Books Read 2022

JANUARY

  • Jill Paton Walsh - The Bad Quarto. Crime Fiction. (Published 2007) Imogen Quy is the nurse for St.Agatha's College, Cambridge.  This author wrote 4 books in this series - this is the 4th. In this story Imogen sorts out the mystery of the links between an amateur Shakespeare production, the death of a lecturer and the disappearance of an angry student.. A good well written story.
  • Alison Uttley - Country Things. Non Fiction. (Published 1946). This is another little book gathering together her lovely descriptive memories of childhood in the 1880s growing up on a farm and a village in Derbyshire. I've enjoyed several of her books of essays and memories - sometimes fictionalised.
  • Sylvia Townsend Warner - English Climate: Wartime Stories (Persephone 2020 Originally published 1939-46.) This is a collection of short pieces/stories many originally written for The New Yorker during the war by this author (1893-1978). Some are good short stories, others are a bit odd. A quick read.
  • Rupert Latimer - Murder After Christmas. Crime Fiction ( British Library Crime Classic Published 2021. Originally published 1944). This is an author who only wrote a few crime books before he died at age just 48 in 1953. Its an odd story but with a touch of humour "a lively riot of murder,mince pies and misdirection.........a pacey light-hearted package". Totally unbelievable but a good read.
  • Marion Todd - In Plain Sight. Crime Fiction,(Published 2020) This is the second story featuring DI Clare Mackay and set in St Andrews Scotland. When a baby disappears from her push chair at the start of a charity fun run - there seem to be no clues and no reason for her being snatched. But why are so many people hiding things and is the appearance of a known drug dealer in the area relevant.
  • Ros Watkins - The Devil's Dice. Crime Fiction(Published 2018). The debut crime thriller from this author. Featuring DI Meg Dalton a police officer returning back to her home county of Derbyshire. When a lawyer is found dead in a cave some people think it's connected to a curse. -
  • S.J. Bennett - The Three Dog problem. Crime Fiction. (Published 2021).This is the second in a series in which Rozie Oshodi, The Queen's Assistant Private Secretary, assists the Queen in solving a mystery. This one starts with the Queen spotting a painting she once owned in a collection at the Royal Naval Centre in Portsmouth but after asking Rozie to check out how it is there when it was once in Buckingham Palace, there are then two murders.
  • Joan Strange - Despatches From the Home Front; The War Diaries. Non Fiction. (Edited by Chris McCooey. Published 2013).From January 1st 1939 to the end of the War, Joan Strange kept a diary. From the dramatic happening in other parts of the world to the local problems in Worthing. The book also includes a few newspaper  cuttings which are interesting.
  • B.A.Steward- Farm Down the Lane. Non Fiction (Published 1946)
  • B.A.Steward - Green Lane Farm. Non Fiction (Published 1982) Both these books are about a local Suffolk farm during the war years and just after. They are memories of the farm workers and village people, the land girls and the animals that were usual at the time on a small mixed farm.
  • Jim Eldridge- Murder at the Fitzwilliam. Crime fiction(Published 2018) Set in the 1890's. Daniel Wilson made his name in London investigating the case of Jack The Ripper. Now he is working as a private enquiry agent and is called in to assist the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge when a dead body is found in a previously empty sarcophagus. The Egyptian collection is being catalogued by archaeologist Abigail Fenton and the two work together to solve the murder and mystery.

