Monday, April 09, 2012

2012 books, #26-30

Double wedding ring, by Lizbie Brown.  London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1999.

The tone of this book is slightly strange - the protagonist (and I'd imagine the author) are from the US, and it definitely reads like one of the US "cozies" produced around quilting, knitting, sewing etc. - this is set in the UK, and seems to stand out from the rest though, and the first scene - a wedding at which the bride not only turns out not to be the groom's fiancée but is also pregnant with his child - is somewhat arresting!  When the false bride's body is discovered the next morning, Elizabeth Blair (a semi-retired private detective who also runs a quilt shop in Bath) is called in to try to prove that the obvious suspect, the groom, is not guilty of the murder.  It rattles along very nicely; not anything particularly special but a good couple of hours' read.

Lost light, by Michael Connelly [audiobook]. Read by John Chancer. Bath: BBC, [n.d.].

I don't know where this fits into the Harry Bosch series, other than that it's after he was married to Eleanor Wish, after she's had their child, but before he finds out about this...  but as ever, the library gubbins was stuck all over the bibliographic information!  Just when I think I've read all of the Bosch stuff, another one I haven't found yet comes along; which is great, when someone can consistently write at this standard.  Harry has left the LAPD, but is unable to forget one particular case, that of a young woman murdered in the wake of a $2million robbery on a film set.  Released from the day job and unable to decide what to do next, Harry takes the file and continues the investigation, pissing off just about everyone he knows in the process.  Really good stuff, and Chancer reads it very well, as ever.

The secret life of France, by Lucy Wadham. Kindle edition.

Lucy Wadham was married to an upper-class Frenchman for the best part of two decades, has two teenage children and moved from the 16e arrondissement  to la France profonde  following her divorce.  She talks about her experiences of France and the French as someone who married very young, finished her degree at Oxford after having a child and then worked freelance for UK newspapers and the BBC over the years.  A surprising amount of the book is spent on discussing sex and infidelity in a particular very elevated stratum of Parisian society; but when she gets down to subjects such as the French education system, French bureaucracy, the conflict between secularism and Catholicism and so on, she's fascinating.  And it was heartening to find that someone had to go back to the office near Parmentier métro station even more often than I did to obtain that elusive permis de séjour which was needed by all EU citizens before the dawning of the single market in labour, and was notoriously difficult and time-consuming to obtain...  She's loved and hated France in almost equal measure over the years; but despite having children who are now rediscovering the joys of the British sense of humour, she's still there.  And if you want to follow up on a social history of France from the mid-80s to now, Wadham's journalistic sense means she's documented all her sources in the references at the back, which take up nearly a quarter of the book.

The knitter's book of wool: the ultimate guide to understanding, using, and loving this most fabulous fiber, by Clara Parkes.  New York: Potter Craft, 2009.

I'm fairly sure this was a present from Wibbo.  I had a flick through it and registered the lovely patterns in it at the time, but a couple of weeks ago, after I came back from a spinning day at Rampton, I got it off the shelf and took it up into the bedroom as bedtime reading (most of my reading is done in transit, but this is a sturdy hardback with a nice dust-jacket).  And it's fascinating.  Parkes is the person who created the Knitters' Review website, my primary source for all things fibre before Ravelry and still a site I visit, and here she goes back a step from her previous book, The knitter's book of yarn, to talk about sheep, and sheep breeds, and the way that taking raw fleece and turning it into yarn works.  She doesn't automatically assume you want to spin your own yarn, but she does assume that if you're interested in yarn, you have some interest in understanding how different breeds work, and what you might be able to use each yarn for.  However, if you do want to spin your own yarn, there's lots of information there, too.  It's about half information, and half patterns; and the patterns are good, and explain why each yarn has been chosen for each project.

The death of Amy Parris, by T. R. Bowen.  London: Penguin, 1998.

One of the books I picked up while weeding the crime/thrillers at the local library - this one is set in and around Cambridge, and gets the geography right, although there's an awful lot more driving between Cambridge and the North Norfolk coast than most locals would be prepared to do!  John Bewick, formerly of Cambridgeshire police and now seconded to an advanced training unit, is asked to re-investigate what looks like an open and closed case, because the son of friends has been arrested for a murder he claims not to have committed.  Meanwhile a body is found on a North Norfolk beach and turns out to be the best friend of the murdered woman, lost at sea a year before.  There's a very creepy dénouement to this one, and it's tightly-plotted throughout.

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