Given my lack of non-bookish blog posting I’m going to try to attempt random posts about stuff on my mind. I’ve mentioned before that I miss the old style blogging that was akin to a journal or keeping a diary. I realise it’s often of interest to no one but me, although I do dip in and out of others who blog daily (such as House Goes Home) and enjoy it. I often tend to jot ideas into my phone and never do anything with them. Or I start a blog post but realise either: I can’t sustain a whole post on such an inconsequential subject; and/or my topic is entirely pointless or of no interest to anyone other than me.
For reasons unknown I hadn’t read 1979 by Val McDermid when its sequel, 1989 arrived. I think perhaps I was a bit put-off by any mention of the IRA or money laundering and the like, as political and/or white collar crimes don’t really interest me much. (And no… I’m not sure why.)
I was weirdly nervous on going into this book. Almost reluctant even. Firstly because Jo Tracey is a friend of mine. We met online and now meet in person fairly regularly and she feels like my most kindred spirit in a writing / creative way. And then there’s the fact that I’ve had a sneak peek at this book already. Which meant this was a re-read and even though it was many months ago, I worried I’d struggle to re-read it so soon.
I needn’t have stressed though because I surprised myself by becoming incredibly absorbed in Philly’s world – reading most of it in a sitting, despite not planning to do so… and only putting it aside as it was getting late and I really needed to rescue my dinner from the oven.
I’m not shy in sharing my antipathy towards historical fiction. If I read a synopsis and the book is set before 1960(ish) I put it aside.* Worse still novels about events from centuries ago. Perhaps that’ll change at some point. I know my taste has changed over the past couple of decades so maybe I’ll become a reader of historical non-fiction or fantasy novels at some point. Or maybe not.
Although I love Agatha Christie I’ve avoided popular series by Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill (and others) because I’ve assumed I’d feel the same about historical crime fiction. However, after seeing some glowing reviews of Kirsty Manning’s latest release The Paris Mystery, I thought I should dive on in… particularly because it’s the first in a series – testing the waters or something.
It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Agatha Christie – in particular all-things-Miss Marple who is my favourite Christie crime-solver (followed by Poirot and very distantly by the Beresfords). I’ve written before also about my favourite Miss Marple actress who (despite my usual lack of visual-ness) I ‘picture’ when I think of Miss Marple.
Anyhoo, like everything it seems… everything old is new again and several well-known authors have contributed to an anthology featuring my very favourite female detective.
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.
The Sirens Sing by Kristel Thornell unfolds in two timeframes. Unlike most dual timeline books however, the two aren’t intertwined or shared concurrently. Rather – in the first half of the book, set in 1991-1993, Thornell focuses her attention on David, finishing school and preparing to go to University. For us his story starts when he befriends Heather, a year younger but with whom he shares similar interests and a passion and aptitude for the Italian language. The second half of the book takes us back to 1960s – 1970s during which we spend time with David’s mother Janet (Jan) when she’s David’s age.
The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman is the latest in the very popular ‘Thursday Murder Club’ series, featuring the elderly residents of Coopers Chase. It’s tremendously good fun. Mostly cosy crime with a few mobsters and murders thrown in. This latest is probably a little more far-fetched than its predecessors, but the series is pure escapism so I try not to think too much about the feasibility of 70 or 80-somethings gadding about after armed and well-connected criminals.
My Darling Daughter is the fifth book written by Tony Strong under the pseudonym of JP Delaney and I’ve (now) read and enjoyed all five. They lean strongly to domestic noir, featuring secrets kept between partners or husbands and wives and challenging relationships to breaking point. They’re also consistently clever and offer a number of twists and surprises so readers generally need to be prepared to strap themselves in.