11 Books Read in January

FEBRUARY - 

  • Mike Hollow -The Pimlico Murder. Crime Fiction(Published 2021). 6th book in The Blitz Detective series featuring Inspector John Jago. A young man is found battered to death in an Anderson shelter with two white poppies in his pocket. This looks at some dark aspects of Blitz life - protection rackets and looting.
  • Marion Todd - Lies to Tell. Crime Fiction. (Published 2020) This is the 3rd in the series featuring DI Clare Mackay and set in St Andrews Scotland.A clever story involving computer hacking and money laundering.
  • Esther Rowley - Dogs, Goats, Bulbs and Bombs;Wartime Diaries of Exmouth and Exeter. Edited by John Folkes. (Published 2010)These diaries were found in an auction and thanks to a letter found among the pages could be attributed to Esther, a single woman who was in her 30's and lived with her mother in a large house in Exmouth. It's a fascinating look at the life of those who had money at the time and were able to purchase things that many found difficult to find. Esther is in the ATS at the beginning of the diaries in 1940 but later has to leave to take care of her elderly mother. She spends lots of time out and about walking her dogs, visiting neighbours and friends for tea. playing tennis, swimming in summer and having picnics.Gardening is her main pleasure and there are good details of all the plants she buys - things I didn't think were available during the war.
  • Diana Ashworth - Iolo's Revenge;Sheep Farming by Happy Accident in Mid Wales. Non Fiction. (Published 2018) A small book written by a retired doctor and how she and her husband came to own a 25 acre sheep farm on the Welsh border. The stories of sheep escaping, lambing problems and the death wish of sheep was all very familiar! A good read once I got used to idea of it being written in the 3rd person. She describes herself all through as The Retired Lady and her husband as The Retired Gentleman - a bit odd.
  • Alan Bennett - The Uncommon Reader. Fiction (Published 2007). A Very quick read - took me just an hour. The Queen's corgis lead her to finding that a mobile library visits Buckingham Palace. She's never read for pleasure before but soon gets hooked on books. The only other library borrower is Norman and the Queen soon promotes him from the kitchen to be her personal reading assistant. She gets so involved in reading that she starts to neglect her duties and the staff are worried.
  • Mel Starr - Master Wycliffe's Summons. Crime Fiction(Published 2021). This is the 14th in a series about Hugh de Singleton - a bailiff near Oxford in 14th Century England. The recurrence of the  plague is a back drop to this story when Hugh is called to Oxford to find out if a student really was struck by lightening.
  • Mike Hollow - The Dockland Murder. Crime Fiction.(Published 2021) This is the 5th of The Blitz Detective series featuring Inspector John Jago. This is set mainly in the Port of London and Jago has to work with their own police force to find the murderer of one of the Home Guard members patrolling the docks at night.
  • Alis Hawkins - In Two Minds. Crime Fiction ( Published 2019) A new to me author. This is the second in a series about Teifi Valley Coroner Henry Probert-Lloyd. Set sometime in the 1800's, (no specific date given). A good read but I wish the library had the 1st one. Henry Probert-Lloyd was forced home from being a barrister in London by encroaching blindness. When a faceless body is found on the beach at Tresaith Harry - as acting coroner must lead the inquest.
  • Ronald Blythe - Village Hours. Non Fiction. (Published 2012) Another collection of short pieces that were first published in The Church Times.  He always writes so descriptively about the countryside, church and people he meets around Wormingford on the Essex/Suffolk border. 

