Books Read 2019

  • Robin Blake - Rough Music. Historical Crime Fiction ( Published 2018). 4th in a series featuring coroner Titus Cragg and his friend Dr Luke Fidelis. It is summer 1742 and Titus Cragg takes his wife and new baby away from Preston to avoid an approaching epidemic. There he is called upon to investigate the death of a local woman in an unusual community.
  • Cyril Hare - Untimely Death. Crime Fiction (Published 2008. Originally Published 1957) Francis Pettigrew, a retired barrister, travels to Exmoor for a holiday with his wife and on a walk discovers a dead body, which half an hour later has disappeared.
  • Mel Starr - Prince Edward's Warrant. Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2018). The 11th Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, surgeon. Hugh has helped Prince Edward in the past and is asked to help with his health again. He travels to London but soon someone in the palace is poisoned and then others are killed and Hugh has to find the murderers.
  • Horatio Clare - The Light in the Dark; A Winter Journal. Non Fiction (Published 2018). This is the diary of an author with depression surviving the dark days of winter in the North of England. Actually a bit depressing to read!
  • Alexander McCall Smith - The Colours of all the Cattle. Crime Fiction(Published 2018) The latest in The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Precious Ramotswe is persuaded to stand for the local council so as to vote against the building of a hotel right beside the grave yard. 
  • Kate Ellis - The Boy who Lived with the Dead. Crime Fiction (Published 2018) This is the second book featuring DI Albert Lincoln and set in 1920, with all the after effects of The Great War still being felt. This is set in the North West of England in a village that seems to be full of secrets.
6 books read in January

  •  C.J. Sansom - Tombland.  Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2018).This is the 7th in a series which has covered many years in Tudor times and featuring lawyer Mathew Shardlake. It is 800 pages all about what is now called Kett's rebellion that took place in Norwich in 1549. All his books are so well researched and written.
  • Elly Griffiths - The Stranger Diaries. Crime Fiction (Published 2018). A stand alone novel not in a series yet. Clare Cassidy is an English teacher at a school that was once the home of R.M Holland a Victorian Gothic horror writer. She is writing a biography of Holland but then her colleague is found dead with a line from Holland's novel by her side.  This is quite a quick read, with the three main character taking in turns to tell the story.
  • E.C.R. Lorac  - Murder by Matchlight (British Library Crime Classic Published 2018. First Published 1945). Set in the London wartime blackout this is a clever mystery . This author wrote several crime fiction between 1930 and 1950's which were totally forgotten until the British Library reprints. 
  • Donna Leon - By it's Cover. Crime Fiction (Published 2014). This series of books, of which this is the 23rd are set in Venice featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. I hadn't read any before but found this interesting although I struggled with all the Italian names.
  • Joy Ellis - Stalker on the Fens. Crime fiction (Published 2016). Another in the series featuring D.I. Nikki Galena and D. S. Joseph Easter. A friend of Nikki is involved in an accident, then a year later tells Nikki that she is being watched. Is it her imagination or Post Traumatic Stress. Then she is found horrifically murdered.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Hand in Glove. Crime Fiction (Published 1962). Another in the long series featuring Superintendent Roderick Alleyn.
  • Margery Allingham - The White Cottage Mystery. Crime Fiction (Originally published 1927). The first detective story by this author originally written as a serial for the Daily Express. Eric Crowther collected secrets and used them as weapons and there is no shortage of suspects when he is found shot dead in the White Cottage. A short quick read.
  • D.E.Stevenson - Spring Magic. (A Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint Published 2019 Originally Published 1942). After being a dogsbody for her lazy Aunt , Frances escapes to Cairn in Scotland - a place she saw in a painting and knows nothing about. It is wartime and just after her arrival an army training camp also arrives with some of the wives joining her in the local hotel. Like all good romances there are misunderstandings and muddles and a happy ending after some trauma. A light read but one of DES' better stories.
  • Julian Symons - The Belting Inheritance. Crime Fiction (British Library Crime Classic reprint 2018. Originally published 1965). A stranger arrives at Belting Hall claiming to be David Wainwright, eldest son and heir to Lady Wainwright who is seriously ill. Missing for many years since WWII is it really David? Told through the eyes of Christopher, a young orphaned nephew living at the hall this is a good story mixing the ways of the remaining gentry with the new sexual freedoms of the 1960s.
9 Books read in February


