One of my Favorite Cozy Crime Authors – Katharina M. Mylius „Tödliches Blau“ (Review in German and English)

paperback
publisher: Dryas Verlag
published 2017
pages: 256

In (Very) Short:

Der Trainer des Ruderclubs der Universität Oxford treibt tot in der Themse. Zunächst sieht es danach aus, als sei der Mann ertrunken. Doch dann verdichten sich die Hinweise, dass er hinterlistig ermordet wurde. Das Inspektoren-Duo Heidi Green und Frederick Collins ermittelt und findet heraus, dass sich der ehrgeizige Trainer mit seiner harschen Art viele Feinde gemacht hat. Dabei gerät ein Ruderer besonders ins Visier der Ermittler. Wenig später wird jedoch auch er tot aufgefunden…

Inspectors Heidi Green and Frederick Collins are at it again. In their 4th case the trainer of the Oxford rowing team is murdered short before the traditional rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge. Wondering a little whether the other team wanted to gain an advantage, Green and Collins discover that quite a few people had a grudge (the wives, the children, the replacements, the rowing team itself). Now the inspectors have to navigate their way around a minefield of lies, accusations and hurt egos.

My Opinion:

Ich bin ein großer Fan von Katharina M. Mylius. Ihre wunderbare und bezaubernde Art zu schreiben begeistert mich immer wieder. Die Geschichte ist schnell und spritzig (mir fällt hier wirklich gerade kein besseres Wort ein), die Protagonisten sind sympathisch und liebenswert und das Verbrechen bleibt durchaus rätselhaft auch wenn man den Mörder durchaus schon vor ende erspähen kann. Mylius schafft es aber immer wieder einen auf unterschiedliche Fährten zu locken. Dabei bleiben die Morde zwar grausam und brutal, aber es fühlt sich nicht nach einer überwiegend blutigen Angelegenheit an. Es bleibt für mich immer ein cozy crime.

Zudem bin ich großer Fan der Protagonisten, die, anders als viele andere auch mal ein funktionierendes Privatleben haben und einen angenehmen, teils ironischen Umgang miteinander haben. Dies ist für mich ihr bestes Buch bis jetzt.

I thoroughly enjoy the work of Katharina M. Mylius. She has a wonderful and captivating way to write the story and enthrall her audience. The story is fast-paced, the protagonists are very sympathetic, the crime remains puzzling though you can glimpse who the murderer is. Yet Mylius integrates quite a few red herring and creates quite a few suspects. The murders however are not gruesome. Even when the crime is quite violent, it still does not feel overwhelmingly bloody or even blood thirsty. It remains a cozy crime.

I really enjoy the functioning lives of the detectives that are sprinkled throughout the investigation as well as the connection they have with each other and their colleagues. I think this is one of my favorite books so far.

Bottom Line:

Ein wunderbarer Krimi aus und in Oxford mit sympatischen Figuren und einem wunderbaren Schreibstil.

A wonderful cozy crime, yet only for readers of German. It has not been translated into English – which is a shame.

Rating:

I don’t want to grow up – My love for children’s books seems endless.

I enjoy reading children’s books. I am for sure not the intended audience but I love reading them. Not all of course, but the majority.

Funnily enough I enjoyed reading books from authors like Barbara Wood and others when I was about 13 years old – why I have no idea. During my studies in which I read many classics, I turned to fantasy and during the past say 4 to 5 years I discovered or better rediscovered my love for children’s books. Maybe I liked them because (of)

  • the nostalgic factor of my own childhood,
  • the fact that children are mostly straight forward and don’t hide what they feel,
  • they see things differently maybe even clearer.

Whatever the reason, they are fun, entertaining, usually contain a moral and just beautifully written and thought out.

As the international children’s day has been on June 1st, I just want to share some of my favorite children’s books which some might categorize under different or more specific sub-genres but from me they are still books for children – and in the end, I am still a child and will always be my parents kid no matter how old I am.

   

 

A summer vacation, a spy tortoise and a great adventure – Kerstin Rottland’s Agathe Bond novel

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool
Did you know there is a whole secret world of tortoises that run a spy organization – me neither. But in the deep sees of children’s novel it shouldn’ t really be a surprise. The German author Kerstin Rottland tells a wonderful story that I throroughly enjoyed and recommend. However, the story as far as I know is not yet published in English.

The story

Agathe Bond (that’s the protagonist and yes she is the tortoise and female) is on a mission to catch one of the most notorious gangster tortoises, when one of her gadgets malfuntion at a  critical moment. Thankfully, she is stranded in a human tortoise sanctuary, but someone wanted her dead. With the help of a human boy, she flees the compound and searches for the person responsible for the failed assassination attempt.

The characters

Agathe Bond seems rather on the nose but in combination with some stereotypical themes of the spy genre, it not only seems but is on the nose for the knowledgable reader. Yet she is a wonderful quirky, zynical, grumpy old tortoise I think especially the more mature reader (did not wanna say old here) will enjoy. Jürgen (the human protagonist) is a charming yet slightly shy and unfortunate fellow with rather unique family and view on them. The mix works wonderful.