9 Books Read in February

MARCH

  • Chris Nickson - The Blood Covenant. Crime Fiction (Published 2021). This is the 4th in a series featuring Simon Westow, a thief taker in early 19C Leeds. Hearing about the brutal deaths of two young boys at one of the mills in Leeds reminds Simon of his own painful childhood. He and his assistant Jane are drawn into investigating.But this leads to Simon's family being at risk by two of the rich and wealthy of Leeds.The violence and descriptions of the poor at the time are very descriptive.
  •  Duff Hart-Davis- Our Land at War:A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939-1945. Non Fiction (Published 2015). A thorough look at all the events of WWII which had any effect on the countryside. From farming to evacuees to air bases and Land Army Girls to country houses and secret hideouts. A very good read.
  • Ann Granger -  Mystery in the Making. Short crime stories (Published 2021) There are 18 stories of various lengths in this latest book by a very prolific author. Some are quite dated as they were written many years ago for publication in magazines. 
  • D.E. Stevenson - Winter and Rough Winter. Fiction (Originally Published 1951) This is a Dean St Press reprint.I had read this before but probably in 40+ years ago. Set in the Scottish Borders, this story is mainly about James Dering and his new wife Rhoda who is an artist moving to their new home on a remote farm.Rhoda finds life lonely after London but after she starts painting again and finds a boy with a talent she can help she begins to feel more at home.
  • Anthony Berkeley - Murder in the Basement. (BLCC reprint 2021. Originally Published 1932). Two newly-weds discover a corpse buried in the basement of their new home and a long gruelling case begins. Amateur sleuth Roger Sheringham has just been teaching at a private school and has started a satirical novel about his colleagues and the case seems to lead Chief Inspector Moresby to the school and some of the staff there.
  • Alys Clare - Magic in the Weave. Crime Fiction. (Published 2021) This is the 4th in a series featuring physician Gabriel Taverner and his friend - Coroner Theophilus Davey. The story is set in 1604 in Plymouth where a company of Players have fled London because of the plague. Somehow their performances seem to be employing magic to trick the audience.
  • Beverley Nichols - Merry Hall. Non Fiction (Published 1951). Beverley Nichols was well known as a garden writer, journalist and broadcaster from the 50's through to the late 70's. This is the story of a large house and garden he bought just after the war. It really shows how making  garden is a labour of love  and the most important thing in his life. The author write amusingly about his inherited gardener and the village ladies as well as the flowers and trees he chooses.
  • Marion Todd - What They Knew.  Crime Fiction,(Published 2021) This is the fourth story featuring DI Clare Mackay and set in St Andrews Scotland. At midnight on Hogmanay Alison Reid admits someone to her home who then murders her. But when the pathology results are in they seem to bear some resemblance to another woman found dead a few weeks earlier.
  • William Powers- Twelve by Twelve; A One Room Cabin Off The Grid. Non Fiction.(Published 2010) William Powers is an international aid worker and accepts the offer to stay in an off grid cabin by No Name Creek in North Carolina. The owner is Dr Jackie Benton who lives a simple life to avoid paying tax and she is off travelling and campaigning. The book is described as "Walden for the global warming era". It's not so much about living in a small space but about the author working out which way he wants to go with his life.
  • Cecily Gayford - Editor - Murder in Midsummer. Short Crime Stories. (Published 2019) The authors of these short stories are all well known including Conan Doyle, Ruth Rendell and Ellis Peters. All these murders happen in summertime, some are good - some not so readable. One or two have been included in British Library Crime Classic collections. 
  • Anthony Berkeley - The Wintringham Mystery. Crime Fiction (Published 2021 Originally published 1927. Stephen Munro is a de-mobbed army officer but being short of money he takes a job as a footman at a country house where Lady Susan Carey is having guests to stay. Then one of the guests vanishes. This is a typical Country House Mystery of the period but is quite well written.

