Books · Jottings

December Roundup

That was it is all over for December reading, for 2015 reading. And we go head long into a new year. I have had lots of time to read, lots of time to rest and lots of time to think about where I am going and also where this blog is going. For the moment though here is December’s roundup of reading.

It being December I had to continue with the Christmas themed reading, and Katie Fforde – A Christmas in Disguise is a great way to get in the festive mood, especially as a short story it sometimes all we can manage at this time of year.

I discovered Rosie Blake – How to stuff up Christmas from reading a fellow blogger’s review and was tempted. I loved it but the title was slightly misleading and unnecessary for my liking.

The best for me though was Susan Buchanan – Return of the Christmas Spirit there was something just so lovely about it. A book that made me feel all warm inside.

Whilst buying books as presents, I thought I would treat myself to one that I wanted to read too. Sue Perkins – Spectacles I know it is the time of year for the “sleb autobiogs” but I wanted to see how this one came across. Well, so much so I was laughing too much in bed, her wit and turn of phrase is brilliant and she readily admits that she has fleshed out some parts, but the essence of Sue Perkins is certainly here between the pages. (That sounded good, will need to use that in my review).

Rather than keep reading on my kindle, I do need to make a dent in my actual books, so I picked at random Mark Watson – Hotel Alpha  wasn’t sure what I was going to get. I got a thoroughly good read and a rather interesting one at that.

Another ‘actual’ book was Dilly Court – The Orphan’s Dream which was sent to me for review, it was good but I actually haven’t reviewed it. It was something that I decided for 2015 and I have kept true to it and I think it will move forward into 2016.

Back on the kindle and back on review books via netgalley. I went on a bit of a binge of picking them after having got through a lot of them and reducing the amount to read, but I was drawn to Sinead Moriarty – The Way We Were. 

Then having read the first novelisation of Death in Paradise television programme this year, I was lucky enough to get the second Robert Thorogood – The Killing of Polly Carter. I look forward to the third book and I hope there may be more after that.

There was no real reason for picking B.A.Paris – Behind Closed Doors, other than the fact that it was available and the publisher had emailed me rather than me choosing it on netgalley itself. So I thought I would give it a go, eventually when I got round to it. But after some ‘nice’ stories I wanted something that was a bit more thrilling and did I get it with this book – yes in bucketfuls. Edge of seat stuff and holding breath at some points too!

Surprisingly enough this took me to my 100 books of the year, more about that in another post. So I thought I would pick up a random book and read that next which is what took me to James Anderson – The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks there was three of these and the second read way back in 2011 (having just checked) so I have completed the set and rather disappointed there is now no more.

I end the year in the middle in of a book so that will be my first finish of 2016.


Watchman – Ian Rankin

Miles Flint is a watchman. His role is to watch. Nothing more. Miles does not want anything more. MI5 have other ideas.

Britain has a new threat – the IRA. The mainland is being bombed and everyone is nervous. Miles does not want to become involved he has his own problems both personal and professional. However the powers that be have another game they are playing. As well of the IRA all of sudden there are Arabs and Israelis’, newspaper journalists, well known MPs and a trip to Belfast for Miles.

He now becomes a player and not an observer. Tied up in office politics of which he has no control. Rankin provides a book which had elements for me of James Bond and I agree with another reviewer who likens the book to having something of a Le Carre quality to it. Plots like these prove very difficult to review because to do so you may intentionally or inadvertently give something away. Sometimes the only way to explain a book is to give the whole story. That would stand with this book.

For me it was a complex plot that requires attention as it twists and turns, although I was clear what happened at the end, there did not seem to be any loose ends. It is a relatively short novel, any longer and I think it would have lost its impact and I do not believe I would have stayed to the end. This is an early Rankin novel and the first one I have read but I will certainly pick up on of his more popular Rebus books and compare.

I have of course heard of Ian Rankin and Rebus. Although to be honest my knowledge of Rebus is from the very early television series with John Hannah and perhaps the odd one or two with Ken Stott but I have yet to read any Rebus based novels. I was given this book in the goody bag at the newbooks readers day back in April, not realising it was not a ‘Rebus’ novel. It shows you how you can easily assume that an author has only produced one body of work.

I read this book for the Crime Fiction Alphabet for the letter I. However life took over and it was never going to be read and reviewed by the date for that letter. However, I am going to add it to my list for the challenge (found at the tab at the top of this blog) and carry on regardless in true British Fashion. I have a book to be read for letter J and it will help get down the ever growing pile of books that are sent to me from the lovely publishers.


