Gone to ground, by John Harvey [audiobook]. Read by Andrew Wincott. Rearsby, Leics.: WF Howes, 2007.
Stephen Bryan, a Cambridge academic, is found murdered in his bathroom. Initially suspicions fall on his partner, Mark, or on a random sexual encounter; but the loss of Bryan's laptop also makes the detectives wonder whether something in his research on 50s screen actress Stella Leonard might have something to do with it. It may be that I listened to this in too many bouts, or it might be that Wincott's delivery was even more mannered than usual, but I couldn't find myself warming to this one, and the plot seemed strangely disjointed given the quality of Harvey's usual writing.
Lila, by Marilynne Robinson. London: Virago, 2014.
A companion piece to Home and Gilead, both of which my book group had read; but does also stand on its own, according to others who didn't belong to the group then. I found this less satisfying than the previous two books, but still a tour de force of writing. Lila is a compelling character, constantly poised for flight, and her strained relationship with her kind, elderly clergyman husband is at turns incredibly sad and rather wonderful. The book roams freely across Lila's life in a sort of kaleidoscope, Highly recommended.
Waiting for Alaska, by John Green. London: HarperCollins, 2006.
2015's most challenged book, according to the American Library Association. And as good as you'd expect, given that. Miles is sent to high school at his dad's old boarding school, Culver Creek in Alabama, and meets his roommate Chip (The Colonel), friends Takumi and Lara, and the amazing, unpredictable Alaska Young. There's smoking, and drinking, and teenage pranks; and a lot about religion and meaning; and something utterly dreadful happens in the middle I won't spoiler. It's the kind of wonderful, lively, life-affirming book that some people can't resist trying to ban.
Death at Victoria Dock, by Kerry Greenwood. London: Constable, 2014 [originally published in 2002].
Phryne Fisher is blamelessly (for a change) driving through Victoria Dock when she's shot at, and a beautiful young man dies in her arms. He turns out to be a Latvian, and a member of an anarchist group. Phryne pitches in to investigate the murder, Meanwhile she's also hired by a man called Waddington-Forsythe to look for his daughter Alicia; Waddington-Forsythe père and fille are both deeply unpleasant individuals, so Phryne's thoughts often tend towards the anarchists. This is another very pleasant romp.
The woman in blue, by Elly Griffiths. London: Quercus, 2016.
Ruth Galloway is invited to meet an old friend at Walsingham, where the friend is at a conference. Surprisingly, Ruth's fellow archaeology student is now a vicar, and she's been getting threatening letters. Meanwhile Nelson is also in Walsingham investigating the death of a young woman who had left a nearby drug treatment centre in the middle of the night and been strangled. Relationships, always complicated in this series, become even more tangled in this one, and the very strange atmosphere of Walsingham contributes to this. Well up to the usual standard of these books, and another unputdownable read.