Books Read 2018


  • Alexander McCall Smith - The House of Unexpected Sisters. Crime Fiction (Published 2017) The latest  in The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Set in sunny Botswana
  • J.Jefferson Farjeon - Seven Dead. Crime Fiction (First Published 1939 Reprinted in 2017 by British Library Crime Classics) Good story. 
  •  Susan Hill - Jacob's Room is Full of Books; A Year of Reading. Non Fiction ( Published 2017) I didn't think this was as good as her other book about reading ( Howard's End is on the Landing) but still interesting. I wouldn't want to read many of the books she mentions in this book but did agree that Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Alan Ahlberg is a children's rhyming book that many adults of a certain age can recite!
  • Mel Starr - Deeds of Darkness. Historical Crime Fiction ( Published 2017) Set in 1371 this is  the tenth story about Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff in Bampton near Oxford. Written by an American who is "an authority on medieval surgery and medieval English".
  • Bernard Cornwell - Fools and Mortals. Fiction (Published 2017) A well written  historical novel about William Shakespeare's players and his brother Richard. The story seemed sort of familiar as I've read several of the Edward Marston Elizabethan players series and Rory Clements books about John Shakespeare - another brother and set at the same time.
  • Alys Clare - The Rufus Spy. Historical Crime Fiction. (Published 2017). The 8th in the Aelf Fen series featuring the young healer Lassair set in the 11th century in the Fens and Cambridge.
  • George Bellairs - The Case of the Demented Spiv.  Crime Fiction( First Published 1949, reprinted 2017). Another title by this author who was popular in his day but then forgotten for 50 years.
  • Lois Austen-Leigh - The Incredible crime: A Cambridge Mystery. Crime Fiction ( First Published 1931, reprinted by BLCC 2017). A good story, slightly dated but interesting for me as it is set on the Suffolk coast and Cambridge. The author was distantly related to Jane Austen and wrote 4 books in the Golden Age of Crime.
  • George Bellairs - Bones in the Wilderness. Crime Fiction (Originally published 1959) another of the well written crime books by this author that have been reprinted recently. 
  • James McGee - The Reckoning. Historical Crime Fiction. (Published 2017). The sixth in a series about Mathew Hawkwood now a Bow Street Runner. The sounds, smells, squalor and horror of early 19th century London when the government were concerned with defeating Napoleon and keeping secrets.-
10 books read in January

  • Ngaio Marsh - Death and the Dancing Footman. Crime Fiction ( First Published 1942) The 11th book featuring Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn. 
  • Gerald Hammond -  Dead Weight. Crime Fiction. ( Published 2000). Set in Scotland all about gundog training and shooting. By a very prolific author. 
  • Mary Wesley - Jumping the Queue. Fiction. ( Published 1983) Recently widowed, Matilda Poliport's meticulously planned bid for graceful suicide by drowning is foiled. Later she foils the suicide attempt of another lost soul, Hugh, on the run from the police, and life begins again for them both. But life also throws up nasty secrets and awkward questions, both from Matilda's past and her present.
  • D.E. Stevenson - House of Deer. Light Fiction ( Published 1970) One of this Scottish Authors later books when they were lighter and more like romance. A Quick Read.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Colour Scheme. Crime Fiction ( First Published 1943). 12th in the series. Set in New Zealand. 
  • Ngaio Marsh - Died in the Wool. Crime Fiction (First Published 1945) Set again in New Zealand during WWII 
  • Raymond Postgate -  Somebody at the Door. Crime Fiction ( Originally Published 1943. Reprinted 2017) Another British Library Crime Classic. Really good, well written set during WWII. The passengers in a railway carriage all have a story and a reason they could have been the murderer. 
  • Chris Nickson -  Free From All danger. Crime Fiction. (Published 2017). October 1736 and Richard Nottingham has been persuaded out of retirement to serve as Constable of Leeds again.The sixth of this well written series.
  • Gyles Brandreth - Jack The Ripper - Case Closed. Crime Fiction(Published 2017) Oscar Wilde helped by his friend Arthur Conan Doyle solve the case of Jack the Ripper. Brilliantly well written. 
  • Derek Tangye - A Cat in the Window. Fiction ( Published 1962) A very small book about Monty the ginger cat who moved to Minack  from London with Derek and his wife in the late 1950's.
  • Adrian Bell - Men and the Fields. Non Fiction. (Published 1939) A journey around the country looking at farms and farmers just before WWII.
11 books read in February

