- Martin Edwards (editor) - A Surprise For Christmas. Short Crime Stories. A British Library Crime Classic (Published 2020) A range of short stories dating from the first half of the C20.
- Jan Morris - In My Minds Eye: A Thought Diary. Non Fiction. (Published 2018) A daily diary of her thoughts through 2017
- Julian Symons - The Progress of a Crime.Crime Fiction (Published 2020 British Library Crime Classic Originally Published 1960). Based on a true story. This story of a crime which many people saw happen but no one quite knows who did it.
- Dorothy Evelyn Smith - O The Brave Music. Fiction. From The British Library Women Writers Series (Published 2020 Originally Published 1943) Ruan Ashley looks back at her childhood before the first World War. Her young life as the daughter of a Strict Non-conformist Minister, later at her mothers ancestral home and in the background always the moors above the town, the love of kind Rosie and always David , six years older but the one person who understands her.
- Mike Hollow - The Blitz Detective. Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2015) A new to me author as his books have just been re-printed (2020) with new titles and covers. A man's body is discovered in an unmarked van in London and when DI John Jago is called to the scene he recognises the victim as Charles Villiers a local Justice of the Peace. Unfortunately this is the start of the Blitz and a German bomb destroys the van and any evidence.
- Peter Shaffer - The Woman in the Wardrobe. Crime Fiction(Published 2020 BLCC Originally Published 1951). A very strange tale of an amateur detective helping the police sort out a crime in a seaside hotel. Very Poor I thought.
- Anne Perry - Death With a Double Edge. Historical Crime Fiction. (Published 2020) Set in the years before WWI , this is the 4th in her series featuring young lawyer Daniel Pitt the son of Thomas Pitt, the head of special branch who was the main character in a previous long series. These are always well written with a good story line.
7 Books Read in January
- Lissa Evans - V for Victory. Fiction (Published 2020). This picks up the story started in Crooked Heart. Set in wartime London with Noel now 15 still with his "auntie" looking after several lodgers in a house that isn't hers .I've read 3 of her books set in wartime including "Their Finest Hour and a Half" which was made into the film "Their Finest"
- Mary Kelly - The Spoilt Kill. Crime Fiction ( British Library Crime Classic 2020 Originally Published 1961). Written in the first person by Hedley Nicholson a private investigator called in to find out who is leaking designs from the long established pottery of Shentalls . Then a body is found in the liquid clay vat.
- Rennie Airth - The Decent Inn of Death. Crime Fiction (Published 2020). The 6th in a series featuring John Madden, now a retired Police Inspector. This is set in the early1950s.
Only 3 Books Read in February
- Elizabeth Fair - Landscape in Sunlight. Fiction (A Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint 2017 Originally Published 1953). Life in the village of Little Mallin is dominated in summer by preparations for the August Church Fete. The vicars wife - Mrs Custance is in charge but her life is complicated by Mrs Midge and her son Lucan - who really should have gone back to London after the war, and her daughter Cassandra who she would like to see happily married.
- Andrew Wilson - I Saw him Die. Crime Fiction. (Published 2020). The 4th in a series featuring Agatha Christie solving a crime in between writing her own books. In this one she is taking a holiday with her daughter on the Isle of Skye before her wedding to Max Mallowen - something that actually happened. Except in the book she has been asked to help the owner of a big house find out who is planning to kill him - there are many suspects.
- Richard Osman - The Thursday Murder Club. Crime Fiction (Published 2020). If you want a serious police procedural story then don't bother with this but if you're prepared to suspend reality of how the police work then it's just a bit of fun. The four residents of Coopers Chase Retirement Village are of various ages and backgrounds and meet on Thursdays bringing different areas of expertise when looking at old unsolved crimes. When a murder happens right there in the Coopers Chase the club soon acquire a couple of tame police officers to help them solve the crime and when a second murder happens it all gets very complicated.
- Alexander McCall Smith - How to Raise an Elephant. Crime Fiction.(Published 2020). Another in this long series about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and set in sunny Botswana. Things are very quiet at the Agency but then Mma Ramotswe has a visit from a distant relative, new neighbours move in and strange damage occurs to her little white van. This was a quick read and very light reading with no crime this time.
