Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Thoughts on Nox Dormienda by Kelli Stanley and The Unkindest Cut of All by Sue Barnard.

I love reading novels of many types but my main downfall just now is finding time 
A) to do the reading
B) to write a short note on how I've found the book 

Today is one of those catch up days. 

Nox Dormienda by Kelli Stanley was recommended to me by an American friend because he knew I love to write about first century Roman Britain. I'm absolutely glad it was recommended because I enjoyed the story for more than one reason. Here's why...

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel set in an era I love to read and write about. Southern Britannia AD 83 was a time when Rome’s influence was well entrenched and many of the southern Celtic tribes had already adopted the culture of Rome as is the case with Gwyna and her father. Arcturus, the main protagonist being of the blood of both Roman and Celt has a good sound foot in both camps. A lovely twist in the Roman Noir detective story is that the half-native Arcturus is a doctor- trained by the renowned physician and herbalist Pedanius Dioscorides. Such training has enabled Arcturus to become the doctor of General Agricola, the Governor of Britannia, and has given him the opportunity to see to more than Agricola’s physical welfare.
The book has a credible setting; the language flows beautifully and it’s very well edited. The style reminded me of Lyndsey Davis and David Wishart though others have also compared the 'Detective Noir' style to the novels of Philip Marlowe. It’s an amusing read without being overly frivolous. The mystery is only revealed in the final pages and I found that the perpetrator wasn’t easy to detect and be sure of till the very end.  

I'd no hesitation in giving this book 5 stars 


An entirely different kind of read that I've recently read, yet still a mystery novel is, The Unkindest Cut of All by Sue Barnard.   

This was yet another great story from Sue Barnard, her knowledge of Shakespeare used in an intriguing way. The Castlemarsh Players amateur dramatic performance of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, provides a wonderful backdrop to the tragedy which unfolds on the ides of March, the last performance of the run. However, the tragedy of Sue Barnard’s story isn’t confined to the stage.  The author plunges the reader straight into the action, the dialogue an easy flow as the first night opens and then continues till the run reaches the inevitable last and devastating performance. There are sufficient twists which kept me engaged throughout the read, and only close to the end was I able to hazard a guess as to what might happen on the last pages. The main characters in the story are very likeable as they work out how the incidents occurred during that final performance, romantic developments strengthening as they solve the mystery. 

This is definitely another 5 star read for me...and most likely for you, too!




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