I love stories that are mysterious, plot-driven, and suspensefully magical. No lame sagas about vampires and inter-species affairs. Eerie, believable fiction. Put a ghost, or at least a secret passageway, into an ancient mansion and I’ll read all night! I treasure out-of-print novelists, not necessarily alive by the time I encounter their work. The 60s – early 80s had more adventures inside old houses. I favour Phyllis A. Whitney, Dorothy Eden, Charlotte Armstrong, Dorothy Daniels, Dorothy Gilman, Stephen King….
I find the police perspective dry and unrelatable but will try Ann Rule and Patricia Cornwall. I like a paranormal angle: with a normal, freaked-out person who solves a situation herself! Used sales do lead me to current authors who are so good, I lap up endless genres. Amazon.ca introduces others and the list expands! Presently, I’m fascinated by Natasha Mostert and Winifred Elze. It’s strange for me to follow authors whom I could contact, in present day.
In my first book review blog, I was enthralled with a Susan Wittig Albert series. Fictionally based on real 1900s author Beatrix Potter, animals help solve mysteries in Lake District, England. Book 3, “The Tale Of Cuckoo Brow Wood” is so good, it energized me to write a review. I’ve had one criticism, especially by book 4, “The Tale Of Hawthorn House”. It is asserted one can read any installment out of order. To encourage that, Mrs. Albert ‘back-stories’ every sub-character, shop keeper, and wild animal. Not short: a lengthy background when each character appears!
By the fourth novel, it’s a drag. It’s contradictory and annoying that after rehashing so much, Mrs. Albert ceases with a plug: “read X for the whole story”. Now you say so? A referral and tiny refresher wouldn’t be so cumbersome. Series veterans find no reward for following from book 1. It penalizes fans if the author panders to new buyers. I find “The Tale Of Hawthorn House” the weakest. At page 108, plots barely gear up. Also there are unsettling events that don’t suit the personification of animals. After establishing that they talk and have a say in village affairs, no one wants to hear of a mother prevented from raising her eggs or the animal-loving lead character eating mutton.
Repitition aside, I’ll continue. “The Cottage Tales Of Beatrix Potter” are original and fully formed! It is a genre called a ‘cozy mystery’, not gruesome or contraversial. They rely on an interesting story. I enjoy Mrs. Albert. Perhaps she gets on with the show in succeeding novels.