April Books: I’m on a mystery binge

14) Friedrich Ebert. Parteiführer, Reichskanzler, Volksbeauftragter, Reichspräsident, Peter-Christian Witt

I recently got accepted for a stipend from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (which I’m so happy and grateful for, because I struggled being unable to contribute my share financially before). The foundation sent me this biography together with the stipend agreement. Friedrich Ebert is the first president of the ill-fated Weimar Republic in 1920s Germany. It’s a good book if you just want the simple facts, as it mostly describes the political stations of his life, and discusses the controversies in the evaluation of his legacy. Unfortunately, that makes for a rather dry read.

15) Veronica Mars 01: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas/Jennifer Graham

Veronica Mars is one of my favourite TV shows, and I feel a deep connection to the main character. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line picks up the story line after the movie ends. Veronica has returned to Neptune and joined her father in his detective business again. Her first case is an investigation into the disappearance of two young girls visiting the city on spring break. While I felt the movie was mostly fan service for people still heartbroken over the cancellation of the TV show (no judgement, I’m one of these people and enjoyed the heck out of this movie!), this is actually a solid mystery on its own. The narration strikes a good balance between continuing the show’s “voice” and letting the characters mature and evolve.

16) The Anatomy of Violence, Adrian Raine

Between Netflix and TLC, I’ve been on a true crime binge lately. A lot of these TV shows pay homage to this book, so I thought I’d take a look. I find it fascinating how our brain works, so I was looking forward to learning more about what we know about it. Unfortunately, I came out of this book feeling Raine’s science was slipshod and his argumentation implausible. The early chapter about evolutionary biology alone was completely outdated, but I was prepared to disregard it since it wasn’t the focus of the book. Sadly, it didn’t get better … someone really needs to tell Raine about the difference between causation and correlation.

17) Ein Mord für Kay Scarpetta (Body of Evidence), Patricia Cornwell

I picked this up from one of those public book shelves when I had two hours to kill before a meeting. It’s a good mystery with a lackluster ending that completely disregards the “show, don’t tell” technique.

18) The Punishment She Deserves, Elizabeth George

19) Undank ist der Väter Lohn (In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner), Elizabeth George

I really enjoy the Inspector Lynley series! Crime mysteries are often a one-and-done business for me, where I don’t feel they have any lasting value after reading them for the first time. I love the in-depth characterization of the characters in these books and the exploration of overarching themes beyond the mystery (like shame/sexuality/family in The Punishment She Deserves for example), and that George treats the different English regions that serve as a backdrop to the story almost as another character.

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