Lackberg and Leon: A Scandicrime vs Venetian Mystery Challenge

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Lackberg and Leon: A Scandicrime vs Venetian Mystery Challenge

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Editado: Ene 3, 2019, 12:49pm

This year we are going to read and compare and contrast the books of Camilla Lackberg, a Sweedish author, with those of Donna Leon, an American ex-patriot who lives in Venice and writes about La Serenissima. We will be alternating months starting with the Erica Falck and her partner Patrik Hedstrom series by Lackberg in January. Since several of us had read the first seven of the Guido Brunetti books last year we will be starting with book eight in that series by Leon in February. The Leon books have been around for some time, so we don't expect you to reread. If you have already read the book feel free to join in the conversation.

Readers do not have to read every book or make comments about every book. We like lurkers and hope that even if you don't post you will enjoy reading the books.

This is the schedule for the year.

January - Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg
February - Fatal Remedies by Donna Leon
March - Preacher by Camilla Lackberg
April - Friends in High Places by Donna Leon
May - Stone Cutter by Camilla Lackberg
June - Sea of Troubles by Donna Leon
July - Gallows Bird alternate title Stranger by Camilla Lackberg
August - Willfull Behavior by Donna Leon
September - Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg
October - Uniform Justice by Donna Leon
November - Drowning by Camilla Lackberg
December - Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

In total there are 10 of the Erica Falck and Patrick Hedstrom books. We will read the first 6 of them in 2019.

There are 28 of the Guido Brunetti books. We have read 7 of the titles in this series. If we add 6 more in 2019 we will be half done with this series.

According to WorldCat there are 1318 libraries world wide with the English version of the Ice Princess and 295 libraries with the sound recording version of the novel. There shouldn't be a problem with getting a copy of this one. I like to listen to mysteries as I drive so am thinking that I may try some of those during this coming year.

Editado: Ene 4, 2019, 12:36pm

For lack of a better title, or a better idea, I christened this challenge/thread: Lackberg and Leon: A Scandicrime vs Venetian Mystery Challenge. I thought about doing something with North vs. South or Hot and Cold Climes, but somehow it just didn't mesh. If one of you can come up with something let us know over on the new thread.

It is part of the 75 Books Challenge group.

Feel free to put these links on your threads and let people know what we are doing this year.

And now for a little information about Camilla Lackberg.

Lackberg is part of the wave of "Scandicrime" novelists that have taken the mystery/thriller world by storm. Jean Edith Camilla Läckberg Eriksson was born August 30, 1974 in Fjällbacka, Bohuslän. Bohuslan is in the Gotaland region of Sweeden. Fjallbacka is in the extreme western part of Sweeden (almost on the Norwegian border). Prior to Lackberg becoming famous this town was home to Ingrid Bergman.

Lackberg has always been fascinated by the crime novel and says that this started when she was a child looking for books to read in her parents library.

She graduated from Gothenburg University with a degree in economics. She moved to Stockholm and soon began to take her writing seriously with her first novel Isprinsessan published in 2003. The novel was translated into several languages including English in 2008 with the translation by Stephen T. Murray. This novel met with modest success and her readership has steadily grown with each installment of the series.

Ene 3, 2019, 4:59pm

I am about halfway through The Ice Princess. I like it so far, although some of the character development seems to drag a bit.

Editado: Ene 4, 2019, 12:39pm

I have a copy of Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction: Works and Authors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden Since 1967 by Mitzi M. Brunsdale published in 2016 and Camilla Lackberg has an entry in that volume. A two page entry. For encyclopedia entries that is a sizeable amount of space to devote to one author. That book calls her the Sweden's Queen of Crime because she is now Sweden's blockbuster author. The book also give her official web site, so here is the link to that page. I will, from time-to-time, put some of that information on this thread.

It is very interesting. It is almost as interesting in its' way as the Haruki Murakami page. I encourage everybody to take a look both pages. They are lots of fun and clearly, lots of money has been spent on them.

The more research I have been doing on Lackberg the more interesting it has become.

The entry on Lackberg also said that "Besides being in the hands of her growing readership, Lackberg's crime novels have been adapted as a popular Swedish television series," titled Fjallbackamorden (Fjallbacka Murders in English). The series is based on characters from the novels but has all new stories. It began airing in August 2011.

Editado: Ene 4, 2019, 12:20pm

Lackberg's web site has this to say about Ice Princess.

The Ice Princess (2003): Almost 2.6 million copies of Camilla’s debut novel have been sold on the international market. The story begins with the discovery of the dead body of a woman in a bath. But who murdered her, and why? The Tanumshede police begin their investigation, and Erica Falck is drawn into the case, which touches her personally.

I hope to get started on the book this weekend, but right now I am piled up with reading. Since I have a month to read this one and will have a long plane trip towards the end of the month I am going to put off starting this one for a short time. However, don't let that stop you from discussing. I am not one of those people who don't like spoilers. They don't bother me. But that brings up the feelings of others in this group, so I would say, don't be to up front early in the month with spoilers. As we get to the later days in the month, it shouldn't be so much of a problem for everyone.

Ene 4, 2019, 12:26pm

There are now ten books in the series, so maybe some of the questions about the characters come later in the series? However, the Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime says that "In contrast to recent Nordic male detective portagonists who are flawed, middle aged, cynical, and nearly or completely alcoholic, Lackberg's Patrick Hedstrom is a young husband and father; Lackberg calls him 'the guy next door as a hero.' She develops her other main character, Erica Falck, a writer and his girlfriend, later wife, through the series. Sometimes Lackberg allows Patrik to take the lead, adn sometimes she places ERika at the forefront of the investigation. Lackberg thus creates 'an intriguing interaction' between them, 'both loving and fractious,'..." It will be interesting to see what does develop in the two characters as the series progresses.

Ene 4, 2019, 2:07pm

I read The Ice Princess last year and have also recently read the first couple of Leon books. I'll probably read a Brunetti Cookbook in place of one of the Brunettis. I'll join with the reading for the second Lackberg and for the Leon's when we get to an unread one.

Ene 4, 2019, 8:06pm

I will join in where I can, Benita

Ene 4, 2019, 9:01pm

I think most of these are in my library system, and plan to join in. The Lackberg series sounds more interesting to me than some Scandicrime.

Ene 4, 2019, 10:49pm

I'm finally back online, having caved in and bought a new laptop. It hasn't been that long since I read The Ice Princess and I didn't like it that much, so I won't do a reread of that one. I'll try to join in on the rest of the year's reading for the thread, though time constraints may limit how much I post comments.

Ene 5, 2019, 12:11am

I am #2 on library holds for the Ice Princess! Soon, I hope.

Ene 5, 2019, 10:18am

I went AWOL on LT for a lot of last year, but kept reading the Donna Leon books along with the schedule. I see that I somehow missed reading A Noble Radiance in 2019, so I will pick it up in January. I don't know if I will read the Lackberg books, as I have a lot of other planned reading this year, but if I can fit them in, I will. Definitely on with the Leon books, though, and looking forward to it. Let's hope this year I can keep up with the threads and not just the reading!

Ene 5, 2019, 6:27pm

I got the Ice Princess from the library today.

Ene 5, 2019, 6:34pm

I finished The Ice Princess last night. I thought the writing was awkward at points. I'm hesitant to blame this on the translator since he translated Steig Larsson's trilogy and won an award for his translation of one of Henning Mankell's books. I liked it better than the first Guido Guerrieri and the writing (or the translation) improved quite a bit after the first book in that series.

I was frustrated by the information that is withheld from the reader for pages and pages. Erica or Patrik will make a surprising discovery that sheds a different light on the mystery, but the reader isn't told what the discovery is until many pages later.

Ene 5, 2019, 7:20pm

>14 cbl_tn: I'm glad I'm not the only person who noticed the writing awkwardness. I didn't check to see what else the translator had translated and left it as I wasn't sure whose fault it was--author or translator. However, if it's the same translator for the Larsson books, I think it must be the author.

Ene 5, 2019, 7:46pm

>15 thornton37814: Larsson and Mankell are both men, and Lackberg is a woman. I don't know if that makes a difference in translation work?

Ene 6, 2019, 8:27am

I just found The Ice Princess at the e-library, so I am reading along :-)
I vaguely remember seeing a TV-adaption of this one.

Ene 13, 2019, 8:42pm

I finished The Ice Princess and thought it started a bit slow, but improved in the later half.

Ene 13, 2019, 11:39pm

I was wrong! I didn't read The Ice Princess. It was a later one in the series -- one of those rare times I didn't start at the beginning of a series. I got the ebook for free, or a really cheap sale. Now I remember thinking at the time that I might have liked it better if I'd read the earlier ones.

I managed to check out an ebook of Ice Princess, but it's in a queue with one I just got that I've been waiting on the hold list for three months, as well as a book for this month's RL book discussion and 2 ER books. (And class starts tomorrow . . .) I'll get to it eventually.

Ene 14, 2019, 3:47pm

I haven't started Ice Princess either. My life got really hectic with the beginning of the semester. I plan on starting it this week. And if I don't get to it now, it will go with me on the journey to ALA in Seattle on January 24. I think it will make great plane reading.

Editado: Ene 22, 2019, 2:17pm

I am hijacking this thread for a minute. January 26 - 28, 2019 is the ALA winter conference in Seattle, WA. If you like books I would encourage you to attend. There will be plenty of free ARC's for readers in the exhibit hall and LT is offering free passes. Tim Spaulding, LT founder, and Loreanne, loyal assistant, will be in Seattle as well. If there is interest I will plan a meetup for Saturday night, January 26. Just let me know on this thread or on my PM me on my LT page and I will put something together.

Here is the URL, and the instructions for the free passes to the exhibit hall.

Hi Benita,

Thanks for reaching out and offering to set up a meetup! I'm happy to report that we do, indeed, have free, exhibit hall-only badges for ALA Midwinter.

Please direct anyone who'd like a badge here:

That should automatically fill in the exhibitor invitation code. I just tested it out myself and was able to register successfully without any trouble.

If there's anything else I can do to help, please let me know. Definitely keep me posted as details get hammered out, so I can publicize the meetup in the State of the Thing this month!

Thanks again,

Loranne Nasir
Member Support & Social Media Librarian, LibraryThing

Ene 22, 2019, 2:22pm

I got a good start on the Ice Princess over the weekend. So far it seems like a very conventional mystery, but one that has captured my interest. Partly because of the setting. I was amused that the complaints of the characters about the high price of the houses in Fjallbacka and the general cost of living in a "tourist" town. It seems that Guido and Erica have something in common.

Of course, for us, the readers, the exotic setting is part of the attraction, or at least the initial attraction to picking up the book in the first place. It is fun to read about how lives are similar or different in different settings.

I will be leaving for the ALA Midwinter conference tomorrow, and hope to finish this book while flying cross country to Seattle. I also hope to post off and on, while I am in airports, and hotels in the next couple of days.

Editado: Feb 9, 2019, 3:11pm

Hi, Leon readers! I've decided to deaccession my paperback Donna Leon volumes, of which I have 13. They are all available in ebook format from my library, and I need the shelf space! If you would like one or more of these, and can pay the postage, PM me with your shipping address and I will wrap them up and send them out.

They are, in no particular order:

Dressed for Death
Acqua Alta (no front cover)
About Face
Drawing Conclusions
Death and Judgement
Friends in High Places
A Noble Radiance
Death in a Strange Country
Quietly in Their Sleep
Through a Glass Darkly
Blood From a Stone
Doctored Evidence
Uniform Justice

Ene 24, 2019, 4:25pm

And I must get hold of Ice Princess. I usually like ScandiCrime but I haven't heard of Lackberg.

Ene 28, 2019, 9:14pm

I never got to the ebook of Ice Princess before the loan ran out. I managed to snag the audio of it. That will better fit into my current reading commitments.

