the detectives have to figure it out.

Harry Blaker is a bit of a curmudgeon; Maddie Ives is the wild card.   I enjoyed the characters--who are both interesting-- more than the plot.  

NetGalley/Joffe Books

Detective Fiction.  Nov. 20, 2018.  Print length:  317 pages.

Dear Laura is a Victorian mystery that introduces the engaging, but shrewd  and perceptive Inspector Lintott. 

Surprisingly, Detective Lintott doesn't really make an appearance until about half way through the book.  The first half of the book introduces the characters in the house hold of Theodore Crozier.  Crozier, his wife, his brother, and the household servants are presented in both current situations and situations which provide background for the characters.

Initially, Theodore Crozier's death is thought to have been caused by an aneurysm, but anonymous letters imply something else.  Suicide?  Murder?

When the cause of death comes into question, Scotland Yard's Inspector Lintott is called in.  He has an interesting interview method and good insight into character, but he also finds himself reconsidering some of his opinions as he learns more.  He doesn't stick with first assumptions, but alters his investigation with new information.  

What I particularly loved about him is when he made a comment completely in keeping with Victorian values, but later, despite his initial response, begins a deeper understanding of the situation.   Even today, men have opinions about women and their place, and many are incapable of seeing past the views they have adopted.  Lintott is no feminist, but he allows a change in his attitude and convictions because he examines his opinions.  He may not approve, but he comes to understand certain situations.

The twist at the very end is not exactly a surprise, but I was never certain  that it would end as I sometimes expected.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery and Inspector Lintott and was surprised to realize when I finished that the book was first published in 1974.  One advantage to any historical novel is that it is less likely to feel dated.  :)

NetGalley/Sapere Books

Historical Mystery.   1974.  Nov. 1, 2018.  Print length:  267 pages.
And a list of five most under appreciated crime writers.  I haven't read any of these authors, but I did see and appreciate Winter's Bone, the film based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.   Have you read any of the five authors?


  1. I'll take great characters over a "perfect" plot any day of the week. And the only under appreciated crime writer from that list that I've read is Woodrell, too. Haven't even heard of the other four.

    1. Characters are usually the most important factor for me. If the characters fail, don't feel genuine, or are inconsistent, the plot won't make up for the loss. I wasn't familiar with the other four crime writers either. Maybe some day...

  2. Both books sound good but I think I am particularly drawn to Dear Laura. It sounds like the kind of Neo-Victorian book that I like. Written with a modern eye but with characters who are still true to their era.

    Shamefully I've not read any of the five authors!

    1. Neo-Victorian is a great description! It works perfectly for this book! Thanks for the term, Ruthiella. :)

  3. Oh I haven't read any of the books from the link you shared. More to add to my list! I just requested the Jean Stubbs book via NetGalley. Sounds so good!

    1. I hope you enjoy Dear Laura--it made me furious in places and laugh in others. :)

  4. I agree with Lark above -- the right characters can make any plot work just like He is watching you.,

    1. It is hard to get into another serial killer plot (and this one is pretty gruesome) if the characters don't pull it a little out of the familiar. :)