Kerstin Rottland’s writing

So far I have enjoyed Rottland’s dive into the spy world. The tropes and themes are familiar yet applied for the young reader. More mature readers get their entertainment value out of the story and especially the witty tortoise. She makes the story fun, entertaining, with a morale, taking the reader by the hand without being didactic or lecturing. Still, I wonder: Do children already get the Bond reference from the title? Is Bond a synonym for spy that even children unfamiliar with the canon know what it means or are they learning through these stories? Well, I digress: another topic for another blog post.

All in all, this is a fun and entertaining read for young an old. 

Two Halfs of One Whole – My Reading Life with Two Languages

English Conquers My Reading World

I started reading novels in English a long time after my high school English teacher told me that I would never be able to speak English properly. My pronunciation was good but the rest, well it wasn’t and it was never going to be good. I have now finished my PhD in American Studies and I wrote it in English. And though I will be far from being at a native speaker level (and I never aimed at being one) I think I managed to make the language my own – familiar, comfortable, home 🙂

Is my German Really Lost – The Rediscovery of My Native Tongue

Because I was so focused on conquering English, I haven’t read German authors for many years

  • because I felt I had to read English to stay connected with the language,
  • because it was easier for me to read English after so many years,
  • because books in German became strangers to me.

All there was English, novels in English, theory texts in English, TV series in English, movies in English, manuals in English – you name it. Once I started reading blogs and watching Booktube I was brave enough to pick my first German book in over a decade. Though reading the first novels felt strange, it became familiar again – it  also became home.

Do I Have to Choose – My World Is Big Enough for Both

So, every time I read a book in German I yearned for English and every time I was deeply invested in an English novel, I looked forward to read a story in German – it was a predicament. I considered myself torn because I couldn’t decide which language I liked more, which was more familiar, which was my home. But finally I discovered, I don’t have to decide. I can love both equally. I can be at home at two different places at the same time.

I was a little mad at my English teacher for telling me English and I would never get along. Today I am thankful for it. Because of what he said I chose English as a subject of my studies, I lived in an English-speaking country, and I am at easy with two languages. I am at home when I hear or read either of them.

A Pick Me Up for Broken Things – How Snyder’s Healer Series Healed my Soul

The Healer Series has healed my fantasy deprived soul. I used to read so much fantasy and lately I was mostly unhappy with what I read and I missed stories, worlds, and characters that would captivate me. I felt as if something in me was broken. The joy I usually deprived from fantasy books was gone – maybe even lost. But then the Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder came along. This trilogy – Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, and Taste of Darkness – fed three ravenous beasts within me: the thirst for action, believable friendships and world building.

I Need To Catch My Breath – Action Packed Storylines That Don’t Slow Down

Just as her Study Trilogy the action was fast paced. I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but the incredible fast pace, the lack of narrative breaks and therefore the amount of running, hunting, being hunted and fighting the protagonists had to go through, captured me from the first to the last page. There was barely a break for the poor guys to catch a breath.

Cross My Heart And Swear To Die – Friendships Save The World

Alongside the action, the friendships make up the core of the story – at least for me. They are believable, withstand opposition and hardship, are comical and endearing, and longstanding. Once I close the book, I start to miss them, as I felt like a member of that circle. The sidekicks are usually the most lovable characters in the book. Until this day I am always happy to see them again – in other stories or when rereading the old ones.

Take Me Away From Here – Building A World Where I’d Rather Be

Within a short time I am fully immersed in the world and often the magical, political, and social system that is new to me. I can see it, feel it, and I am familiar with it, still I discover even more throughout the entirety of the trilogy. Yet I believe, if those are continued I would learn so much more and still am surprised by it.

So far I have enjoyed Maria V. Snyder’s Study Trilogy and Healer Series. I have to admit that I am not as thrilled with the Glass Series (that is set in the same world as the Study Trilogy), but I will surely finish that as I want to continue my adventures in Ixia. If you need something to pick you up that you can’t put down – have a go.

Merken

Miss Marple Calms My Restless Mind

Miss Marple always solves her crimes – sitting, knitting, wearing tweet costumes. However stressed my life becomes and however deep I am caught in a reading slump, Miss Marple has a way of reaching my absent mind. The allure of coziness and comfort within the confines of murder is soothing. It feels like coming home. The reasons I return to Miss Marple at any given time: the lack of gore, the inherent nosiness, and the nostalgia.

Where is the blood – the lack of gore in Miss M.’s murders

Given the often overpowering images of news outlets (be that papers, television, or even radio) and television with there attempt to outdo each other with even more shocking and gory details of crimes, wars, and other catastrophes, the lack of blood is a nice change in pace.

Yes, I am nosy – Miss M.’s passion for poking around

Miss Marple lives out the nosiness that I do feel when a riddle or any other interesting unanswered question stops by. The great thing is: I don’t have to feel guilty because Miss M. asks all the questions that I have (and of course many more that I don’t have) and pokes about to get the answers. This is of course oversimplified and at times feeds the stereotype of elderly spinster detectives but I really love her moxie and her awareness of the perception people have of her. She always uses that to her advantage.

