Sunday, January 22, 2006

Airth, Crombie and McGown

Rennie Airth: The Blood-Dimmed Tide
I had read Airth's first novel featuring John Madden, River of Darkness. I enjoyed it very much, and it's probably the reason why I could side-tracked into reading Anne Perry, since I couldn't remember the author's name (this was before I started the blog), and had to search for WW1-themed books. I'm very bad with names.

In River of Darkness we were introduced to Madden, as he tried to solve a brutal series of murders and stop the serial killer from killing again. Madden realises that the murderer is drawing on his experience in the trenches of the war, and is motivated by nothing more than the wish to kill. In The Blood-Dimmed Tide Madden has left the police force and his happily tending his farm and his family, when a little girl is found dead and raped nearby. He naturally has to help the police track down the killer, as it is plain this is an exceptionally clever murderer who is likely to keep killing until he is forcibly stopped.

Like Caleb Carr, Airth writes about serial killers in an age before psychological profiling. Both writers manage this well. My only hesitation really is the fact that everyone is a little too open-minded and good. From my own experience I have to say that most people are eejits, and I don't think it was any different 100 years ago at all. But of course, we like the main characters more if they are lovable, and the cliché of the drunken, unpleasant PI or detective is overdone.

Deborah Crombie, Now May You Weep
Another Kincaid-James novel, once again with a supernatural twist. Deus ex machina, anyone? Gemma James goes on a cookery course to Scotland with her ex-neighbour and friend Hazel. Turns out Hazel has emotional ties to Scotland she never mentioned. The bits about whisky-making are quite interesting. On the whole not bad, but this isn't my favourite author. Too soft.

Jill McGown, Unlucky for Some
Now, this is an author I had forgotten. I have read one of her novels before (in the pre-blog era), and had gotten her confused with Crombie, as her main characters are also police-officers-who-are-lovers. These two are slightly more realistic in their human failings and emotions though.

In this one what appears to be serial killer murders, connected to gambling establishments and a successfull TV personality, baffle Hill and Lloyd. It's a very clever puzzle whodunnit with some twists. Plot is well crafted and keeps us all guessing. Must get some more of McGown's, I can see.

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