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.