Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Year of Having Fun With Reading - Homecoming + The Science of Murder


Blurb:  Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of the grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.

Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora's housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small.

At loose ends in Nora's house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora's bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…

My Thoughts:  This was a good one!  I've always enjoyed Morton's books but I loved how mystery forward element of this one.  I loved watching Jess put on her journalism hat as she dug through family secrets and old tragedies to learn more about the family she never knew and the grandmother she grew up with.  Morton is a master at creating atmosphere and this book proves just that.  I felt the stagnant hot summer air on that long ago Christmas Eve, the emptiness of a house without the larger than life Nora, and the gray drab of the hospital room.  I was pulled into the book from page one and thoroughly enjoyed the story.  I only have one Kate Morton book left to read so hopefully she'll put out another book soon.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

Blurb:  Discover the science of forensics through Agatha Christie's novels
Agatha Christie is the bestselling novelist of all time, and nearly every story she ever wrote involves one―or, more commonly, several―dead bodies. And the cause of death, the motives behind violent crimes, the clues that inevitably are left behind, and the people who put the pieces together to solve the mystery invite the reader to analyze the evidence and race to find the answer before the detective does. Nearly every step of the way, Christie outlines the nuts and bolts of early 20th-century crime detection, relying on physical evidence to tell the real story behind the facades humans erect to escape detection.

Christie wouldn't have talked of "forensics" as it is understood today―most of her work predates the modern developments of forensics science―but in each tale she harnesses the power of human observation, ingenuity, and scientific developments of the era. A fascinating, science-based deep dive, The Science of Murder examines the use of fingerprints, firearms, handwriting, blood spatter analysis, toxicology, and more in Christie's beloved works.

My Thoughts:  If you love Agatha Christie and are interested in forensic science this is an absolutely fascinating book. The author does a fantastic job of telling the history of forensic science by mixing in history, historic true crime examples, and tales of just how Agatha Christie used or ignored scientific knowledge and development.  The author's proficiency in the science and her love of Christie's books shine through and make for an enjoyable read that has me wanting to reread all the Christie books mentioned as well as giving me a bunch of historic crime cases I'd never heard of to research.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)


  1. Ooo the Agatha Christie one sounds amazing! I would love that to read that.

  2. Well I knew you'd like the Agatha Christie! Were you surprised by the twist near the end of Homecoming? I didn't see that until I became suspicious near the very end.
    Have you read The Forgotten Garden? That's one of my favorites of her books.

  3. I've been meaning to try something by Kate Morton for ages. I really like the sound of Homecoming. I like the mystery element and what I'm assuming is a dual timeline.

  4. Both of these are great to think about reading. Well, I already had Homecoming to read, just haven't gotten to it yet. Maybe it's time.

  5. Both of these books sound entertaining and interesting.

  6. So pleased you enjoyed Homecoming, the atmosphere she created you picked up really well. And the mystery was so well slowly unravelled.

  7. I am so glad you enjoyed The Homecoming. I would like to read that one as well. The Science of Murder is new to me, but sounds so good! I will have to add that one to my wish list.