I had given 5 stars (on Goodreads) to three of the Len Deighton books I read, all from the Bernard Sampson series. I just picked my favorite of those three. The four authors on this list that I had read before were Elizabeth George, John Lawton, Laura Wilson, and Philip Kerr. The other six authors were new to me in 2012.
Here is my list, with links to my reviews. These are listed in the order I read them, not in order by preference.
- Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
- Berlin Game by Len Deighton
- The Company of Strangers by Robert Wilson
- In the Woods by Tana French
- The Guards by Ken Bruen
- An Empty Death by Laura Wilson
- The Suspect by L. R. Wright
- A Lily of the Field by John Lawton
- The One from the Other by Philip Kerr
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The book did not interest me when it first came out. With a very intelligent 11-year-old as the detective, I thought it would be too cutesy. Plus, mysteries featuring amateur detectives are not my favorite type. But there are always exceptions. This book was so charming, I was drawn into it immediately. I just finished reading the second book in the series, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, and liked it just as well.
I like the setting: post World War II Britain, in an English village, with quirky characters. But most of all I just like the way the story is told through the eyes of a very imaginative nearly 11-year-old girl. She is precocious in some ways, naive in others.
The Ipcress File, was the first book I read in 2012 and I was disappointed. I got lost in the story, did not know what was going on in the first half of the book. (Now that I have experienced more of Deighton's books, I think I should return to this book.) But I had several of the Bernard Samson novels so I tried Berlin Game, and I am very glad I did.
At this post, I reviewed Spy Hook, the fourth book in the series and provided links to information about Deighton. The series tells the story of an intelligence officer in the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), with a wife who is also in intelligence. Family relationships are a big theme, probably one of the reasons I like the series.
There are 9 books in the series. Three trilogies. I have read the first six books in the series. There is also a historical novel, Winter, which is not strictly in the series, but is a prequel (of sorts) to the series.
A wonderful series I finished this year: The Inspector Troy series by John Lawton
A Lily of the Field is the last book in the series. This is a longish book, and seems almost like two books, although there are definite links between the two stories. The crime in this book is the murder of a Polish painter, shot on an Underground platform with a very unusual gun. As in many of Lawton's books, the resolution of the crime is less important than the overall story and the picture of Britain during these years.
Two other books in the series that I especially enjoyed are Bluffing Mr. Churchill (review here) and Second Violin, which I reviewed here.
The Company of Strangers by Robert Wilson.
This novel is a spy thriller, one of my favorite genres. The story is set in Lisbon initially, then moves to East Berlin and England. It covers the years from 1944 through the early 1990s.
It is also a love story, but I would not call it romantic. It is more about the harsh realities of life; about families, and relationships, and maturing. A lot of books I have read this year have had a theme of family relationships and how they affect us.
I find it interesting to note that this is the only one in my list that is not part of a series. I do want to try other books by this author.