Hanging Hill – Mo Hayder

Lorne Wood is discovered dead next to a canal. Brutally murdered.

Her murderer has left a message…on her body…”all like her”…but what does it mean?

Detective Inspector Zoe Benedict is one of the first on the scene in relation to this case. Something is not right and she cannot work out why. Investigations lead to some discoveries of Zoe’s past and it becomes a race to ensure that Zoe’s past life does not come out into the world she has created now. Lorne Wood looked to be following a similar path. 

Millie, knew Lorne, they were friends, they weren’t friends. A typical teenage friendship. Millie’s mum becomes worried about her daughter, and protecting her from the evils of the world, whilst trying to maintain some stability, but with the lack of money and being a single parent, everything is against her. But Millie seems to know something about the death but she cannot talk about it until she walks in to talk to Zoe…

Who also happens to be her aunt.

Mo Hayder adds to the story of Lorne and the capture of her killer, the past of these two sisters, Zoe and Sally. They have not spoken for years, they were brought up very differently, taking different paths after an incident when they were young. You are never quite sure what the incident actually was, although there are hints, which makes for a more intriguing relationship between the two. Through Millie, because of Lorne they are thrown together and have to get the best answer for everyone.  “Is it okay to do the wrong thing for the right reason?”

This was the first Hayder book I have read, and have nothing to compare it to. It was very gruesome and not something I would have chosen, but it was compelling, it held my attention, and I had to find out what happened, even though a lot of it was very unpleasant! The book is also in some ways a reflection on the relationship between sisters, and the one that gets the best of everything whilst growing up, whilst the other has to make do. Private or Comprehensive education? Day or Boarder? The questions are still relevant for the dead girl and her friends. Is one child being treated more kindly than another? Is there jealously and when one of their group is so tragically removed. Do these youngsters have the skills and emotions to deal with it?

Sometimes doing wrong means you are doing right.

I received this book from the publisher and thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to read it. I would never have considered this book in a bookshop. It was a page turner, and I would like to read more by Mo Hayder. It is very realistic and I did not feel she was treating the reader as somewhat backward and not be able to handle detail. No need for imagination here. Graphic detail hammered home the point, the death, the atmosphere so much so that the book stayed with me long after I had put it down, going “Oh……”

I intended to read this for the letter ‘H’ for the Crime Fiction Alphabet but did not finish the book in time for the letter that week but I will mark it accordingly on my link above. 


Crime Fiction Alphabet – G is for Grey

For the letter G I thought I would introduce you all to someone else called Grey – Lady Julia Grey.

Lady Julia is a feisty outspoken woman in Victorian times who falls into company with Nicholas Brisbane when Lady Julia’s husband dies, in fact just as her husband seems to be in the last throes of death does Nicholas appear. But was his death murder or was it simply natural causes? In fact the opening line of the first book Silent in the Grave sums up the wit of the characters and gives a taste of what is to come.

To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor. 

I stared at him, not quite taking in the fact that he had just collapsed at my feet. He lay, curled like a question mark, his evening suit ink-black against the white marble of the floor. He was writhing; his fingers knotted. 

I leaned as close to him as my corset would permit. 

“Edward, we have guests. Do get up. If this is some sort of silly prank—” 

And so begins a murder mystery story where Lady Julia going against the normal mourning practices expected of her  seeks to find the truth amongst some very low parts of Victorian society.

Lady Julia needs time now to recover from events in the first book so she is in Italy with her brothers but they must all return to England for Christmas, at their father’s insistence. So it is back to the family pile and Silent in the Sanctuary.  Murder seems to have followed Lady Julia and a familiar face by a different name is hiding in the shadows.

And now with strong characters which have their place, Lady Julia Grey actually finds herself at the house of the man she first met over her husbands twitching but not yet dead body. We all decamp to Silent on the Moor. With resonances of Jane Eyre and the life of Victorian Society detailed so well you cannot but help like Lady Julia Grey and the wonderfully rude and rather eccentric Nicholas Brisbane.

Who is the author and creator of Lady Julia Grey?  – Deanna Raybourn. 

A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

For some reason I have stopped there in reading about Lady Julia Grey. The main reason that the subsequent books Dark Road to Darjeeling and The Dark Enquiry seem to have missed off being published in the UK or only with a very limited run? I have no idea why?

