The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz

The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz

First off, Rory Kinnear does a fabulous job as the narrator of The Twist of a Knife. The story is told in the first person by the fictionalized Anthony Horowitz, so hopefully, I'll never hear the real Horowitz speak, since I'll expect Kinnear's voice. Beyond that, though, he does all the characters' voices well, inserting their personality and feelings into their dialogue. When I first started this series, I wasn't a fan of Horowitz inserting himself into the story as the detective's sidekick, but I've changed my mind. The bits of his real-life intermingled with the fictional plot are fun. For example, he really did write a play called Mindgame that really was performed at the Vaudeville Theatre. As the blurb states, Horowitz is the main suspect this time, accused of murdering a theater critic, and the evidence is mounting. Of course, he turns to Hawthorne, who takes the case. (He has his own reasons for doing so; it's not just out...
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The Enigma of Room 622 by Joël Dicker

The Enigma of Room 622 by Joël Dicker

The Enigma of Room 622 is the first of Dicker's works I've read. I think I saw it on one of those must-read mysteries of this month lists. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it or not. I feel like I missed some of it because of my unfamiliarity with the author, who has fictionalized himself as one of the characters in this story within a story (within a story). A. Joël has come to a hotel to refresh after a bad breakup and the death of his editor. The hotel does not have a room 622. He and Scarlett, a woman he meets at the hotel, decide to investigate what happened in room 622. Apparently, it has to do with the Ebezner Bank, Switzerland's largest private bank, and the banquet that had been held at the hotel years before. B. (Joël's story based on what he and Scarlett learn) Macaire Ebezner and Lev Levovitch are both poised to take over the...
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Babel by R.F. Kuang

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Babel is a fantasy world of the early 1800s offering an exploration of race, historical imperialism, literature, and language. The Industrial Revolution is powered by silver working, magic involving silver and words and translation. We follow the four characters Robin, our main characters, Ramy, Victoire, and Letty. All have been pulled out of their lives and sent to Oxford's Royal Institute of Translation, known as Babel, to learn translation and silver working. Each is an outsider and they form a kind of family for each other, providing comfort and camaraderie, but also disappointments and arguments. Babel is engrossing. First, I do love words and meanings, and Kuang goes into details and long-winded interludes about language and etymology that some may rather scan past but that made the book memorable for me. The politics of language is fascinating. The characters grow and learn and reevaluate their outlooks through the book. It's hard to both love Oxford and hate the British Empire for...
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All the Queen’s Men by S. J. Bennett

All the Queen’s Men by S. J. Bennett

The Queen is disconcerted to see one of her favorite paintings at an exhibition of maritime art in Portsmouth. The painting, given to her by the artist, is of the retired Britannia yacht and once hung outside her bedroom. She enlists Rozie to discover when it left her collection and why it has never been returned, a task that turns out to be not as easy as it sounds. Then, a housekeeper is found beside the Palace swimming pool and it turns out several of the staff, including the dead woman, had received nasty, threatening anonymous letters. The mystery is a bit convoluted. The clues and cases all tie together, but it meanders a bit getting to the conclusion. I do enjoy the characters though. They give the book its charm. The Queen is sharp and charming. Rozie is super competent and we get to see a bit more of the personal side of her life. Prince Philip steals every...
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A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

The hook here is that Horowitz has written himself into the book, a Watson figure to Hawthorne's Sherlock. It seems a silly conceit to me. I guess it lets him mention his other work, but we all know this is a fictionalized version of Horowitz, basically a character, so I don't see the point. Anyway, this time around Horowitz and Hawthorne are sent to the island of Alderney for a small weekend literary festival. And of course, while they're there, someone is killed - a wealthy sponsor of the festival, murdered at his own house party. The island is locked down, no one allowed on, no one allowed off, while the police, with Hawthorne's help, try to figure out who the killer is. Everyone on the island seems to have a reason to want the man dead. The house party/isolated island gives us a limited number of suspects, but everyone here has a secret and there are red herrings galore. Horowitz...
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Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Miss Marple is shrewd, observant, and calculating, but she uses her identity as an older woman as a disguise, allowing herself to appear confused, fragile, doddering. In this outing, an acquaintance, wealthy financier Mr. Rafiel, has sent her on a mission after his death. She is to bring justice, but to whom or why, he doesn't give her any clues. I like that the focus here is on Miss Marple, she is doing the investigating, not playing back-up to someone else. Love is the theme here. All kinds of love: family, romantic, deadly. Miss Marple talks to everyone, first to figure out what exactly the mystery is and then to solve it. She does a good job pulling out information and putting it all together. She's a character I appreciate more now than I did when I first started reading Christie's books as a teenager. She's not flashy, but she is sly and convincing. This is not the strongest of Christie's...
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