We’re very much accustomed to books being adapted for television but the opposite – books appearing as a result of popular television shows or movies – is less common. Though we did have the pleasure last year of a Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mystery (in print) following the success of that TV series. And more recently the book Heat 2 has been released, complementing the popular 1995 film (Heat). Here, well-known television producer and screenwriter Roger Simpson has adapted his iconic series Halifax fp, from the small screen onto the page.
I ADORED Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley giving it a rare 4.5 stars. It was astoundingly clever and such a delight. Rowley wrote with humour and sensitivity and – though not a dog / animal lover – I was completely enchanted by Ted the human and Lily the dachshund. (And, sadly… the octopus that ‘consumed’ her.)
I leapt at the chance to read The Guncle. The blurb had me wondering if it’d be like RWR McDonald’s wonderful ‘The Nancys’ series… featuring Uncle Pike and his partner Devon… albeit without the whodunnit.
Oft-referenced advice to wannabe authors is to ‘write what you know’ and Australian author Nicola West has most certainly done that in her debut novel, Catch Us The Foxes.
This is a book within a book. Kind-of. There’s a brief introduction in the present before we’re introduced to The Showgirl’s Secret, a true crime book written by (former) journalist intern Marlowe Robertson. ‘Lo’ is the daughter of the town’s head of police who feels stuck in her small hometown and literally stumbles across the body of a friend. In real life, West grew up in Kiama – the book’s setting – as the daughter of a police officer and is a journalist herself.
I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl when it was released in 2018 and her subsequent novel of suspense The Strangers We Know the following year. Both feature flawed but engaging narrators and relationships-gone-bad, with themes around trust and disappointment.
The Paris Affair initially had me comparing it to Netflix’s Emily in Paris, given there’s a slightly similar feel to the early pages with a confident and ambitious Harper heading off to Paris to work for an English-language French publication. When we meet her she’s keen to wow the world but struggling to find her feet professionally.
Here however, we’ve got the added bonus of a murder. So, Emily in Paris meets The Girl on the Train. Perhaps.
The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish is the type of book that throws in an extra twist, just as you think you have things worked out.
In many ways it felt as if the narrative was ‘finished’ a number of times before it was. I kept looking at how many more pages remained wondering how on earth Candlish would eke the book out further. But… it’s because she takes the story in several directions we don’t expect… though wonder later how we didn’t predict their occurrence.
I really loved Anstey Harris’s The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, released in early 2019. It is an understated book. If I wanted to sound wanky I’d say it’s about the human condition. Or perhaps it’s about all of those things that happen in our lives that make us the people we are. That make us ‘why’ we are.
The Museum of Forgotten Memories offers something quite different. Again though there’s some quirk, past secrets and a focus on relationships.
Interestingly I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl, while travelling home from Italy last October. It’s typical of me, but I’ve included reference to my Emirates meal in the review, which in retrospect is kinda weird. Happily however, I enjoyed the book (far more than the meal) and it seems, though I thought I knew what was going to happen, it didn’t quite play out like that.