Ene 31, 2019, 2:15pm

I finished Ice Princess yesterday while flying back from the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference in Seattle, Washington. I enjoyed this novel. It was perfect plane reading.

I do have to say, that it was not what I expected. Scandicrime novels are usually dark, bloody, and very descriptively violent. Or at least the authors that I had previously read - Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsson. This novel was not that way. It was a good solid mystery in the same way that the Maisie Dobbs series is. Just good reading.

The plot was not that inventive and like some of the previous commentators up-thread have observed - there were a couple of plot points that I did see coming, and so were not surprises. However, I found the overall novel to be well constructed. The descriptions of life in a smaller town in Sweden were enlightening. There were several times in the reading when something was brought up - then dropped, that I figure will show up later as we read through the series. For instance, why was Eilert's little bit at the end, even in the book? My suspicion is that he will show up later - in another book.

All-in-all, even though I did not know what to expect from this series, I think this is a good beginning and I will look forward to reading the next in the series.

Feb 1, 2019, 11:42am

Today is February 1st and time to move on to another novel. Our February read is Fatal Remedies by Donna Leon. This is book number 8 in the Guido Brunetti series. The Amazon blurb reads like this:

It all begins with an early morning phone call. In the chill of the Venetian dawn, a sudden act of vandalism shatters the quiet of the city, and Brunetti is shocked to find that the culprit waiting to be apprehended at the scene is his own wife, Paola. She has taken a stand against a travel agency known for a certain kind of shady tourism. Meanwhile, at work, Brunetti is under pressure from his superiors to solve a daring robbery with a link to a suspicious accidental death. Does it all lead back to the Mafia? And how are his family’s actions connected to these crimes?

I do not have a copy of the book, and so will be doing an ILL request for it. That means that my start time will be a little delayed, but that should not discourage the rest of you from reading and discussing the book. I read even if there are spoilers.

Feb 1, 2019, 11:53am

What did all of you think of Ice Princess. This was Camilla Lackberg's first novel and I thought that showed. It was a good novel, but not the heart stopping ScandiThriller that I expected. I found it very conventional in its construction and plot lines. It will be interesting to see how she develops the characters in the future. I also wonder if she is going to make the culture, climate, or setting more and more of a part of the plot in the future. Kinda like Henning Mankell did with the Walendar series. In that series it seemed to me that climate became a character in the story.

I think it is also going to be interesting to read Donna Leon right on the heels of Lackberg. The Leon book we are reading is the 8th book in the series and by this time Leon has found her style and figured out how she is going to develop her character in conjunction with other reappearing characters and family members. Lackberg hasn't done that yet.

I have found myself thinking alot about the style of mystery written by Gianrico Carofiglio as compared to Leon and Lackberg. It is quite clear that Carogiflio is much more introspective than either of the other two authors. That does not mean that the main characters in either Leon or Lackberg are not thinking and feeling, but the way the authors presents them is very different from how introspective Carofiglio was with his Guido. I now think of Guido Guerreri as soulfull. I think that Guido Brunetti as thoughtful. I have not figured out what Erica and Patrik are - as of yet. That will make this year's reading very interesting.

Feb 1, 2019, 1:41pm

>27 benitastrnad: I read that one about a year ago so I won't be re-reading it. I will substitute Brunetti's Cookbook either this month or in April (since I've also read that one recently). I really love the jacket illustration.

Feb 1, 2019, 6:01pm

I have already started Fatal Remedies. I was able to check out the ebook from the library.

I think I mentioned earlier that I found some of the writing awkward in The Ice Princess. Lackberg is apparently a big enough name that she was able to get an award-winning translator. That doesn't mean that he's the best translator for her writing style, though. It may be a combination of Lackberg's first novel and the translator's first attempt at finding her voice in translation. Does anyone else have any thoughts about that?

Editado: Feb 3, 2019, 3:29pm

Translation is always a problem. I remember reading an article by Jose Saramago that was written when his English translator died. He said that he would probably not have been able to be an international literary figure without his translator. In that article he said that it was very hard for a translator to find the correct “voice” for an authors works. It was that voice that made books come alive. Most translations make the story more wooden than it is. I noticed this quality when reading some of the early work of Haruki Murakami. Those books also aren’t nearly the quality of the later works and I think it is clear that part of the problem is the translation. It makes reading translated books and adventure in reading.

Feb 6, 2019, 6:36pm

I finished The Ice Princess. Despite the fact that I only liked the two main characters and I guessed most of the mysteries, I liked this book enough to see where it goes in the second book. Many of the secondary characters were unredeemable, at least on first read. I wonder if any/many of them will show up again later? And I am interested to see how these dual main characters solve crime in the next installment.

>27 benitastrnad: I was all set to bail on Guido, until you mentioned that it is Paola who is in the limelight this time. Now I have to go request it from the library! : )

Feb 11, 2019, 1:00pm

I haven't forgotten about Guido, but I am having trouble getting a copy of this title through ILL. Apparently it is hard to find in libraries. It won't bother me if you guys talk spoilers, as I will read it anyway. So go ahead and talk amongst yourselves!

Feb 11, 2019, 1:27pm

I finished it over the weekend. I guess I'm lucky that both public libraries I use have ebook and e-audio copies in their Overdrive collections.

I liked this one better than the last. It does have an odd twist, though. It switches gears halfway through from sex tourism to pharmaceutical fraud.

Feb 11, 2019, 4:56pm

I wasn't able to find February's Guido on the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Overdrive collection, which is odd. They have the first several and they have the most recent, but there are about 5 in the middle that they don't own as an ebook. I recommended them last year when I discovered this, but so far they have not been purchased. Fortunately, I also belong to the Ohio State Library and they have the missing books in the Ohio Digital Library's Overdrive collection. I'm currently waiting for our February read and I'm going to make sure that I have the others on hold now in case there is a waiting list for them too!

Feb 12, 2019, 12:53pm

It is interesting that we are all having the same problem getting this book. I suspect that what has happened is that this book was originally published in 1999. This is just about the time that Leon's series about Guido Brunetti was taking off and becoming popular. I first became aware of Leon in 2007 when she attended the American Library Association Annual Conference as the guest of a publisher. She was sitting in a booth and signing books. At that time she was considered a mid-list author as her books hadn't become the blockbusters that they are now. It was a couple of years and by then her books were making the best seller lists.

What most public libraries do is about 5 years after a work of fiction as come out they cull, or weed, the collection of excess books. So, if they had two copies of this title on the shelves, they remove one copy. At the ten year mark, the title is evaluated again, and if it has not been checked out a designated number of times in the last five years, the book is removed from the shelves. Therefore, it is a rare work of fiction that gets left on the shelves for 10 years or more. My guess is that since the books we are reading now, are considered "old" for works of fiction that many of the hard copies have simply been removed from library collections.

Recorded copies are a bit different. The penchant for recorded copies of books is rather new, so many earlier books were simply not recorded at all. That is the case with the Tony Hillerman books. Now, publishers are returning to old, but popular series and are retrospectively recording them, but they simply weren't recorded to start with. Also, there is the Rule of 25 with which libraries have to contend. Most recorded, or digitized, books are subject to what libraries call the Rule of 25. These copies of titles are sold to libraries with a cap of 25 circulations. When somebody tries to check the book out for the 26th time, the library has to purchase a new copy. For that reason, many libraries, don't automatically re-purchase titles. Instead, they look at the age of the book, and how long it took to reach 25 circulations, and if there is a waiting list. They then decide if there is going to be enough circulations to warrant the purchase of another copy. Usually, librarians figure that if there is one request for a title that there are others out there who would like to read the book, but just aren't asking. However, budgets being what they are, libraries can't purchase every title. That is why they created Inter-Library Loan. Many public libraries offer this service for free, but many charge for it. If this service is free I advise people to use it. You can request recorded copies through ILL. However, they won't be digital. They will be in the form of CD's. I get lots of recorded books that way, and listen to them in my car on the way to and from work, and when I am about town.

Academic libraries have different collecting rules. Most academic libraries don't collect "Trade Fiction" at all, unless the works are considered to be classics. Trade fiction is what the Donna Leon books are. Once-in-awhile, academic libraries will collect trade fiction, but it is rare. Our library, here at The University of Alabama, has 1 Donna Leon book. It is Uniform Justice and it is an uncorrected proof (An ARC) that I suspect one of my compatriots got at the ALA conference in Washington, D. C. and donated to the library. Even though for me, ILL is free, it sometimes is hard for our ILL department to get their hands on a copy of the book. Most of the requests I make come from public libraries, but our policy is to go to Academic Libraries first. That slows things down.

All of this means that it may be hard to get our hands on these books when we want them, so the smart thing to do, is what some of you are already doing and putting in your requests as early as possible. And then be patient. We aren't on a time-line here, and so if it takes longer than a month to read a title, that is not a problem. None of us are the 75'ers Challenge Police, so just read the book when you can, and post when you can. The idea is to have somebody with whom we can discuss the books and compare them if we want to do so.

By-the-way, my ILL request still has not arrived. It does say that it is now "In Transit" so that means that somebody has the book and is in the process of sending it to Tuscaloosa.

Feb 13, 2019, 9:51pm

My copy of Fatal Remedies has arrived! I start reading tonight.

Editado: Feb 14, 2019, 7:14pm

>36 benitastrnad: Very interesting, Benita. I didn't know about the Rule of 25 - I suspected that there might be something like that, as I have noticed that a ton of books each month are removed from my library's Overdrive collection. I didn't know if it was based on a time limit or a circulation limit. The unfortunate thing I've noticed about my library is that there are books being removed that still have waiting lists, which doesn't seem right to me. Fortunately, that has not affected me yet. Also, fortunately, my library system doesn't charge for ILL, and I do take advantage when I'm looking for an old, out of print book, but I prefer ebooks when I can get them.

Glad your copy arrived. I'm still waiting for my ebook, but I'm number 1 on the list out of 5 total holds on 1 copy.

Feb 14, 2019, 7:33pm

It may be that titles are removed for several reasons. Number of Circulations. If a book hasn't circulated they aren't going to renew the purchase of it when it does hit 25. Digital copies also work on the same time frame as hard copies. If it hasn't circulated within a certain time period it is weeded just as a hard copy would be.

It is unusual to remove digital copies of titles that have waiting lists. However, like hard copies, libraries usually purchase multiple copies of titles. Especially those that are best sellers. After 3 years they usually consolidate titles. That makes for longer wait lists, but it helps libraries spend less money.

Editado: Feb 15, 2019, 11:11pm

I'm lucky to actually own a paperback copy of Fatal Remedies, purchased several years ago at a library book sale I attended when visiting my in-laws. But I haven't had time to get to it, as I've been reading an ER book I need to review.

I recently finished listening to The Ice Princess, which was OK but not terribly memorable. I'm having trouble remembering it already.

Feb 19, 2019, 3:18pm

I finished reading Fatal Remedies this morning. It was good. I like the mixing of the police procedural murder mystery with that of domestic home life. In this case the juxtaposition of the two marriages in the book - Guido and Paolo's and the Mitri's. It did not take me long to read this book, and I wonder what the reading level is for this book? If I get time I will try to do a Klose test on it and see. Plot wise, it was predictable. For me the most interesting part was the marriage of Guido and Paola. The philosophical difference between the two if them is very interesting.

Feb 25, 2019, 2:25pm

Now that the last few days of the month are upon us, I wanted to make a few more comments and not have to worry about spoilers. I thought that the interchange between the two points of view between Guido and Paola was important to this book. Early in the book, Guido and Paola get into one of those philosophical fights that sometimes prove fatal in a marriage. (Is this one of the fatal remedies to which the title refers?) Guido says very early in the book " You decide, all by yourself and for yourself, that something's wrong, then you make yourself so important that your'e the only one who can stop it, the only one who sees the perfect truth." This is the conflict between the two of them. Guido believes that Paola does't see the difficulties Paola's actions will make for the rest of the family.

