Set in Europe in the 1600s, The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of Rene Descartes is an overlong but enthralling mystery.
Told from the point of view of Adrien, a Jesuit sent by his church to investigate Descartes’ death. As the amateur sleuth finds a multitude of suspects, the book quickly becomes a mystery set in an unusual environment, the court of Sweden’s Queen Christina.
Most thrillers are relatively short around 350 pages to keep the action exciting. The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of Rene Descartes is much longer at 508 pages. Adding in all the historical details takes a few pages, I get it. However, once past the length, the story draws the reader into a different time and place. There are few books so good at making you totally forget your own problems (and occasionally to eat). In addition, you will learn quite a bit about history and philosophy though I don’t know enough to know what is fact and what is fiction. This book is highly recommended to historical fiction fans. For thriller fans, probably not as much. It would make a good public television mini-series. 4 stars!
I received an electronic copy of the book from Online Book Club but that in no way impacted my honest review.
Posted in Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: 1700s, Apr 23 2017, Sweden
Not much of a mystery, more of a history, is found in Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom.
Lori is trapped by flooding rains in rural England in Shepney when she meets former Bishop Christopher. When only a supposed haunted attic room is the only area left to sleep, Lori makes the best of it. Her mother’s deceased friend Aunt Dimity contacts Lori by automatic writing in a blank blue notebook. Dimity states there is no ghost in the attic but tells of several in different areas of the King’s Ransom Inn, where Lori is staying. Christopher and Lori hunt for the ghost story’s origin as well as that of the inn’s name.
I’ve never read any books in the Aunt Dimity series before and was disappointed by her extremely small role in this book. I verified that this is marketed as a cozy mystery though the mysteries also seem rather scant. There are no present day crimes in Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom at all. It is all smugglers’ gold and 1700’s English history. To be honest, it reminded me of the books and cartoons of my youth like Scooby Doo, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. While the plot wasn’t to my taste, those interested in British history or looking for a non-violent mystery might find it interesting. 3 stars.
Thanks to Viking Books and NetGalley for a copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: 1700s, British, Jul 24 2018, Smugglers