Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

I have just finished reading “Waiting For Wednesday” by Nicci French.

“Waiting For Wednesday” by Nicci French (via Goodreads)

I have read several of Nicci French’s novels and enjoyed the mysteries behind murders. This was a impulsive purchase because I wanted something new to read and I knew this would be good. I didn’t realise that it was the third book in a series, but it stands alone fairly well as it explains what happened to the protagonist previously as you go through the book. It also makes you want to read the previous books!

The blurb reads:

I had power over him, and that made me feel strong and tender at the same time.

Just a chance remark made by a potential client, but to psychotherapist Frieda Klein it sets off alarm bells. Haunted by their significance, she is driven to find out more, and her search draws her into a dark world of missing young women inhabited by a predator so careful, so subtle that the police aren’t yet aware of his crimes. With each step Frieda gets closer to a silent killer whose determination to stay hidden is matched only by her desperate need to find him. An stay alive…”

Occasionally, I like to read murder mystery books, and this turned out to be another complex and interesting novel. I’m not sure it’s as good as others by Nicci French but it’s still good quality. I suspect that being introduced to Frieda Klein part way through the series isn’t the best situation as there are a few things that are confusing if you haven’t read the previous books.

Frieda is an interesting character with a clever mind who picks up on things which seem odd, and her basis for her search for a missing girl and an elusive killer is a small remark made by a patient. Her hunt to get to the bottom of this mysterious sentiment causes her to get involved with another murder, the main story in this novel: a mother and wife is murdered, and secrets start to emerge and people’s lives start to unravel as the police and Frieda start to investigate.

There is a lot of confusion in this book because it flits from the police carrying out their investigation, Frieda dealing with her recovery from nearly dying and her relationships with her friends, family, lover and work colleagues, to the mystery of the missing girl. It is also follows a journalist trying to seek the real murderer of a girl and find other missing girls, so he can prove that the man convicted of the murder was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is very determined to find out what happened to the girls. There are so many little hints and twists in this novel which make you change your mind constantly as to who was the murderer, but it takes a particular mind to piece together all the subtle clues.

Frieda is a strange character, who seems to have issues with herself: she recently nearly died so she’s trying to deal with the aftermath of that; she treats her friends oddly, pushing them away when she clearly needs their help to sort herself out; she is discredited as a therapist when she is tricked by people out to get her and instead of just getting on with things, this is where she hears the remark that triggers her therapist instinct and leads her down a trail to find a murderer; and she has a distant lover in New York who writes to her throughout the novel but she doesn’t make an effort to communicate much with him when she clearly needs to.

I give this book 7/10 because it is well thought out with all the little hints which get thrown into the plot, and the characters are suitably complex and full of secrets. Most of it is Frieda trying to work through her own issues while solving mysteries and deal with others’ issues so it gets a little confusing but it works in the end.

At the moment, I am watching a television programme called “Salamander” on BBC4, which is in French and Flemish with English subtitles. It’s a crime story where a bank is broken into and the secrets of very powerful men are stolen, causing all sorts of problems through blackmail, suicide and murder. I’m not usually a huge fan of that genre, but it is really good!

I have never really seen any Flemish before and I was fascinated by this new language! Listening to it, it sounds like French and German rolled into one. It is really odd! The programme is interesting because one minute it’s all in Flemish, and then suddenly it lapses into French and I can understand it better (because I know a good bit of French)! The Flemish language has bits that I understand, like certain vocabulary, but it’s also easy to work out what is going on from watching the action and learning to associate certain words with certain actions. It’s probably a hinderance having English subtitles because even though I want to know detail about what’s happening on the programme, I also want to hear more Flemish! It’s a bit difficult to concentrate on the English subtitles, the events happening, AND the Flemish/French language!

I have been doing some reading up on Flemish to see what it’s like in written form and found it very interesting!