  • Erica James - Coming Home to Island House. Fiction ( Published 2018) A Good story, well written, Starting in the summer of 1939, this is the story of one family coming together during the first year of the war. 
  • Ngaio Marsh - Final Curtain. Crime Fiction ( Published 1947) Another story featuring Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn and this time also his wife Troy. 
  • Joan Barfoot - Gaining Ground. Fiction. (Published 1978) Abra has left a husband,children and suburban security to live in an isolated cabin without mirrors,clocks or human contact. As time passes she achieves the inner peace and strength which had always eluded her before. Is she ill or is she well? When her daughter tracks her down Abra is forced to account for her actions. (When I told Col about this book he said it sounded like the sort of thing I might do!)
  • Ngaio Marsh - Swing Brother Swing.Crime Fiction  (Published 1949). The 15th in this  series.
  • Ronald Blythe - At The Yeoman's House. Non Fiction ( Published 2011) A short book, a glimpse at the history of the Author's house 'Bottengoms Farm' situated on the Suffolk/Essex border.
  • Robert Barnard - The Missing Bronte. Crime Fiction (Published 1983) Short crime novel by prolific author. Very dated . 
  • Gerald Hammond - The Curse of the Cockers . Crime Fiction.(Published 1993). A short book set in Scotland in the world of gundogs and their training by a prolific author Now slightly dated. 
  • Angela Thirkell - Love Among the Ruins. Fiction. ( Published 1948). Another in the Barsetshire series, stories of the gentry in the aftermath of WWII and the cold winter of 1947.The ruins in the title are the remains of the big houses and landed estates that had been requisitioned during the war. There is much talk of Them - being the new Labour government. 
  • John Lewis-Stempel - The Secret Life of the Owl. Non Fiction (Published 2017). A very small book about British Owls. Some famous poems and not a lot of information.
  • Cora Harrison - A Shameful Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2015) First in a series that I hadn't come across before. Set in Cork in 1923 during the early 'troubles'. The Mother Superior of a convent school helps solve crimes. Well written
  • Tobias Jones - A Place of Refuge; The story of Windsor Hill Wood; An Experiment in Communal Living. Non-Fiction(Published 2015). An amazing couple open their home to the troubled. After reading I just said - I couldn't do that! 
  • E.C.R.Lorac -Bats in the Belfry.Crime Fiction ( First Published 1937) Another of The British Library Crime Classics by long forgotten authors. 
  • Henry Buckton - The Children's Front; The Impact of the Second World War on British Children. Non Fiction (Published 2009) Memories of various aspects of the war.
  • The Detection Club - The Floating Admiral. Crime Fiction.( First Published 1931) Several well know crime authors collaborated, writing one chapter each, on this book. Including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and G.K. Chesterton.
  • Carol Smith - Grandmother's Footsteps. Crime/thriller (Published 2002). A stay at home Dad works out the answer to a series of murders with potentially disastrous results. 
 15 read this month