- Elly Griffiths - The Postscript Murders. Crime Fiction. (Published 2021) The second in a new series featuring DS Harbinder Kaur and set in Sussex. A very good story in which the carer of a 90 year old lady doesn't believe her death was natural and involves another occupant of the old peoples flats, her friend from the coffee shop and also Harbinder in sorting out the mystery.
- Robert Harris - V2. Fiction (Published 2020). The
book is based on fact and set over 5 days in November 1944 and begins on the Dutch coast, in an area still held by the Germans.
It's from this spot in the forest that they have been firing the lethal
V2 rockets to destroy London. The story is mainly about Rudi Graf a
young German scientist whose interests in rockets for space travel
means he is soon involved in the building, testing and firing of the V2
rockets.In London an officer in the WAAF - Kay Caton-Walsh - finds herself surviving one of the rocket attacks while in the home of her lover. Almost immediately she joins a small team of WAAFs sent out to Belgium to help work out from where the V2 rockets are being fired.The last part of the jacket blurb says "But for every action on one side there is an equal and opposite reaction on the other. As the death toll soars, the separate stories of Graf and Kay ricochet off one another until,in a final explosion of violence, their destinies are forced together"Both find they have been lied to by those in charge.
- Chris Nickson - The Molten City. Crime Fiction.(Published 2020) Set in Leeds in 1908. There’s going to be a riot. Detective Superintendent Tom Harper can feel it. Herbert Asquith, the prime minster, is due to speak in the city. The suffragettes and the unemployed men will be out in the streets in protest. It’s Harper’s responsibility to keep order. Can he do it? Plus he's also received an anonymous letter claiming that a young boy called Andrew Sharp was stolen from his family fourteen years before. The file is worryingly thin. A missing child should have been headline news. Why was Andrew’s disappearance ignored?
- Cora Harrison - Death of a Prominent Citizen. Crime Fiction (Published 2020). This is the 7th in a series set in Ireland in the 1920s. The Reverend Mother has been summoned to her cousin's home - along with some other relatives - to find out what wealthy widow Charlotte Hendrick has decided to do with all her money when she dies. Next morning she is found dead.
8 Books Read in March
- Nap Lombard - Murder's a Swine. Crime Fiction (British Library Crime Classic 2021 Originally Published 1943). This is a witty, lighthearted murder set in London in the early years of WWII before bombing started. It reminded me of Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence mysteries. Nap Lombard was a pseudonym of Pamela Hansford Johnson and her then husband Gorden Neil Stewart who both served as Air Raid Wardens and this book starts with the discovery of a body behind sandbags in an air raid shelter.
- Chris Nickson - To The Dark. Crime Fiction. (Published 2020)All of this authors books are set in Leeds but in different periods. This is the 3rd featuring thief-taker Simon Westlow during the 1820's. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for
Simon and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence
Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river
at Flay Cross Mill.
- Julie Wassmer - Murder on the Downs. Crime Fiction. (Published 2020). The 7th in the Whitstable Pearl series. A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs. A campaign starts to stop the development but soon one person is dead. A Very Quick Read!
- Mike Hollow - The Custom House Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2017 and re-named and re-published in 2020) September 1940 and a month into the London Blitz this is the 3rd in a series featuring DI John Jago.
- Robin Blake - Secret Mischief. Crime Fiction (Published 2021). This is the 7th in a series of historical crime fiction set in the early 18C in Lancashire around the Preston area. It features the coroner for the area Titus Cragg and his friend Dr. Luke Fidelis . This story centres around a Tontine which is a way of leaving money to the "last man standing" from a group of friends.
- Anne Hart - Miss Marple; The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple. Fictional Biography. (Published 1986). Using all the Agatha Christie short and longer stories featuring Miss Marple, Anne Hart collects together all the pieces of information to provide a 'biography' of the crime solving sleuth. A small book - quickly read.
- Barbara Whitton - Green Hands. Fiction. (And IWM reprint . Originally published 1943) This fictional account of two Land Girls working hard on farms in 1943. The author worked as a Land Girl in 1939.
- Mike Hollow - The Stratford Murder. Crime Fiction (Published as Firing Line in 2018. Renamed and re-printed in 2020). The 4th in a series set in The London Blitz and featuring DI John Jago.