- Susan Scarlett- Murder While You Work. Fiction. (Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint 2022. Originally Published 1944) The author is better know as Noel Streatfield, she used this pseudonym for twelve lighter romances. Set in wartime Judy Rest meets Nick Parsons while travelling on a slow train to her new job in a munitions factory. She is billeted with a family which seems to have some odd happenings. This is a murder mystery, romance and psychological story.
- George Bellairs - Death Spins the Wheel. Crime Fiction. (Published 1965) Inspector Littlejohn is visiting his friend on the Isle of Man when an elderly French Lady, who has been winning small sums at the newly opened island casino, is murdered. The story moves to France and Switzerland and back to the end of WWII and the French resistance.
- Tom Morton - In Shetland; Tales from the last bookshop. Non Fiction (Published 2017) Journalist and small bookshop owner Tom Morton writes about life in Shetland, the weather, the ocean and the people.
- Cecily Gayford - Editor. - Murder in the Falling Snow. Crime Fiction Short Stories.(Published 2022) A small book containing several short crime stories set in winter. Authors include Arthur Conan Doyle, Gladys Mitchell and Michael Innes.
- Josephine Bell - The Port of London Murders. Crime Fiction (BLCC Reprint 2020. Originally Published 1938). This is a really good portrayal of life in the docks of London before the war. It revolves around the families existing in the slums about to be demolished and starts with an accident that brings together residents June Harvey and Harry Reed and June's young brother Leslie.
- Lin Anderson - Deadly Code. Crime Fiction. (Published 2005) Forensic Scientist Rhona MacLeod is sent to the Isle of Skye after the grisly find of a decomposing foot in a fishermans net. But straight away the Ministry of Defence want the whole matter kept secret. This story is about scientists, murder and a young boys secret life.
- Anne Perry - A Christmas Vanishing. Crime Fiction Novella. (Published 2023) Mariah Ellison has a planned visit to stay with her friend Sadie Alsop for Christmas. But when she arrives in the village Sadie has disappeared and no one seems bothered. Once she finds another friend to stay with she begins the search and it seems Sadie had secrets as do many other people in the village.
- Cora Harrison - Murder in the Mist. Crime Fiction. (Published 2023) Wilkie Collins has been invited to spend Christmas with his friend Charles Dickens and family and guests. The festivities are spoiled by the death of one of the guests - a rather obnoxious Irish man called Timmy O'Connor who seems to have a connection to some of the other guests. Is the murderer one of the convicts from the prison hulks moored in the estuary or one of Timmy's three nephews who all seem terrified of him, or one of the other guests?
- Martin Edwards (editor) Silent Nights; Christmas Mysteries. Crime Fiction Short Stories. ( A BLCC Publication from 2015) Ranging from Conan Doyle to more recent. These are all short stories set around Christmas. I realised this was a re-read from many years ago and written wrongly in my 'Book of Books Read'. But read it anyway.
- Alexander McCall Smith - From a far and Lovey Country. Crime Fiction. (Published 2023). Another in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series set in Botswana. The Cool Singles Evening Club is encouraging married men to pretend they are single to meet women and a lady from America arrives to look for ancestors. All sorted through Precious Ramotswe's good sense.
- Willa Cather - A Lost Lady. Fiction (Published 1923) This is the story of the lovely and enigmatic Marian Forrester and her life in the Western American town of Sweet Water. The novel is told from the perspective of her young neighbour, Niel Herbert, and he begins by recalling the early days when Marian was a young bride newly arrived in the prairie town and adored by her pioneering husband, Captain Daniel Forrester. Niel joins in the adulation of his beautiful older neighbour and falls in love with her and worships her from afar. However, the bloom soon fades and the days of optimism and possibility for Niel and the town of Sweet Water give way to a more cynical and jaded time. Marian is not the ideal woman that her husband and Niel has imagined her to be and the innocent days of the hardworking and noble pioneers of the American West eventually give way to the exploitation and materialism prevalent in the rest of the country. Niel grows up in Cather’s bittersweet coming-of-age tale to understand that things are rarely as simple as they seem. (precis from Amazon)
4 Older Crime Fiction (2 Short Stories)
1 Non Fiction
4 Recently written Crime Fiction (1 Novella)
Total of 11 books read in January
- Edmund Crispin - Swan Song. Crime Fiction. (Published 1947) An Opera Company gathers in Oxford for a post war production of Wagner. Nearly everyone involved has a reason to loathe Edwin Shorthouse who is singing a leading role. Then he is found hanging in his locked dressing room. Gervase fen, Oxford Don and amateur sleuth is called in to find the killer.
- Arthur Ransome - We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea. Childrens Fiction (Published 1937) . One of Ransome's books about the family featured in Swallows and Amazons. The Swallows are on holiday at Pin Mill in Suffolk and this story is all about the Orwell Estuary and the children's unexpected voyage across the North Sea in terrible weather. The details of the river and sailing are incredibly detailed.
- Kate Thompson - The Little Wartime Library. Fiction. (Published 2022) This story is based on the true events of the library that was opened over the tracks of the unused Bethnal Green Tube Station Shelter during the 1940s.Run by Clara Button, a widow and her friend Ruby Monroe, both have had tragedy's during the war but both love the library, the people of the East End and their work. A good story - heading toward romance.
- Cora Harrison -Season of Darkness. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019) This is the first in a series which feature Charles Dickens with his friend Wilkie Collins sorting out crimes in Victorian London. Dickens recognises the body of a young girl pulled from the Thames, a housemaid he had tried to help through his charity. They find Isabella has been blackmailing someone but what does her friend Sesina know that she's not telling.
- Nigel Richardson - The Accidental Detectorist; Uncovering an Underground Obsession. Non Fiction (Published 2022) A travel writer is stuck at home through the pandemic and buys a metal detector. He starts in the meadow behind his Hampshire home and then sets out to meet other detectorists and joins in rallies and is very quickly hooked by his new hobby. Travelling around the country looking for the illusive buried treasure he meets all sorts of characters and learns so much more about what's hidden.
- Mike Hollow - The Covent Garden Murder. Crime Fiction. (Published 2023). This is the eighth in the Blitz Detective series with inspector John Jago. This story takes them into theatre land and old grievances cause a murder.
- Donna Leon - A Venetian Reckoning. Crime Fiction. (Published 1995 ) This is one of the earlier on the Brunetti series set in Venice. This story starts with a terrible accident in the mountains when several girls from Eastern Europe being smuggled into the country are killed. Then an important lawyer is found shot dead in a railway carriage and as usual Guido has to find the answer to the murders while avoiding upsetting the high and mighty of Italy and his boss.
- Peter Ross - Steeple Chasing; Around Britain by Church. Non Fiction. (Published 2023). This isn't so much about churches but about the people involved with them and how they are surviving and have survived. He takes the reader around the country through the pandemic visiting St Pauls in London, Durham Cathedral, the forgotten churches of Norfolk, the holy wells in Wales and back to London with a few other places in between.
- Evie Woods -The Lost Bookshop. Fiction (Published 2023) This story moves between two timelines, three countries and three different people. In the 1920's Opaline Carlisle runs away from London to France to avoid marrying the man her brother is forcing her to marry. In modern day Dublin Martha has at last got away from her abusive husband and Henry is searching for information about a book and a bookshop to make his name as a book dealer. A really good story with magic and history.
1 Older Crime Fiction
1 Children's Fiction.
3 Recently Written Crime Fiction
2 Non Fiction