  • Marjorie-Ann Watts- Slideshow; Memories of a Wartime Childhood. Non-Fiction (Published 2014). From 1930s Hampstead to Cornwall and back to war torn London, the memories of an unusual girl growing up. 
  • Edward Marston - The Nine Giants. Crime Fiction.(Published 1991). One of this prolific authors early series about Elizabethan actors and featuring their stage manager Nicholas Bracewell. 
  • Marjorie Allingham - The Case of the Late Pig Crime Fiction (Published 1937) . A short story by this well known author from the golden age of crime.
  • Rory Clements - Nucleus. Crime/Thriller ( Published 2018) The second in a series set just before WWII in Cambridge and Germany.  ( I wrote about the first..... Corpus HERE) A really good read again.  
  • Cora Harrison - Beyond Absolution. Crime Fiction ( Published 2017) Another of this series set in Cork, Ireland in the 1920's. Featuring The Reverend Mother Aquinas.
  • Kate Ellis - The Mechanical Devil. Crime Fiction. (Published 2018) 22nd in the Wesley Peterson  police/archaeology series set in Devon. Her books are getting shorter and more predictable, but I still read them! 
  • Dorothy L Sayers - Hangman's Holiday. Crime Fiction Short Stories (First Published 1933). From the famous author who wrote in the golden age of crime.
  • E.M.Delafield - Late and Soon. Fiction. (Published 1943). By the author of 'A Diary Of a Provincial Lady'. A story of two people meeting again after 25 years apart and falling in love just as they had before. But it's war time and the passage of time has changed things. Not as good as 'A Diary'
  • Cora Harrison - Death of a Novice. Crime Fiction (Published 2018) Most recent of this series featuring the Reverend Mother Aquinas and set in Cork, Ireland in 1925. I've missed the 4th of the series so was a bit confused with what was happening.
9 Books read this month

  • Mary Wesley - Harnessing Peacocks. Fiction (Published 1985). Really good story.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Opening Night. Crime Fiction (Published 1951)
  • Ngaio Marsh - Spinsters in Jeopardy. Crime Fiction (Published 1954)
  • Ngaio Marsh - Scales of Justice. Crime Fiction ( Published 1955) Three more books in the series featuring Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn
  • Sue Grafton  -  L is for Lawless. Crime Fiction ( Published 1995) The alphabet crime series. A USA series. Unbelievable stories but well written in the first person by PI Kinsey Millhone.
  • John Bude - Death Makes a Prophet. Crime Fiction ( Originally Published 1947). Another British Library Crime Classic reprint of a book never before re-printed. A well written story.
  • George Bellairs. - Death of a Shadow. Crime Fiction. (Originally Published 1964). Another good book by this forgotten author featuring Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard.
  • Cora Harrison - A Gruesome Discovery. Crime Fiction.(Published 2017 )5th in a series set in 1925 Cork. 
  • Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy - Money in the Morgue. Crime Fiction. (Started during WWII and finished in 2018). This is another Inspector Alleyn  mystery set in New Zealand. Stella Duffy used the first few chapters and notes that Marsh had written to finish this mystery set in a hospital where soldiers are convalescing, towards the end of WWII.
9 books read in May
  • E.C.R Lorac. - Fire in the Thatch. Crime Fiction. (Originally Published 1946) Another British Library Crime Classic reprint by a long forgotten author. Well written and a clever story.
  • Andrea Meanwell- A Native Breed. Starting  Lake District Hill Farm. Non Fiction and Poetry (Published 2016). A Small Book about a lady and her son and their start in sheep farming.
  • George Bellairs - Intruder in the Dark. Crime Fiction. (Originally published 1966). Another well written book never reprinted for 50 years.
  • Gillian Galbraith - Where the Shadow Falls. Crime Fiction (Published 2008) A new-to-me author. Second in series. I've ordered the 3rd from the library.
  • Anne Perry - Dark Tide Rising. Historical Crime ( Published 2018) yet another in the series featuring the head of The River Police Commander William Monk set in Victorian London. 
  • Julie Wassmer - May Day Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2016). 3rd is a series set in Whitstable and featuring ex-police officer now restaurant owner and Private Detective Pearl Nolan. Faye Marlow left Whitstable twenty years ago to become a famous film star. She is persuaded to visit for the May Day Festival, but is discovered stabbed and tied to the Maypole. Pearl, who knows the town people and DCI Mike McGuire, a London policeman now working in Canterbury, have to find her murderer. 
  • Jacqueline Winspear - To Die but Once. Crime Fiction (Published 2018). The 12th Maisie Dobbs story. Maisie is a Psychologist and Investigator and with this book we are now up to the second year of the war and the BEF being evacuated from France. A Well written excellent story
  • Graham Ison - Deadlock. Crime Fiction. (Published 2018) Another prolific author of modern police procedural crime. Mediocre. 
  • Elly Griffiths - The Dark Angel. Crime Fiction. (Published 2018) . The latest in this series featuring Archaeologist Ruth Galloway and her daughter Kate plus Kate's father DCI Harry Nelson. This is set in Italy when Ruth is asked to go to look at some bones. As always a well written  story.
  •  Julie Wassmer - Murder on the Pilgrims Way.Crime Fiction (Published 2017). 4th in the series. A modern version of a Country House Murder. Set in Kent.
10 books read in June
6 Month total............. 64 Books Read so far!

  • Martin Edwards (Editor) - Blood on the Tracks. Crime Fiction Short Stories (Published 2018) Another British Library Crime Classics with 15 different stories by authors originally writing during the first half of the 20th Century, all featuring a murder involving trains.
  • Gil North - Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm. Crime Fiction ( Originally Published  1960) A British Library Crime Classic by a forgotten author. His series of 11 books about Sergeant Cluff were televised in the 1960s. Cluff is a no nonsense gruff man working in a town on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.
  • David Wilbourne - Shepherd of Another Flock. Non-Fiction (Published 2017). The story of a vicar in his first year at Helmsley in Yorkshire. Written in the style of James Herriot and Gervase Phinn, with stories from his childhood, his early days in the Church as well as the year at Helmsley. 
  • Andrew Wilson - A Different Kind of Evil. Crime Fiction (Published 2018). The second in a series of historical crime using Agatha Christie as the main character and crime solver. 
  • George Bellairs -  Death in the Wasteland. Crime Fiction ( Originally Published  1963) Another of the well written crime stories featuring Chief Inspector Littlejohn.
  • Lucy Mangan - Bookworm; a Memoir of Childhood Reading. Non Fiction (Published 2018) The books she loved from first to teenage years. There is more about this on  the blog post of July 16th 2018.
  • Rachel Malik - Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves. Fiction (Published 2017).More about this book on the blog post of July 24th
  •  Gillian Galbraith - Dying of the Light. Crime Fiction (Published 2009). Set in Edinburgh's red light district and featuring DS Alice Rice and the police team as they struggle to find the killer of 3 prostitutes. Is the killer a priest or someone closer to home?
  • Elizabeth Fair -  A Winter Away. Fiction ( Originally Published 1957) Re-printed as a Furrowed Middlebrow edition by Dean Street Press in 2017. Young Maud has been sent to stay with Cousin Alice and her companion Miss Conway so that she can start her first job as a secretary for Mr Feniston.
  • George Bellairs - The Night They Killed Joss Varran. Crime Fiction.(Originally Published 1970) Another well written story by this prolific author featuring Chief Inspector Littlejohn and set on the Isle of Man.
10 books read in July

  • Dorothy Whipple - Greenbanks. Fiction ( Originally Published 1932) A Persephone reprint . The book starts " The house was called Greenbanks, but there was no green to be seen today; all the garden was deep in snow" The story of a family before and after the First World War. A time of change and women stuck in unhappy marriages. But it is mainly the story of Louisa and her relationship with her granddaughter Rachel. Definitely worth reading. 
  • Carola Dunn  - Corpse at the Crystal Palace. Crime Fiction ( Published 2018) Another in this light crime fiction series set in the 1920's featuring Daisy Dalrymple and her Husband , Police Inspector Alec Fletcher.  A world of Nannies, Butlers, maids and the gentry.
  • Cyril Hare - An English Murder. Crime Fiction ( Originally Published 1951) A Golden Age type mystery set in the typical country house cut off by snow over Christmas. Very Readable.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Off with his Head. Crime Fiction (Published 1956).
Just 4 books read in August
  • Trisha Ashley - The House of Hopes and Dreams. Fiction.  (Published 2018) A light fiction story with a happy ever after ending but lots of information on making stained glass windows
  •  Alys Clare - The Angel in the Glass. Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2018). The second in a new series featuring Physician Gabriel Taverner. Set in the West Country in the early years of C17. By coincidence after reading the Trisha Ashley book this is also about stained glass and mysteries going back many years.
  • Robert Harris  - Enigma. Fiction Thriller. ( Published 1995) A good story set at Bletchley decoding centre in the middle of the war years. Featuring one of the decoders returning to work after a breakdown and looking for the girl he had known before. The truth is hard to find among all the mystery to cover up events that have happened in Europe . Very well written
  • Sally Vickers - The Librarian. Fiction (Published 2018). Sylvia Blackwell is an enthusiastic childrens librarian in a new job at East Mole library in the 1950s. When she falls in love with the doctor- a married man - it is her relationship with his daughter and her neighbours children that upsets the village and changes all their lives. I thought the last chapter, which jumps forward 60 years to catch up with the children involved, was a clever ending.
  • Ann Granger - An Unfinished Murder. Crime Fiction (Published 2018). Latest by this prolific author. An easy quick read.
  • Julie Wassmer - Disappearance at Oare . Crime Fiction (Published 2018). The 5th in this series set in Whitstable in Kent. Christina Scott's husband Steven vanished seven years ago on the eve of his first art exhibition, his car was later found abandoned at Oare Marshes. Now the legal presumption of Steven's death is about to be made and Christina asks Pearl help her solve the riddle for the sake of her young son who never knew his father.
  • Susannah Walker - The Life of Stuff: A memoir of the stuff we leave behind. Non Fiction (Published 2018). Only after her mother's death does Susannah Walker discover how much of a hoarder she had become. Over the following months, she has to sort through a dilapidated house filled to the brim with rubbish and treasures, in search of a woman she never knew in life.
7 Books read in September


  • Ann Cleeves - Wild Fire. Crime Fiction (Published 2018). This is the last book she will be writing in the Shetland series. The TV series is completely different to the books so back to Perez's daughter Cassie being primary school age. The story is set around two families, one are newcomers the other old established and things that have happened before the newcomers arrived.
  • Mel Starr - Lucifer's Harvest. Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2016). A slim volume, the 9th in a series set in C14. Featuring Hugh De Singleton a surgeon and bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbot. Soldiers are needed to help Prince Edward in France and Hugh has to travel too.
  •  Peggy Ellard -  Down Yonder at the Back End. Non Fiction. (Published 2005) A small auto-biography of a lady born in 1924. Her life as a child and through the war with  her family.
  • Leonard Gribble - The Arsenal Stadium Mystery  Crime Fiction  (Originally Published 1939). Another of the British Library Crime Classics. Featuring the actual Arsenal team members. A bit slow to get going but a decent story in the end.
  • Ann Cleeves - A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy. Crime Fiction (Published 1992) Before this author became well known with her Shetland and Vera series's she wrote 6 books in a series about Inspector Ramsey. This, the 3rd, has been reprinted recently by Pan Heritage Classics. It's a good story about village life and the effect of the over-enthusiastic vicar's wife when she gets involved with many families and their secrets.
  • Ngaio Marsh - Singing in the Shrouds. Crime Fiction. (Published 1958) The 20th in the Inspector Roderick Alleyn series. Set on a cargo liner which also carries 9 passengers to South Africa. The "Flower Murderer" is believed to have committed a murder just before embarking on the Cape Farewell. Insp Alleyn boards via the pilot boat to catch the murderer. 
  • Ngaio Marsh - False Scent. Crime Fiction.(Published 1960) Another Inspector Roderick Alleyn Murder Mystery. An actress is murdered at her birthday party in a very nasty way.
  • Joy Ellis - Crime in the Fens. Crime Fiction (Published 2016) A new to me author, this is the first of a series featuring DI Nikki Galena. She has a new sergeant who she must get on with. Two girls disappear and the kids on a sink housing estate  start terrorising everyone wearing really nasty masks. What on earth is going on? 
  • Cyril Hare  - When the Wind Blows. Crime Fiction. ( Originally Published 1949) Another reprint from the Golden Age of crime. Featuring retired barrister Francis Pettigrew who is in the theatre when famous violinist Lucy Carless is found strangled halfway through a concert.
9 Books read in October
  • Anne Perry- Triple Jeopardy. Historical Crime Fiction. (Published 2018). The second book in a series featuring Daniel Pitt, a young lawyer. (the son of Thomas Pitt about whom Anne Perry previously wrote a long series of crime novels) These books are set in the Edwardian era, as the country looms towards the Great War. A Brilliant story well written as always. 
  • Marsali Taylor  - Death in Shetland Waters. Crime Fiction.(Published 2017). I didn't realise this was the 6th in a series but it was a really good story. The action all revolves round the crew of a Tall Ship sailing from Norway to Dublin with trainees on board and a stowaway.
  • Chris Nickson -  The Hanging Psalm. Historical Crime Fiction. (Published 2018) The first of a new series by this author who has previously written series of historical crime set in Leeds at different periods of history. In Leeds of 1820 thief-taker Simon Westow is hired to find a kidnapped daughter but the real answers to this crime come from his own past. Fast paced story showing the darker side of cities in that period.
  • 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. 
  • Cora Harrison. - Murder at the Queen's Old Castle. Historical Crime Fiction (Published 2018) The sixth in the series set in 1920's Cork.On her first visit for 50 years to the dingy department store, Reverend Mother Aquinas notices how little has changed except for the strange smell of gas. But when the store's unpopular owner topples over the upstairs railings to his death, she is once again drawn into a baffling murder.
  • Raynor Winn - The Salt Path. Non Fiction (Published 2018). When Raynor and Moth Winn lose their home through a financial disaster at the same time as Moth is given the diagnoses of a terminal illness they have no home, no income and no hope. They decide that the only thing thing to do is to walk the 600+ miles of the South West Coast Footpath. Walking through pain,  rain and blistering heat with everything they need in two rucksacks this is an inspirational story.
  • Joy Ellis - Shadow over the Fens.Crime Fiction (Published 2011) Detective Nikki Galena's friend and neighbor meets a tragic end, but there's more to his death than meets the eye. And someone terrible from DS Joseph Easter's past is back. The second in a series
  • Christopher Fowler - London's Glory. Crime fiction short stories (Published 2015) . Quirky stories featuring Bryant and May from the files of the 'London's Peculiar Crimes Unit'. 
8 Books Read in November (102)

