Sorry for the silence. It has been both literal and enforced. The squeamish should not read on.
An x-ray during what was meant to be a routine dental appointment showed that one of my teeth was eating itself from the inside out because of something that was lodged in my jaw. Immediate action was called for in the shape of extraction and excavation. The tooth came out easily enough but the foreign object was another matter. It turned out to be the root of a tooth that was pulled over fifty years ago and in that time the jaw bone had grown round it. The dentist’s breezy “I’m sure it will just flick out” will probably qualify for the most optimistic prediction of the year. When I said excavation what I meant was excavation, because eventually the drill had to come out and the offending item was gouged out of my jaw. Consequently I have spent the last week or so imitating someone who has gone the proverbial twelve rounds with any heavyweight boxer you care to name and not really feeling like being sociable even on line. The external swelling has now almost gone and the pain is bearable but the swelling inside the mouth is still extensive and the stitches have yet to dissolve. Anyway, as you can imagine, I have been very busy sitting round feeling sorry for myself and surprisingly being completely exhausted. It seems to have taken as much out of me as major surgery.
Not surprisingly, I haven’t read anything that could be called demanding. I caught up with the new Olivia Kiernan police procedural, The Killer in Me. I was very impressed by the first in this series, Too Close to Breathe, and this new novel is better than the first. Set in and around Dublin, these books feature Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan who is faced not only with a double murder but also with a possible case of false imprisonment following the release of Seán Hennessey who has served seventeen years for the killing of his parents. Caught between those who would prove Hennessey’s innocence and those who think he is also responsible for the current offences, Frankie then discovers that there is a link between the crimes past and present and her own family. Kiernan is going to be very good indeed and if you haven’t started reading her yet I would say catch up quickly.
I also read the first in another crime series, this one set in Derbyshire and written by Roz Watkins. Having seen a very positive review of her second novel, Dead Man’s Daughter, I got hold of the first, The Devil’s Dice, an absolute page turner if ever there was one. DI Meg Dalton has returned to her Derbyshire roots having previously served in Manchester. During the course of the story it becomes apparent that Meg has suffered some sort of trauma in her previous posting and that she is now anxious to regain not only her standing with her colleagues, but also her belief in her own abilities. Called out to the discovery of a body in a cave system she has to decide whether the death is the result of suicide or of murder. Investigating the victim’s background she finds herself caught up in a fierce struggle between a group who believe in assisted dying for those who are in the final stages of debilitating and painful illnesses and fundamentalist Christians who will go to any lengths to stop them. As with the Kiernan novel, the protagonist discovers that her own family have an involvement in what is happening and Meg is placed in the difficult posisition of having to decide whether to give evidence against a close relative. I thought this was a very strong first novel and will definitely be getting hold of a copy of Dead Man’s Daughter as soon as possible.