Books Read in 2020

JANUARY
  • Shaun Bythell - Confession of a Bookseller. Non-Fiction. (Published 2019) This is the second book by this author who owns the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland. Like the first it is a diary of all the strange people that come to the shop, the books they buy and the strange questions that get asked and about Wigtown characters and the Book Festival held there every year.
  • Alexander McCall Smith - To the Land of Long Lost Friends. Crime Fiction (Published 2019). The latest in the long running series about the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The blue skies of Botswana always warm up a British winter.
  • Kathleen Hewitt - Plenty Under the Counter. Crime Fiction(Re-printed by the IWM 2019. Originally Published 1943).The Imperial War Museum have also started reprinting books originally published during wartime. This is a mystery/crime featuring a RAF pilot on leave after being in hospital. A murdered man is found in the back yard of the boarding house  so David sets out to solve the murder in between trying to persuade his girlfriend to marry him.
  • John Dickson Carr - The Case of the Constant Suicides. Crime Fiction (Published 2018. Originally Published 1941). Another reprint from the past. John Dickson Carr was known in his day as the master of the impossible crime..........there is one in this story and 3 possible suicides! It features his amateur sleuth Gideon Fell and is set in the Highlands of Scotland.
  • Nicola Ford - The Lost Shrine. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019). The second from this author who herself is an archaeologist. Another story set on an archaeological dig. Clare Hills takes on a new job working on a dig where the previous site director was found hanged surrounded by dead wildlife. A suspected suicide which looks more likely to have been a murder after other threats are received.
  • Elizabeth Fair - The Mingham Air. Fiction. (A Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint 2019 Originally Published 1960). A gentle story of the characters in a village and  newcomer Hester who goes to convalesce with her Godmother and sets about organising everyone.
  • Mary Stewart - The Wind Off the Small Isles/The Lost One. Fiction Novella and short story. ( Originally published 1968 and 1960, reprinted 2014).A Quick read with both stories featuring the same young woman - intrepid survivor of cliff falls on Lanzarote and escaped prisoner on the Moors.
  • Laurie Ogden - The Chimney Swallows. Children's Fiction. (Published 1999). The author and his family live in an old house where swallows return every year to nest. One summer his son John has to spend a lot of time in bed and the swallows nest right inside his room. But then comes the year where the swallows don't return.
  • Richmal Crompton - Family Roundabout. Fiction. (A Persephone reprint originally published 1948) Richmal Crompton was must better known for a chidren's books about William. She also wrote many adult books. In Family Roundabout we are shown the matriarchs of two families, and the ups and downs of their children and grandchildren in the years between the wars.The families are linked by marriage and there are other marriages, none of which are straight-forward and happy. 
9 Books Read in January
FEBRUARY
  • Esther Rutter - This Golden Fleece; A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History. Non Fiction (Published 2019). Esther Rutter was born on a Suffolk sheep farm and learned to spin, weave and knit as a child. In this book she travels the length and breadth of the UK - from Shetland to the Channel Islands unearthing the history of all thing knitted, the wool they are made from and the communities that earned their living with wool. Even though I can only knit dishcloths I found this book fascinating.
  • Donna Leon - Unto us a Son is Given. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019). The most recent in the long series of books set in Venice and featuring Commissario Brunetti and his family. 
  • Marjorie Wilenski -  Table Two. Fiction. (Published 2019 Originally Published 1942). Another Dean St Press/Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint. Set in the London office of the Ministry of Foreign Intelligence in WWII with the Blitz going on all around. Table Two is where the translators work, nine women - some old and bitter but independent and capable. When pretty newcomer Anne Shepley-Rice arrives she is befriended by the middle aged Elsie.
  •  Michael Gilbert - Death in Captivity; A Second World War Mystery. Crime Fiction ( Published 2019 Originally published 1952.) Another Crime Classic from the British Library. This is set in an Italian Prisoner-of-war camp for British Officers. A man is found dead in one of the escape tunnels, it's an impossible scenario and one of the Officers turns detective to find out who the spy is. This is set at almost the end of the war and finishes with the British Prisoners preparing to flee south towards the British invasion line as the Germans arrive to take over the camp. 
  • Caroline Taggart - Christmas at War. Non Fiction (Published 2018). Memories of the food, presents, happiness and sadness of all the Christmases throughout the Second World War.From children in this country to prisoners of war.
  • D.E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim Gets a Job. Fiction (Published 2019 Originally 1947). The third in a series about Mrs Tim. Just after the war and Hester Christie's husband Tim is still overseas. With her daughter off to boarding school Hester is at a loose end until she gets a home and job with the formidable  Erica Clutterbuck who has opened a hotel in the Scottish Borders.
  • Kel Richards - The Sinister Student. Crime Fiction (Published 2016) Another book by this author set in 1930's Oxford with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. Apart from the main story this one goes into the realms of Sci-Fi with a Tardis appearing and a student coming back from the future to study the two dons - very odd.

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