Everything Was Better Before – Miss M. reminisces

While Miss Marple is nostalgic towards her own past, I am nostalgic towards my own as well as the past (as stereotypical and simplified as that might be) illustrated by Christie. Due to less gore and the acceptance of the nosiness of elderly spinsters, it is a calm escape for a hectic overexposed mind caught in a world where the attention spans get shorter and the visuals more prominent and faster. The peace and quiet offered by Miss Marple are a wonderful way to return my hectic brain to a more normal speed – one that was common when I was yet young and the world just a bit slower.

Eva Sternberg – Fünf am Meer (incl. a Short English Review)

This book is written by a German author and is not translated into English yet. For a short English Review please see further below.

https://www.randomhouse.de/content/edition/covervoila_hires/Sternberg_EFuenf_am_Meer_6CD_163797.jpg

Klappentext:

Willkommen im Sea Whisper Inn
Die frisch getrennte Linn erbt überraschend eine verwunschene Villa in den Hamptons. Diese ist bereits ziemlich in die Jahre gekommen — wie auch deren fünf Bewohner zwischen 69 und 75. Doch schnell fühlt Linn sich zwischen Granatapfel-Cocktails, Mittagsschläfchen und Renovierungsarbeiten ziemlich wohl. Wären da nicht dieser gut aussehende Journalist und der unumgänglich scheinende Hausverkauf … (Random House Audio)

In Kürze:

+ ein unterhaltsames Sommerbuch, das auch gerne zu anderen Jahreszeiten gelesen werden kann
+ eine Geschichte im Fremde, Freundschaft, Familie und kleine und große Geheimnisse
+ liebenswerte Figuren und ein wunderbares Erzähltempo

Meinung:

Ein Haus in den Hamptons. Das hört sich glamourös an. Das hört sich nach einem Leben mit viel Geld, keinen Sorgen und vielen Partys an. Nachdem Linn ihren Freund beim Stell-dich-ein mit der besten Freundin erwischt, scheint das plötzlich geerbte Haus genau der richtige Ort zu sein, um vor dem Geschehenen zu fliehen. Doch mit dem Haus erbt Linn auch dessen Bewohner, ein in die Jahre gekommenes Haus und die Geschichte einer Tante von der sie bis dato nichts wusste. Und dann sind da noch die Männer und andere kleine Katastrophen.

Das Buch hört sich nach einer wunderbaren leichten Lektüre an, die man im Sommer gerne am Strand genießen möchte. Ich habe mir die Geschichte nun im Herbst angehört und war sehr angetan. Die Geschichte ist zwar Ansatzweise leicht und seicht, hat aber auch ihre Tiefen, spannenden, lustigen und dramatischen Momente. Vom dem dramatischen Liebes-aus und den Zukunftsängsten, über die Vergangenheit der Tante und des ominösen Gemäldes, bis hin zum undurchsichtigen Journalisten und hinterlistigen Detektiv ist alles dabei. Dabei ist der Erzählstil angenehm und die Geschichte entfaltet sich in einem angenehmen und gleichbleibenden Tempo – passend zum Wellengang am Strand aber dennoch so spannend, dass man Weiterhören muss.

Die Figuren sind sympathisch und liebenswert und auch die Hauptfigur ist mir positiv im Gedächtnis geblieben, auch wenn ich ihre Handlungen und ihre Gefühle nicht immer hundert prozentig nachvollziehen konnte.
Die Sprecherin hat die Geschichte ganz wunderbar gelesen und das Cover hat mir sehr gefallen.

Vielen Dank an Random House Audio für die Bereitstellung dieses Rezensionsexemplars.

Fazit:

Ein wunderbar unterhaltsamer Roman über Fremde, Freundschaft und Familie – genau richtig für die Sommerzeit. Man kann das Buch auch gerne zu einer andern Jahreszeit hören kann.

Die Autorin:

Emma Sternberg, geboren 1979, hat schon fast überall gewohnt: in Hamburg, in Oberbayern, in Frankfurt, in Berlin. Wo es am schönsten ist? Natürlich immer da, wo sie noch nicht gewesen ist – das ist ja die Krux mit dem Leben.

In English:

A house in the Hamptons – that sounds like money, parties, no worries and glamour. After Linn discovers her boyfriend in a rather precarious situation with her best friend, the inherited home in the Hamptons sounds like the perfect escape. With that house Linn also inherits the inhabitants – a group of retired friends of her dead aunt – and old house, and the secrets of her aunt’s life of whom Linn did not even know existed. And of course there are men and other smaller catastrophes.

The book is intended as a summer read, but it is also a wonderful read in autumn. It reads like a light story but contains drama (love and other), mystery (a painting and the past), and wickedly charming journalists and just wicked detectives.

The flow of the story reminded me of the waves rolling onto the beach but without making you sleeping. The writing was fluent, calming, and captivating, the characters were loveable and sympathetic, and although I did not understand every action or emotion that Linn portrayed perfectly, I do remember her fondly.