Books Read 2023


  • D.E.Stevenson - Young Mrs Savage. Fiction. ( A DSP/Furrowed Middlebrow reprint published 2022. Originally published 1947) A gentle story about a young widowed mother with 4 children. When her brother Dan returns from the war he suggests Dinah and the children have a holiday in their old family home, which is now a boarding house run by their old Nannie. This is really a Summer holiday story about Dinah meeting up with people she knew when they were young, the children's adventures on the beach and finding someone who she can love.
  • Mike Hollow - The Camden Murder. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) This is the 7th in the Blitz Detective series featuring DI John Jago and set in 1940's London. A man is found in a burning car but had died before the fire started. The victim is a commercial traveller for a chocolate company But he is soon found to have lots of secrets in his life.
  • Ronald Blythe - Next to Nature; A Lifetime in the English Countryside. Non Fiction (Published 2022) The very last book to be published by this author prior to his death on the 14th January 2023. This is a collection of some of his earlier articles for the Church Times all about his life in the church as a Lay Reader, his home at Bottomgoms Farm on the Suffolk Essex border and the countryside around. Beautifully written as always.
  • Rev. Richard Coles  - Murder Before Evensong. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) First novel by this author. Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton. When he announces plans to remove pews to make room for a toilet in the church the parish is divided and then there is a murder. Is there a connection or is the reason for this brutal killing somewhere in the past.
  • Nancy Campbell -  Thunderstone. Non Fiction. (Published 2022) Subtitled 'A true story of losing one home and discovering another.' This is Nancy's story of the pandemic year when her relationship with her partner Anna was breaking down and then Anna has a stroke and Nancy stays to look after her before then finding an old caravan to live in and towing it to a spot beside the canal and the railway on the edge of Oxford. An odd story of someone who has been a quite successful author and has mainly written travel books and finds having to stay in one place very difficult. ( A Thunderstone is a fossilised sea urchin).
  • D.E.Stevenson - Listening Valley. Fiction (Published 1944) Tonia has lived all her life in the quiet Scottish countryside looked after by a Nannie and ignored by her parents she can't imagine living anywhere else. But when her  older sister gets married and moves away, Tonia begins to wonder if there aren't bigger things on the horizon for her too. Marriage to a much older man and World War II take her to London but tragedy sends her back to Scotland and at last a home of her own that she loves. A typical Stevenson story but being written as the war unfolded and before the outcome was known makes it interesting.
  • Donna Leon - Through a Glass, Darkly. Crime Fiction. (Published 2006). One of the early Brunnetti crime stories set in Venice. The polluting glass foundries of Murano have been targeted by eco-warriors. Then one of their workers is found dead - killed by the excess heat from a kiln.
  • Alexander McCall Smith - The Forgotten Affairs of Youth. Fiction.(Published 2011). This is the 8th in a series featuring philosopher Isobel Dalhousie. It's the last of those I'd found second hand to read sometime. Once again Isobel is asked to interfere in something, that doesn't always have a happy ending. I shan't read anymore of these - they are all very similar.
  • Thomas Firbank -  I bought a Mountain. Non Fiction (Originally Published 1940. New edition 2022) The story of how a young man returned from Canada in 1931, bought a hill farm with sheep in North Wales and farmed there for many years with all sorts of adventures. This was a re-read for me from about 45 years ago.
  • E.C.R. Lorac - Death of an Author. Crime Fiction. ( British Library Crime Classic Published 2023 Originally Published 1935). Vivian Lestrange is a well known author of a mystery book but he's a total recluse. The only people who've seen him are his house keeper and his secretary. When he suddenly vanishes Inspector Bond and Chief Inspector Warner don't know what to believe and later a burned body in a remote part of the countryside seems to have a connection. This is the 9th by this author that BLCC have reprinted, one of their best authors and this title has been out of print since it's first edition. A very good story.
10 Books read in January........
3 Non Fiction
3 Recently Written Crime Fiction
1 Old Crime Fiction (pre 1960)
3 Fiction