  • Ngaio Marsh - Dead Water. Crime Fiction (Published 1964) Another featuring Superintendent Roderick Alleyn. This series which were started in the 1930s is now beginning to seem very dated as she doesn't seemed to have noticed that the 1960s were the beginning of times changing!
  • George Bellairs - Toll the Bell for Murder. Crime Fiction ( Published 1959). Another in the series about Inspector Littlejohn. Called in once again to investigate a murder on the Isle of Man. These have all been reprinted over the last few years
  • D.E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim of the Regiment. Fiction(Published 1932).  Hester Christie tries to run her home like clockwork, as would befit the wife of British Army officer, Tim Christie. Left alone for months at a time whilst her husband is with his regiment, Mrs Tim resolves to keep a diary of events large and small in her family life. This is a light read, written as a diary of an Army wife and her move to Scotland.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Death at the Dolphin. Crime Fiction (Published 1967). The 24th in the series featuring Superintendent Roderick Alleyn. Set in a theatre  among actors. A glove supposedly belonging to Hamnet Shakespeare causes problems and death in a newly refurbished theatre.
  • Elly Griffiths - The Stone Circle. Crime Fiction.(Published 2019) This is the 11th featuring Dr Ruth Galloway. The discovery of modern bones in an archaeology dig starts the search for the killer of a girl who went missing 30 years earlier. 
  • Rory Clements - Nemesis. Crime Fiction (Published 2019) This is the 3rd in a series featuring Professor Tom Wilde, an American living and working in Cambridge. On holiday in France just before the war he is approached by a stranger and asked to rescue one of his students, Marcus Marfield, from an interment camp. This starts a horrible chain of events just as German tanks roll into Poland and a U-boat sinks the Athenia in the Atlantic. An excellent book.
  • D.E.Stevenson - Mrs Tim Carries On (Originally published1941). Another in the series about D.E.Stevenson's fictional alter-ego, Hester Christie. The author brought back this character first written about in 1932 , to lift spirits and boost morale in the early days of the war. Mrs Tim carries on through the war, while her husband is stationed in France. 
  • Ellen Wilkinson - The Division Bell Mystery . Crime Fiction (Originally Published 1932 British Library Crime Classic published 2018). Through the double clamour of Big Ben and the shrill sound of the bell rang a revolver shot. Robert West, a parliamentary private secretary has to find out who killed the financier without  scandals hitting the government.
  • Joy Ellis - Buried in the Fens. Crime Fiction. (Published 2017). Another in the series featuring D.I. Nikki Galena and D. S. Joseph Easter.
9 Books read in March

  • Rachel Hore - The Last Letter Home. Fiction (Published 2018). Historian Briony Wood is on holiday with friends near Naples and after expressing an interest in the story of a ruined villa she is handed a bundle of letters and an old cine film. It seems to mention her Grandfather who was a British soldier stationed in the area during the Italian campaign of 1943.                            The story move backwards and forwards between modern day Norfolk and London and wartime Norfolk, London and Italy.
  • Kate Ellis- Dead Man's Lane. Crime Fiction (Published 2019). This is the 23rd in the series featuring DI Wesley Peterson set around Dartmouth in Devon. Strangefields   Farm is notorious for being the home of an artist now in prison for murdering young women. Now years later it is being turned into a holiday village complex. Then a skull is found on site and a local woman is found murdered in the same way as those women two decades ago. As with her previous stories this book weaves history, archaeology and crime together.
  • George Bellairs- Death in the Fearful Night.Crime Fiction (Originally Published 1960) Another in the slightly dated series about Inspector Littlejohn.
  •  Donna Leon - The Waters of Eternal Youth. Crime Fiction.(Originally Published 2016) Another of the long running series set in Venice with Commissario Brunetti.
  • Joanna Cannon - Three Things about Elsie. Fiction.(Published 2018). 84 year old Florence is laying on the floor in her flat in the Cherry Tree Home for the elderly. She is waiting for someone to miss her and help her up. As the hours pass she goes back over the last few weeks which have taken her memory back 60 years to a hidden tragedy.  It takes a while to sort out what's happening but is such a good book it ought to be read by anyone who has care of the elderly or people with dementia, just to show that maybe what you can see isn't the whole story.
  • Katie Fforde - A Rose Petal Summer. Light Fiction (Published 2019) Another book of light fluffy stuff for a change, a speedy read with a happy ever after ending.
  • Micheal Gilbert - Smallbone Deceased. Crime Fiction  (A British Library Crime Classic Reprint Originally Published 1950) This clever story is set in a lawyers office in London.
  • Elizabeth Berridge- Tell it to a Stranger. Fiction short stories ( A Persephone re-print originally published in 1947/9) These stories, mostly set during the war, are mainly bleak without happiness but still interesting. A quick read.
8 Books read in April

