Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 books, #81-85

I shall not want, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. New York: St Martin's, 2008.

A very good title for a book which is all about desire of different kinds; tightly plotted, compassionate, interesting in the development of its relationships, all the things you'd expect from this series up to now.

However, I have two criticisms. The first is that the opening cliffhanger (pp 1-11) is so overwhelming that you skim-read the following 300 pages until the timeline reverts to the "present"; which is a shame as it's fine writing. The second is that the next book isn't published until next April...

Just as I thought I couldn't like Clare Fergusson any more, we also find out she's a fan of both Lindsey Davis/Marcus Didius Falco, and Stephanie Plum (as she reflects, ruefully, having destroyed yet another car...).

The Attenbury emeralds, by Jill Paton-Walsh [audiobook]. Read by Edward Petherbridge. Audible, 2010.

Quite marvellous - this is fanfiction, of course, based on hints in the original Dorothy L. Sayers novels; but when fanfic is this good, it makes a wonderful addition to canon. Peter is 60, Harriet is in her forties, and it is the year of the Festival of Britain. A three-part intrigue, starting shortly after the Great War and reappearing in the present. Entirely true to character while answering all those questions which remain such as 'what did they do next'; and jigsawing in the tantalising little hints we have in some of the short stories. And Petherbridge's reading is, as ever, delightful - his Peter is always graver than Ian Carmichael's, but that's never a bad thing.

The dark water : the dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes, by David Pirie. London: Arrow, 2005.

Very convincing Conan Doyle writing; again, working around original material and Doyle's autobiographical writings. Dr Joseph Bell and Doyle investigate Doyle's abduction at the hands of his enemy Thomas Neill Cream, and are led to Dunwich and the mustery of the 'Dunwich Witch' and her curse. The setting is eerie, the Suffolk coastal marshes; there's a real sense of fear here, as there is in the best of the Sherlock Holmes novels. Definitely one to read if you're a fan of Victorian detective fiction.

Blood on the tongue, by Stephen Booth [audiobook]. Narrated by Christopher Kay. Rothley, Leics.: Clipper, 2002.

One I must have missed at the time I thought I'd caught up on all the Stephen Booth books. The relationship between Diane Fry and Ben Cooper takes a back seat to the main story, which resurrects the story of a World War II bomber when a young woman is found frozen to death in the wreckage. Very good, interwoven story with some interesting characters. Probably not the best book to have been listening to over the last couple of weeks in that it's midwinter in Derbyshire in the book...

Broken for you, by Stephanie Kallos. New York: Grove Press, 2004.

A Kniterati book and another I'd never have picked up without being in a book group. Margaret Hughes, a widow in her 70s, lives in a mansion in Seattle full of valuable antiques. When she discovers she has an inoperable brain tumour, she decides to dare herself to change her life. The first step is taking on boarder Wanda Schultz, who has arrived in Seattle determined to pursue her deserting boyfriend, and working as a stage manager.

This is a lovely book. It's slightly hallucinatory as everyone in it is disfunctional in some way due to illness or inclination, and there are some amazing revelations in the woodshed.

1 comment:

Emm@ said...

The Conan Doyle book looks very interesting. Have you ever come across Giles Brandreth's "Oscar Wilde and the..." mysteries? Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde solve crimes in those!
Great fun, if a bit trashy.