Feb 25, 2019, 2:27pm

The book for March will be Preacher by Camilla Lackberg. I suspect that you should be trying to get your copy of this book so you will be ready to read this weekend.

Feb 26, 2019, 4:32pm

I got Predikant, the Dutch translation of Preacher, from the e-library today.

Feb 28, 2019, 5:17pm

I thought that it was interesting that in Fatal Remedies that Donna Leon hit upon one of the great fears of women. I thought it showed great insight about sex and sexual relations between women and men.

Here is the quote:
"I'm not sure if this has anything to do with what we're talking about, but think another cause of the gulf that separates us on this - not just you and me, Guido, but all men from all women - is the fear that the idea that sex might sometimes be an unpleasant experience is real to all women and unthinkable to most men." As she saw him beginning to protest, she said, "Guido, the woman doesn't exist who thinks for an instant that pedophiles love children. They lust after them or want to dominate them, but those things have nothing to do with love." He kept his head lowered; she saw that as she looked across the room at him. "That's the second thing I want to say, dear Guido whom I love with all my soul. That's how we look at it, most women, that love isn't lust and domination."

Feb 28, 2019, 5:46pm

I just downloaded The Preacher. We finally reached one I had not recently read! I'm finishing an ARC at the moment so I likely won't begin it until March.

Feb 28, 2019, 6:26pm

I just downloaded an ebook copy as well.

Mar 1, 2019, 11:04pm

I have to hunt around my shelves and get the book, but I will start it tomorrow.

Mar 2, 2019, 5:43pm

My LT account says that I have a copy of Preacher on my shelves that I purchased from a used bookstore in 2013, but I can't find it. I will keep looking, but I went to the library and they had a copy so I checked it out. The Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction says that Lackberg is not afraid to tackle current topics. "Even thougth Fjallbacka is a small village, Lackberg treats topics of national and even international significance, like religous fanaticism in The Preacher ..." The Preacher was published in 2004 in Sweden (but not translated and published in English, in London, until 2009. It was published in the U. S. in 2011) so it will be interesting to see how "international' it is, and if it still seems relevant.

Here is the synopsis of The Preacher. The discovery of two murder victims who were killed twenty years earlier is complicated by the body of a third, recent victim at the same location, a case that compels detective Patrik Hedstrom to investigate a feuding clan of misfits, religious fanatics, and criminals.

This book is available in Hardback, paperback, and as a sound recording, so it should be easy to get. I looked in Alibris and used copies of it are available for $0.99 plus mailing costs. It is also readily available in many libraries. A fact that I can attest to.

Happy reading folks.

Mar 2, 2019, 6:35pm

I'm about 25% of the way through now and should be over 1/3 through it by the time I complete the next chapter. I'm reading it while watching M*A*S*H re-runs and petting cats.

Editado: Mayo 7, 2019, 10:01am I'm unsure why but the link didn't work when I tried it. Perhaps it is something to do with LibraryThing? I googled her name and it sure looks like the exact same link, so I'm guessing my link won't work either

edited to say that now the link works...

Mar 17, 2019, 12:29am

I've gotten behind on the books for this thread. I'm catching up by reading my paperback copy of last month's Brunetti novel, and an Overdrive loan eBook of this month's book by Lackberg.

Editado: Mayo 6, 2019, 10:36am

I finished reading The Peacher over Spring Break. I am not going to say much until next weekend to give people a chance to get it read. But then I have some things I would like to discuss about this book.

It was very apparent early on that Erica was not going to be much of a factor in this book, so I found the parts of the book that told us what was going on at home to be distracting. What did the rest of you think?

Mar 17, 2019, 1:27pm

We have a new member of the group. Welcome to Tina. (otherwise known as nagainakarait.). We hope that she will find the series interesting and feel free to post any comments she wishes about the books here on this thread.

I happen to know that she had a hard time finding our thread, so glad to see her here.

Mar 17, 2019, 4:30pm

>53 benitastrnad: I found the parts of the book that told us what was going on at home to be distracting
No, I liked to keep in touch with Erica at home. I found the crime horrifying... almost over the edge of what I can take.

Mar 17, 2019, 4:41pm

I didn't like that either. I really didn't like the vignettes in between the chapters. I thought those were horrifying.

Mar 17, 2019, 5:10pm

I didn't mind some of the sections about Erica at home. It seems like her relationship with her sister will be a thread that develops throughout the series so I think that section was important. I think one set of uninvited guests would have been enough. I kept waiting for Erica to do more investigative research on the cold cases, though.

I would have liked more development of the Hult family's religious beliefs. It seems like there were plenty of allusions to their odd/unorthodox religious practices, but it was never really spelled out.

The series setting is becoming the biggest draw for me. I googled pictures of the King's Cleft and it's unusual and impressive.

Mar 17, 2019, 5:18pm

I think that setting is important in both of the series we are reading and the setting influences the way that the novels are written as much as they do what the novels are written about.

Religion in Sweden is also an interesting mix. I am not an expert on dissident Annabaptist groups, but they have had a strong influence in Sweden for at least 200 years. Sweden is predominately Lutheran, but the Covenenat church (sometimes referred to as Conventeers) and other Pentacostal groups are very common there. I grew up not far from several different Nordic immigrant settlements in Kansas and can tell you that religion among them is varied and often times very nationalistic. The image of the Stoiac Swede goes right out the window when it comes to religion.

Editado: Mar 18, 2019, 10:05am

I don't usually like reading a series out of order, but I was joining you in March so I grabbed the March book. Erica was just another character to me. The author mentioned that she had done more, so I assumed she was more important in the first book, but I found some of those references annoying.

The vignettes were disturbing but I assumed that was the intention. The differences between Siv and Mona in their lives and in their captivity was worth exploring.

I intend to go ahead and read The Ice Princess -

Mar 26, 2019, 10:40am

There are now 5 days left in March, so I wondered what everybody thought of the ending of this book? Did you like it? Or not?

The last scene was of interest to me. In one version we know what was going on in Jacob's head and in the other we see what the Doctor's said. Did the two give you any more insight into what happened than it would have without it?

Mar 27, 2019, 9:14am

>60 benitastrnad: I'm beginning to think I'm not a Lackberg fan. I'll give her at least one more try, but if the next in series bombs for me as much as the first two, I'm done with her.

Mar 27, 2019, 7:40pm

What was it that you didn't like about The Preacher?

After the almost "cozy" first novel Ice Princess I found the violence vignettes almost to much for me to read. However, I thought that this plot was much more developed than the plot in the first novel. Much more twisty and with some surprises.

Mar 28, 2019, 8:07am

>62 benitastrnad: It just never grabbed me. I don't know if it lost something in translation or if it just wasn't going to grab me regardless.

Mar 28, 2019, 8:43am

I do continue to be annoyed by the withholding of information from the reader in the first two Lackberg mysteries. We're told when the investigators learn a key piece of information, but Lackberg doesn't let the reader in on it until pages or chapters later. I do like the setting and the small town feel. It's not quite as impersonal as most of the other Scandicrime I've read.

Mar 29, 2019, 4:07pm

I agree. Somehow it seems distant. I think that the author is trying to walk the line between thriller and cozy and it isn't really working. It could be the translation and I wonder how I what I would think about the Larsson books if I read them now. I am going to keep reading this series as there are parts that I like about it, but it hasn't really gained steam for me. The last two titles in this series have been Best Sellers, so I wonder if they build as the author gets better, or ...

Abr 1, 2019, 4:51pm

It is April 1st and time to change over and read our next Donna Leon book. This one is Friends in High Places and it is book number 9 in the Guido Brunetti series. This one is set in Venice proper and deals with the same problem that people who live in tourist mecca's all over the world have - housing. As the world gets smaller and people all over the world start traveling more and more those who live in trendy tourist places get driven out of the housing market. This is a problem that Leon has addressed previously in this series, but it comes to the fore in this novel.

I hope that as we start to "catch up" with Leon in our reading that these titles will get easier for us to find. This novel was originally published in 2000 but a reprint was done in 2017.

Editado: Abr 8, 2019, 2:24pm

Has anybody started Friends in High Places? I haven't yet, but will start it this week. It will be interesting to see what Guido is up to this time. Here is the Amazon blurb about the novel. Sounds like we are going to be reading about the high cost of living in Venice. And maybe the good and bad side of historical neighborhood commissions.

In Donna Leon’s ninth novel featuring her celebrated protagonist, Commissario Guido Brunetti finds himself caught up in a typically Venetian problem: red tape over renovations. Visited by a young bureaucrat, Brunetti learns that, officially, his apartment does not exist. The extra floor that was added years before was never approved. But what begins as troublesome headache ends in murder when the bureaucrat is found dead after a mysterious fall from a scaffold. Brunetti starts an investigation that takes him into unfamiliar and dangerous areas of Venetian life, and shows him, once again, what a difference it makes to have friends in high places.

Abr 8, 2019, 3:30pm

>67 benitastrnad: I am about halfway through the audio version of this book. It is slow going. There are three plot threads that seem like they might eventually converge. Lots of bureaucracy that needs explanation for the readers. The title is apt, with multiple connections in the novel.

Abr 8, 2019, 5:52pm

>67 benitastrnad: I started reading today.

Abr 8, 2019, 6:31pm

I just finished it. I enjoyed it, but will not give anything away this early.

Abr 8, 2019, 10:05pm

Hi, everybody. I think I"m going to abandon the Leon and Lackberg. I've been in a reading funk, and I think a lot of it is that I was trying to do the February and March books, and wasn't enjoying either of them. My library download of the Lackberg expired with very little of it read. I have so little time to read for pleasure, I want to be free to just read what appeals to me.

Happy reading to you all, and I hope you find the upcoming books enjoyable.

Abr 9, 2019, 8:10am

>71 tymfos: Leon appeals more than Lackberg for me, but I've recently read some of the Leons and don't want to re-read. I'll join up again when I get to one I haven't read. I may give Lackberg one last try, but I'm thinking she's not for me.

Abr 9, 2019, 12:12pm

I think that the whole idea of online book discussions is that you can lurk if you want to do so. That is fine with me. I do think it is important to keep a thread live by adding something once a week, but that is something that the organizer should do. It should not be a burden on the readers. Feel free to follow along and dip in and out as you will. Reading, or being in a reading funk, shouldn't make anybody feel guilty.

>71 tymfos: & >72 thornton37814:
I understand reading funks and will only say that you can lurk here for a long time. You don't have to read every book. Read what appeals to you and don't worry about the rest of us. If you have read one of the Leon books in the past and have something to add to the conversation fine. There are no reading group police so just add your two cents when and if you feel like it.

Not every book is for everybody. I think that part of the object of this group is to experiment a little and get out of our comfort zone, but that means that not everybody is going to like everything that we read. That is fine. If it doesn't work, it can be tweaked. I read lots of translated books to help me understand what is going on in other places, kinda based off of a BBC Mystery Authors podcast I listened to several years ago. I figure that it takes patience to do that kind of reading and sometimes it doesn't work. For instance, I have totally quit reading Jo Nesbo as his books got too violent and bloody for me to enjoy. I suspect that Steig Larsson's would have done the same for me. This last Lackberg was almost too much for me as well. Like others here, I am going to read the next book, but if the May book doesn't work, it may be time for us to think about changing the last half of the year to something else.

Abr 15, 2019, 12:55pm

I read Friends in High Places this weekend. It is interesting enough, but I am getting a little tired of Guido's sensitivity regarding his father-in-law. His refusal to acknowledge that the privilege and power of his father-in-law is part of the reason why he can act the way that he does, is beginning to grate a little.

