March Reads: The Three-Body Problem, The Potting Shed Murder and How to Solve Your Own Murder.

A round-up of the my March Reads, some quick reviews of the books I read this month. I seemed to be a murder mystery phases at the moment, as the majority of books I have read are cosy mysteries. Apart from The Three Body Problem, that I wanted to read before watching the Netflix adaption. For reference, the system I use for rating book is ☕ I didn’t like it. ☕☕ It was okay. ☕☕☕ I enjoyed it. ☕☕☕☕ I liked it, and ☕☕☕☕☕ I loved it.

The Good, The Bad and The Aunties

Jesse Q Sutanto

It’s the Chinese New Year, a time for joy and celebration…

Freshly back from their honeymoon, Meddy and Nathan join the Aunties in Jakarta to partake in a family gathering. Amidst the festivities, an old flame of Second Aunt’s arrives, bearing extravagant gifts. However, not all of these gifts were intended for the family.

Suddenly, one of the gifts goes missing, placing Meddy and the Aunties amid a feud between Jakarta’s most influential business tycoons – and in grave danger. To protect her loved ones, Meddy must orchestrate a search party, a daring break-in, and even a kidnapping. It may seem like an impossible task. But with the Aunties by Meddy’s side, nothing is truly impossible… just a tad complicated.

The Good, The Bad and The Aunties

Rating: ☕☕☕☕/5

Once again, Meddy and her aunties are back for one final adventure. As you would expect from Jesse Sutanto, this book contains the same comical exploits as the other books in the series. The Good, The Bad and The Aunties is a quick fun read and a great ending to the series.

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu with Ken Liu (Translator)

The Three-Body Problem is the first novel in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series. English-speaking readers can now experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution in China, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. However, an alien civilisation on the verge of collapsing intercepts the signal and decides to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming. One side plans to welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt. Whilst another plans to fight against the invasion.

Book Cover for The Three-Body Problem

Rating: ☕☕☕/5

The novel is a science fiction masterpiece that explores the consequences of contact with an alien civilisation. Telling the story from two points of view. First, starting with the harsh realities of China during the Cultural Revolution, Ye Wenjie is disillusioned with humanity when she first contacts the aliens. Her story continues to 21st-century China, and she helps prepare the Earth for the invasion. The other point of view is from Wang Miao, a modern-day scientist who is recruited into a mysterious global organisation. Miao is encouraged to play a VR computer game, 3 Body, and look at its relationship to a group of scientists.

The result is a multi-layered story that examines the very nature of humanity. Using a problem from theoretical physics to create a fantasy world.

The Potting Shed Murder

Paula Sutton

The Potting Shed Murder

Welcome to the sleepy village of Pudding Corner, a quintessentially English haven of golden cornfields, winding cobbled lanes … and murder.

Daphne Brewster has left London behind and is settling into her family’s new life in rural Norfolk, planting broad beans in raised beds and vintage hunting for their farmhouse.

But when the local headmaster is found dead in his potting shed, amongst his allotment cabbages, the village is ablaze: Who would kill beloved Mr Papplewick, pillar of the community? Daphne soon comes to realise perhaps the countryside isn’t so idyllic after all.

When the headmaster’s widow points her finger at Minnerva, Daphne’s new friend, Daphne vows to clear her name. Sneaking into the crime scene and chasing down rumours gets her into hot water with the local inspector – until she finds a faded photograph that unearths a secret buried for forty years.

They say nothing bad ever happens in close-knit Pudding Corner, but Daphne is close to the truth – dangerously close…

Book Cover for The Potting Shed Murder

Rating: ☕☕☕/5

The Potting Shed Murder is a modern take on the murder in the small village trope. Pudding Corner is a picturesque village in Norfolk, populated with eccentric characters forming a close-knit community. Everyone has their secrets. Eventually, one of these secrets will lead to murder. 

One aspect I enjoyed about the book was Daphnes’ experiences as a Black woman in a small, mainly white village. The book deals with the dual aspect of her concerns about being accepted into the community. Both a Londoner and also as a person of colour. She is also concerned about her children and their experiences and not receiving a white-washed education. It was good to read about other experiences of idyllic village life.

The plot was a little predictable. But this didn’t stop the enjoyment of the book. 

How to Solve Your Own Murder

Kristen Perrin

Frances always said she’d be murdered…

She was right.

In 1965, when Frances Adams was seventeen, a fortune teller told her that one day she’d be murdered. Thus began a lifetime of trying to prevent the crime that would be her eventual demise.

No one took Frances seriously for sixty years – until, of course, she was murdered. But for Frances, being the village busybody was a form of insurance. She’d spent a lifetime compiling dirt on every person she met just in case they might turn out to be her killer. In the heart of her sprawling country estate lies an eccentric library of detective work, where the right person could step in and use her findings to solve her murder.

When her great-niece Annie arrives from London and discovers that Frances’ worst fear has come true, Annie is thrust into her great-aunt’s last act of revenge against her sceptical friends and family. Frances’ will stipulate that the person who solves her murder inherits her millions. Frances challenges a group, including Annie, to prove to the world that She was right about her future.

How to Solve Your Own Murder

Rating: ☕☕☕☕/5

The book follows two timelines, Frances’ diary entries from the 1960s and Annies experiences in Castle Knoll. I enjoyed these dual narrative storylines, especially the journal entries by Frances.

The book involves two murders, 60 years apart. Even thought the clues are there, I was guessing until the end. A very clever murder mystery story.

Feature Image: Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash