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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

"Death on a Shetland Isle" by Marsali Taylor

Number seven in the Shetland Sailing Mysteries starring Cass Lynch. This is another voyage of the tall ship Sorlandet on which Cass is in charge of a Watch made principally of trainees. A new officer enlists ... and Cass recognises him immediately as Alain, an ex-boyfriend who went overboard in the Atlantic years ago. But he has a new identity and appears not to recognise Cass. There are some other trainees who cause concern to Cass; as the voyage progresses strange things begin to happen. Then, when they land on Fetlar for an international hnefatafl (Viking chess) competition, one of the trainees disappears. Gavin, Cass's detective boyfriend, takes charge of the search. Has someone died? (Of course they have, this is a murder mystery and the title has already given this away.) Whodunnit? And will the ex-boyfriend drive a wedge between Cass and Gavin?

This book is a little slower-paced compared to the others; she is moving away from straight detective fiction and making room for more Shetland tourist information. But this book is even better than the others for the lyrical beauty of some of the descriptions. For example:

  • "This was what I was made for: this great sweep of water all around me, with the wind gentle on my skin, the ship creaking, the water curling under her forefoot and pulling away along her sides in a long V of foam." (C 2)
  • "It was dark outside, but the crescent moon made a white pathway on the shifting water.
  • The sails were ghostly in the sliver of moonlight, their ropes a forest of darker black against the glinting sea." (C 4)
  • "The sun shone on the scrubbed decks, drying the last corner pools of water, and on the creamy sails, bleaching them to cloud-white. On land, it was harvest time, with rectangles of lime-yellow standing out in the green sweep of hill, either combed with the dulled green of drying hay, or dotted with black plastic bales like a giant’s chequer pieces waiting to be moved. The rumble of machinery drifted towards us: a shining green tractor trailing a whirl of gulls." (C 5)

Other bits I loved:
  • "The blue watch scurried for their jackets, and mine drittled to their places on deck." (C 3)
  • "The taxi air freshener (pine forest) overlaid his natural smell of Imperial Leather soap." (C 6)
  • "I’m not taking fashion hints from any man who thinks cabbage green is a colour." (C 8)
  • "If they’re speaking about you, they’re leaving someone else alone." (C 17)

The other brilliant books in this series, in order, include:

Great fun. June 2020

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