Surviving the 'Rona

Surviving Coronavirus: History Books

This is another post that has been months and months in the making – as you’ll be able to tell if you look at my Goodreads. This started as a non-fiction roundup, but there have been a lot of non-fiction Books of the Week during the Quarantimes, so it evolved into a specifically historical non-fiction post which has taken me (even) longer to pull together than I originally thought. But as always, I got there in the end, even if I’m publishing this after I’m fully vaccinated when I started writing it when a vaccine for Covid-19 was still in the early stages of research.

Alexandria by Edmund Richardson*

Cover of Alexandria

The Alexandria of the title is the city that was “discovered” in the 1830s in Afghanistan, by Charles Masson. Masson was a deserter turned pilgrim turned spy turned many other things who roamed parts of Asia that very few Westerners had visited at the time. I read this before the current situation in Afghanistan deteriorated so far (although by this point it’s more of a complete collapse) and it was already somwhat poignant when talking about Bamiyan Buddhas, but I can only imagine that it will be heart-breaking at this point. It is a fascinating story and impeccably researched but sometimes a little dense. And with so many name changes it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s going on with whom. A new area of history for me – in geographical terms, but not in terms of the East India Company and its machinations.

The Fall of the House of Byron by Emily Brand*

Cover of the Fall of the House of Byron

If you’ve only heard of the poet, there’s a lot you’re missing out on about the Byron family – and this book sets out to change that. I had come across Admiral Byron before – but only in passing in history lectures. But it turns out there’s a scandalous sister and a profligate baron who fought in a duel. I enjoyed this, and it’s clearly very well researched, but I found it sometimes quite hard to keep track of the large cast of characters (who often share names) and I found the jumps forward and backwards a little confusing – but that may just be the way that it was formatted in the advance e-copy I had. But if you like histories of aristocratic families, this is worth your while – there is so much going on here in so few generations. And if you’re interested in the poet, then this has valuable insight into his family and backstory – although not a huge amount about him.

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things by Robin Muir

Regular readers will know that I have a fascination for the interwar period – a lot of the fiction that I love was written then, or is set then and I also read a lot of non-fiction and biography from that period. One of the things that I had been really looking forward to doing last spring/early summer was going to the Cecil Beaton exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. But sadly it was open less than a week before the first lockdown happened. So instead I treated myself (and it was a treat because art books are proper expensive – all those photos) to the book of the exhibition – and it’s so good. It’s got all the pictures that you would expect – and along with writing about Beaton himself, his portraits are accompanied by one or two page biographies of the people they feature. If you like the period, all the notables are here, it’s very dip in and out-able (ideal in these crazy times) and as an added bonus, it’s got a huge bibliography in the back to give you ideas about what to read next on anyone who particularly interests you.

The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Cover of the Romanovs

One last bonus book – bonus because I still haven’t finished it because this is a really long read and a bit gruesome so needs to be read in sensible chunks!  This is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s group biography of the Romanov dynasty. For a lot of people, all they might know about them is the story of the death of Nicholas II and his family in the Russian Revolution but the family had ruled over Russia from the early seventeenth century. I did half of it while running (or what passes for a run with me) because hearing about all the awful ways people got killed made me run faster. But after a couple of generations of people with the same names it started to get a bit hard to keep track of who was who, so I got hold of the ebook and have carried on with that.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Book of the Week, new releases

Book of the Week: Battle Royal

Making a break from the crime picks of recent weeks, I’m going with a romance pick, because why not. I’ll get to that in a minute, but because I forgot to mention it yesterday, don’t forget to check out my rather belated summer reading post. And also coming up this week is another batch of recommendations – this time for non-fiction history books.