Facts:

“Flemish is a West Germanic language most closely related to Dutch and generally regarded as the Belgian variant of Dutch.  Flemish is spoken by approximately 5.5 million people in Belgium and by a few thousand people in France. It is spoken by about 55% of the population of Belgium.  Although linguists prefer the term ‘Netherlandic’, Dutch and Flemish remain common terms because they have political and cultural meaning. This is especially true of local spoken dialects, which form a gradual chain through Dutch-Flemish territory. Also, Flemish speech has many loan words from French.” – From http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/language/flemish-phrases.html

“Flemish or Belgian Dutch (Belgisch-Nederlands) refers to the dialects of Dutch spoken in northern Belgium by about 6 million people. They differ to some extent from the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands in terms of intonation and pronunciation, and there are minor differences in vocabulary, including loanwords from French and English not found in Standard Dutch. The word Flemish can refer to the language spoken in the former County of Flanders, specifically West Flemish, but has come to mean all the varieties of Dutch spoken in Belgium.” – From http://www.omniglot.com/writing/flemish.htm

Examples:

English Greetings/Flemish Greetings

Hi! – Hallo!

Good morning! – Goeiemorgen

Good evening! – Goeie avond

Welcome! (to greet someone) – Welgekomen

How are you? – Hoe gaat het met jou?

I’m fine, thanks! – Met mij is alles goed. Dank u

Happy birthday! – Gelukkige verjaardag

Happy new year! – Gelukkig nieuwjaar

Merry Christmas! – Zalig kerstmis

My Flemish is bad. – Mijn nederlands is niet zo goed.

I need to practice my Flemish. – Ik moet nederlands oefenen.

Good/ Bad/ So-So. – Goed/ slecht / zo en zo

Big/ Small – Groot / klein

Yes/ No – Ja/ nee

One, Two, Three – Een, twee, drie

Four, Five, Six – Vier, vijf, zes

Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten – Zeven, acht, negen, tien

- Taken from http://www.linguanaut.com/english_flemish.htm

Notes:

There are quite a few similarities between Flemish and French/German/English, and I can understand quite a lot of the vocabulary, and the grammar and sentence structure seems relatively simple, but there are obviously some quite different words which must be close to Dutch which I’m unfamiliar with.

There have been several foreign language programmes on recently, with Danish, French, and Swedish languages, but they’ve mostly been of the crime genre which I’m not a huge fan of, so I haven’t watched much of them. My parents love that sort of thing though, so I’m now hooked on Salamander (mainly because there’s nothing decent on TV on a Saturday). If there were more interesting genres of TV shows in foreign languages, I might actually watch them! It would be a better way to learn and use foreign languages!

Cover of "Missing"

Cover of Missing

I have just finished reading “Missing” by Karin Alvtegen, first published in Sweden in 2000, and later translated into English. She is yet another brilliant Scandinavian writer who has managed to get her work out of her native country.

“Missing” is a really good read, and it is fairly easy to read as i managed to read it within two days!

The blurb on the back of the book says:

When a serial killer strikes, a homeless woman finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, framed for horrifying murders that she didn’t commit. on the run and living by her wits, can she avoid capture long enough to prove her innocence?”

The character of Sibylla is one of great interest: she is the homeless woman, troubled by her past, and chasing her dream of being free. Unfortunately, she ends up the suspect in a series of horrific murders, and as we follow her attempt to clear her name, we learn much about her character and her sad past. The main plot is interspersed with the subplot of her childhood and the root of her problems and why she is homeless.

The plot is rather chilling with the murders, and keeps you guessing until the end. I know i was speculating who had the motive to frame her, but as usual its someone who you would never have even thought of! Suspense is brilliant through the novel, with bits of the puzzle dropped in here and there, enough to keep you reading, but not enough to reveal the truth until the last few pages.

I give this book a 7/10 because it is a good, if quick, read. If you like Stieg Larsson, then its worth reading, as the heroine is again someone who has been neglected by society. It isnt as intense and complex as Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy though, so it would be ideal for those who couldnt keep up with it.