  • D.E.Stevenson - Charlotte Fairlie. Fiction. (DSP reprint 2022. Originally Published 1954.) Charlotte Fairlie is head of a girls boarding school, a job she loves but a lonely position. Her life changes when Tessa MacRynne, a girl from a Scottish Island, joins the school her mother asks Charlotte to look after her as sometime in the future she would need someone to talk to.  Out of print since the 1970s this is one of D.E.Stevensons gentle stories.
  • Sara Sheridan - London Calling. Crime Fiction (Published 2013) Set in 1950s London and Brighton this is the second of a light series by this author featuring Mirabelle Bevan who had worked for the Secret Service during the war but now runs a debt collecting agency, but seems to get involved in all sorts of police investigations . I hadn't heard of this author  and picked up the book at a book sale but the library do have several more which I may read. Labelled as "Cosy Crime Noir"
  • Norman Thelwell - A Millstone Round My Neck. Non Fiction(Published 1981) Thelwell was an author, landscape artist, cartoonist and illustrator best know for his books of pony cartoons. He was very interested in architecture and old buildings and in the late 1960's he and his wife bought Addicroft Mill near Liskeard in Cornwall, an old disused water mill, mill house and some derelict cottages, for £4,250. In the book the mill is called Penruin.They spent several years restoring first the mill house and then the mill. The book tells the story of the restoration, the unhelpful builders and the awful weather. All complemented by his line drawings. By the time the book was published in 1981 they had already sold the mill and house and bought and restored a house in Hampshire, which he wrote about in 'A Plank Bridge by a Pool' published in 1978.
  • Elizabeth West - A Patch in the Forest. Non Fiction. (Published 2001) This was a re-read. After several years in suburbia following their move away from North Wales Elizabeth and Alan West retired to an old cottage in the Forest of Dean. This short book is about their garden and the wildlife they see around.
  • Ann Cleeves - The Rising Tide. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022). This is the 10th in the Vera Stanhope series (although there have been many more TV programmes made). Much of this story is set on Lindisfarne, the island reached by a causeway from the Northumbrian mainland. Friends who went there on a school trip return every five years  for a reunion and now they are almost at retiring age.  Soon there is a murder that looks like a suicide but is the reason a modern one or something from a hidden past. Excellent story as always.
  • Amy Jeffs -  Wild;Tales From Medieval Britain. Non Fiction(Published 2022). Classed as Non fiction but really is fiction as these are stories taken from early Medieval texts and manuscripts. Poems are translated at the end of the book. The stories show the way people of that time looked at and understood the world around them before science took over.
  • Jim Eldridge - Murder at Aldwych Station. Crime Fiction (Published 2022) Another by this author featuring Detective Chief Inspector Coburg and set in London during the blitz. Bodies keep appearing in a disused underground tunnel and it all seems connected to a Jazz Club and Coburg's pianist wife Rose has often played there and knows the owner - this puts her in danger when she goes to ask questions.
  • S.J. Bennett - Murder Most Royal. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) This  is the 3rd in the "Her Majesty the Queen Investigates" series. With the help of her trusted Personal Assistant Rozie once again the Queen is quietly investigating a murder. This time a severed hand turns up on Snettisham beach very close to Sandringham where the Queen is spending Christmas. The Queen recognises the signet ring on the hand as being the relative of the owner of the neighbouring Norfolk Estate.
  • J.R.Ellis - The Royal Baths Murder. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019). New to me author but this is the 4th in a series set in Yorkshire. This one takes place in Harrogate.  A famous crime writer is found murdered at the Victorian baths in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate during the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. When DCI Holroyd starts to investigate it seems Damian Penrose was the most hated crime writer around and it seems to almost be a 'locked room' mystery.
  • W.F.Harvey - The Mysterious Mr Badman. Crime Fiction.(British Library Crime Classic Published 2022. Originally Published 1934).Athelstan Digby is on holiday in lodgings while visiting his nephew and agrees to look after the ground floor old bookshop while his host is away. On the first day a vicar, a chauffeur and an out-of-town stranger all come into the shop asking about a book ' Death of Mr Badman' . But then a copy of this mysterious book arrives in the shop in a bundle of books brought in to sell. But just a day later the book is stolen. This is the start of a very complicated mystery, soon involving a ruthless murder.                                                      This book has been out of print since it's first printing in a limited run in 1934.
  • Julie Wassmer- Murder in Mount Ephraim. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) This is the 9th in a series which features Pearl Nolan - a restaurant owner and private investigator and her Fiance Detective Chief Inspector Mike Nolan. Someone staying at Mount Ephraim house ready for a wedding has murdered the groom on the night before his wedding. Pearl is one of the guests in this 'closed house' murder. I found it a very poor read - bordering on silly!
  • Willa Catha- O' Pioneers!. Fiction (Published 1913) A novel about Nebraska and the early settlers who came from Sweden at the end of the 19th century and the struggles they had with inhospitable land. The main character is Alexandra Bergson, who is left to look after the farm with her three brothers when their father dies young.
  • Chris Nickson - A Dark Steel Death. Crime Fiction (Published 2022). The 10th in a series that is following Tom Harper in the Leeds Police Force from the end of the C19. It is now 1916 and wartime. Soldiers returning from the front with injuries often have severe mental health problems and one seems to be causing chaos all around the city.