Cover of Battle Royal

Anyway, Battle Royal is the first book in Lucy Parker’s new Palace Insiders series. Sylvie was a contestant on a TV baking show four years ago. Her glittery, whimsical aesthetic was a fan favourite, but she got voted off the show when a bake went spectacularly awry. Since the show she’s set up her own bakery and now she’s back – as a judge. Dominic was the only judge who wasn’t impressed with Sylvie when she was on the show, even before the mishap. He’s a brilliant baker but he’s also serious and stuffy. He already thought he saw too much of Sylvie, because her bakery is opposite his, but now they’re going to be judging the show together. And then Princess Rose’s engagement is announced. Dominic’s family bakery has been baking cakes for royalty for years and they’re the bookies’ favourite to make the wedding cake, but Sylvie and her team think they’re a better fit for the unconventional princess’s big day. Suddenly Sylvie and Dominic are competing on every front…

Lucy Parker writes the best enemies to lovers romances. I mean I’m not sure what else I need to say. She comes up with wonderful scenarios where the heroine and hero have genuine reasons to not like each other but then works it all out so the bit where they get together is just the most satisfying thing ever. This one does need to come with a content warning: there’s some child neglect and a whole lot of bereavement in the backstories of our leads. I was a weepy mess at several points (and I don’t think it was because I was over tired) but because of the sad pasts and memories not because either the hero or heroine had done something unspeakably awful if you know what I mean.

I treated myself to this on release day last week and it did exactly what I wanted it too. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it gave me a big sweeping romantic arc where the hero and heroine work out that they’re perfect for each other without any Stupid Misunderstandings or conflict that could have been solved with a simple conversation. They are competing against each other but they’re not sabotaging each other or bad mouthing each other or anything like that. It was just wonderful. Pretty much my only regret is that now I’ve read it I have to wait a year for the next one. And based on the bits of the next couple that you see in this, that’s going to be a corker soon.

This is the first in the series, so nothing to worry about there, but if you like this and you haven’t read any Lucy Parker before, do go back and read the London Celebrities series – if you like this sort of trope and these sort of characters then you’re in for a treat.

My copy of Battle Royal was from the Kindle store, but it’s also available on Kobo. Amazon are also listing a paperback, but I can’t see it on the Foyles or Waterstones websites, which would fit with my previous experience that you’re probably going to have to import a copy if you want a physical one. But the ebooks are reasonably priced, so don’t let that deter you!

Happy Reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 16 – August 22

So a shorter list again this week. It’s been another busy one for various reasons, but also I ended up rereading – or starting to reread a lot of old favourites, so that hit the list of completed stuff somewhat. Also, Gaudy Night is very long, especially if you’re both reading it and listening to it at the same time. But I needed a bit of Peter and Harriet this week and it’s been a long time since I read it. It’s still wonderful and I’ve nearly finished it – only a couple of hours left of the audiobook now, which is almost making me sad to think about it being over.

Read:

Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L Sayers

Guardians of the Horizon by Elizabeth Peters

The Language of Bees by Laurie R King

Half-Mast for the Deemster by George Bellairs

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

The Two Hundred Ghost by Henrietta Hamilton*

Started:

The God of the Hive by Laurie R King

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell*

Still reading:

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

Death at Duke’s Halt by Derek Farrell

I bought myself the new Lucy Parker this week as a treat after a particularly bad few days, and I regret nothing. But that’s it. Another one of my preorders is on its way though – should arrive in my sticky little hands this week sometime.

Bonus photo: I know, it’s not that long since I last posted a photo of me, but after 18 months of doing not a lot and going almost nowhere, we went to a wedding on Sunday, so here I am in all my finery at an event with actual people. It was lovely.

Verity (me) in a pretty dress for a wedding!

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

book round-ups

Weekend Bonus Post: Summer Reading

As always I am running somewhat late with my seasonal recommendations. I mean I started this post months ago, but a mix of life-gets-in-the-way and “I’m sure there must be something else that I’ll read and want to recommend means that I’m only now getting around to posting it, in what I could try and claim is mid August, but is actually probably late August. Still at least I’ve got it out before the Bank Holiday weekend. But hey, if you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that that’s basically me in a nutshell: full of good intentions and plans, but coming slightly unstuck in the execution. See also my university dissertation. Anyway, to the summer recommendations.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid*

Cover of Malibu Rising

To be honest, I’m not sure this really needs any introduction, or its inclusion here will come as any real surprise to you. I loved Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest was much hyped and was on a lot of other people’s lists this summer. Centred around the night of a party in 1980s Malibu that ends in a house burning down, it tells the story of the Riva siblings. Children of a legendary singer, they are themselves in the limelight. Nina is a surfer and model, Jay and Hud tour the world together on the surfing circuit – where one surfs and the other photographs – and their little sister Kit. They shared a troubled childhood and they all have secrets. Over the course of the book you learn what drives them and watch them figure out what next and what their relationships with each other are going to look like now they’re adults. It’s perfect sun lounger reading, gloriously page turning escapism that looks at family ties, fame and obligations.