My interest is piqued again, (from thinking about what to choose as letter G) and I want to read these last two. I am going to have to spend a bit more money though to be able to get  my hands on them. Although I know the last two books do not have the wonderful covers shown above. These three look great on the shelf!

Remember the literary world has room for more than one character called Grey!

This post is part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.


June Roundup

Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton

June has been and gone. Nobody told me it would go so quickly and in fact here we are six months into 2012. It really is a blink and you miss it. It cannot possibly be time for another roundup of books read in the month but do you know what it is! If you are here looking for a review or two, then bear with reader as there will be some of them coming, but I do like to reflect back on my reading and have done so since blogging. In some ways it is sometimes an indication of how I have felt over the month coming out in my reading. Then again the amount of crime novels could mean a number of things….. so that seems like a good place to start.

I am managing (just) to keep apace with the Crime Fiction Alphabet challenge. D was covered by Carola Dunn and Murder on the Flying Scotsman (this also was a book ticked off for my own personal challenges for 2012). A good bit of cosy crime, you cannot beat it and I will go back to Daisy Dalyrmple soon I had neglected her there for a while.

E was not covered by R.J. Ellory and Ghostheart, although perhaps it should have been. This was my first foray into Ellory’s novels and I felt a review warranted to be posted in its own right. I hope to read more Ellory. Although I feel there will never be enough time for me to read all the authors and books I so want to.

F was Fatal Frost by James Henry. A prequel to R.D. Wingfield’s DI Frost novels and the same character brought to life so well by David Jason on ITV. Again, the ever growing wish list has had added to it the first prequel novel about Frost as well as going back to R.D. Wingfields originals. Prequels (and sequels) sometimes work well or don’t. In this case it worked well for me.

So what was E covered with, well that was by Enid Blyton and Five Go Off in A Caravan. It suddenly struck me how  much these stories were actually crime novels and I was reading them by the bucket load as I was growing up. It was great to go back and read this childhood book and look at it from a different angle.

Another children’s book but not written as such as confirmed by the author himself but a number of bookshops and online retailers do categorise it as ‘children’ was Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! In an Adventure with Moby Dick. This is the second “Adventure” story in these ever growing series of books. I love them, they are great escapism, quite funny and educational all at the same time. They make fun of everything and when in a world where we have to be politically correct all the time incase we fear the wrath of some authority, these are a tonic.

Tonic reading (a seamless link!) also came in the form of Sowing Secrets by Trisha Ashley. I am a fan of these books, they are great for cosying up on the settee and escaping to another place, normally one where I want to live and watching lives unfold, dramas and romances. I am looking forward to reading the next one I have. Plus Trisha Ashley kindly agreed to do an interview for my blog and you can see that coming up very soon. Pop back and have a read and tell your friends to visit as well!

Another author who I have read all her novels (apart from her Quick Reads) is Maureen Lee and I was back here in June with Au Revoir Liverpool*. It has been over a year since I picked up one of her books, mainly because I was up to date in reading them and I had forgotten how much I love a good saga, especially one set around the Second World War which some of Lee’s books are. Some are not and they are just as great. I must now add her more recent ones to my list!

Because of the love of all things historical my other ‘history’ read this month was Alison Weir’s – A Dangerous Inheritance. I love my signed hardback copy and got it way back in April when I met the author at The Mary Rose Museum. The Tudors is one of my more favourite parts of history and this time with the adventures of Katherine Grey but also a name sake some years earlier Katherine Plantagenet. This has introduced me to Richard III, The Princes in the Tower and the Wars of the Roses. Interest is piqued and I certainly will be reading more around this subject. I had forgotten how much I like historical fiction.

From history to the present. I am always reluctant to read the ‘in’ book. I invariably buy them but then it is months before I actually get round to reading it. Last year I think that book was Room by Emma Donoghue. This year I read it. I chose it for my book club which I started back in May and seems to be blossoming! I really did not think I would like this book, but was very surprised and it made for some interesting discussion and thoughts.

This years ‘in’ book is without a doubt E.L. James – Fifty Shades of Grey*. I bought it to see what the fuss was about and then we decided to go with it for our third book group choice! If it was not for that I think it may have laid unread for a long time. The sequels no doubt will be, although I know from the wonders of the internet what happens so I am not overly enamoured by it. For me it was a relief to finish it and move onto something else!