  •  George Bellairs _ Death in Desolation. Crime Fiction (Originally Published 1967) Another  reprinted crime classic about Inspector Littlejohn.
  • Alys Clare - The Woman who Spoke to Spirits. Crime Fiction (Published 2019) The first in a new series. This time it is set in Victorian London in The World's End Investigation Bureau. Lily Raynor has set up an Investigation Bureau after being a nurse in India. Her new employee is Felix Wilbraham and together they work on two new cases. The first is finding out about an actress and the second looking at how a woman is being warned of threats from her spirit guides. Looks like this series will be as good as her others - a quick read.
  • Jacqueline Winspear - The American Agent. Crime Fiction (Published 2019) This is the 15th in this series which starts with a book set in 1929 and in this latest it is now 1940. I love these books they have all been so good and  the Wall Street Journal recommends them by saying "A series that seems to get better with every entry". This is the description from Fantastic Fiction website................................................................................................................................... When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. Accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice - Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler's Munich in 1938 - he asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon's death.
    As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the citizens of London, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect the young evacuee she has grown to love. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend - and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.
  • Chris Nickson  - The Leaden Heart. Crime Fiction (Published 2019) The 7th in a series set in Leeds. During the hot summer of 1899 Detective Superintendent Tom Harper investigates the death of a shopkeeper and uncovers a web of intimidation and corruption that leads back to the mysterious North Leeds Company
  • Jacqueline Winspear - Journey to Munich. Crime Fiction - This was a re-read for me to find out how Maisie Dobbs first met Mark Scott - See above.
  • Anne Perry - Death in Focus. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019) A very good book to start a new series by this prolific author who has written two series set in Victorian London. This new book has as it's main character Elena Standish and is set in 1933 mainly in Berlin as Hitler comes to power. 
  • Joy Ellis - Fire on the Fens. Crime Fiction. (Published 2018). Once again DI Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter have to track down a killer in the Fens. This time someone is killing people by trapping them in houses and then setting it on fire. It seems to be some sort of revenge but for what?( I also had "Captive in the Fens" on loan but didn't read it - didn't like the story-line.)
7 Books read in May

  • Hilary McKay -  The Skylarks' War. Junior Fiction. (Published 2018) A lovely story about the children of two families growing up before and during the Great War. This was a re-reading for me as I read it in November last year and saw it sitting on the library shelves and decided to read again as it is such a good story.
  • Julian Symons - The Colour of Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2018 a BLCC originally printed 1957). A strange book where the first half is taken up by the account of the main character, John Wilkins, talking to a psychologist. This is an award-winning crime novel.... a totally different Who-Done-It.
  • E.C.R. Lorac - Murder in the Mill Race. Crime Fiction (Originally Published 1952.) Another British Library Crime Classic reprint by this excellent author. They are all really well written. 4 reprinted so far, one more due, hope they do more as she was very prolific between the 1930's - 1950s.
  • Joy Ellis - Thieves on the Fens. Crime Fiction (Published 2017) I'm now up to date with this series but should have read this one before the one I read in May.
  • Cyril Hare - Tragedy at Law. Crime Fiction(Originally Published 1942) Another recent reprint introducing the barrister Francis Pettigrew.
  • Michael Gilbert - Death has deep roots. Crime Fiction ( A British Library Crime Classic Reprint originally published 1951. The trial of Victoria Lamartine an ex French Resistance fighter and now a hotel worker in London, is about to take place. It seems she is the only person who could have murdered a visitor to the hotel, Someone she had been eager to meet. But the history of this crime goes back to wartime France and luckily she replaces her defence counsel with a new firm and one of them travels out to France to track down the story.
  • Mark Boyle - The Way Home: Tales From a Life Without Technology. Non Fiction (Published 2019) No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce. In this honest and lyrical account of a remarkable life without modern technology, Mark Boyle explores the hard won joys of building a home with his bare hands, learning to make fire, collecting water from the spring, foraging and fishing. 
  • Edmund Crispin - The Case of the Gilded Fly. Crime Fiction ( 2018 Originally Published 1944). Another book reprinted from the Golden Age of crime. A clever story set in Oxford featuring Crispin's hero - the Oxford Don Gervase Fen. 
8 Books Read in June

  • Edmund Crispin- Swan Song. Crime Fiction (2018 Originally Published 1947) Oxford Don Gervase Fen is asked to help when an actor with an opera company is found hanging in his dressing room. 
  • Elizabeth Fair - Brampton Wick. Fiction ( Originally Published 1952) This is one of the Furrowed Middlebrow books re-published by Dean St Press in 2017. It's light fiction set in a village with all the eccentric characters of the period. Bit of a cross between DE Stevenson and Angela Thirkell.
  • Martin Edwards (Editor) - Deep Waters. Short Crime Fiction Stories.(Originally published between 1898 and 1975.) Another British Library Crime Classic collection of short stories this time all involving the sea, rivers and canals.
  • Juliet Blaxland - The Easternmost House. Non Fiction.(Published 2018).         Juliet Blaxland lives on a crumbling cliff top on the east coast of Suffolk. The Easternmost House will soon crumble into the sea. This book describes a year living on the edge: a meditation on nature, on coastal erosion, on impermanence and on the changing seasons.
  • Julie Wassmer - Murder Fest. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019). Set in Whitstable Kent and featuring Pearl Nolan a Private Detective and owner of a Seafood Restaurant. 

1 comment:

  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.