Abr 15, 2019, 3:50pm

>74 benitastrnad: I agree! It has seemed strange to me that he hasn't come to terms with his father-in-law's influence in ~20 years of marriage. But maybe it's Paola's change in attitude that he hasn't come to terms with. From what I gathered in this book, she used to feel the same way he did when they met and married. Paola has given up some of her youthful ideals but Guido hasn't, and that may be the root of the problem.

Abr 16, 2019, 2:12pm

That conversation between Paola and Guido was interesting. I thought for a while that there as a sort of detente between Guido and his father-in-law, but that seems to have faded? It also seems to me that when Guido needs information that he was perfectly willing to seek out his father-in-law. In that instance he was willing to recognize what that position and money could do for him.

Abr 22, 2019, 12:23pm

I haven't been very active here this year. RL has overtaken for awhile. But for those of you who read along last year in the Guido/Guido group, I thought you might enjoy this photo essay of the people of Bari from National Geographic. My favorite has to be Peppino.

This whole slideshow gives me hope that the world can still be liveable, loveable, and beautiful. Happy Spring to all.

Abr 22, 2019, 6:04pm

>77 tututhefirst:
I just looked at the pictures of Bari and the town is full of characters! When I first started reading the books by Gianrico Carofiglio I wasn't that impressed. They gradually grew on me and now I wish that there were more of them translated into English.

Thank you for posting that link and those pictures. Someday I hope to visit Puglia.

Editado: Abr 28, 2019, 2:46pm

It is getting on toward the end of the month and in May we will turn out attention to another Camilla Lackberg novel. This one will be Stonecutter.

Several of you up-thread have expressed the opinion that you are going to give Lackberg one more chance before you ditch the author and the rest of the series. If, after reading this novel, you are still inclined to do so, please be thinking of another series that you might want to replace the lacking Lackberg. We will discuss this further throughout the month of May and make a decision at the end of May. In the meantime, I am going to have to place an Inter-Library Loan request as neither my university or public library has this one on hand. Given that it is the end of the semester, our ILL department at the library won't be as busy, so I think it should get here fairly quickly.

The Amazon blurb for the book goes like this -
continues the story of local detective Patrik Hedström and his girlfriend, Erica Falck, the beloved crime-solving duo whose first child has just been born. But while they celebrate this new life, a suspicious drowning claims a little girl they knew well. As the murder’s implications widen, Patrik’s investigation threatens to tear apart the rural fishing village of Fjällbacka, where a secret lurks that spans generations.

Abr 29, 2019, 8:48pm

>79 benitastrnad: I hoped the audio version was available so I could listen on my upcoming trip, but the wait is estimated at 6 weeks. E-book is available at 2 libraries. I'll probably get it once I finish the current read--or at least reserve it. I'm in a bit of a regular reading funk right now so audio is working better for me.

Editado: Mayo 7, 2019, 10:05am

>21 benitastrnad:

... is it possible to get a similar link for the DC conference?

Mayo 6, 2019, 9:51am

I started this series in the middle, too... (though I went back and also read Ice Princess so I'm caught up on the Lackberg series). So the information about the father in law was something I'd have not known. It felt like he was acknowledging the ease money and influence creates and wanted to access his own influence and connections to "be the man?" It was a little odd, but I figured coming in the middle meant I didn't have the needed information.

I looked at that photo essay and it makes me want to go visit that place... :)

Mayo 6, 2019, 10:34am

>82 NagainaKarait:
Guido's Father-in-Law, is a count and is highly placed in a prominent Venetian bank. The FIL is old Venice. Guido comes from more pedestrian stock. In the first couple of books in the series there is open tension between Guido and his FIL and Guido really doesn't have much contact with him. That slowly began to change, and that is why the fight between Guido and Paolo regarding her use of her father's influence was something I noted. I thought Guido was getting past that.

Editado: Mayo 7, 2019, 10:00am

>83 benitastrnad:
"The FIL is old Venice. Guido comes from more pedestrian stock. In the first couple of books in the series there is open tension between Guido and his FIL and Guido really doesn't have much contact with him." -Mr. Nadd

Interesting, then to me it seemed like he was almost -nostalgic?- about "Old Venice" but wanted to be the one pulling the strings? Because he had his own network of connections unique to his job... Oh well off to find another Lackberg book.

Editado: Mayo 7, 2019, 2:39pm

>84 NagainaKarait:
I agree with that assessment of Guido. I don't think he realizes that "networking" is prevalent in any profession. I don't think he recognizes it in himself, even though in this book it is clear that he did do that, and he knows it. What he thinks about "pulling those strings" is another matter. He did it to make his life on the job easier.

Guido's relationship with his supervisor, Patta, has its own tensions. I admit that sometimes Guido's manipulation of Patta bothers me as it borders on the burlesque and makes Patta out to be a joke and or a caricature. I think that Patta may know what Guido is doing because Patta certainly knows who to go to when he is in trouble, and he has a reasonable expectation that Guido can do something about it. To get the full picture of that relationship you would have to start reading the series at the beginning. That would also help to gain an understanding of Guido's relationship with his FIL, but I think you can pick up on that as the series moves along.

Interesting that you remember the Mr. Nadd! That was a long time ago.

Mayo 9, 2019, 2:43pm

I know - we are reading Lackberg this month, but I ran across this really neat thing about the Brunetti mysteries and before I lose the entry I wanted to post it - so here goes.

I found this on the weekly newsletter that I get. The piece was written by Jo Walton and was all about what she is reading this month - the month being - April. Apparently, she is reading through the Brunetti series. I thought her insight was interesting. I didn't think about the same theme that Walton has when thinking about Brunetti, but it does make sense to me.

By Its Cover Donna Leon 2014.
This month’s Brunetti mystery, and an especially appealing one, as it begins with a crime in a rare books library in Venice and then twists in unexpected directions. Again I will say that the theme of this series is integrity, who has it, what it means, and how it can be twisted with history and lives and current events. These books are amazing, and while it wouldn’t matter very much if you started here, you might as well read them in order.

And that’s it for April, more next month!

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two collections of pieces, three poetry collections, a short story collection and thirteen novels, including the Hugo and Nebula winning Among Others. Her fourteenth novel, Lent, is coming out from Tor on May 28th 2019. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here irregularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal. She plans to live to be 99 and write a book every year.

All of the above was in the newsletter. I have read Among Others and really enjoyed it. I thought I read widely, but reading that book made me realize that I hadn't read nearly enough Sci/Fi. The book was an Alex Award winning title and is full of references to other Sci/Fi books that makes you wonder when you will get time to read all of them. If you are looking for a way to broaden your Sci/Fi horizons start with Among Others. All together in the month of April Walton had 12 books on her reading list. She admits that she won't finish all of them in the month, but she is actively reading all of them. They range from books of published letters to a Victorian travel book, plus a modern romance novel.

Mayo 15, 2019, 10:28am

Thanks for the additional Brunetti information.

I liked this months Läckberg (Stonecutter) better than the previous two books.

Editado: Mayo 16, 2019, 9:31pm

I am about 120 pages into Stonecutter and was surprised to find the term DAMP in the novel. It seems to play a big part in the plot and there is an assumption that everybody reading the book knows what it means. I didn't, and I have been in Education all of my life. So I went to my favorite source of knowledge and looked it up in Wikipedia. Here is is the link to the article about it.,_motor_control_and_perceptio...

Here is the shorter version of the Wikipedia article - the edits are mine.

DAMP - Deficits in Attention, Motor Control, and Perception

DAMP is different that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder). DAMP is a term coined by a Swede Christopher Gillberg. It is a controversial psychiatric concept. Here is the quote from the Wikipedia article about the controversy. "Perhaps the strongest criticism of DAMP is that Gillberg and his co-workers in Gothenburg are almost the only people doing research on DAMP. Indeed, in a review of DAMP published by Gillberg in 2003, it was noted that there were only "about 50" research papers that had been published on DAMP and that the "vast majority of these have either originated in the author's own clinical and research setting or have been supervised and/or co-authored by him" (Gillberg, 2003, p. 904). This is in contrast to ADHD, on which "several thousand papers" had been published (Gillberg, 2003, p. 905). As far as clinical practice goes, DAMP has been primarily accepted only in Gillberg's native Sweden and in Denmark (Gillberg, 2003, p. 904), and even in those countries acceptance is mixed. "

Because of the controversy, Gillberg revised his definition of DAMP. In 2003, Gillberg revised his definition of DAMP. The new definition is as follows:

ADHD as defined in DSM-IV;
Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) as defined in DSM-IV;
condition not better accounted for by cerebral palsy; and
IQ should be higher than about 50 (Gillberg, 2003). (In the WHO system, this would be a hyperkinetic disorder combined with a developmental disorder of motor function.) About half of children with ADHD are believed to also have DCD (Gillberg, 2003; Martin et al., 2006).

The Wikipedia article goes on to say that strong criticism of DAMP has continued.

Then, in 2005, there was an hour-long television program broadcast on Swedish TV, questioning why Sweden, almost alone in the world, would accept the DAMP construct. The program featured critical commentary from Sir Michael Rutter. It also considered some of the controversies over Gillberg's Gothenburg study.

The book that we are reading was originally published in Swedish in 2005. Since Lackberg is a parent with children (at that time 2) it is likely that she would be familiar with the use of this term in the Swedish schools and its general use in Sweden. The controversy in the public sphere might also explain why Patrick is a bit fuzzy about its meaning as well as a bit skeptical of its use.

It will be interesting to read the rest of the book and see if the diagnosis of DAMP plays any continued part in the story, other than to provide all of the family and neighbors with an explanation of Sara's behavior, and of course to add fuel to whatever fires feed the internal flames burning in Lilian and Kai.

Editado: Mayo 16, 2019, 2:22pm

>87 FAMeulstee:
I am liking this one too - at this point - 120 pages in. It has me curious about how all the pieces of this puzzle are going to fit together. And there are lots of pieces.

Mayo 16, 2019, 5:44pm

I am reading the ebook version so I don't know how it matches up with your page count. We're probably close to the same point. I just came across the reference to DAMP this morning and wasn't familiar with it either. So far I am liking this one better than the first two books.

Mayo 16, 2019, 11:00pm

I am listening to book on CD in the car- got to first mention of those alphabetical disorders- Thanks for the background.

Mayo 19, 2019, 4:46pm

I finished The Stonecutter last night. I've liked each book in this series a little better than the last one. This one seems more polished than the first two. The pacing is better and the dialogue isn't quite so awkward. The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger so I do want to continue the series even if the group decides to go a different direction in July.

Editado: Mayo 22, 2019, 6:40pm

I finished The Stonecutter last night. This was a really good mystery and one I enjoyed reading. Even though I figured out who dun it early on, I still enjoyed reading through to see how the case as solved. This was much easier reading, so either the author has been learning and honing her mystery writing skills, or the translator finally got it right. I went back and checked and the translator has been the same for all three of these books, so I think that it may be that the collaboration between Lackberg and Murray finally clicked. I think that translation is often an under-appreciated skill and it takes time for the author and translator to get together. I also think that this is a better written book. There were lots of threads to the plot and I think there may have been too many. However, since the author is obviously making this a series I understand why there are so many threads built into the story.

When I think about this series in relation to the Donna Leon series I think that there are a couple of major differences between the two authors. Leon tells each story as a stand alone. A reader could hop into the series and not feel that they had missed anything to important. That is not the case with Lackberg. Each novel has had threads of the next built into the previous novel making it much harder for the reader to hop into the series. With Lackberg I would advise readers to start at the beginning.