The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan*

The cover of The Summer Seekers

Eighty-year-old Kathleen used to be a TV travel presenter. After a run in with a burglar at her seaside home, she decides that she needs another adventure – much to the dismay of her daughter Liza. Liza wants her mum to move into a home, not going off on a road trip abroad. Liza herself is drowning under the weight of family obligations and is stuck in a rut. Martha is also at a bit of a turning point in her life. Unfulfilled personally and professionally she answers Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver to accompany her on her American road trip and applies for the job even though she’s not exactly the most confident driver in the world. Over the course of the summer you see the women explore their lives and their relationships and work a few things out. I usually prefer Sarah Morgan’s romances to her women’s fiction but this is actually a lot of fun. I wanted a little bit more closure for each of the women but it was a satisfying read overall – I read it in 24 hours so that says something!

Rosaline Palmer takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Cover of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake

I wrote about Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material earlier in the year, and Hall’s newest novel features a heroine who is contestant on a televised baking show that is about as close as you can get to The Great British Bake-off without needing rights holder approval. Rosaline is a single mum whose parents are perpetually disappointed in her for not following in their academic and high-flying footsteps. On the way to the first weekend of competition, she meets fellow contestant Alain, who is suave and sophisticated and interested in her – and everything her parents would approve of. But it’s actually Harry, a shy electrician who is the contestant that Rosaline is in danger of falling for – even though that would be a disaster.  I was worried for a while that Rosaline was going to pick the Wrong Person but that was mostly because I hadn’t read the blurb (well not properly at least) and I was expecting a more straight-forward romance and the structure is a little different to the other Hall books that I have read. Lots of fun.

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee*

Cover of The Idea of You

Solène only goes to the boyband concert because her ex husband can’t take their daughter at the last minute. But at the meet and greet, one of the band’s members starts flirting with her. Hayes is handsome, clever, funny and one of the biggest stars in the world. He’s also 20 and Solène is 38. When their initial secret meetings turn into a proper relationship, it all gets complicated – especially when the public find out. Can Hayes and Solène go the distance or is their relationship having too much of an effect on the people she cares about most? This is the wildcard of this summer’s selection. Think a One Direction member falls in love with an older woman and you’ll get the sort of vibe. I can see that some people are going to love this, for me it was a bit infuriating. I wanted to read it because of the Taylor Jenkins Reid blurb (for reasons that are obvious given the first pick of this post!) but I found all the characters irritating to a greater or lesser extent. In addition, this is being shelved as a romance on some vendors and on here and it absolutely isn’t. It has a romance in it yes, but it’s not for reasons that are very spoilery, but you can probably guess. I’m including it here, even though it was a not really for me book – because I think some people are going to devour this and I feel like if I was on a sun lounger around the pool this summer then I would be surrounded by people reading it!

So there you have it, four summery reading options. They’re all in similar sorts of areas – women’s fiction and romance – but then that’s mostly what I’m reading at the moment, if you exclude all the mystery novels that I’ve already told you about! I would expect all of these to be fairly easily available – my only doubt was Rosaline Palmer, but I can see copies available for Click and Collect at Foyles, which is delightful.

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week, detective, mystery

Book of the Week: A Third Class Murder

I nearly broke away from the mystery theme of the last few weeks for today, and then I changed my mind. So much of my recent reading has been murder mysteries, that maybe I’ll end up doing mystery month. Although to be fair, a lot of them have been Inspector Littlejohn novels and that would get a little boring for you all!

