Dorothy L. Sayers - Strong Poison
What I appreciate about Sayers's detective novels is the emphasis on 'novel'. The Lord Peter Wimsey stories don't follow a formula, but rather Sayers experiments with style and theme. This novel introduces the partnership with Harriet Vane beloved by many readers, as Lord Peter races to prove she is innocent of poisoning her former lover. I also enjoyed the balanced themes in this book: Even as the men - Lord Peter, Detective Inspector Charles Parker, and The Hon. Freddie Arbuthnot - are contemplating marriage, we are introduced to a slew of unmarried, independent women whose resourcefulness matches Lord Peter's own. I've got two more Wimsey books waiting on my Kindle now!
Dacre Stoker - Dracula: the Un-dead
I was lured to try this by the promise that it is the authorised sequel - I made it through the original on my second go (the first time, I foolishly tried to read it at night) and loved it. Plus, I can claim to be vaguely related to Bram Stoker through my husband's side of the family. However, the claim that it is based on Bram Stoker's notes is stretching it a bit - I doubt he planned a gory, lesbian vampire fantasy. If you're wondering, it was the gore that made me put the book down - but if you like classic vampire novels, this might be for you.
Ruth Saberton - The Letter
I've read one other novel by Saberton - The Island Legacy - and it was OK. But this one, unlike Dracula, I couldn't put down - it was right up my alley and had surprising similarities to my own writing style (well, maybe not, considering the setting and subject matter). This is a dual timeline novel, which I am gathering are quite popular right now. Young widow Chloe rents an old rectory in the Cornish village where her husband's roots are, hoping to find a resolution to her grief. She becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding an obscure World War I poet, but the key she is searching for also becomes the one that opens a door to her new life.
From my critique group (I read this in July but am squeezing it in here!):
Saturday’s Child completes Rosemary Morris’ seven-book series of loosely connected Regency romances. You don’t need to read them in order. They are all “sweet” or “closed door” romances. But although they may be gentle in tone, Ms. Morris uses these novels to explore issues of love across various barriers, be they disability, race or class. This story takes the latter angle, focusing not on a member of the upper class but working-class Annie, who builds up her own business after the loss of her father. Her determination and compassion earns her the attention of Marcus, a member of the ton, but can true love really cross class barriers? With Saturday’s Child, you can escape into the Regency era, root for a resourceful heroine, and admire a hero who is willing to challenge his beliefs for the sake of the woman he loves. Best of all, if this is your cup of tea, you have six more to enjoy!
Finally, here's a little taste of the 80s Wimsey and Vane series to round out this post. Each mystery gets 3-4 episodes, so you really get into the details. I recommend it!