11 Books Read in March

APRIL

  • Elizabeth Harland  - No Halt at Sunset; The Diary of a Country Housewife. Non Fiction.(Published 1951). Written as a diary covering the end of 1949 and through 1950, many of the entries first appeared in the Eastern Daily Press. They tell the story of a woman and her family running a small farm and writing books at the same time. This was a quick re-read for me.
  • Judi Daykin - Under Violent Skies. Crime Fiction (Published 2020). A Debut novel set in Norfolk with a new officer up from London and not being made welcome. The story is set around the flat Fenland farms and foreign workers. DS Sara Hirst wants to know the truth about her father who she's not seen since she was two but she knows he moved to Norfolk. This story seemed similar to others with a black police officer out in the countryside where everyone is white.
  • Bernard J.Farmer - Death of a Bookseller. Crime Fiction (British Library Crime Classic published 2022, originally published 1956.) This is the 100th in the BLCC reprints. Sergeant Wigan becomes a book collector after befriending Micheal Fisk who is celebrating a rare book find. A while later Fisk is found dead and because of his knowledge of rare books, booksellers and runners (the people who search out rare books to pass on to buyers or book shops) he is asked to help the CID track down the killer. Rare books can be dangerous things!
  • Dorothy Whipple - Random Commentary. Non Fiction. (A Persephone Publication 2020 Originally Published 1966) This book was compiled from notebooks and journals written between 1925 and the end of WWII. An interesting look at the well known author and how she came to write some of her best loved novels. She gathered this book together from her diaries and published it just before her death.
  • Elly Griffiths - The Locked Room. Fiction (Published 2022). The 14th in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series. I enjoy all her books even though they seem to be a bit repetitive and predictable sometimes. This one is written as covid hits Norfolk and everywhere else. Ruth has a new neighbour who then goes missing and one of the characters gets covid and is seriously ill in hospital.
  • Eve Ibbotson - A Song For Summer. Young Adult Fiction (Published 1977) Ellens Father was killed at Ypres and she grew up with her Mother and two Aunts - they were all clever women and Ellen was equally intelligent but most of all she loved cooking and housekeeping and learns these and German from her Grandfathers housekeeper. Ellen gets a job working at a very unusual school in Austria where they concentrate on the English language, drama and music and is soon intrigued by the gardener Marek who has a secret. But then Hitler starts marching across Europe.
  • Peter May - The Night Gate. Crime Fiction (Published 2021). Featuring the retired forensic police officer Enzo Macleod, the story is set in two time lines - one in occupied France during WWII and the other through the Covid lockdown of 2020. In a sleepy French village the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is murdered in a nearby house.
  • D.E.Stevenson - Music in the Hills. Fiction (Originally Published 1950) A Furrowed Middlebrow/Dean St Press reprint. I should have read this before my re-read of Winter and Rough Weather last month as it's the beginning of that story. Set again in the Scottish Borders.
  • Marion Todd - Next in Line. Crime Fiction (Published 2021) The 5th by this new author set in St Andrews Scotland and featuring D.I.Clare Mackay. Clare is in charge of a high profile case when a TV personality Gaby Fox's brother is shot dead while at his birthday party. His friends all seem to be hiding something. 

9 Books Read in April

MAY 

  • Beverley Nichols -  Sunlight on the Lawn. Non Fiction (Published 1956)  The final book in the trilogy about his garden and home in Surrey. The ladies of the village feature again but its the flowers that are the main part of his books.
  • Jim Eldridge - Murder at Claridges. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022). This is the 3rd set during the Blitz in London and featuring DCI Coburg. The body of a kitchen porter at Claridges is found but he wasn't killed by a bomb.
  • D.E.Stevenson - Vittoria Cottage. Fiction (Originally Published 1949. Furrowed Middlebrow Reprint 2019.) This is a book that I should have read before Music in The Hills and Winter and Rough Weather ....see March and April books read.........as it is the back story of some of the people that feature in those later books. It is another gentle family story set while the war and rationing still feature. It's a re-read for me but read so long ago that I had no memory of it.
  • Rachel Blok - Under the Ice. Crime Fiction. (Published 2018). A new to me author this is the first featuring a Dutch detective in St Albans. The frozen body of a young woman is found under the ice of the lake. A local women, an exhausted new mother, keeps dreaming about what happened on the night of the murder and why is she wandering around at night?
  • E.C.R.Lorac - Post After Post-Mortem. Crime Fiction (British Library Crime Classic 2022 Originally Published 1936). Another crime story by one of BLCC's best republished authors. This is a clever story. The Surrays and their 5 grown up children are a family of writers and after a rare get together at the family home the middle daughter -Ruth- is found dead - supposedly by suicide. But after the inquest her brother Richard receives a letter from her that had been delayed in the post which seems to upset the suicide decision. Inspector MacDonald is called in  to investigate what must have been a meticulously planned murder.
  • Robin Blake - Hungry Death. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022). In November 1747 County Coroner Titus Cragg has been called to the scene of a gruesome murder of a whole family who belong to a strange religious cult. This is the 9th in a series about Titus Cragg and his friend Dr Like Fidelis.
  • D.E.Stevenson - Five Windows. Fiction ( A Furrowed Middlebrow re-print Originally Published 1953) . One of her better books and a story of a boy, told through his eyes, growing up in rural Scotland and then moving to Edinburgh for school and to London for work. It's a happy story and I first read it way back in the 70's.
  • Ronald Blythe - Out of the Valley. Non Fiction. (Published 1999) This is the 2nd of his collection of writing originally written for the Church Times. It follows the calendars of the Church Year, the farming year and his own year of travels, his garden, the people he meets, preaching and talks to lots of groups on many literary subjects. 

