Bumsted Books of the Year - Wendy's Picks

Thursday Dec 01 2011
by Whodunit

My book of the year for 2011 is C.C. Benison’s, Twelve Drummers Drumming. This is the start of a new series for the author of the ‘Her Majesty Investigates series’.  The main character, Rev. Tom Christmas, aka. Father Christmas, is the new rector of Thornford Regis, a small English town.  However, although the town seems idyllic and a far cry from the inner city where Tom Christmas had previously worked, all, as we might guess, is not as it seems. It is the classic English mystery with a modern setting. Miss Marple might be surprised at the way the townscape and public behaviour have changed but she would not be surprised at the secrets and the evil that lurks within.

2011 has been a good year for me as a number of my favorite authors have had new titles. I have been a big fan of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles ‘Bill Slider’ series since it started in 1991, and have always been sad that she neglected this series because of the demands of her historical series, The Morland Dynasty, now up to #34. However, by some fluke this year there have been two Slider novels published.  In March, Body Line was published and since August has been available in trade paper. In November, we received Kill My Darling, the 14th in the series and only available so far in hard cover.

The tenth in Barry Maitland’s Brock and Kolla series, The Dark Mirror, finally arrived in trade paper in September, followed in October by Chelsea Mansions, only available in hard cover.  This series is set largely in London and its environs and gives a very contemporary view of the city and British society. The seemingly random murder of an American tourist visiting the famed Chelsea Flower Show is the starting point for Chelsea Mansions. The second death of a Russian oligarch leads David Brock and his team to travel long distances in both time and space, to the United States and into the long forgotten past.

I used to be a big fan of Val McDermid but recently I had been finding her a little too dark for my taste. However, I really enjoyed her most recent title A Trick of the Dark, a standalone set around an Oxford college. Charlie Flint, is a clinical psychologist, whose career is somewhat under a cloud, is asked by one of her undergraduate advisors to look into a murder.

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