Book review · Fiction

Book review: “Rooted in evil” by Ann Granger

Ann Granger has written over 30 detective novels and this is one of her most recent, published in 2017 and featuring the sleuthing duo, Campbell and Carter .

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“Rooted in evil” by Ann Granger (2017)

When Carl Finch is found dead in a forest, it initially looks as if he’s committed suicide. A gun lies over his body, but something about the way he’s lying suggests the body has been moved since he was killed.

Superintendent Ian Carter and Inspector Jess Campbell start investigating the likely suspects, starting with Carl’s sister and brother-in-law, both of whom seem to be holding something back in their interviews with the police.

What I liked best about this book was the setting. Events unfold in the Cotswolds, an attractive rural part of southern England and a popular location for crime novels. There’s a nice feel of old England about it, with a close-knit community, country pubs and pleasant pastoral scenery.

This is the first Campbell and Carter mystery I’ve read and I didn’t get a particularly strong impression of the two main characters.  Perhaps if I read another in the series I’ll get a better idea of their personalities.

I was slightly bemused by the very end of the story, although pleased that Ann Granger didn’t allow herself to be tempted into an obvious ending. On the whole, I enjoyed this book, found it hard to put down, and am looking forward to trying another in the series.

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In January I made a resolution to post at least 12 book reviews on this blog, and read 100 books this year. I’m more or less on course with the reviews (I’ve done 6 to date), but I’m a long way off the reading total, which would ideally be over 50 by now, but is in fact only 33. I’m going to have to make a big effort if I’m to reach 100 by the end of December.

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Photography · Scone · Scotland · Travel

Friday photo: fruit scone

A truly magnificent fruit scone served with butter and jam in the Apples for Jam tearoom in Melrose. With a scone so fresh and delicious, the accompanying condiments seemed superfluous.

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A superb fruit scone at Apples for Jam in Melrose, Scottish Borders.
Courgette · Photography

The first courgette

Three years ago I tried growing courgettes for the first time. I bought a packet of seeds, put two seeds in the ground, and two plants grew up which produced about 80 courgettes between them. I was amazed by the success and keen to try again the following year. Unfortunately, on my second attempt slugs ate the plants before they could bear fruit, and the same thing happened the year after.

This year, hopeful of beating the slugs, I tried planting a couple of seeds in pots instead. Only one of them came up, but it began growing into a healthy-looking plant. By the time it was big enough to start fruiting, I transplanted it into a space next to where some lettuces had been growing well with no sign of slug damage.

There are now several courgettes growing happily on the plant and today I harvested my first one of the season. It formed part of a vegetable pasta dish which, if I’d thought of it soon enough, I’d have photographed to add to this post.

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First homegrown courgette of 2018.
Perthshire · Photography · Scotland

Friday photo: white peacock

This is Alexander, the white peacock resident at Scone Palace in Perthshire. There have been peacocks at Scone Palace for more than 200 years, but white ones are a relatively new addition. The white colour results from a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a loss of pigmentation in the feathers. Unlike albinos that have red or pink eyes, animals with leucism retain colour in their eyes.

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Alexander the peacock at Scone Palace, showing off his beautiful white feathers.
Fife · Photography · Scotland

Friday photo: Crail harbour

The village of Crail in the East Neuk of Fife contains a small but busy harbour. Fishing has always been an important part of life in this little place, but these days tourism is a bigger contributor to the local economy. Crail has many self-catering and other accommodation options for visitors, and a delightful little cafe near the harbour (called, appropriately enough, the Harbour Gallery and Tearoom).

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Crail Harbour, in the East Neuk of Fife.
Architecture · Photography · Scotland

Friday photo: stone carving

Shown below is the elaborate and beautifully carved stone archway into the small and secluded burial chapel of the Maxwell family at Monreith, Wigtownshire. The last Maxwell to be buried here was Sir Herbert Maxwell, grandfather of the writer and naturalist, Gavin Maxwell (best known for his book ‘Ring of bright water’). There are some interesting old gravestones in the graveyard surrounding the chapel and the whole place has a pleasantly peaceful feel to it.

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Carved archway into the Maxwell family burial chapel at Monreith, Wigtownshire.