8 Books Read in June


 JUNE

  • Rory Clements - The Man in the Bunker. Crime Fiction. (Published 2022) This is the 6th book featuring Professor Tom Wilde. The war is over, so many countries are in ruins and Tom Wilde is asked to go to Germany to find out if Hitler really did die in the bunker. This again is a really good story and so well written.
  • Phyllis Bottome - London pride. Fiction (Published 1941) Ben, a boy of the London dockyard slums is 7 years old and the main character of this book he spends his time during the days of the Blitz looking after his little sister Mabel. His mother is a char lady, his father and eldest brother work on the docks. An older sister works in a shop and the twins are sent off as evacuees to Cornwall. Ben's best friend is Emily next door a street wise nine year old whose parents are not as caring as Ben's. Together they do a bit of looting, get buried for 48 hours in a bombed house and then get bombed out of the hospital too. Such a unusual story. The TLS at the time said "her knowledge and understanding of  the character of the London slum child in particular cannot be done justice to in an outline of the book"
  • Reg Snook - Mabel, Portrait of an Owl .Non Fiction (Published 2012) Mabel is an owl who decided to roost in full view of everyone in Christchurch Park in Ipswich for several years from 2008. She became quite famous and raised several young. Reg Snook is a local artist and previously involved in rescuing birds of prey and the book tells the story of Mabel in the park and other owls he has 'met'. This is a small book and a quick read.
  • George Bellairs - Dead March for Penelope Blow. Crime Fiction (Published 2020) Originally Published 1951). Miss Penelope Blow visits Scotland Yard and asks for Inspector Littlejohn, he isn't there so she goes back the next day and the next and finally leaves a card for him. Unfortunately by the time Littlejohn sees the card and tries to contact her she has died by falling out of her bedroom window in unusual circumstances.  The Blow family are Bankers and very important in the town but among them is a touch of madness. Inspector Littlejohn has to find out what has happened without any help from the family.
  • Adrian Bell - Apple Acre. Non Fiction. (Published 1942). Adrian Bell wrote 25 books while living on a farm in Suffolk in the 1940s, 50's and 60's. This one is the story of his farming life in the rural area with  wife and 3 small children (Martin Bell his son is a one time war correspondent and MP). The writing is wonderfully descriptive of a world of small farms and their farmers that have now disappeared from Suffolk.My 1964 edition has an update and lovely line drawings.
  • Simon Barnes - On the Marsh; A Year Surrounded by Wildness and Wet. Non Fiction. (Published 2019) Simon Marsh was for many years a sports correspondent but now is free-lance writing books about wildlife and traveling to Africa in his work with a conservation trust. This book is about the acres of marshland he owns and cares for near the River Waveney in Norfolk and also about his son Eddie who has Downs Syndrome but who knows nearly as much about the birds and wildlife on their land as Simon does. A lovely book.
  • Ellie Alexander -Caught Bread Handed. Crime Fiction.(Published 2016). This is a typical US "Cosy Crime" set in a bakery in a town which is themed for Shakespeare. It was a very light read, including lots of baking and recipes despite murder going on around. A book I picked up at a jumble sale.Not stocked in libraries here.
  • Fiona J Houston - The Garden Cottage Diaries. Non Fiction.(Published 2009) A Re- read.The story of how she lived as a C18 woman in a Scottish cottage and garden. Learning all the ways they needed to survive and the food they ate.
  • Stella Martin Currey- One Woman's Year. Non Fiction. (Persephone Reprint Published 2019. Originally Published 1953). This is a day book or anthology including recipes for each month by a writer and mother about her life in Essex just after the war.
  • Alexander McCall Smith -   The Sunday Philosophy Club. Fiction. (Published 2004) The first in a series about Isabel Dalhousie, a philosopher and editor who gets involved in mysteries that are not really crimes in Edinburgh.

