Oldies but (mostly) goodies

I am alive and reading – now and then. Three mini or micro reviews. Three British books – all gifts, and I recommend the first two for anyone who likes a traditional mystery. The third one is a fast-paced thriller.

Ruth Rendell, Vanity Dies Hard (1965)

(Also called In Sickness and in Health)

Britain in the sixties – when a woman´s goal was to catch a man and start a family.

“Alice sighed. Even without a mirror she knew exactly what she must look like, a pleasant, blue-eyed Englishwoman, no longer very young and never worth a second glance. She put up her left hand to smooth back a trailing strand of fair hair and as she did so a raindrop splashed her new wedding ring. The sigh changed to a smile. What did anything matter, age, indifferent looks, competition, when she had Andrew?”

Rich and generous Alice ever so happy she has married a handsome and intelligent man as she considers herself very plain. The only cloud in her sky is her pretty friend Nesta who seems to have gone missing.

Psychological drama – mainly well done, but perhaps the ending is not overwhelmingly credible.

Reginald Hill, A Pinch of Snuff (1978)

The fifth Dalziel and Pascoe mystery. Peter Pascoe´s dentist is worried because he has watched an erotic film, and a certain scene makes him believe it is a snuff film where the violence is more real than he bargained for.

Though ´the big man´ taunts him, Pascoe looks into the mystery, and soon the dentist is involved in new problems when a young patient accuses him of indecency. Which accusations are true and which ones are false? Nice and well-written police procedural.

Frank Lean, Red for Rachel (1994)

British thriller – okay mystery and protagonist, but not one I´ll remember forever.



About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, Reginald Hill, review, review 2012, Ruth Rendell and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Oldies but (mostly) goodies

  1. Dorte, a very Happy Easter to you and your family! I finally bought my first Ruth Rendell book, THE COPPER PEACOCK, containing nine of her short stories which, going by the blurb on the back jacket, promises to be an exciting read. I have never read Rendell’s books.

  2. Happy Easter, Prashant!
    On the whole I prefer reading novels so I don´t recall that anthology. But Rendell is a brilliant writer of traditional, British crime fiction, and nearly all her books are of high quality.

  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – I love reading back over those older books :-). And the thing about both Rendell and Hill is that even if one’s read one of their books before, a re-read always brings one new things to discover.

  4. Heather says:

    Regarding Red for Rachel,sometimes there just isn’t more to be said about a book. There are books that remind me of popcorn. you are enjoying it while you are eating it, but it gets stuck in your teeth. It doesn’t fill you up and you are hungry again soon after you finish eating.

  5. Ann says:

    Thanks for the reviews – I haven’t read any of these. The first one reminded me a bit of the Mad Men series (not sure if you get that where you are) and how women were treated in the office during the 50s and 60s and not expected to pursue careers. Thankfully things have changed somewhat but we’ve still got a long way to go.

  6. Thanks for the Ruth Rendell review, somehow I managed to miss Vanity Dies Hard. It’s something to look forward to from one of my favorite writers. Hopefully I can find a used copy on Amazon. I hope all is well with your writing and reading and life! 🙂

  7. Barbara says:

    Happy Easter, Dorte! Glad to hear you are reading even if not every book is a winner. Hope you are feeling well and spring is coming early to your part of the world like it is here.

  8. Kelly says:

    The first sounds good to me. Glad to know you’re still there – I’ve been thinking about you recently. I appreciate that you’ve stopped in for several of my Shadow Shots lately. 🙂 Hope you and your family have had a good Easter weekend.

  9. Petty Witter says:

    Glad to hear you are both alive and writing. Thanks for your latest batch of reviews, sorry to hear one wasn’t up to scratch but you know what they say, two out of three ain’t bad. Happy Easter Dorte.

  10. Sounds like great books. Thanks for the recommendation.

  11. Thank you for all your comments, and I hope you have also had a wonderful Easter.
    All our three children have been home so I have been less online than usual.

  12. p881 says:

    Lean is new to me but the others are old friends.

  13. Joanne says:

    I need to get hold of some Reginald Hill novels. It’s a simple tap on my Kindle, but I think the local library might be best.

    Hope you had a wonderful Easter. I can’t believe tomorrow is another weekend already, and it’s school holidays down our way. Good news for NZ, amazing actually – we had no road fatalities for the whole of Easter weekend! The last time that occurred was back in the 1950s!

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