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Summer reading

"Summer reading" Continued...

Issue: "2010 Books Issue," July 3, 2010

Finally, for those who like mystery and crime fiction, here are three to die for:

Red Knife by William Kent Krueger is the ninth in a mystery series set in Minnesota's north country on the border of an Ojibwa Indian reservation. In this installment a white teenager dies of a meth overdose and her father believes the Indian who sold it to her is hiding on the reservation, protected by an Indian gang, the Red Boyz. Former sheriff Cork O'Connor's mixed heritage allows him to operate-although sometimes uneasily-on both sides of the racial divide. Krueger's books provide both a sense of place and also a nuanced exploration of sin, family relationships, injustice, alienation, and the positive role the Catholic Church plays in this particular community.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley has delightful 11-year-old Flavia de Luce as a nontraditional heroine. She recounts in the first person how she stumbled upon, in the cucumber patch of her family's English estate, a dying man who breathed his last word, "Vale," into her face. When the police treat her as a child, and after her father is arrested, Flavia sets out to solve the crime. Her amusing narration is filled with thoughts drawn from Gilbert and Sullivan, Shakespeare, Latin, her beloved chemistry, and the Book of Common Prayer. The book's charms include wonderful writing, a cast of great characters, and a well-imagined postwar English setting.

A Plague of Secrets by John Lescroart is the latest in an entertaining series of police/courtroom procedurals set amid San Francisco's weird politics, weather, and food. Lescroart's main characters, defense attorney Dismas Hardy and homicide lieutenant Abe Glitsky, are close friends and frequent opponents who pursue justice from different vantage points. In this novel Hardy defends from a murder charge the wife of a prominent developer who owns a coffee shop from which marijuana is sold. Meanwhile, because Glitsky is distracted by a life-threatening injury suffered by his son, he fails to oversee properly the case put together by his young subordinates.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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