And so that is June’s reading, a real mix with a heavy dose of crime, I do wonder if I have perhaps bit more off than I can chew with the Crime Fiction Alphabet, but I am starting to make a dent in the pile of books sent by the lovely publishers! I finish the month reading Elizabeth Nobles’s – Between a Mother and her Child and that will be the first one for July but I wonder what else I will read? Only one way to find out…….

* Book review yet to appear on this blog.


Fatal Frost – James Henry

Crime Fiction Alphabet – F is for Frost

It is 1982, the world is focussing on events happening on islands at the bottom of the South Atlantic. But in Denton, the locals are focussing on something much closer to home, a murder. A young girl is found in woodland near a railway track. A first glance suicide?

Then whilst enjoying a round of golf at the new refurbished club house and course Superintendent Mullet is called to something at the ninth hole – a body, this time a young boy, positioned in a particular and peculiar way.

Detective Sergeant ‘Jack’ Frost and his colleagues are busy working on a spate of burglaries which happen to be rife in Denton. Resources are split thinner when these bodies appear and the hunt is now on for the killer.

With officers off sick, and on courses for new fangled computer equipment and the introduction of the area’s first ‘black’ officer, tensions are running high. This is a CID which thinks nothing of a few pints at lunchtime and going back to work. Of smoking in offices, and using rather heavy handed tactics with suspects. This is very much a police force of the 1980s, one that lives up to stereotypes but has no doubt a large element of truth within in. The author captures it very well.

Personal lives of these officers seem to take a back seat, and when they try and reach out for something other than work, they find it has already gone. Work is their saviour especially in the case of DS Frost.

When the dead boy’s sister goes missing, personal lives don’t exist as time is now running out to solve this murder and link them if there is a link. But for Frost and his colleagues they need to juggle the burglaries and the rather dubious massage parlour which is under the spotlight. Superintendent Mullet wants answers to everything and now.

Can Frost make sense of this jumble and get a result? Only by reading the book will you inevitably find out.

And yes, if you think the name is familiar it is the same Frost that David Jason plays on the television. This is set before Frost became an inspector.  You can obviously see the dislike  Superintendent Mullet has of Frost and more than likely the way he conducts his investigations and his lack of paperwork. I am sure Frost made Inspector on his policing and not his paper pushing.

This is the second book in a prequel to R.D.Wingfield’s original Frost novel and you have no need to have read these or the first, the book stands alone very well on its own.

I read one of Wingfield’s books many years ago when the television programme came out , but have little recollection of the book although the programme at the time kept faithful to the novel that I do remember.

I am always very wary of prequels they can go badly wrong, but I think this captures the policing of the eighties well and also has the relevant amount of red herrings and twists to make it a believable read where belief has no need to be suspended. A good crime novel as I say without having to know anything about the main character or R.D.Wingfield’s work.

This is the second novel and James Henry is the pseudonym in this case of just one author James Garbutt. The first novel First Frost is actually written by two authors James and Henry Sutton. I am intrigued at how that works when you actually write the novel?

I will add First Frost to my ever-growing wish list and also perhaps the original Frost novels too.

I read this as part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.


Crime Fiction Alphabet – E is for Enid Blyton

Rather than an actual book review, for this weeks Crime Fiction Alphabet I thought I would reflect on something that occurred to me whilst I was considering books to read for the challenge. When did I start reading Crime Fiction? Was it in my childhood or much later? Childhood books automatically mean a mention to Enid Blyton.

I have vague recollection of reading a Nancy Drew book when I was younger but could not begin to tell you much about them as they were American and then I was rather snobby about reading books set in America . Then I suddenly realised what were the Famous Five, Secret Seven, and Five Find Outers books – mystery books but there was a crime normally involved, and always the presence of the police or a responsible adult at some time.

Certainly in the case of the Five Find Outers there are the wonderful conversations with Mr Goon the local policeman who thought the nosey, interfering children and their dog (of course) were a simple nuisance. But his superior Inspector Jenks always praising the thought and results that these children got.

I recently picked up a Famous Five books (Five go off in a Caravan) and read the book, looking for crime within, a different approach than just reliving a childhood book. First of all it had been changed ever so slightly in terms of words used but no matter, this is a post about the crime. Two men from the travelling circus that the children come across are suddenly very upset that they have befriended one of their group and also that they have parked their caravans in a place where they seem to have a rather keen interest.