The page count for each authors books is also a big contrast. My copy of Stonecutter had 507 pages. I don't think I have read a Leon book yet that is that lengthy. Most of hers have been around the 250 page mark.

I also am beginning to wonder why Erica is in the story at all. In the first novel she was an active participant in the investigation. In these last two books she is clearly just along to provide a home life for Patrik. It makes me wonder what she will be doing in the next novel?

Mayo 22, 2019, 8:39pm

>93 benitastrnad: I think Erica will be helping her sister who will be dealing with the consequences of killing her abusive husband while Patrik will be investigating the latest crime in Fjallbacka.

Jun 4, 2019, 11:31am

It is now the first part of June and I am back from elder care in Kansas. It is time to start our next book in the Donna Leon Guido Brunetti series. The book for June is Sea of Troubles. This is book 10 in the series and in this one the action moves to one of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The murder of two clam fishermen off the island of Pellestrina, south of the Lido on the Venetian Lagoon, draws Commissario Brunetti into the island's close-knit community, bound together by a code of loyalty and a suspicion of outsiders. When Signorina Elettra volunteers to visit the island, where she has relatives, Brunetti finds himself torn between his duty to solve the murders, concerns for Elettra's safety, and his not entirely straightforward feelings for her.

This one should prove to be as interesting as the last couple of books in the series has been.

My public library does not have this book, but WorldCat says there are 500 libraries with this title in print and 187 with the title in recorded book format. One of these days I am going to try to get one in recorded book format so that I can see how they sound instead of how they read. But not with this title.

I will start on this book in a few days, as I am already reading for my real life book club.

Happy reading everybody.

Jun 4, 2019, 12:41pm

>95 benitastrnad: Carrie and I plan to listen to it en route going to (or coming from) a library conference.

Jun 4, 2019, 1:17pm

>96 thornton37814:
are you going to ALA?

Jun 4, 2019, 4:19pm

>97 benitastrnad: Association of Christian Librarians.

Jun 11, 2019, 7:12am

I have requested Sea of Troubles through ILL. OMy library system does not have it, although it has most other Leon books.

Jun 11, 2019, 11:42am

>99 Helenoel:

I requested it last week and it still hasn't come in. I won't have much time to read later in the month so had hoped it would be here.

Jun 11, 2019, 11:44am

I wanted to let everyone know that we are planning an LT meetup for Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Conference in Washington, D. C. Right now I am working on getting things set up for us to meet at Busboys and Poets Bookstore and Cafe. This is only 3 blocks from the conference center. You can check out this link for more information about the meetup and the ALA conference.

Jun 18, 2019, 1:43pm

I got my copy of Sea of Troubles from ILL yesterday. It came all the way from Tampa, Florida. I will start on it tonight and think it will make a great book to read while traveling to the ALA conference in Washington, D. C.

Jun 18, 2019, 3:20pm

Lori and I listened to A Sea of Troubles on our way to and from a library conference in Indiana last week. It was not my favorite book in the series. We made it more enjoyable by imagining the characters as part of the classic TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, with Brunetti as program director Andy, Signorina Elettra as secretary Jennifer, and Brunetti's boss, Patta, as station manager Mr. Carlson. We couldn't make up our minds whether Vianello was Herb or Venus Flytrap.

Editado: Jun 18, 2019, 3:57pm

>100 benitastrnad:
No word yet from the library, which is unusual- I wonder what happened to this book? was there a fire in the warehouse, there seem to be few copies available

Jun 18, 2019, 7:20pm

>104 Helenoel:
it does seem strange that it took so long for me to get the book through ILL and now you have waited a long time. I wonder myself.

Jun 19, 2019, 1:36pm

>103 cbl_tn:
I went home from work last night and the more I thought about your scenario and juxtaposing that to Guido, the funnier it got. Aristotle said that there are only 7 stories in the world and everything written is just a variation on those themes. Maybe he was correct?

Editado: Jun 26, 2019, 1:56pm

I started to read Sea of Troubles today while sitting on the plane and in the airports. I am about 120 pages into it. I didn't get as much read as I thought I would. I spent to much time sleeping.

Jun 23, 2019, 1:37pm

>106 benitastrnad: We really laughed as we were listening to it. We could really picture the whole WKRP crew.

Editado: Jun 26, 2019, 1:56pm

I just finished reading Sea of Troubles and found this novel to be a little different from the previous novels. This one was full of violence and seemed more like the Michael Dibdin Aurelio Zen novels I have also been reading through the years. The last chapters of Sea of Troubles were quite thrilling to read. It surprised me. Not that I think Leon is the authoress of cozy mysteries, but this was written more in the style of thrillers. Or so it seemed to me.

Jun 26, 2019, 5:29pm

>109 benitastrnad: Something about this one made me think of Aurelio Zen as well.

Jun 30, 2019, 7:46pm

>110 cbl_tn:
I am in the process of finishing the Aurelio Zen series. I rally like them and they have taken me all over Italy. From Sardinia to Sicily.

Editado: Jun 30, 2019, 7:49pm

Tomorrow we go back to reading a Lackberg novel. This time the title is The Stranger. I happen to have a copy of this novel so I won’t have to wait for Inter-Library Loan this time.

Jun 30, 2019, 11:35pm

My library has The Stranger - I am still waiting for ILL on Sea of Troubles

Editado: Jul 8, 2019, 11:40pm

I agree, we will have to see more with Erika's sister... She also have us a better view of Charlotte, without having to come up with a strange construct why Patrik would be so knowledgeable. I spent s good bit of the book concerned about her post-partum depression... then a little peeved it seemed to go away because of a traumatic experience... I only just finished this book so I'm behind again.

Jul 9, 2019, 9:25pm

I just finished The Stranger, so I can tell you that you will see more of Erica's sister Anna in this one! At this point in the series, the writing/translation seems more polished, and the plot and dialogue flow better than they do in the first couple of books in the series. It's still formulaic, but Lackberg seems to be in control rather than the formula. :-) I figured out the solution to the mystery fairly early on, but I was still in suspense as I waited for Patrik and his team to figure out what I knew. There's another cliffhanger ending that hints at the plot for the next book in the series. It looks like it will be a historical mystery with Erica in the driver's seat.

Editado: Jul 29, 2019, 3:08pm

I am about 10 pages from the end of The Stranger. I have enjoyed reading it - once I got started in it. There was nothing wrong with the book, it was just that I had so many other things to read this month. I agree that the writing is smoother and I kinda think that has to do with the translation - like maybe the author and the translator have found their groove. The cast of characters is a full roster - again. I do get kinda tired of the stock characters - like the boss that is a dimwit (in both the Lackberg and Leon) books, but I understand that there has to be a character like that. In the last Lackberg book I thought that the part about Melberg was a distraction rather than enhancement. However, the bungling of the case by a police officer was integral to the case and the mystery. In real life I am sure that the superintendent would have faced some repercussions from the fall out, but in this book he doesn't seem to have fared badly at all.

Jul 30, 2019, 12:06pm

I finished The Stranger last night and found the cliffhanger. I have to admit that now I want to know what the next book will concentrate on. I thought that this book - The Stranger - would be about Anna and the case about her. But, to my surprise, it was not. The author went into a totally different case, and the problems that Anna faced became the background in this book. Given that family life has been so prominent in the previous four books, I can't think that this thread, is going to just disappear from the overall plotline and themes of the series, but I could be wrong.

Jul 30, 2019, 12:08pm

It is getting to be time for us to think about the book for August. That will be Willful Behavior by Donna Leon. Considering that it is hard to get her books through ILL, if you don't have a copy you should be placing your orders for it now.

Ago 2, 2019, 4:18pm

It is time for us to start reading about Guido and Paola again. The book for August is Willful Behavior by Donna Leon. Here is the Amazon blurb about the book.

In Willful Behavior, Brunetti is approached for a favor by one of his wife’s students. Intelligent and serious, Claudia Leonardo asks for his help in obtaining a pardon for a crime once committed by her now-dead grandfather. Brunetti thinks little of it―until Claudia is found dead. Soon, another corpse and an extraordinary art collection lead Brunetti to long-buried secrets of Nazi collaboration and the exploitation of Italian Jews―secrets few in Italy want revealed.

There appear to be used copies of this book available on both Amazon and Alibris, so I hope that it won't be as hard to get one has some of the previous Brunetti titles have been.

I am going to start reading this book in a week or so. I am trying to finish a couple of books I have started and will get to this one. I happen to have a copy of it, so I don't have to hurry to get it back to a library, or rush around to find a copy of it somewhere.

Ago 4, 2019, 7:37am

My library had Willful Behavior . It was a quick read, I enjoyed it but will hold most comment until some others have a chance to read it. We see a bit more of Guido and his Father-in-law interacting.

Ago 4, 2019, 7:07pm

>120 Helenoel:
Oh good! I knew there had to be a story there - maybe something other than class differences.

Ago 6, 2019, 7:37pm

I started listening to Willful Behavior a couple of days ago. I had grown used to David Colacci's voice for the characters. This book has a different narrator, Steven Crossley. Guido now has a British accent and he no longer knows how to pronounce his daughter's name correctly. He pronounces Chiara as an English speaker would instead of with a "K" sound at the beginning. I'm up to about chapter 10 and so far she's only been in one scene so I'm not too annoyed. Yet.

Editado: Ago 8, 2019, 12:49pm

This post has nothing to do with Willful Behavior, but it is a mystery/legal thriller and the two books remind me of the Guido Guerreri books that we read last year. More legal than thriller, but still good mysteries.

Proof (Caroline Auden) by C. E. Tobisman is another first rate legal mystery/thriller from this author. Tobisman takes the reader inside the legal system and makes the nuts and bolts of filing evidence, filing cases, etc. - the stuff that usually isn't exciting - exciting for readers. That is a rare gift. In this novel the author takes a simple humble story and from it builds a novel that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats. And all with the simple stuff of routine legal work - until it isn't. A new will by an elderly patient in a nursing home. A custody case for an immigrant child. Protecting the legal rights of homeless alcoholics. Simple everyday legal stuff - until it isn't.

This novel won the Harper Lee Legal Fiction Award in 2018. This award is given by The University of Alabama Law School for the best legal fiction of the year. In my opinion it deserves this award. An author who can make the mundane interesting has a talent for writing.

The author's first novel was just as good, Doubt by C. E. Tobisman so if you like mysteries or thriller - read or listen to both of them.

I listened to this novel, and the narrator of the recorded version does a really good job of bringing this novel to sound. This was a great commute listen.

Ago 10, 2019, 8:14pm

My real life book discussion group is meeting tomorrow afternoon. This month is mystery month. We are having a round robin discussion. Each of us gets 10 minutes to tell about our selection. I am going to tell the group about the Lackberg books. I think there are several in the group who might like this series.

Ago 10, 2019, 9:44pm

>124 benitastrnad: That sounds like fun! Let us know if you take any BBs from the meeting.

Ago 11, 2019, 3:56pm

I downloaded Willful Behavior last night (audio). As Carrie mentioned, it does have a different narrator, and it will take some getting used to.

Ago 12, 2019, 12:32pm

For those of you who have been a part of this mystery contrast for some time, here is some news about Gianrico Carofiglio. He has a new book out from Bitter Lemon Press. (That is the same publisher for his previous novels.) This one is about a new character, so Guido Guierriro is not in this book.

Cold Summer is the first book in a new series about Pietro Fenoglio. According to the Amazon blurb, Pietro Fenoglio is an officer of the Italian Carabinieri. The book was published in the UK in September 2018. Here is the ISBN 978-1912242030

Here is the complete blurb from Amazon.

