Saturday, July 04, 2015

2015 books, #41-45

Never go back, by Lee Child [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Whitley Bay: Soundings, 2013.

Jack Reacher finally makes it to Virginia to meet a woman whose voice he liked over the phone. When he arrives, not only is she absent, but he finds himself arrested by the military police for a 16-year-old assault, and is also under disciplinary proceedings for having fathered a child at about the same time.  Reacher finds himself being summoned back under military discipline, and confronted with all the exasperation that being under a bad commander can bring.  Absolutely up to the usual standard; and the Reacher/Susan Turner combination is a wonderful thing.

Dreaming spies,  by Laurie R. King. London: Allison and Busby, 2015.

Mary Russell heads back to Oxford to study, and partly to give herself and husband Sherlock Holmes some space after a long voyage.  What she finds on her doorstep when she comes back home one evening plunges her back into events on that voyage between Mumbai and Edo, and into the Japanese culture she and Holmes encountered there.  The Russell books have sometimes been a little variable in quality, but this is one of the good ones, and highly recommended.

The Zig-zag girl, by Elly Griffiths [audiobook]. Read by Daniel Philpott. London: Quercus, 2014.

Not a Ruth Galloway book, this one - and set around Griffiths's home town of Brighton.  Three veterans of a secret army unit are brought together by the murder of a magician's assistant, found chopped neatly into three in three trunks.  Edgar Stephens, now a policeman, tracks down old comrade Max Mephisto, only to find that the victim is known to him.  Stephens's theory that the murder has something to do with his, and Mephisto's, army experience is borne out by another murder, and it then becomes a fight against an unknown enemy, with a twist in the tail I'd guessed, but only just guessed...  This appears to be the beginning of another series - I'd happily read about Stephens again.

Eddy Merckx: the cannibal, by Daniel Friebe. London: Ebury, 2012.

I learned a lot from this book - the climate of cycling in the 1970s, why Merckx was feared so much by his fellow riders because of his ferocious need to win in all circumstances, where he fits in with cycling history, and so on.  But sadly I didn't learn to like the man.  I wanted to - Friebe obviously does - but somehow I just couldn't take to him...  An interesting, well-written read though!

Recipe for life: the autobiography, by Mary Berry [audiobook]. Read by Patricia Hodge. Rearsby, Leics.: WF Howes/Lamplight, 2013.

Another biography, but this time a bit more of a known quantity.  Mary Berry doesn't confound expectations here - she has the blend of the highly conventional (she has strong opinions on nose-piercing, tight maternity wear and inappropriate dress) and the groundbreaking (working constantly from the early 1960s when finding a husband would have been perfectly acceptable to her family), and her wicked sense of humour shines through.  She doesn't flinch from describing either her parents' bewilderment at her lack of academic achievement at school, or the death of her son William as a teenager in his first car.  It's a story of constant reinvention.  One of the things which stood out for me was also her generous praise for other cookery presenters and writers, particularly those like Jamie Oliver who have a completely different style.  The reading by Patricia Hodge is predictably wonderful.