From one extreme to another -- a book I really enjoyed and a series mystery I won't read again. So where to start? How about with the one series I'm finished with?
I enjoy brain candy - cozy mysteries written around subjects I'm interested in like needlework. I hadn't read a Monica Ferris mystery in awhile (having forgotten why I gave them up once before). When I saw Thai Die, I was intrigued -- by the cover and the subject -- Thailand. This is number 12 in the needlework series by Ferris and that is probably the problem. By the time you get to number 12 there just isn't anything new. The characters that I enjoyed in the past were even blah. The editing was horrible and I just plain didn't enjoy this read that took me one day. At least, I spent only one day.
Now Dark Fire: A Matthew Shardlake Mystery by C.J. Sansom is a completely different matter. This historical mystery, set in 1540 was superb, beautiful prose, excellent editing (nothing jumped out at me), an interesting story with interesting characters. YeeeeeeHaaaaaw! A real winner. So good, in fact, that I ordered the others in the series. Mr. Dragon enjoyed it so much, he is currently reading Sansom's stand alone about Spain.
From the back cover: "In 1540 Henry VIII has been on the throne for thirty-one years. Lawyer Matthew Shardlake has been called to help a young girl accused of murder who refuses to speak in her own defense even when threatened with torture. On the verge of losing his case, Shardlake is suddenly granted a reprieve. His benefactor is Thomas Cromwell, the kings' feared vicar general, who offers him two more weeks to investigate further. In exchange, Shardlake must find a lost cache of "Dark Fire", an ancient weapon of mass destruction. What ensues is a page-turning adventure filled with period detail and wonderful characters."
This book won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award for good reason!