With a bit of subterfuge, knowing that the men must be up to no good. One of the children watches events, and suddenly discover that their caravans are in fact covering something underground – a cave.

A cave with what looks like stolen goods.

The inevitable, threat and danger looming, the children make an attempt to capture, whilst the men make an attempt at escape. There is the danger of drowning, starving in the cave and even being shot. With Blyton good overcomes evil. The denouement; the police appear and the men are taken away. The children thanked for the police had been interested in these two men for some time but could not find out what was going on. It takes four children and a dog to do that in a matter of days, with ginger beer, ham sandwiches, boiled eggs and cake.

And so without me realising whilst I was growing up, consuming these books I had already started to take an interest in crime fiction. It was many years probably only the last five where I have actually consciously picked up a crime genre novel. Now I read quite a few!

This post is part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.


Murder on the Flying Scotsman – Carola Dunn

Crime Fiction Alphabet – D is for Daisy Dalrymple

Daisy Dalrymple is on the famous Flying Scotsman, travelling up to Edinburgh to work on her next article. Anticipating a long journey her main concern is that she has not bought anything to read when she at embarks at Kings Cross.

This becomes the least of Daisy’s worries when she discovers there is a stowaway on the train who is trying to find her for safety; Belinda the daughter of a close friend. Then an old school friend finds her along with her whole family who are on their way up to the Scottish Highlands at the request of the head of their clan who is on his death bed.

Daisy and Belinda become embroiled in family arguments between the brothers and sisters, cousins, great uncles and even the family solicitor. All spread about on the same carriage as Daisy who thought by treating herself to a first class ticket she would have a peaceful journey.

When a member of the warring clan is found dead by Belinda, Daisy has to step up and take control of the situation that means sharing her advice on the death which to all intents and purposes does not look suspicious to anyone apart from Daisy. That sharing comes in the form of talking to the only person she knows who will be able to deal with the situation. A Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher from Scotland Yard…..who also happens to be Belinda’s father.

For me this book in the series of Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries of which there are a number really consolidates on the character of Daisy, her thoughts and feelings not just for the man who has caught her eye, Alec Fletcher but also his daughter. The plot is well driven and there were plenty of red herrings as you would expect in novels such as these. The recurring characters of Alec Fletcher’s sergeant and constable bring a little light relief to the business of murder but they also reinforce the wonderful relationship which is developing between Daisy and Alec.  I look forward to Daisy’s next adventure.

There is something about trains and murders that seem to go well together and this was one of those books where it worked. More so probably because I have pictures of my mum, her uncle and grandfather standing right by The Flying Scotsman as her family hails from Yorkshire were the train went through and was worked on at Doncaster Railway works. 

It has been a while since I had picked up some Daisy Dalrymple but again it is like coming back to a cosy chair. No doubt part of the reason then categories such books as cosy crime. I know what happens to Daisy and Alex after seeing blurbs from future books but I still I am gladden to see her form a bond with Alec’s daughter Belinda, it brought out another side of Daisy which from the previous three books you could believe that she was an aristocrat who just liked to play at life and work. It is quite obvious not the case, and I like to think of someone who can go against the establishment of family ideals and make their own way in the world. It amuses me how other characters find this so liberating but do not seem to have the same sort of courage to break free. 

I do look forward to book five Damsel in Distress and I have plenty of catching up to do as book twenty was published in 2012.

You can find my reviews of the first three books at the links Death at Wentwater Court, The Winter Garden Mystery  and Requiem for a Mezzo. 

I read this as part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise


Silent Voices – Ann Cleeves

Crime Fiction Alphabet – C is for Ann Cleeves

DI Vera Stanhope has to get fit, and so when she thinks a few lengths in a posh hotel spa and a session in the steam room will appease her doctor, she does not get the results she initially sets out for. Rather inconveniently Jenny Lister is found strangled in the steam room. All thoughts of keeping fit are put to one side and Vera along with her side kick DS Joe Ashworth try and keep one step ahead of the killer.

Who was the victim? Jenny Lister was a social worker, a very private woman, but Vera starts to look for chinks in that privacy to see if perhaps there is a clue to catch her killer.

Meanwhile Connie Masters hears of the death and tries to keep a low profile. This death of her ex-boss would bring the spotlight back on to her after a rather tragic case which ended in a death and Connie’s loss of job. But of them living in the same Northumberland Village means that everyone knows everyone else’s business – don’t they? But why after being alienated for so long does one lady want to get to know her better? Then a young student working at the very place Jenny was killed is found dead, using a similar method and why does water always come into it somewhere? For Vera and her team, time is running out to catch the killer because they eventually see who the next victim will be.