When an antique dealer is murdered on a train, the police soon make an arrest. But Reverend Lucian Shaw was also on the train and soon becomes convinced that the police may have got the wrong man. When he starts to investigate he discovers that there may have been even more under currents in his parish than he knew about – although his wife could have filled him in on some of them!

A Third Class Murder really wants you to think that it’s a British Library Crime Classic, but it’s not. But don’t hold it against it,because it’s actually a nice, easy fun cozy crime novel that happens to be set in the 1930s. It’s not earth shattering or ground breaking, and yes I figured out who did it before the reveal but that’s fine – I wanted a murder mystery that I could enjoy and not have to think too hard about. Perfect lazy afternoon reading.

My copy came via my Kindle Unlimited Subscription, which means it’s only available on Kindle (at the moment at least).

Happy Reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 9 – August 15

Well. If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you’ll know that it’s been a very big and difficult week of news. And that means my day job has been very busy. Consequently the reading list is short. And as we’ve just finished Seeing a Large Cat on the latest Amelia Peabody re-listen, I ended up comfort reading the key points across the next couple of books as they refer to the Ramses situation (if you know the series, you’ll know what I mean) and that always cheers me up, but as I didn’t read the whole books (and they’ve already been on the list once this year already!) they don’t get included.

Read:

A Third Class Murder by Hugh Morrison

Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters

Corpse at the Carnival by George Bellairs

Death at Leper’s Hollow by George Bellairs

How to Make the World Add Up by Tim Harford*

Started:

Half-Mast for the Deemster by George Bellairs

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

Death at Duke’s Halt by Derek Farrell

Still reading:

The Language of Bees by Laurie R King

Another pre-order turned up this week and I think I forgot to mention two more pre-orders that I put in at the start of the month, but so far they’re the only books I’ve bought this month. Yay me.

Bonus photo: No this is not my puppy, but it is a puppy in my extended family and it is eating my shoelace. I got some quality puppy time on Sunday and it brightened up my week.

A puppy trying to eat my shoe lace

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

Book of the Week, crime, Forgotten books, mystery, new releases

Book of the Week: The Man Who Wasn’t There

Honestly I nearly started this with “another week, another crime pick” but then I got such bad deja vu that I realised I did that last week. But it’s still true. For the third week in a row, I’m picking a murder mystery book for my BotW. But as I said yesterday, I’m in a distinctly murder mystery mood so I don’t know how surprising this news is!

Sally and Johnny Heldar have helped solved mysteries before, so when the woman that Johnny’s cousin Tim wants to marry finds herself caught up in a murder case, it’s only natural that Tim turns to them for help. Prue’s employer has been murdered and as a result she’s called off their engagement. Tim is desperate for Sally and Johnny to clear Prue’s name and win her back for him; but the more they investigate, the more complicated the mystery gets, with infidelity and blackmail and wartime treachery to contend with.

I read a previous Heldar mystery, Answer in the Negative, last year and really enjoyed it. I like Sally and Johnny as characters in both books – they have a nice relationship where they both get to do investigating. This is a previously unpublished entry in the series that the author’s nephew discovered in a stash of manuscripts. It’s not known when exactly this was written, but I would guess around the time that it was set – which is the early 1950s. The introduction says it went unpublished because tastes changed, which makes me sad because it’s too good to have only come to light now.

I’ve read a lot of mysteries with roots in the First World War and a lot set in the Wars but not a lot in set in the fifties with links to the Second World War. So this is a nice change. It’s also interestingly twisty, but follows the rules that the clues are there if you know where to look. On the basis of this, I’m hoping that more of the unpublished Heldar books find their way into the light soon.

I got an advance copy of this, but it’s actually out on Thursday in Kindle and Kobo.

Happy Reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 2 – August 8

Another week dominated by classic crime, with just a dash of romance reading thrown in too. I don’t know why, but I’m back in a headspace where I mostly just want to read mysteries. I’m also having a struggle to concentrate again, so leaning towards the genres I know will provide a satisfying pay off if I do manage to keep my concentration going!

Read:

Two-Way Murder by E C R Lorac

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers

Death Sends for the Doctor by George Bellairs

Hang the Moon by Alexandria Bellefleur

The Man Who Wasn’t There by Henrietta Hamilton**

More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham

Started:

A Third Class Murder by Hugh Morrison

Corpse at the Carnival by George Bellairs

Still reading:

How to Make the World Add Up by Tim Harford*

The Language of Bees by Laurie R King

Bonus photo: I am nothing if not ambitious, so I’ve decided to commit and try and read all the Inspector Littlejohn books. I’m already at 20 out of 57 so it’s less daunting than it could have been, but I also haven’t done any searching to see how easy they all are to find. Wish me luck…

A list of Inspector Littlejohn books with the ones I've read ticked off.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley

book round-ups, Recommendsday

Recommendsday: July 2021 Mini Reviews

Here we go – another month, another batch of books that I wanted to talk about but didn’t have quite enough to say about to give them a post all to themselves. There’s romance, comedy, adventure and history here – so a nice mix.

Surfeit of Suspects by George Bellairs

Cover of Surfeit of Suspects

I picked a British Library Crime Classic for Book of the Week last week – and this is another cracker. It was actually a close call for BotW this week, but I thought I might look too one note (not that that’s ever bothered me before). A Surfeit of Suspects is the 41st (!) book in the Inspector Littlejohn series, and concerns an explosion at a joinery company, that kills three of the company’s directors. The company itself is teetering on the brink of insolvency and there is a suspicion that the explosion may have been an insurance job on a rather spectacular scale. But why would the firm have had any dynamite to explode if it hadn’t been planted there. And why had the previously profitable firm fallen so far? There is potential fraud and corruption, but also personal rivalries and love affairs. There’s also a lot of focus on the local banking eco-system – which as Bellairs had worked in a bank, he was very well placed to write. And despite the fact that banking has changed a lot in the fifty plus years since this was published, it’s all easy to follow – and actually quite informative for those of us who have grown up in the era of big banking chains. Oh and it’s a good solution too. I got it on Kindle Unlimited, but it’s also available in paperback.

The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst*

Cover of The Lock In

I keep talking about the summer reading post (I promise it is coming) and this was a contender for that, but it’s a little too domestic for a sunlounger read. Or at least it is for me, so I’m writing about it here instead. Ellen, Alexa and Jack are housemates. They’re also locked in their attic on a Saturday morning, with terrible hangovers and Alexa’s Hinge date from the night before. Why are they locked in the attic? Well the kitchen is flooding and they were looking for the way to switch off the water when the handle broke off the attic door. They only have one phone – and it’s Jacks that’s very low on battery and the signal is poor. But he’s mostly live tweeting the situation. Ben and Alexa are getting to know each other, and Ellen is becoming convinced that she’s met Ben before.  Will they get out? Will they still be friends when they do – and will they survive the wrath of their landlord? I think I’m a little too old for this – I did my dating before apps were a thing – but this is a funny portrait of possibly the worst hangover ever. I was sort of expecting more romance, but it’s much more of a comedy than it is a romantic comedy. Worth a look. Newly out this summer – should be fairly easy to get hold of.

The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters

Paperback copy of The Camelot Caper

This one is probably only worth a look for Elizabeth Peters completists. This is from the very late 1960s and is interesting because it’s sometimes listed as a prequel to the Vicky Bliss series. It’s much less connected to that than that makes it seem – basically the connection is to “Sir John Smythe” in a way that I can’t reveal without giving some big old spoilers for Vicky Bliss. And it’s quite a minor connection – so don’t go into this expecting lots of him. And if you’ve not read Vicky Bliss (or Amelia Peabody to which its even more tenuously linked) then it’s just a late 1960s thriller-slash-cozy-mystery with no murder but a lot of chasing around Britain by an American Tourist, who is being hunted down by mysterious thugs, and the charming Brit who is helping her out. Your mileage on that may vary. I’m glad I read it, but if I’d read it first, I probably wouldn’t have read the rest of the Vicky Bliss series, and that would have been a shame. Second-hand only, and no ebook.

Hellions Waltz by Olivia Waite

 Cover of The Hellions Waltz

Sophie’s family has moved to a new town to start over after they were taken in by a conman who ruined their business. Maddie is busy planning to ruin the draper who has been cheating and defrauding the local weavers for years. When recently cheated Sophie sees that Maddie has some sort of con going on, she starts to investigate. And of course the only thing for Maddie to do to distract her is seduce. And it all goes on from there. The middle book in this trilogy, The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows was a BotW pick here earlier this year, but be aware the connection between three books is looser than you usually see in romance series – there’s barely any mention of the previous leads, and there was nothing in the previous book to mark out who was going to feature in the next (if you know what I mean) or if there was it was so subtle that I missed it. The link between them is women with a craft or a passion – in this case a musician and a silk weaver. But this was a fun read – I liked all the details about the various pianos and about the silk reading, and the denouement – although fast – is satisfying.

Meet the Georgians by Robert Peel*

Cover of Meet the Georgians
I’m including this one in here because I think if you don’t know anything about the Georgians, this would be a good introduction to some of the characters in it – and also to the idea that the Victorians were the prudish ones and that life before that was much more interesting/racy! For me (degree in history in which I mostly did post 1700 stuff in Britain, France and wider Europe) there wasn’t a lot new here. But that said: I like the idea, and the choices of who to feature are good because the people are fascinating, but the writing style is strangely uneven – at times it feels like the author is wants to emulate Greg Jenner‘s chatty informal style but is trying to hard and it’s only in patches before it reverts to something more standard for a history book. It’s still very accessibly written in the rest of it, but it has these weird bits where it all sounds a bit “how do you do fellow kids”. For me, the introduction also spoilt a bit of the fun/mystery of finding out who the people were – a lot of the key details were in there. Thinking about it, it’s a bit like a history essay in book form: here is my theory, here is the evidence for my theory, here is my conclusion with a reminder of my theory and a look ahead. Additionally the cover is a bit out of step with the audience I feel like it’s trying for. Great idea and if you’re a newbie to the era, it will probably work better for you than it did for me!

 

In case you missed any of them, the Books of the Week posts in July were Empire of Pain, The Guncle, Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light and Smallbone Deceased. And finally, just to complete the link-fest, here are the links to the mini reviews from January, February, March, April, May and June.

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week, crime, detective, Forgotten books

Book of the Week: Black Plumes

Another week, another classic crime Book of the Week pick. And this time it’s a Margery Allingham that’s *not* an Albert Campion. On to that in a second, but first a reminder that there will be Mini Reviews tomorrow, and that if you missed the July Stats you can find them here.

Black Plumes starts with the slashing of a painting at a prestigious art gallery. Then the owner’s son-in-law is murdered. At the centre of the mystery is 90-year-old Gabrielle Ivory, formerly a society beauty, now side-lined by the younger generation who think she’s past it. But as the mystery develops it becomes clear that she may know more than they think she does – and she’s not going to let them ignore the threat to the gallery and chalk it up as a practical joker – even if there is a risk that the person behind them may be rather close to home.

This is a clever and atmospheric murder mystery. There are a lot of unlikeable characters in this, but also a lot of suspects – not all of whom are the unlikeable ones! You see this story mostly by following Frances, youngest of the Ivorys. At the start of the book her brother-in-law is pressuring her to marry the unpleasant co-owner of the gallery and artist and family friend, David Field, proposed a fake engagement to her as a way of getting out of it. Frances is convinced that something is wrong at the gallery but her concerns are dismissed by other members of the family – even after the murder has happened. David – whose painting is the one that is slashed at the start of the novel – is one of the only people who listens to her, but he is a bit of a rogue and some of the clues seem to point at him. I really enjoyed it – and if you haven’t read any Allingham before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start – especially as the Campion series takes a while to settle in, which can make it tricky for people who like to start series at the beginning.

My copy came from Kindle Unlimited but it’s also available to buy on Kindle where they also have a modern paperback edition, which Foyles also has available to order but not in store pickup. This was originally published in 1940 so there are likely to be second hand copies around – but I can see from some reviews mention of racially offensive language, which as I didn’t notice it in my Kindle edition has presumably been edited out in the newer versions but which will be in old editions

Happy Reading!