  • George Bellairs - The Tormentors. Crime Fiction (2017 originally Published 1962) Another well written book by this author and set on The Isle of Man
  • Nicola Ford - The Hidden Bones. Crime Fiction (Published 2018) First novel by this author who is an archaeologist. The story is set at a Bronze Age cemetery dig, which uncovers not just archaeological finds but secrets from 40 years ago. The second book about the same characters is due to be published in May next year - must make a note as it was an excellent well written story.
  • Chris Nickson - The Tin God. Crime Fiction (Published 2018) Another in a series set in Leeds at the end of the C19.  Annabelle Harper is one of the first women to stand in an election for Poor Law Guardians. Unfortunately someone doesn't think this is an suitable thing for a women to do and it seems he will do anything to stop them. Luckily her husband is a Police Superintendent. 
  • Martin Edwards  (editor) - The Christmas Card Crime. Short Stories. ( British Library Crime Classics. Originally Published between 1900 and 1965) .  Short stories all by well known crime writers of the period and set at Christmas.
  • Joy Ellis - Killer in the Fens. Crime Fiction. ( Published 2016) This is the 4th in a series and I've missed the 3rd so there was a bit of story between the main characters that I didn't know. Although that didn't matter too much. Another good story set on the bleak Fens.
  • Anne Perry - A Christmas Revelation.  Crime Novella (Published 2018). A short story featuring some of the minor characters from her Monk series.
Making a grand total of 108 books read this year


  1. Wow - that is an amazing list. I found you through another blog but for the life of me I can't remember where! Anyway have to say that I am totally enjoying reading your posts, old and new. The only down side is that I am now wanting to revisit the UK so very much. The write ups of the churches are fascinating. You are doing so much and keeping so busy after such a difficult loss. Just remember plenty of self care. Hello from Mary in Colorado!

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