The summer of 1992 had been exceptionally cold in southern Italy. But that’s not the reason why it is still remembered. On May 23, 1992, a roadside explosion killed the Palermo judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three police officers. A few weeks later judge Paolo Borsellino and five police officers were killed in the center of Palermo. These anti-mafia judges became heroes but the violence spread to the region of Bari in Puglia, where we meet a new, memorable character, Maresciallo Pietro Fenoglio, an officer of the Italian Carabinieri. Fenoglio, recently abandoned by his wife, must simultaneously deal with his personal crisis and the new gang wars raging around Bari. The police are stymied until a gang member, accused of killing a child, decides to collaborate, revealing the inner workings and the rules governing organised crime in the area. The story is narrated through the actual testimony of the informant, a trope reminiscent of verbatim theatre which Carofiglio, an ex-anti-mafia judge himself, uses to great effect. The gangs are stopped but the mystery of the boy’s murder must still be solved, leading Fenoglio into a world of deep moral ambiguity, where the prosecutors are hard to distinguish from the prosecuted.

Here is the review from Kirkus.

Carofiglio’s engaging main character. Fenoglio is a sensitive, polished figure who has managed to keep his idealism intact in a career meant to break it; he is as comfortable philosophizing as he is citing the public safety code. When he recalls a joke about a drunkard searching for his keys under a streetlight rather than in the dark street where he lost them, he realizes his search is failing for the same reason: “We look where it’s light, even though that’s exactly how not to solve the problem. Solving this case, Carofiglio shows us, requires a leap into the darkness.

I liked Carofiglio's previous books, so think I will try to get this one through Inter-Library Loan and read it.

Ago 12, 2019, 2:44pm

>127 benitastrnad: Do you know anything about Carofiglio's personal life? Was he by any chance abandoned by his wife? Seeing a pattern in his central characters.

Ago 13, 2019, 10:34am

>128 cbl_tn:
All I know is from the Wikipedia entry. Like Guido Brunetti, he loves opera and he was the president of the opera house restoration in Bari.

After reading the Carofiglio books, I got very interested in reading about Apulia or Puglia. This region of Italy has been a backwater of Italy for a long time. It is now setting square in the tourist sights and is becoming a low cost popular region of Italy to visit. I recently read Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray by Adam Federman. Patience Gray and her partner, the sculptor/artist Norman Mommans moved to the area south of Bari in the 1960's. Both were proponents of back-to-the-land and the slow food movements. Gray was writing about eating seasonally long before it was popular. This boot-heel of Italy seems a fascinating place to visit and it was the Carofiglio books that brought the area to my attention.

Ago 13, 2019, 10:48am

>124 benitastrnad:
My real life book discussion group met last Sunday to discuss mysteries. I brought the Camilla Lackberg novel The Stranger and the Donna Leon Guido Brunetti book Willful Behavior since I had just started it, and End Games by Michael Dibdin for a contrast. End Game is the last one of the Aurelio Zen books.

Part of our discussion was about the importance of setting when reading mysteries. From there the talk moved to the authors and somebody postulated that it was important for the author to be from the place about which they write. This prompted lots of discussion. This is a small group - there were only 5 of us in attendance, but we had a lively discussion. Most of those present thought that authors wrote about places they were they lived. That is true, but what about Donna Leon? She has lived in Venice for 20 years, but does that qualify her to write about the place? Or Michael Dibdin, who lived and worked at the University of Bologna for 14 years? One person in the group brought the Charles Todd Bess Crawford mysteries series. It turns out that Charles Todd is a Pseudonym of a mother/son writing team who live in Delaware and North Carolina. Can they write a novel about a British army nurse in WWI? If they moved and lived somewhere for an unspecified period of time, does that make them an expert on that society and culture? Does that mean that a native has an edge on an outsider and the possible insights they have into the culture?

I was surprised at the length and the depth of the discussion that we had on this topic. Do you guys have anything to say on the topic?

Editado: Ago 15, 2019, 11:33am

Finally, back and posting - my boys have gone back to school, and I'm stealing a few minutes from my long and neglected to-do list to post. I finished reading Willful Behavior last week and enjoyed it. Since we're halfway through the month, I guess I'll go ahead and comment, as who knows when I will be able to get back here again!

I'm intrigued by all things WWII, and so I enjoyed the parts about the stolen Nazi art - I had never actually thought about it in conjunction with Italy, but I suppose that there was likely as much, if not more, art looted from Italy than from Germany or perhaps France during the war. I know that the Nazis, in particular, hated abstract art, and there were quite a few abstract artists in residence in Germany during the period before the war (many at Bauhaus), and I think that the abstract art was destroyed. There don't seem to be many historical novels (at least ones that I have come across) that address life in Italy during WWII, so I haven't given much thought to it. But I'm sure there would have been quite a bit of looting of art treasures and possibly "sales" as people tried to sell their valued possessions to be able to escape Italy. I think there would have been a lot of art, particularly in Florence and Rome, although museums would have likely owned much of it, I would guess. Speculation on my part, and now I want to learn more about the situation! Does anyone know of any good books on the subject?

I feel like once again justice perhaps goes a little awry in this book. Obviously, Eleonora committed the murder, but I think that Ford should have somehow been punished as well. Instead, he is free with presumably with whatever Filipetto wealth is left. Of course, legally, I guess there would be nothing to charge him with.

Also, something that I'm not sure made sense to me: The book mentions at the end that Claudia's mother was her heir and would inherit the art that Frau Jacobs left Claudia, which makes sense. However, it goes on to mention that if Claudia's mother is not found at the end of the seven years, then she would be declared dead (I'm okay with it up to this point) and "possession would pass to the state." Not sure why that would be the case. Claudia's mother being the heir, then it would seem if she were intestate, the art would then pass to her heirs, which would be her sister in England, I believe. I think in US law it would depend upon the date of death of both Claudia and her mother, and with the mother being declared dead seven years after Claudia then her date of death would be the latter, I would think, and one would look to the mother's heirs. I don't know the intricacies of the law in this regard when one is presumed dead, and I'm sure that Italian law is quite different than US law, but it doesn't make logical sense.

>130 benitastrnad: What a fascinating discussion, Benita! I'd love to give my thoughts. Although I think it's generally true that authors write about where they live, I believe there are a lot more exceptions to that rule. It's probably easier for an author to write what they know, and it probably comes across in most cases as being better writing, but I think that it is much easier to research things now than it used to be. The internet gives a lot of access to information, and one can always reach out to someone who does live in a place to get additional information. There are a lot of historical novels written now that have an unbelievable amount of historical accuracy - all of it from research by the author. Several authors that I follow - Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George, Laurie R King, Martha Grimes - are Americans who write fantastic novels set in England. I believe that Crombie lived for a short time in England, and I also think that Crombie, George, and King spend time traveling to the destinations that they write about and talk to lots of people. Susan Elia MacNeal writes the Maggie Hope series set in WWII England, and she always has a bibliography in her books with the books that she has consulted. Perhaps a native might have an edge, and I suppose it would depend upon how much the actual place figures as a "character" in a story. Certainly, Venice is as much a part of the Brunetti series as Guido is himself, so I doubt that Leon could have been as effective an author if she hadn't lived there for some time. But I suspect that she has also done a ton of research to gain her insight. So, yes, I think there may be a slight edge for a native, but I think there is so much an author can do to surmount this that it really doesn't matter.

Ago 17, 2019, 10:16am

>131 rretzler: 2nd spoiler: As I recall the aunt in England was not a "real" aunt, like Frau Jacobs was no real grandmother. So there are no lawful heirs left.

Editado: Ago 22, 2019, 11:04am

I just finished reading Willful Behavior this last weekend while visiting Chautauqua, New York. It was a wonderful place to spend quietly reading and resting before the frenzy of the start of a new semester. I sang in the Chautauqua Institute choir and had the wonderful pleasure of a meetup with Reba Wright (Rebarelishesreading) and Bonnie Renzi (brenzi) at Reba’s house on the Chautauqua grounds. Also in attendance was Reba’s husband Emory and a friend of mine and traveling companion. We had a great time discussing books and the bookish connections we had made through Librarything. Of course there were book purchases from the Chautauqua Bookstore, because what is a life without books? And because I am afraid I might run out of books at some point, I purchased 8 books at the Chautauqua Institute bookstore.

Then when we spent last night at friends in Medina, Ohio she gave me 6 titles from the Daniel Silva series. It turned out to be a great unintended book acquiring expedition.

Editado: Ago 22, 2019, 12:01pm

I finally have a little time to write about Willful Behavior. This is the best book in this series so far. Perhaps it is because it deals with things I am interested in - like art, and WWII. I think that American's tend to forget that Italy was an Axis country in WWII. Italy voted for the Fascist government and there is a big tendency to lean to the right in Italy. Juxtaposed to that is the fact that there is a very active very left leaning tendency as well. Granted, after the fall of Mussolini, Italy was basically an occupied country with the German Army stubbornly keeping the Allies at bay for two years until the war in Europe ended. It is important to note that the German Army in Italy did not surrender until the German's in Germany did. Italy is a great place to defend and a terrible place to try to conqueror. Just ask Hannibal.

From 1943 to the end of the war, Italy was divided with partisans of both sides fighting for the Germans or against them. Both partisans were ruthless and the population really suffered. There are a couple of good novels about this time period that I can think of.

1. Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride - I listened to the recorded version of this book and it is excellent.
2. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
3. Girl From Venice by Martin Cruz Smith
4. If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi
5. Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle
6. Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
7. Bold and Dangerous Family by Caroline Moorehead - nonfiction about a resistance family in Tuscany
8. House in the Mountains by Caroline Moorehead - turns out Moorehead has written four books about the Partisans in Italy. This is the final one in the series.

A Book I have in my collection that I want to read soon is Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. This is a work of fiction and is all about the partisan divide in Italy. Their unification to fight the Nazi's and then the split and the animosity of the Right and the Left after the war.

Ago 22, 2019, 5:00pm

>134 benitastrnad: The second Inspector Montalbano novel, The Terra-Cotta Dog, has a World War II angle to the plot.

Editado: Ago 25, 2019, 9:36pm

Since it is the last week of August I am going to talk about our August book, Willful Behavior and there will be spoilers.

I put sticky notes in the books that I read to mark passages about which I have questions or that I think are significant to the book. In Willful Behavior I marked the passage starting on page 75 (of my paperback edition) that records a conversation between Guido and Paola. This conversation takes place after Guido has talked to his artist friend Leslie about art and the selling of art during WWII. Paola speculates that men don’t have friends. Guido protests and Paola comes back with the idea that men have “pals.” These are men that they talk to about sports or politics or cars, but they never talk about “what they feel or fear, not the way women do.”

Later on in the story Guido’s friend Marco comes to him with his tale of woe about his paying the bribe and his subsequent actions. Guido fixes it for him. It seems to me that is the action of a good friend. However, it was action. Not words or feelings.

As I read this I wondered if the passage I quoted is just a stereotype of men and their relationships or if it is true. Are men action and women words when it comes to relationships? Do we see Guido struggling to learn what made his father and his father-in-law into the men they were and wishing that they had talked more instead of relying on actions?

Ago 25, 2019, 9:39pm

>131 rretzler:
I agree with you. Ford should have been punished, but I think that the fact that he wasn’t is one of the points that the author is trying to make. He got off with no consequences for his “Willful Behavior.”

Editado: Sep 25, 2019, 7:33pm

It is time for us to turn our reading attention back to Camilla Lackberg. This month we will be reading Hidden Child. My local public library actually has this one on the shelves. All I have to do is go get it. I will start on it next week.

Editado: Sep 25, 2019, 7:39pm

There is five days left in the month and I am on page 240 in the book. Just about half way. I am liking this novel, but am thinking that it is not really a mystery. It is more like the murder is the vehicle with which to tell a story about five friends from WWII days.

