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

The Week in Books: September 13 – September 19

Lots of interesting reading last week. Not quite sure what I’m going to write about tomorrow yet either!

Read:

Misfits by Michaela Coel*

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell*

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Death Treads Softly by George Bellairs

Yes, And by Kristi Coulter

Started:

Traitor King by Andrew Lownie

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman*

Death in High Provence by George Bellairs

Still reading:

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

A little Kindle buying spree and a couple of physical books too. But that’s ok. It happens!

Bonus photo: a Tuesday night theatre trip! Only my second show back but it was wonderful on all counts

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, Forgotten books, mystery

Book of the Week: The Secret of High Eldersham

Back with another murder mystery again this week. It’s another British Crime Classic, but it’s a new to me author so that makes variety right?!

Scotland Yard are called in to investigate the murder of the landlord of a pub in an East Anglian village known for its insular nature and hostility to outsiders. Samuel Whitehead was a stranger to the neighbourhood, but somehow he seemed to be making a reasonable go of it – right up until the point that someone stabbed him in is own bar around closing time one night. Detective Inspector Young is struggling to make inroads in the case, so he calls on a friend and amateur sleuth, Desmond Merrion, to help him solve the murder.

This is the first book by Miles Burton that I’ve read, but it has a number of recognisable Golden Age crime tropes – east Anglia and it’s villages being a bit strange (see also: a fair few Margery Allinghams, but particularly Sweet Danger, Sayers’ The Nine Tailors, the Inspector Littlejohn I read the other week) and of course the gentleman amateur detective. Burton’s Merrion has a military background – but this time it’s the navy, which is useful because there is a lot of sailing in this plot. It’s a bit uneven in places – the focus of the narrative switches abruptly to Merrion from Young, Mavis the love interest is a little bit of a one dimensional Not Like Other Girls character and the secret is, well. But if you’ve read a lot these sort of classic murder mysteries it’s worth a look – to see how someone different tackles all these things. I would read some more of these – partly just to find out what Merrion turns into and see if he evolves the way that some of the other similar characters did (but particularly Campion). The British Crime Library have republished at least one other of these so I’ll keep an eye out.

My copy of The Secret of High Eldersham came via Kindle Unlimited, but it’s also available as a paperback – which you can buy direct from the British Library bookshop as well as the usual sources.

Happy Reading!

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

The Week in Books: September 6 – September 12

Another busy week (do I have anything but busy weeks these days?) but some interesting reading – some of which I’ve already told you about!

Read:

Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

The God of the Hive by Laurie R King

Beekeeping for Beginners by Laurie R King

The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton

Before Her by Jacqueline Woodson

Parable by Jess Walter

A Wedding Thing by Shea Serrano with Laramie Serrano

Started:

Misfits by Michaela Coel*

Death Treads Softly by George Bellairs

Still reading:

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell*

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

After last week’s splurge I have been very well behaved and haven’t bought anything else!

Bonus photo: Another day out at the racetrack… this time for British Superbikes

British Superbikes racing

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, fiction, historical

Book of the Week: The Chelsea Girls

Yes I finished this on Monday. So yes, I’m cheating for the second week in a row. I make the rules, so I can break them if I want to. Anyway, you should all just be glad that I didn’t pick another mystery!

Maxine and Hazel meet on a USO tour in the last months of the Second World War. They meet again in New York in the 1950s when Maxine is an up and coming film star and Hazel is an aspiring playwright. Both living in the famous Chelsea Hotel, soon they’re working together on Hazel’s first play which is going to be staged on Broadway. But the red scare is well underway and the production and their careers are threatened by the witch hunt for communists turning its attention to the entertainment industry. As the pressure starts to build what will happen to the women and their friendship?

The Chelsea Girls follows a twenty year friendship between two women forged through a trauma in Italy, through the ups and downs of their careers. They’re both engaging and intriguing characters – Hazel’s mother is always comparing her to her brother who was killed in the war and finding her lacking, while Maxine is using the theatre to build a better life for her and her German immigrant grandmother. And as the red scare comes to Broadway, they both find themselves in the spotlight because of the actions of Hazel’s brother years before. And as well as being tense it’s also a wonderful portrait of the Chelsea Hotel – famously home to artists and bohemians, it becomes Hazel and Maxine’s refuge as they battle the outside forces trying to tear their lives apart.

I’ve been wanting to read this for ages. It came out two years ago and it’s been on my want to read list for about that long – so I’ve no idea where I even heard about it to start with. I read one of Fiona Davis’s other books a year or two back and liked the idea but didn’t love the execution, but this one really worked for me. It took me a day or two to properly get into it, but then I read 200 pages at a sitting because I wanted to see where it was going. I am fascinated with Old Hollywood, in fiction and non-fiction and this lives adjacent to that. I’ve written about some other books in this area before (like Trumbo and Karina Longworth’s Seduction) and this fitted right in to my wheelhouse. Well worth a look.

My copy came from the library, but it’s available now on Kindle and Kobo (and at time of writing is slightly cheaper on Kobo) as well as in paperback, although I’m not sure how easy that will be to get hold of in store – Foyles have stock to order, but not to click and collect.

Happy Reading!

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

The Week in Books: August 30 – September 5

This list looks a little deceptive – because all of those Mindy Kalings are Kindle single Essays that form one single collection – there are six in all and two were on last week’s list. I nearly just put them on here once as a whole – but they count individually in the good reads list so it would throw my whole count out for the year (unless I start keeping separate lists, and we all know that’s not going to happen). Lots of time last week spent reading The Cult of We – which is long and non fiction which always takes me longer, even in times when I’m not mostly drawn to reading mystery novels! And just to recap in case you missed it – we had the mini reviews last week, as well as the stats and all the usual stuff.

Read:

Death at Dukes Halt by Derek Farrell

Please Like Me by Mindy Kaling

Help is on the Way by Mindy Kaling

Searching for Coach Taylor by Mindy Kaling

Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake by Mindy Kaling

The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

A Knife for Harry Dodd by George Bellairs

Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

Started:

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Still reading:

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

The God of the Hive by Laurie R King

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell*

I went into town on Saturday between getting my brows weeded and my hair done and I accidentally bought four books. What a pity…

Bonus photo: The aforementioned book haul…

Four books on a desk

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

 

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

The Week in Books: August 23 – August 29

We’re nearly at the end of August, so this week there’ll be the usual stuff as well as the monthly stats, and the mini reviews. And in case you missed it last week, I threw in a bonus post for you all ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend. I spent most of my bank holiday weekend watching the world’s best motorbike racers at Silverstone, which probably accounts for the fact that I didn’t realise that I was on such an Inspector Littlejohn streak until I came to put this post together. Whoopsadaisy.

Read:

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers

The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs

Murder Will Speak by George Bellairs

Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs

Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs

The Illegal by Gordon Correra

Kind of Hindu by Mindy Kaling

Started:

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

Still reading:

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz*

Death at Dukes Halt by Derek Farrell

The God of the Hive by Laurie R King

The Cult of We by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell*

Bonus photo: It’s pretty much impossible to get a good photo of a motorbike going at speed on a phone. So instead, here is a picture of the GOAT of motorbike racing, Valentino Rossi, on the cool down lap in front of his fan grandstands, complete with a Rossi flag. It’s not great, but I was too busy enjoying the moment (and the weekend to be honest) to get anything better!

Valentino Rossi on the cool down lap

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

 

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

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