Greetings from the chilly (as opposed to frozen) North! Its been a long time, but as I go to my first Hexham Book Festival event tomorrow, I thought I may venture to my first blog post in nearly a year…
My only excuse for my silence is that we went on a sabbatical journey around Britain and now have a fridge full of magnets from the various places and railways we visited. I also bought a huge number of books and have been building a new library (and decorating the house to go around it).
Anyway, a few highlights from series of books, and things I have picked up on my travels – and remembered when re-shelving….
The British Library Crime Classics have been a spectacular shelf filler as well as a great series of books to read when travelling to some of the places mentioned. I particularly enjoyed The Cornish Coast Murder
This is just a very, very well constructed murder mystery, with good characters, a great sense of place and a convincing murder. I do like the clerical character (as you would expect) who sounds like a great chap to have on your side. It is an ingenious plot, and I am not spoiling anything when I say that the victim is not much missed! I enjoyed reading about the coastal community in the context of the book, and of the several John Bude books in this series, this is undoubtedly the best in my opinion. The Sussex Down Murder is better than The Lake District Murder as the latter is more technical. I took longer to read both Death on the Cherwell and Murder Underground, which are by Mavis Doriel Hay, as I found the lack of a central detective /narrator a bit confusing and off putting., as well as finding them slower to get into. The best selling Mystery in White is a jolly read for Christmas, with its near country house murder style, and I would recommend it if you are feeling in a snowy mood (so revisit later in the year…).
Apart from reading lots of books, of which more later, I have greatly enjoyed Wolf Hall which I believe I have commented on in its novel form elsewhere on this blog. When we had it for Bookworms book club some people loved it, whereas others had given up in despair. The abridged version on cd read by Dan Stevens makes it a lot more accessible, and is an enjoyable listen in the car.
I ought really to mention my other current rereading project at the moment, the twelve volume Poldark series. I have read all twelve over the years, and remain firmly devoted to the original series with the lovely Robin and Angharad
which benefited from more dialogue and some of the lesser characters (especially Judd) being built up a lot more. Yes, I enjoy the lovely scenery of the current series, and Aiden/Ross is very attractive, but I miss all the comedy and pathos of the Judd, Prudie, and Captain Blamey type characters who enjoyed far more screen time and interest in the original series. The books are so readable, even when its for the second or third time, and the availability of the paperbacks should be and encouragement to pick them up. I have at least two copies of the first seven, and have so far resisted the temptation to indulge again, but who knows. If you are enjoying the series, and not merely for the visuals, they are brilliant books!