I thought that Lackberg was a murder mystery/thriller author, but I think that she is more of a murder mystery author along the lines of Louise Penny in that she is really writing about the small town in which she lives. In some ways the series of novels reminds me of the TV show Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks did that same kind of thing. I do have to wonder what all the domestic doings have to do with the murder mystery? I am thinking I want a little less of that and more of the mystery.

These novels are very different than the novels written by Donna Leon. I like both of them, but it is hard to even compare them due to this difference.

Sep 25, 2019, 7:37pm

It is also time to start looking for our next novel - Uniform Justice by Donna Leon

Sep 25, 2019, 8:55pm

>134 benitastrnad: Thanks for the WWII/Italy book list. One of my favorites, although it's been ages since I read it is A Bell for Adano by John Hersey. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

I'm looking forward to Uniform Justice

Sep 26, 2019, 8:17am

>139 benitastrnad: I liked The Hidden Child, it was the best of the series yet for me.

Sep 26, 2019, 8:42am

>140 benitastrnad: I just put a hold on the audio. Wait time is approximately 2 weeks. Same wait both libraries so I just held it at one of them. I could have downloaded the ebook immediately, but I've got too many other books for e-reading at the moment so I opted for the audio.

Sep 26, 2019, 12:23pm

>142 FAMeulstee:
Somehow this novel Hidden Child has a different feel to it, than the previous novels did. This one seems more domestic and less police procedural. I am not sure how I like that. I will wait until I finish it to make a final judgement on it.

Sep 26, 2019, 9:02pm

There is a deal today on Amazon for a bunch of the ebooks for $1.99 - a few of those still to come, but a few that we've already read as well. I'm enjoying this series so much that I couldn't pass them up. I think there were 10 priced at $1.99 in all. Plus, I noticed that 7 more were priced at $3.99 - 17 books for under $50 isn't a bad haul! This way, I don't have to worry about whether the library has them or not - some of them are a little touch and go - fortunately, I belong to 2 libraries that have different selections in Overdrive, or I might not have been able to read along (well...I guess I would have had to try to get the print!)

Editado: Sep 30, 2019, 10:54am

I finished Hidden Child today and like most of you thought it was the best one that Lackberg has written so far. However, it could have used some serious editing. My copy was 528 pages and I think that was about 75 pages to long. There were large chunks of this book that could have been left out - unless they are pieces to the next novel. In that case, they should be in the next novel not in this one.

This novel reminded me a great deal of the first Jo Nesbo novel to be translated and published in the U.S. Redbreast. That novel is about the Norwegians who volunteered to join the German Army and formed an entire division. That novel pointed out the fact that the Norwegians voted Quiesling into office and so there was great support for the Nazi party in Norway.

That brings me to one part of this novel that did not make sense to me. Franz. Franz, was a Neo-Nazi. He should have loved the Germans as he shared their beliefs. Therefore, he should not have participated in the crime, or have been the one person to figure out a way to hide the body. It is possible that his jealousy overrode his belief system, but I find that hard to believe given his actions throughout his life.

Sep 30, 2019, 10:53am

I was puzzled by some of the elements in Hidden Child so I went back to the Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction and found this quote about Hidden Child.

"The neo-Nazi element in The Hidden Child is one of Lackberg's major concerns, because she believes World War II 'really marked' Swedes. This novel carries out her conviction that Swedes need to be constantly reminded of 'the horrible consequences of human ignorance and extreme right-wing thoughts,' because she sees neo-Nazism growing in Sweden 'as well as all over Europe.' On the other hand, since Lackberg believes that very few people are completely evil, she consistently showcases both good and bad aspects of human personalities, a key to the success of the characterizations that keep her readers involved with her stories of Fjallbacka and its absorption of people and their pasts.'"

I think for most American's Sweden as a neutral country is a fixed pole - one of the pillars of the pacifist community of countries, if you will. However, the novels of Lackberg show that to not be the case. In fact Sweden was once a world power, with a great navy and a huge army, and a major player in the power struggles in Europe during the 1600's - the period of the Thirty Years War. It has also been home to great religious struggles and almost Civil Wars within its own boundaries. In short all might not be as it seems to us, who are on the outside looking in.

For that reason alone I thought this was a very good novel, even if it was on the long side and could have used some good editing.

Oct 1, 2019, 3:28pm

>146 benitastrnad: Franz' father was a Nazi, he escaped this toxic environment after the incident at the prison.

Oct 1, 2019, 5:48pm

>147 benitastrnad: I've thought that all the books in the series are on the long side and could do with some editing.

I'm seeing a similarity between this series and Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series in the layering of plots. There's a crime/mystery contained within a single book, but there is also a larger story arc that develops over several books. I peeked at the description of the next book in the series and it looks like Erica's interactions with Christian, the author she's been mentoring, are setting up the next book.

Oct 1, 2019, 6:23pm

It is October 1st and time to change our focus to Donna Leon and Uniform Justice. This is book 12 in this series (if you want to finish reading this series you are not quite half done - there are 28 books total) and Leon writes roughly 1 book in the series per year.

In Uniform Justice, Brunetti faces an unsettling case when a young cadet has been found hanged, a presumed suicide, in Venice's elite military academy. As he pursues his inquiry, he is faced with a wall of silence and finds himself caught up in the strange and stormy politics of his country's powerful elite.

I have a copy of the book at home so don't have to wait at the public library or do an ILL request for this one.

Oct 1, 2019, 6:25pm

>149 cbl_tn:
I suspected as much since I have been reading the comments of others here on LT who have been talking about the Armand Gamache series. I did think this was a good novel, but I find that I am not as interested in the character development as I am in the mysteries. But, who knows, my tastes may change in time.

Oct 11, 2019, 8:32pm

>103 cbl_tn: , >106 benitastrnad:

My InterLibrary Loan copy of Sea of Troubles , requested in June arrived.. As usual with Leon, it was a fairly quick read. I concur with others that it is a bit different from the rest of the series. I loved the WKRP
comparisons! It was interesting to see another part of Venice, and a distinct community quite different from the main city.

When I return it I plan to pick up the October book- also Leon. My library has it in both print and audio on CD. Not sure which I'll go for.

Oct 12, 2019, 9:09am

>150 benitastrnad: I've got about 2 more audio tracks remaining on this one. I'll probably finish one on the way to and from our church's evening service tomorrow night. It's being held at our lake property about 30 minutes away because we have to drive around the lake to get there because the speaker is a Messianic Jew talking about Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles. I did, however, have to laugh, because it's being followed by eating an unclean pig (BBQ).

Editado: Oct 12, 2019, 8:13pm

I haven’t started this one yet. I am reading a book for my real life book club and Uniform Justice will be next.

It seems that people who read and use libraries often have problems getting copies of the books. My real life book discussion group has 6 members 2 of them told me last night that they were unable to get copies of the book being read from either of the two libraries we have in town. I suggested that they use ILL and they said it would take too long. ILL at our library is very speedy, so I hope that in the future they will take advantage of it.

My public library does not have all of the Leon or Lackberg books, so I have had to place ILL requests for a couple of the titles. Especially the early Leon’s. I have copies of this one and the last one for the year so won’t have to worry about getting a copy.

Oct 30, 2019, 7:01pm

I finished up Uniform Justice and all I can say about it is that Guido sure gets more and more cynical. Is that the right word I want to use? I do have to say that I was surprised at the ending of this novel. Will Guido stop being so principled - or that just so much a part of his personality that he can't be any other way?

Oct 30, 2019, 7:04pm

I went to the library last night and got The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg. That is our book for November. As I flipped through the pages I noticed that it was not as long as the previous book, and it still has those italicized inserts. I am not sure what I think of those interludes into the mind of the murderer. I do like the picture of life the series has given me of Sweden. It might be nice to life in a town like the one Patrick and Erica live in.

Nov 14, 2019, 11:10am

Our reading of the various Donna Leon novels is proving timely. This time it is Aqua Alta - the real thing and not the title of the mystery. I woke up this morning to hear NPR reporting on the flooding in Venice. Here is a link to the NPR reporting.

There is also this link to the NY Times article from November 13 about the flooding.

The NPR article talked about the problems with the MOSE project and all the corruption that has hampered construction of this seawall. Sounds familiar to those of us who have been reading the Guido Brunetti books.

Nov 14, 2019, 11:21am

For those of you who participated in this group read last year when we read the Gianrico Carofiglio books, I had an unexpected encounter with the city of Bari and the east coast of Italy this last week. I belong to a supper club and we met on Sunday, November 10. One of the other participants had just returned from a cruise up Italy's eastern Adriatic coast. The cruise stopped at several of the cities in the Apulia region. One of which was Bari. My supper companion said that it was very evident that the east coast of Italy was much poorer than the west side of Italy. In fact, she was surprised at the difference. She as also surprised that there were so many ancient Greek ruins in this part of Italy. The Baroque churches in the area were also a surprise. She said that there were so many of them that they all started to look alike. However, what she noted was that it was clear that they were built in the late 1600's and early 1700's and the tour guides kept saying that was because development in this area of Italy was much newer than in the western part of Italy.

The tour continued up to Venice and she said that it was clear that Venice was the star of the cruise. However, she was more impressed with Ravenna. She said that even though the tour was in September, that Venice was crawling with tourists and huge cruise ships were everywhere. She may be glad that she was in Venice last month rather than next year.

I have a good start on our Swedish mystery for this month, and will continue to read about the problems with development and tourism in the northern reaches of Europe. I have never been to Europe during the summer, so I can say that any time I have been there (winter mostly, but once to Northern Ireland in May) I haven't seen that many tourists. But who wants to go to Berlin in March, or Munich in November?

Nov 18, 2019, 11:04am

The problems in Venice continue to pile up. There was another report this morning on NPR's Morning Edition about the flooding.

Editado: Nov 23, 2019, 9:35pm

We (the group) needs to start thinking about whether they want to continue this thread in 2020. I would be willing to start the thread and keep us moving on the schedule, but we need to decide if we want to continue reading these authors or move on to others. Think about it and I will check back in on Monday to see what some of you are thinking.

There are now 28 published Brunetti novels by Donna Leon with number 29 to come out in 2020. That means that we have read about half of them. There seem to be 4 remaining Lackberg novels that we have not read.

Nov 24, 2019, 3:00pm

I enjoy the Guido books. I did not try to do the Lackberg ones. I've read 2 of the 6 Guidos up for next year, in 2014 and in 2016. I re-read my reviews on those two and don't think I want to re-read/re-listen to either, but I'll participate in the other 4. If others don't want to continue, I'll probably just continue on my own either bimonthly or quarterly until I finish the ones I haven't read. I count 11 in the series I haven't read, so I'd be caught up in 2-3 years.

Editado: Nov 25, 2019, 5:46pm

I finished reading The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg. I find myself in a quandary with this author. I end up liking the book, but at 471 pages it is MUCH TOO LONG! Where is the editor for this series? As a reader the series has gotten confusing. I am not sure if the series is a murder mystery series or a domestic life in Sweden series. It seems to me that the author spends too much time in developing the life and characters of Patrick and Erica and not enough on the mystery. I think that the author should take some writing lessons from Donna Leon.

I started out liking this series - I thought the first two books were well done with great murder mystery plots. I also enjoyed Hidden Child very much. That was also a long book, but it seemed that the story needed that length and I understood why it was so long. I do not feel the same way with this book.

I found that I did like the strengths of the female characters. Each of them displayed a backbone and courage in very different ways. Even Alice was courageous in her way with the fortitude to continue to love a deeply flawed character. You could put Sanna, Cia, and Lisbet, in that same category as well.

The author does a good job with plotting. The murder mysteries are always satisfying and even if I have guessed who done it, the way they are resolved is often a surprise. But this one was simply to long and it got boring.

Nov 25, 2019, 11:35am

As I thought about the latest Lackberg book, I went back to the Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction and read what it had to say about the Patrick and Erica books.