 10 Books Read in June (58 for 6 months)

JULY

  • Alexander McCall Smith- Friends, Lovers, Chocolate. Fiction (Published 2005) Second in the Isabel Dalhousie series set in Edinburgh. When Isobel's niece Cat takes a holiday, Isobel offers to run the delicatessen for her. One of the customers has recently had a heart transplant and is now dreaming a recurring dream of a man he doesn't know. Isobel sets out to find why.
  • Alexander McCall Smith- The Right Attitude to Rain. Fiction(Published 2006)Third in the series set in Edinburgh with Isobel Dalhousie deciding on moral and ethical issues and getting involved in other peoples problems
  • Alexander McCall Smith - The Careful Use of Compliments. (Published 2007) Fourth in the Isobel Dalhousie series. Isobel at age 41 becomes a mother to her much younger lover's child.She's still editing The Review of Applied Ethics but suddenly finds she might be losing that job.
  • June Thomson - Rosemary for Remembrance. Crime Fiction (Published 1988). Small book that's been on my shelves for years. At a summer school for creative writing the organiser Bernard Livesey has to deal with an annoying student, plus two tutors who cause him problems. But then 1 tutor is found drowned in the swimming pool and a student appears to have been murdered in his car. 
  • Mark Cocker - A Claxton Diary. Non Fiction (Published 2019) Each day Mark Cocker walks 2 miles to the river near his cottage on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. This book is excerpts from his diaries over 5 years of the birds, insects,animals and plants he sees. With occasional visits to other parts of the country.
  • P.D.James - Sleep No More. Crime Fiction Short Stories (Published 2017) These are short quickly read crime stories from her many years of writing.
  • Claire Keegan - Small Things Like These. Fiction. (Published 2021) This is a very small book. Set in Ireland in the 1980's about a coal merchant, who stumbles across a girl shut in a shed at the convent. The secrets of the Magdalen Laundries  - the institutions for unmarried mothers run by the Catholic church seem to be known but hidden by everyone.
  • Kristin Hannah -  The Four Winds. Fiction. (Published 2021) Elsa Martinelli was rejected by her family- she was never good enough but by 1934 she has found a life she loves with family and farm. Drought and dust storms force her and her two children away from Texas to find the 'land of milk and honey' that everyone is talking about in California. A sad story but good for finding out more about the Depression, migration and dust bowl of 1930's USA.
  • Anthony Horowitz - The Word is Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2017). A crime story in which the author puts himself as one of the main characters. Alongside Hawthorne an ex Police Officer who helps the police sometimes. One day a woman goes to an undertakers to arrange her funeral and six hours later she is murdered. Hawthorne goes to Horowitz and suggests his next book could be about the solving of the murder. Very well written and you often forget that what you are reading is all fiction!
  • Rachel Hore - One Moonlit Night. Fiction (Published 2022) When Maddie and her daughters are bombed out of London during the early months of the war she takes them to her husbands old home in Norfolk. Her husband Phillip is missing after Dunkirk and at first she isn't made welcome by the remains of the family who live at Knyghton. There seem to be secrets and ghosts.
  • Anne Perry - A Truth to Lie For. Crime Fiction (Published 2022). This is the 4th book featuring photographer Elena Standish who is also working for MI6 in the years before the WWII. This is set in Berlin as Elena is given the task of getting a scientist out of Germany. It is set around the Night of the Long Knives when up to a 1,000 Germans were killed, accused of plotting against Hitler.
  • Lev Parikian - Into the Tangled Bank; Discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how we experience nature. Non Fiction (Published 2020). BBC Wildlife Magazine said " Lev's enduring child-like joy at even the smallest of encounters is infectious". It was a lovely read describing all of his trips around the country to find how to see nature more closely. A "feel good" book. 
  • Adrian Bell -  Sunrise to Sunset. Non Fiction (Published 1944). In May 1940 there was much fear of invasion on the East Coast of England and Nora Bell took her three children to a rented home in the Westmorland village where her sister was a teacher. This little book is about Adrian Bell's visits from Suffolk up to Westmorland and his tales of helping on the farm there. The differences between a small stoney farm in the Cumbrian Fells and the flat fertile lands of Suffolk. A fascinating insight to how hard those farming families worked to earn a living on sloping poor land. 