2 Fiction 
7 Recently Written Crime Fiction
3 Non Fiction 
1 Old Crime Fiction (pre 1960)

13 Books read in February


  • Cecily Gayford - Editor - Murder in the Falling Snow. Crime Fiction Short Stories(Published 2022) A collection of short crime stories dating from Conan Doyle up to the 1960's. These are all set in winter. A quick read. Some stories were very odd.
  • Anthony Horowitz - The Twist of a Knife. Crime Fiction (Published 2022) This is the 4th book in which Horowitz  writes himself into the book as one of the main characters. He is again helping Daniel Hawthorne who is a private investigator but this time it's Horowitz himself who is accused of the crime of murder. The woman killed is a critic who has written a very critical piece about his latest play. A excellent story where it becomes difficult to decide between fact and fiction.
  • Christopher Stocks with Illustrations by Angie Lewin. - The Book of Pebbles. Non Fiction. (Published 2020) A small book about the pebbles and stones found on our beaches around the coast. Angie Lewin is a print maker who uses items from the natural world in her prints and engravings.
  • Stella Gibbons - Enbury Heath. Fiction (Published 1935). Siblings Sophia, Harry and Francis have lost both parents in the last six months. They come from a difficult background with a father who had great variations in moods. When they decide to set up home together it doesn't always go well. 
  • Anthony Berkeley - The Silk Stocking Murders. Crime Fiction. (Published 1928). Roger Sheringham, the popular novelist and amateur detective is investigating the disappearance of a vicars daughter in London only to find she is already dead, found hanging by her own silk stocking. Then he hears of reports of similar deaths.
  • Oliver Darkshire - Once Upon a Tome. Non Fiction. (Published 2022) Oliver Darkshire had failed to hang onto a job for very long and after getting an apprenticeship at Henry Sotheran Ltd, Rare and Antiquarian Booksellers of Sackville Street (who had been trading since 1761) he expects to just stay for a year. However the eccentric staff and customers and the lure of finding a treasure, keep him there for several years. 
  • 12 Various Authors - Marple:Twelve New Stories. Crime Fiction Short Stories (Published 2022) 12 modern day women crime writers write new stories featuring Miss Marple. Val McDermid and Elly Griffiths are among the 12.
  • Candace Robb - A Fox in the Fold. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) Historical crime set in York in 1376. This is the 14th in a series featuring Owen Archer - a retired soldier no working for the sheriff. A stripped and bloody body is found on the road north of York - at first Owen thinks there may be a link to the arrival in town of the out of favour William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester.

2 Old Crime Fiction (1 Short stories)
2 Recently Written Crime Fiction (1 short stories)
2 Non Fiction
1 Fiction


















































































  1. Looking forward to seeing what you've read. You seem to have quite a pile of library books each month and some very different reads.

  2. I’ve waited with bated breath for Atwood’s sequel to the Handmaid’s Tale. Started reading The Testaments yesterday. I highly recommend it!!

  3. I've just read through your list to give me some idea of what to request from our local Click and Collect library van. Thanks very much. We do seem to have very similar tastes! Green Rabbit

  4. Sue, thanks so much for publishing your reading lists! I love your kind of books!💖

  5. This is an impressive list of books to have read - and its only half way through the year! Reading is such a pleasure though. As well as fiction and philosophy, I like to browse through nature guides too.