The Emperor’s Body

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥

I enjoyed this book very much and at the same time was a little disappointed.

The historical premise of the novel was fascinating and I wish Brooks had developed this a little more.  The novel is set against the historical backdrop of the French expedition in 1840 to retrieve Napoleon’s body from Saint Helena.   Philippe de Rohan-Chabot, an aristocratic young diplomat, is charged with bringing the body from the island prison where Napoleon died to an imperial tomb at Les Invalides in Paris.  Chabot’s rival in love is the aging diplomat and author Henri Beyle, known to posterity as Stendhal and their amour is the impulsive Amelia Curial.   It took a little to get the characters sorted out, but once I had everyone in place the story took off.  There is suspense in the love triangle – does Ameila choose Beyle or Phillipe? Youth or experience?

Brooks could have done much more with the novel and added a great deal more about the expedition to bring Napoleon back to France. I was a little let down when I found that the book was light on history and heavier on romance.  The story of the expedition was fascinating though and I had never been exposed to the expedition in any of my other readings.

I hope that Peter Brooks will publish another novel and give us more history and less romance next time!

Book Details: Published by W. W. Norton & Company (February 7, 2011), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0393079586

The Devotion of Suspect X

The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was so hard to put down!  I read it in three sittings, but could have read it in two (unfortunately I had something to do that couldn’t wait). Be careful, you could stay up all night reading this one!

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped a less than perfect life and an abusive ex-husband.  When he shows up one day to extort money and threaten her and her daughter, the situation turns deadly.   A white knight shows up in the form of a mathematics teacher who lives next door.  Ishigami offers his help and from there the story takes off!

Detective Kusanagi takes the case and goes to his old friend Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist who often consults on Kusanagi’s cases.   Yukawa went to college with Ishigami and after meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder.

The plotting in this suspense novel is amazing and I completely understand why this book was so popular in Japan.  If you like suspense novels, do not miss The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino!

Book Details: Published by Minotaur Books (February 1, 2011), 298 pages, ISBN: 978-0312375065