Saturday, October 14, 2017

2017 books, #36-40

End games in Bordeaux, by Alan Massie. Kindle edition.

Catching up on some books read much, much earlier; it's too easy to leave books on the Kindle unreviewed because you don't physically have to put them anywhere.  I read this back in February in Paris; it turned out to be the last part of a 4-volume series, and I might go back and read the rest.  D-day has come, and the people of Bordeaux are waiting for the Nazi regime to crumble.  In the chaos of the liberation, consciences are examined; punishments are starting to be dealt out; and there's still hope that people who disappeared earlier in the war. Meanwhile Inspecteur Lannes, suspended from duty by his Vichy masters, is searching for a missing girl and uncovering allegations of historic sex abuse. It's a dark, slightly gloomy sort of book which fitted in terrifically with Paris in February...

The lion's mouth, by Anne Holt. Kindle edition.

The Prime Minister of Norway is found dead at her desk, having been shot. The last appointment she had was with a judge who, it turns out, is also an old friend, and has just been appointed chief of an enquiry into the deaths of babies in 1967.  As Hanne Willemson returns from her sabbatical in California to lead the investigation, she begins to discover other, more sinister, associations in the corridors of power, and to wonder exactly how corrupt the Norwegian establishment has become.  I really enjoy Anne Holt's books - and as a former Home Secretary for Norway, she presumably knows what she's talking about it terms of machinery-of-government!

Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome. Kindle edition.

A book group book.  I saw the recent film when it came out, and really enjoyed it; which meant that the actual plot of this book was somewhat tame in comparison without the additional spy story added in; but had forgotten quite how good the writing was, and how refreshing the children, and their freedom, was.  If it's been a while since you read this, or you never have, definitely worth a re-read. I am also remembering the look of joy on the face of one of our members who grew up in Canada, on hearing that this was the first of rather a long series!

A lesson in dying, by Ann Cleeves. Kindle edition.

The school at Heppleburn isn't an entirely happy place to be - the headmaster has a vendetta against a nervous young male teacher, and the PTA is in disarray. The caretaker, George Robson, notices all these things, and is worried about his somewhat scatty daughter joining the PTA.  Not as worried, however, as he is when the headmaster is strung up on the basketball hoop in the playground during a parents' Hallowe'en party. Inspector Ramsey investigates, and uncovers a morass of old grudges, incomer/native tensions and one final shattering secret.  I enjoyed this a great deal; haven't read any of the Ramsey books until this one.

A bird in the hand, by Ann Cleeves. Kindle edition.

Teenager Tom French is found, binoculars in hand, on the North Norfolk coast; he's been viciously beaten.  The floating population at the local bird observatory is shocked, but many of them soon move on to the next twitch. Retired civil servant and keen birdwatcher George Palmer-Jones starts to investigate, and discovers more secrets than he was bargaining for. Again, a new Cleeves series for me and one I'll follow up.

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