12 books read in July

AUGUST

  • John Bevis - An English Library Journey. Non Fiction . (Published 2022) "One man's eccentric quest to obtain a membership card from every library authority in England". An interesting little book that sadly gets into politics after Brexit. John Bevis started  this tour of libraries when, after an operation, he began driving his wife around the country for her work
  • Sarah Steele-  The School Teacher of Saint-Michel.Fiction (Published in 2021). A duel time line story. In the present day Hannah finds a letter sent to her by her late much-loved grandmother Gigi. Gigi wants Hannah to travel to France to find someone called Lucie Laval to apologise - for what? Hannah has no idea about her Grandmothers past.                                                                In 1942, at the end of the day, a school teacher checks that her children have their identity passes before taking them to the border post between occupied and Free France which cuts their Dordogne village in half.   A lovely story based on real happenings of the time showing the bravery of the people, living in fear of their German invaders.
  • Ann Cleeves - The Healers. Crime Fiction (Published 1995) An early Ann Cleeves crime novel. Middle aged farmer Ernie Bowles is found lying on his kitchen floor, he had been strangled. He was found by Lily Jackman who was living in an old caravan on the farm with her partner. Then in the town another woman is strangled - seemingly with no connection except perhaps through an alternative therapy centre.
  • Ronald Blythe - In the Artist's Garden. Non Fiction ( Published 2015) Another collection of his writings originally written for the church times. It follows the calendars of the Church Year, the farming year and his own year of travels, his garden, the people he meets, preaching and talks to lots of groups on many subjects.
  • Martin Edwards (Editor) -The Edinburgh Mystery And Other Tales of Scottish Crime. Short Crime Stories(Published 2022). A collection of short stories based in Scotland and dating from 1885 up to the 1960's. Many had been published in magazines at the time and never seen since.
  • Alexander McCall Smith - The Comfort of Saturdays. Fiction (Published 2008) Fifth in the Isobel Dalhousie series in which the Philosopher once again gets involved in an ethical problem due to a chance conversation. Her son Charlie is now 1 year old and his father Jamie has more-or-less moved in with Isobel.
  • Alexander McCall Smith - The Lost Art Of Gratitude. Fiction. (Published 2009) Sixth in the series set in Edinburgh where Philosopher Isobel Dalhousie is asked to help sort someone's problem. Jamie becomes her Fiancé in this story.
  • Joan F. Hickson - Carry on Coping - Diary of a Doctor 1942-1945.  (Published 2013) Joan Hickson and her husband Eric were both doctors and  lived in Chippenham and had a practice in their home. They had 3 children  - the eldest was 18 at the end of the war. This diary starts after the Bath Blitz and continued to V.E day. It's a fascinating look at how GPs worked before the NHS. Joan was also an Eye doctor and did clinics in various places including a mental hospital. They had holidays in a punt on the Thames and lived a very comfortable life although very hard working. Back then GPs were called out in the middle of the night for home births and any other problems.  
  • Marion Todd - Old Bones Lie. Crime Fiction (Published 2022) This is the 6th in a series featuring DI Clare Mackay and set in and around St Andrews in Scotland. This was a good story , lots of different pieces to it.
  • Joyce Dennys- And Then There Was One. Non Fiction (Published 1983). This is a small book about the authors early life as the youngest daughter of a soldier serving in India. It was Large Print so a quick read. She was born in India in 1893 but spent her time with her mother and extended family in England while her Father was abroad and then when her mother went back  to India she attended various boarding schools - all cheap and not very good as her father was always in debt. She later wrote 2 humourous books about a woman in wartime.                                                                                                                    

