2009 was not a banner year for me, reading-wise. I didn't even average one book a week and I didn't really enjoy a majority of the forty-five that I did read. This year I've made the following reading resolutions:
1. Read more.
2. Read more of what I like.
3. Read new (to me) authors and series.
To make sure I got in the spirit of things early (and to maybe actually keep my resolutions), I've started out with a bang. One of my favorite genres is British mystery, and I've read three in the past 15 days. I was looking forward to The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill not only because I liked the dark and brooding cover (yes, I DO judge a book in part by it's cover), but it is the first in what looked like a character-driven mystery series. I was hoping that it might be a good read-alike for Elizabeth George fans. Oddly, DCI Simon Serrailler, the detective after which the series is named, isn't featured much in the first book; rather it's Freya Graffham, a detective in his department, who takes the lead in trying to solve a series of disappearances in the fictional English cathedral town of Lafferton. There are many, many characters to keep track of, and if I hadn't just gulped it down in a few days, I might have had some trouble keeping all the threads straight. On the whole, it was a satisfying mystery (although I'm a bit peeved at the author for one particular part which I'll not mention here to avoid spoiling the plot) and I plan to read the other three books in the series later this year.
I generally like to read mystery series in order, but I made an exception for Dark Mirror, the latest Brock and Kolla police procedural by Barry Maitland, because it's about murder in the library - how very Clue™-ish! A beautiful young woman who looks much like the Pre-Raphaelite women she is studying, is poisoned with arsenic and keels over in the London Library. Per usual, plenty of suspects appear, all with good reasons for wanting her dead. I really enjoyed this book with the exception of the way the librarians at various libraries in London seemed to hand over patrons' reading records willy-nilly! If you like to read mysteries in order, the first in this series is The Marx Sisters. I plan to now go back to the beginning and read from there.
The third in my January mystery triumvirate is Fear of Drowning by Peter Turnbull, the first title in the Chief Inspector Hennessey series. Hennessey is with the North Yorkshire Police, and as I've been to Yorkseveral times, it was fun to recognize some of the places mentioned. The banter between Hennessey and his sergeant, Yellich, is witty, but other than that, I wasn't all that keen on this mystery. Maybe it was because all of the other characters in the book, including the victims, were not very likeable. I think fans of British police procedurals will like it, but I'm not sure yet whether I'll go any further with the series.
So far, I am well on my way to achieving my reading goals for 2010, but if anyone has good suggestions for what I should read in this genre, please let me know!