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Life is a beautiful mystery (or two)

One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality.

Two mystery books to recommend over the holidays...

The Man In The Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan

The Washington Post refers to Dolan as a writer who has a "talent for ingenious, serpentine plots". 

It's been two years since private eye Jack Pellum's wife Olivia was murdered. Jack is an ex-cox and his eye is on the murderer, who he believes is someone he saw a few days ago in the neighbourhood...the man with a fedora hat. There are some leads. Danny Cavanaugh recently hanged himself (after his wife was killed) left a suicide note: There's a killer, and he wears a crooked hat. 

Is there a connection between the murders? Serial killers usually have a common thread of behaviour. There usually is a motive. These crimes seem to be unrelated, but there are murders that go back at least 20 years. How can Jack Pellum get to the bottom of this mystery and prevent another murder from taking place. 

We are actually introduced to the killer, Michael Underhill right in the first chapter. He's murdered Olivia and seems to have excuses as to why he has done it. He's the kind of guy that you often overlook on the street, something that makes him more dangerous. 

I haven't read Harry Dolan's books before but this one is a page turner. He has a tendency to get into his characters' backstories, which makes it more of a literary read...something that I personally appreciate. 


Sleeping In The Ground by Peter Robinson

This is the 24th book in the Inspector Banks series. The novel opens with a murder that shows some striking similarities to the Red Wedding in the Game Of Thrones. If you don't know much about The Red Wedding from GOT, it's a massacre that occurs at the wedding feast of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. It is undoubtedly touted as one of the most memorable events of the book and HBO series. In Peter Robinson's book, Sleeping In The Ground, there too is a massacre at a wedding reception. A killer goes on the rampage and kills three, and injures six members. The bride and groom are amongst the dead.

Alan Banks is not feeling like himself, after recovering from a recent loss. So when he's dragged immediately after a funeral into a high profile investigation following a mass shooting at a wedding, it's a bit of a shock for the inspector, especially since one of the injured is Winsome, a colleague on his team. But if anyone is up for the job, it's Inspector Banks. 

Digging deeper into the crime, secrets surface and Banks has to reevaluate everything that he knew about the events. The events and story unfold slowly and methodically to a surprising conclusion. 

You don't have to have read any of the previous books in the Inspector Banks series, to understand and appreciate this book. Fans of the series, never seem to tire of this beloved character with Peter Robinson at the helm. Ardent fans will also have some closure for Alan Banks as he attempts to close the chapter on a personal issue that has been haunting him for years.