10 Books Read in August

SEPTEMBER

  • Kim Michele Richardson - The Book Woman's Daughter. Fiction (Published 2022) Set in the ruggedness of the Kentucky mountains and forests in the early 1950's. Honey Lovett has been hiding because her hands and feet turn blue during stress caused by a genetic problem, passed to her from her mother. Being "different" in 1950's Kentucky turns people against her. But her mother had worked as a Pack-horse Librarian - taking books to the remote farmsteads and after her parents are imprisoned she manages to get a job doing the same thing.                                      This is a really good story of strong women - based on the real Packhorse Librarians, the female Frontier nurses, the first women  coalminers and fire watchers.
  • Anthony Horowitz - The Sentence is Death. Crime Fiction (Published 2018) The second in a series in which the author writes himself into the story featuring ex-detective, now Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne. Richard Pryce was a high powered divorce lawyer until he is found dead in his Hampstead Heath home. When a very old friend of Richard, who he's not seen for years, falls in front of a train not far from Richard's home just a day later there seems to be a link with something that happened many years ago. 
  • Sally Coultard - The Barn. Non Fiction (Published 2022). The subtitle is 'The Lives, Landscape and Lost Ways of an Old Yorkshire Farm'. Although this is mainly about the history of farming around the barn in Yorkshire it could be any old barn - except for what it's built from. It was an interesting read.
  • Donna Leon - Give Unto Others. Crime Fiction (Published 2022) This is the 31st of the series about Commissario Brunetti set in Venice. Brunetti is asked by a woman he last saw many years ago to investigate the suspicious behaviour of her son-in-law - off the record.
  • Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing. Fiction (Published 2018) Kya Clark is the 'Marsh Girl' living alone on the North Carolina coast from a very young age after her drunken father is the last to walk away, she is a mystery to the people of the nearby small town. The book is a coming of age story of how someone copes with being alone. A murder mystery and a love story.
  • Catherine Munro - The Ponies at the Edge of the World. Non Fiction (Published 2022). This is mainly a story about Shetland Ponies on Shetland. Catherine Munro goes to live there to study them for her university dissertation. This is really interesting if you want to know more about  the ponies and their breeding and history but otherwise not so fascinating.
  • Helen Cox - The Body in the Library. Crime Fiction. (Published 2019) This is an interesting story about the theft of some second-hand books but slightly "cosy crime" and gets a bit silly with the amount of involvement of the main character - Kitt Hartley and her friends - with the police investigation. It is set in York and Kitt is a university librarian whose new boyfriend is DI Malcolm Halloran. This is the 2nd in the series and results of the story in the first book are often mentioned, so I should have read that first. There are now 6 books in the series.
  • Noel Streatfield - When the Siren Wailed. Children's Fiction. (Published 1974) The 3 Clark children are evacuated from London before the Blitz. They are billeted with the Colonel and looked after by his housekeeper and former Batman. Mrs and Mr Elk. But when the Colonel dies unexpectedly they run away back to their Mum in London except their house has gone and no one knows where their mother is. A story with a happy ending. Streatfield wrote childrens books for many years before the war and I was puzzled that this was written so many years after the war.
8 Books Read in September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




5 comments:

  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.

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  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!!

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  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

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

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  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.

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