Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

Off-topic discussion.
By Peat
#746
This is one for the books that aren't SFF and aren't non-fic.

I just finished Donna Leon's Death At La Fenice, a murder mystery set in Venice. I have to say I found it rather frustrating because a lot of it was very dry and slow, but every now and again she'd throw an absolute pearl of a line or detail that demanded I continued. I don't think I'll be returning to this series very often, but I might well keep it in mind.
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By DragonFlame
#748
Please do not give up on Donna Leon and Commissario Guido Brunetti just yet, Peat. This was the very first novel written in 1992 and they have grown in strength and interest ever since.
She has written one a year and I have read each up to 2022 . The main characters grow and interact as time goes on, Brunetti's homelife is realistic and often funny, with a Uni professor wife and lively children. Many books address a topical political or social problem of Venice or Italy in general but wound into the story without desperately banging any drum.
There is excellent in house intrigue with the hierarchy at police headquarters and more well explored characters. The plots are not obvious, so don't expect to follow clues.
I am perhaps biased because I particularly like fiction that involves cities, so the love and knowledge in details of Venice, where she has lived and worked for years, pulls me in.
I got to the point of having a map handy so I could follow the characters around.
After SFF, good police procedurals and Golden Age Detectives are my favourite reading.
Check out Guido Brunetti on wiki, there is great description of his character.
Hope you give this series another chance sometime.
By Peat
#761
DragonFlame wrote: February 27th, 2024, 09:01 Please do not give up on Donna Leon and Commissario Guido Brunetti just yet, Peat. This was the very first novel written in 1992 and they have grown in strength and interest ever since.
She has written one a year and I have read each up to 2022 . The main characters grow and interact as time goes on, Brunetti's homelife is realistic and often funny, with a Uni professor wife and lively children. Many books address a topical political or social problem of Venice or Italy in general but wound into the story without desperately banging any drum.
There is excellent in house intrigue with the hierarchy at police headquarters and more well explored characters. The plots are not obvious, so don't expect to follow clues.
I am perhaps biased because I particularly like fiction that involves cities, so the love and knowledge in details of Venice, where she has lived and worked for years, pulls me in.
I got to the point of having a map handy so I could follow the characters around.
After SFF, good police procedurals and Golden Age Detectives are my favourite reading.
Check out Guido Brunetti on wiki, there is great description of his character.
Hope you give this series another chance sometime.
I do want to give the series a second go, but the big obstacle for me is I didn't like the prose of about 75% of the story. Just felt very bare-bones. Some of her observations, some of her characterisation, is golden, but unless I can find an accomodation with the prose it's not happening.

What other mystery novels do you love? Lindsey Davis is my go to, but I think I'm going to try more Paretsky this year.
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By Hedin
#928
I am going to start Shogun here as my next book. Saw all the hype about the TV show and I have never read the book. It uhh....a very big book.
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By Hedin
#981
Well I finished Shogun.....and I don't think I liked it. The technical story structure and the writing style were things that I never quite gelled with but I could have overlooked those. The story itself was entirely too long and too repetitive. But the big problem was:
There wasn't a climax at all. You could argue that the Osaka castle stuff at the end was the climax but reading that part it just felt like it was a step to the big conclusion. And then you get to the very end and it's just Toranga inner monologing what was going to happen. About the big deciding battle we only get a single paragraph, no idea how the battle was won or anything. I just felt like it was all (very long) buildup and then no payoff in the end.
When I finished I thought I would put it as a 3/5 but the more I sit with it and really think about it I think it's going to end up lower whenever I add it.
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By ScarletBea
#992
I finished Romantic comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld.
Another one from my loot win, this book is up in the rank of the "most pointless and unrelated to the plot" covers ever!
Much better than my (admitedly low) expectations, this was a non-corny romance. It was also a great insight into live late night US comedy shows (the author admitted it's based on making Saturday Night Live).
By Peat
#996
Romped through John Le Carre's Call For The Dead, which is just an A+ concise mystery for me, and a bit more of a slog with Lindsey Davis' The Accusers, which is a rather unconcise murder mystery.
By Peat
#1036
More murder, more mystery, this time with Sara Paretsky's Indemnity Only, and that wasn't a smooth series start for me. Lot of unfunny angriness and mouthing off, rather cliched, not a lot of charm. I did want to know what happened so can't judge it too harshly but not what I was hoping for after my first Paretsky.

Also a win for jumping in midway through a series, if this was my first from here that'd be the end of it but as it is I will return.
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By DrNefario
#1101
I enjoyed Indemnity Only enough that I bought the next one, but haven't read it yet. I'm going to have to check how long ago that was, now, and I don't think I'm going to like the answer...

2015. Not quite 10 years ago. I think I'm going to try to read Deadlock this year.