Back from the far North (or further North anyway!)

I’m back from holiday! A fortnight in changeable, lovely, welcoming Orkney.  For a twenty five mile island, there are many books to be had. The Orcadian bookshop is definitely worth a look if you find yourself in Kirkwall ( perhaps an unlikely circumstance…) if only because they can order up any book in print with very little to go on. The famous author in Stromness is George Mackay Brown, poet, journalist and writer of amazing prose. We did buy a couple of his books; watch this space for further comments.

I did of course read a few books while I was there (eight or so).  It was made easier by the extreme comfort of the bungalow and the day of the gale when I couldn’t get out of the front door. This did include some Harry Potter, numbers two and three, as well as some books in various murder mystery series.  I really enjoyed Dandy Gilver and an unsuitable Day for a murder by Catriona McPherson

Having not enjoyed The Winter Ground much this is a good return to form for the Dandy Gilver series. It is set in two department stores and depicts two warring families and suicide, or murder. I thought that the descriptions of the two stores was particularly good, as well as Dandy’s reactions to the clothes on sale. The mystery takes second  place to the characterisations and descriptions of people and place. At last Hugh the husband does the right thing, and we see Dandy herself develop in confidence. The police are not generally cooperative, but Dandy still discovers a lot of the truth. My only and main criticism of the book is the family complications which had me checking the family tree in the front of the book. That is part of the plot, however, so not surprising that it’s complicated.

This is a good book in the series, which does not need to be read strictly in order to enjoy the novel. It may be a bit confusing if you read it as the first book by this author, though it is possible just to read it to wallow in the 1920s period details. It is a good book, a very Scottish book, and you really don’t have to go to Orkney to buy it!


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