"In contrast to recent Nordic male detective protagonists who are flawed, middle aged, cynical, and nearly or complete alcoholic, Lackberg's Patrik Hedstrom is a young husband and father; Lakcberg calls him 'the guy next door as a hero'(quoted in Wegener). She develops her othe rmain character, Erica Falck, a writer and his girlfriend, later wife, through the series. Sometimes Lackbreg allows Patrik to take the lead, and sometimes she places Erika at the forefront of the investigation. Lackberg thus creates an Intriguing interaction between the, both loving and fractious. Barry Forshaw calls Patrik and Erica 'two of the most fully rounded characters in contemporary crime fiction, with a warmth that cuts through the Nordic chill.'"

It could be that there is too much of the fully rounded characters for me.

I contrast that with the Bruentti stories. These are clearly episodic in nature. Each book is much shorter than the Lackberg books, and there are just snippets of Guido's home life and his inner character. In some ways the Guido Brunetti books feel like a TV series rather than a book series, but I like that better. I also find that Leon, has introduced secondary characters along the way that I like and want to get to know more about. The secondary characters in the Lackberg books lack that depth and don't make me curious about them.

I think that I am done with the Lackberg books and will not continue with the series. However, I am not done with the Brunetti series and do plan on continuing to read them, no matter what the group decides.

Nov 25, 2019, 11:44am

We do have one more book to read for this year. It is the thirteenth book in the series - Doctored Evidence published originally in May of 2004. In this book, a wealthy elderly woman is murdered. Soon afterward, her Romanian maid is hit by a train while trying to leave Italy with a large amount of money and forged papers. The case appears to be solved. Then, a neighbor provides evidence that the maid was not guilty of the murder. Brunetti digs further into the case, though officially it is closed, and finds that greed was not the motive behind the killing.

I was able to find this title at our local used bookstore and will begin reading it over the Thanksgiving break.

I checked WorldCat and there are about 1,000 libraries in the world that have this title, so it should be easier to find than some of the previous novels in this series were. It is also available as a recorded book, with about 175 libraries world wide holding the recorded version in their collections. If you are traveling over the Thanksgiving break listening to the recorded version of the book might be a good way to pass the time. If you are in a car with others, they might find this title entertaining as well. It appears to be one the first book in this series to have a recorded version with a 2004 copyright date. I hope that the publisher starts to go back and make recorded versions of the earlier books.

Nov 25, 2019, 3:51pm

>163 benitastrnad: I am enjoying the Lackberg books enough to want to finish the series at some future date, but not necessarily right away -- unless this one ends on a cliffhanger like some of the others have. I'm only about 1/3 of the way through the book. I agree with you about the need for editing. I feel that way about a lot of books these days. Maybe it has something to do with how the manuscripts are prepared. If you're working with a paper manuscript, then there might be an incentive to reduce the size of the stack for printing, copying, or mailing. If the manuscript is born digital, you don't have a visual cue that it needs paring down.

>164 benitastrnad: I have listened to most of the Leon books up to this point. Most have been available from my public libraries through OverDrive. David Colacci narrates most of them and I think he does a terrific job. Willful Behavior had a different narrator that I didn't like so much.

Nov 25, 2019, 5:45pm

For me the length of the Läckberg books is one of the attractive sides, I fully enjoy the stories including domestic life and interactions between Patrick and Erika. The only book I had a little trouble with was when Erika had her baby, a bit too much fussing around with the newborn ;-)

>160 benitastrnad: I am in again next year, if you decide to continue. If not I will read on on my own.

Nov 25, 2019, 5:48pm

>164 benitastrnad:
I am glad that you are enjoying the Lackberg books. Like you, I have noticed a lack of good editing in many of the books I read, but I thought it was a particular fault of this particular book.

You may be right about the difference between digital and hardcopy manuscripts. That would make a difference.

Nov 25, 2019, 5:50pm

Since there are 4 titles left to catch up in the Lackberg series, perhaps we could read one of them a quarter next year and use the other months to continue to read the Brunetti books?

Nov 25, 2019, 6:18pm

>168 benitastrnad: I like that idea!

Dic 10, 2019, 7:33pm

Here is the schedule I came up with for next year (2020). Let me know what you think.

January 2020 Blood From a Stone by Donna Leon
February 2020 Through a Glass Darkely by Donna Leon
March 2020 Lost Boy by Camilla Lackberg
April 2020 Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon
May 2020 Girl of His Dreams by Donna Leon
June 2020 Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg
July 2020 About Face by Donna Leon
August 2020 A Question of Belief by Donna Leon
September 2020 Ice Child by Camilla Lackberg
October 2020 Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon
November 2020 Beastly Things by Donna Leon
December 2020 Girl in the Woods by Camilla Lackberg

This schedule would bring the current publications of the Lackberg books to an end. Because Donna Leon continues to publish one Guido Brunetti book per year there would still be 8 titles left in that series for 2021.

I also thought that perhaps we could start reading the Andrea Cammilleri books. There are now 25 Salvo Montalbano titles published with the promise of 3 more to come. We could do an Alitalia mystery read! All Italian - all year.

Editado: Dic 10, 2019, 7:35pm

I do have to confess that I am a completest and I do like to complete a series. It gives me a sense of satisfaction so I am likely to finish reading the Lackberg books no matter what. I am currently three books from the end of a 25 book series and am taking great satisfaction in seeing it through to completion.

I like the look of the schedule I posted, but if you want to change some things let me know.

Dic 10, 2019, 7:38pm

>170 benitastrnad: That schedule looks good! And I love the Inspector Montalbano books. I've read the first three or four already.

Editado: Dic 16, 2019, 8:41am

I've read 4 of the 8 Brunettis for next year. I'll join on the ones I haven't read.

Dic 16, 2019, 5:46am

I would like to continue both the Leon and Läckberg books. Like you I will finish Läckberg, even without a group read, so starting Montalbano instead is fine. I will read along if I can find the books at the library.

Dic 16, 2019, 10:41pm

I think we will stick with the earlier posted schedule for reading the Brunetti books and one Lackberg book per quarter for next year. I will set up the 2020 thread on or around January 1.

Editado: Dic 19, 2019, 5:20am

I just finished reading Doctored Evidence and found the discussion about the 7 Deadly Sins fascinating. Who would have thought that the sins of greed and pride would be so connected?

the thread of the 7 deadly sins, runs throughout this book, and is the connecting piece of Brunetti’s thought process throughout. I thought it was a fascinating way to deal with this murder.

In my book the following passage comes from page 275. (I have the mass market paperback edition.). “He ran through a list of possible crimes and vices until he found himself faced with the truth of Paola’s claims: most of the Seven Deadly Sins were no longer so. Who would killin order not to be exposed as having been guilty of gluttony, of sloth, of envy, or pride? Only lust remained or anger if it lead to violence, and avarice, if it could be interpreted as meaning bribe-taking. For the rest no one any longer cared. Paradise, he had been told as a child, was a sinless world, but this brave new, post-sinful, world in which he found himself was hardly to be confused with paradise.” Pg 275.

Dic 19, 2019, 5:21am

It is also fascinating (at least to me) that I posted this from a hotel in Augsburg, Germany. Who would have thought that possible?

Dic 19, 2019, 11:07am

>177 benitastrnad: Cool! I am headed to Germany myself! I have family temporarily living in Berlin.

Dic 19, 2019, 2:28pm

>178 cbl_tn:
Both NagainaKarait and I are here on vacation. We are based in Munich and traveling to several Christmas Markets in the area and visiting friends.

Dic 19, 2019, 5:03pm

I am looking forward to Christmas markets too! Not so much the weather though.

Dic 20, 2019, 1:58am

>180 cbl_tn:
It has been too warm here in Augsburg and Munich. I brought to many warm clothes and so far have not needed the bulky things. Oh well! It is to start raining tomorrow and will cool off. I had a very good time at the Christmas Market last night and had my first sausage and dumpfnoodle. Today we are going to Berthold Brecht’s birthplace and to a local famous baker of Liebkuchen.

Dic 20, 2019, 8:58am

I finished Doctored Evidence on the first leg of my flight last night. Is this the first time the murderer actually does time for the crime, although it won't be as much as Brunetti thinks they deserve.

Dic 21, 2019, 2:08pm

>181 benitastrnad: There are two Christmas markets near my hotel and we hit both of them today! I bought lebkuchen at one of them. 😋 It was relatively warm and sunny today but they tell me that rain is coming. I'm thinking the markets will be less fun in the rain.

Dic 22, 2019, 5:21pm

>183 cbl_tn:
We went to Munich today for the Christmas markets there. Went to the Medival Market and the main market at Marionplatz. Both were very nice, but I think that Augsburgs is better.

Tomorrow we are going to Ulm. We thought we would do the Christmas market there, but found out it closed today (Sunday). We decided to go anyway because we wanted to see the Munster and the Bread Museum. For that I passed up a chance to go back to Munich and see the Duer room in the Old Art Museum in Munich.

It did rain a little here today. However we are still sweating in our hotel room at night and that means we have to open the windows. That means we get all the street noise. We are working on it. The hotel is going to bring us a fan tonight.

Dic 25, 2019, 8:08pm

>179 benitastrnad: and >180 cbl_tn: : : I'm so jealous! When I visited my son in Germany last, he took me to the Christmas Markets in Rothenburg (the closest city to where my husband's family came here from in the early 1700s), Nuremberg, and Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg was the biggest market. But Rothenburg was my favorite. We stayed in a gorgeous OLD hotel right near the wall. Plus - it snowed that day! In Nurnburg, we stayed across a thoroughfare from the old city where the castle was, but still close enough to walk to everything. Wonderful memories! Enjoy your Christmas Markets!

Dic 26, 2019, 12:28pm

I am back in the USA in Omaha, Nebraska. Will be home with my mother later today. Just in time for traditional Christmas weather to come into the Plains. Hope everybody had a Happy Christmas. I spent mine on the plane coming back and boy howdy! Am I glad that I don’t work there. It was chaos.

Dic 26, 2019, 12:43pm

2020 group is up. Let me know if you want to continue this over the next year and I'll add everything to the group wiki.

Dic 27, 2019, 4:50pm

I finished the Dutch translation of Doctored Evidence.
Thank you Benita for this, I hope we will continue next year.

Ene 1, 2020, 12:03pm

We will be continuing next year. I am still in Kansas in the middle of traveling. As soon as I get back to Alabama I will set up a new thread for 2020 with the new schedule. I hope to get to it on Saturday.

We will follow the schedule laid out earlier on this thread.

Ene 1, 2020, 12:06pm

While on my trip I did manage to read and finish Doctored Evidence and I have to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the others in this series. However, I loved the development of Guido and his inner fight to maintain his principles and to realize when he is wrong.

Ene 1, 2020, 1:03pm

>170 benitastrnad: I’m in for this again. Currently in middle of Doctored Evidence. The Lackbergd are getting a bit formulaic, but i can se finishing them up.

Ene 1, 2020, 5:25pm

I didn't get to Doctored Evidence in December, but I'll catch it up. I thought I'd reserved the audio to come in around December 15 at the latest, but if I did, it never arrived. I've already recently listened to the one scheduled for February so I'll probably just push the December one to January and the January one to February and be caught up!

Ene 3, 2020, 3:39am

I'm definitely in again for at least the Donna Leon books. I read all of the 2019 ones, but didn't post faithfully. Hopefully, I'll do better in 2020.

Ene 3, 2020, 5:01pm

I am on my way back to Alabama after my Christmas Break and will set up a 2020 thread as soon as I get back.

I am glad to see that there will be participants! It is always fun to hear what others have to say about books.

Ene 6, 2020, 11:33am

New thread for 2020 is up. Go here to find it.