Through careful layering of mystery and character development, Rosanne Dingli has created another deeply engaging and powerful novel in Camera Obscura. As is always the case with Dingli’s work, the research is impeccable, enlivened by art, by a deep love of travel and exploration, and above all, by the conjunction of personal and global, art related, history.
The story Patrick M. Garry tells is a story of how curiosity on the part of a group of young teens leads them to meddle in someone’s life with tragic results. This premise is well-rooted in life especially in political campaigns. The staging for the story has a small hometown appeal well-suited for the action.
There’s a lot to enjoy about the novel, not least the mystery: Hammett generally wrote tightly plotted novels and, in that respect, The Thin Man satisfies in spades. The banter between Nick Charles and his wife is also very enjoyable and his wisecrack about a man needing a shot of whiskey in the morning to ‘break the phlegm’ is one that most men will identify with.
The story of the Underground Railroad is also compelling and Lazar handles the history beautifully, deftly weaving it into the story, and allowing the reader to discover and enjoy each piece of information along with Gus and Camille. Managing a delicate balance between action and reflection, Lazar’s latest book FireSong is a delightfully satisfying read full of warmth, humour and drama.
There are few things scarier than an evil clown, but coupled with a broken promise, a lost child, black and white film reels, a shipwreck, bad dreams, and a series of slightly Satanic symbols, the story takes on a serious resonance.
The stories are indeed rather special and they develop the crime genre in a fascinating direction. Owen Keane fulfils many of the roles of a priest – he offers pastoral care to his “parishioners” and feels an imperative to save or rescue them. More often than not, it is he who decides when and how to offer help, responding to a need that is not apparent to others.
All twelve are solid detective stories, the solutions often hingeing on a new understanding of the original situation, an inconspicuous fact being recognised as crucially significant. However, it is the entertaining historical background that Powell provides for San Sebastiano which raises these tales above the rest.
The interaction of the student performers and stagehands is brilliantly described and there is shrewd observation in the treatment of the sexual predator Armand Lugio, the witchy stage-mother Agnes Bigelow and the gay youngster Nelson Santos who explores the world…
The story is straightforward, and the mystery unfolds with the right pace, and the right amount of suspense, but James is much more than a simple genre writer. Her characters are complex and well drawn, and while the story reads…