With the school term over, I’ve replaced my assigned readings with mysteries.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dervla McTiernan’s The Scholar, her second in the Cormac Reilly series. Although I had missed the first in the series, there’s enough exposition to understand the backstories of recurring characters. The Scholar follows multiple viewpoints of Detective Reilly, his colleagues, and suspects in the aftermath of a fatal hit and run of a young woman on a Galway university campus. A police procedural with a hint of corporate intrigue and several interpersonal dramas, I found the story engaging and twisty. Although it is a little dark, there is very little outright violence, and I do think I’ll stick with this series.
I happened to read two Sarah Perry novels at the same time. Perry seems adaptable to a variety of settings and time periods, but her prose-y style in both were enjoyable. The Essex Serpent is an entertaining historical fiction which primarily focuses on the widow-turned naturalist Cora Seabourne investigating the return of a mythical Essex Serpent haunting the Essex countryside. Melmoth, on the other hand, haunted me while reading it. Melmoth follows the story of Helen Franklin, who lives an ascetic life in Prague. She finds herself involved in chasing evidence of Melmoth, Perry’s invention of a woman cursed to wander the earth and bear witness to humanity’s failings. The narrative jumps between the accounts of Melmoth that Helen reads, suspecting that she will be visited by Melmoth soon. The novel was at times terribly sad and incredibly spooky (as someone easily startled, I’d advise reading in a well-lit room), but well worth the read.
Most recently, I read Rabindranath Maharaj’s Fatboy Fall Down. It’s a heart-wrenching story of a man who faces failure at every turn of his life, set against the backdrop of an unnamed island nation’s changing society that he finds himself constantly attempting to adjust to. I couldn’t put it down, even though the chain of events that the main character must endure made me want to give up as well. Although it’s not particularly a mystery, it is a beautiful, melancholic story about the pursuit of happiness on one’s own terms.