Ann Cleeves scatters this book with twists and turns as well as the inevitable red herrings in the plot line to keep you guessing until the end. You find out about the victims as well as the police. Joe seems to be forever worrying about being in Vera’s shadow, but he knows that despite her rather odd behaviour and manner she gets results and is not afraid to get her hands dirty in terms of detecting and not pushing paper. Charlie, the stereotypical cop, seems lazy but knows when he ahs to work hard to get the results and no doubt admires his DI’s tenacity. Holly is the fresh face member, trying to prove herself, her only competition is Joe, but she cannot see past the fact that he is Vera’s favourite. More importantly Vera is aware of them all and the way they work together.

If you come to this book like I did after having seen the ITV adaptation then you will be more than thrilled because this is much better. (A number of things were changed, added in and left out for television) It moves along well and all ends are tied up at the end, the only loose ends are those of the police, there lives will change, their ambition deepens but for me Vera will be the only one can control them all and bring them and herself to the correct conclusion.

My first Ann Cleeves book and I am glad now that I have found Vera in the pages of a book. When reading I can see Brenda Blethyn but that is not a problem because I think she has the character well. Miss Marple but with no knitting and small sherry at hand. More whiskey and memories of another more difficult life. She fascinates me for some reason. 

Although I got this when it was a Daily Deal on Amazon Kindle for two reasons, the tv programme and the cost of the book. If I did not like it then that would be ok. Rather shallow really. However, I know I will not mind parting with money to read more of Vera but also Ann’s other books. I also read from her website that another one of her series of books ‘Shetland’ has been taken up by the BBC. I am off to find Raven Black which is the first in this series.  

I read this as part of The Crime Fiction Alphabet Challenge hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise


May Roundup

Well what a difference a month makes – after the showers in April we had the May Flowers and the heat, although as the month ends and we go to a bumper bank holiday bonanza the weather has cooled somewhat. The reading perhaps has not.

Crime is the major theme, mainly because the Crime Fiction Alphabet started towards the end of May. Each week, taking a letter of the alphabet in turn, post something – crime and book related obviously! I knew what B was going to be, as I read that book last month, but the review has only just appeared which is why I am highlighting it to you again – Barry Lyga and I Hunt Killers.  So for A I could have concentrated on Agatha Christie and some ways I did, but I actually picked the wonderful Ariadne Oliver for this one and the book Third Girl. Two ticks – one for the Crime Fiction Alphabet and one for reading AC’s books! Crime for the alphabet continued rather unexpectedly with Ann Cleeves and Silent Voices*. This came up as a Kindle Daily Deal for 99p and because the television adaptation had just been on (cynically probably why the offer was on as well!) I thought I would give it a go. Excellent read and C was done so one step ahead of June. I am trying not to get in a pickle about this challenge, so if I post late well I post late but I will try my best to keep to the schedule.

Crime took a very different turn with Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body by M.C. Beaton which was a review copy for newbooks magazine, hopefully my review will appear in the next issue. I had jumped a number of books to read this, and I know I need to go back and read some more, as there was plenty that had happen to Agatha that I knew nothing about. Anyway, it is another tick for one of my personal challenges for this year so that is good.

A new book and author to me in the crime variety was James Runcie – Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death.  This has been mentioned on many blogs over the past few months and now the book has arrived it is simply wonderful and I cannot believe I am going to have to wait so long for the next one. It was a netgalley review, but I actually want to go out and buy this book so it can live happily in my home waiting for the next instalment. Wonderful short stories that all interconnect about Sidney Chambers, a Canon, young for his age in the Fifties who seems to have a nose for crime.

I went for some authors I knew in the month of May. A rather boring month at work where I am really quite fed up, I wanted some comfort in reading. This came in two forms – Katie Fforde and Going Dutch and Trisha Ashley and Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues. The former is an author I have only discovered this year, which I have wittered on about before now. I am so enjoying her work and delighting in all those I have not read.  The latter is actually Trisha’s new novel, and returns to Sticklepond where a previous book Chocolate Wishes was set. I do not think I have perhaps given the book enough coverage considering it is the most recently published but please if you have time pop and see my review. I so want to live in Sticklepond and be part of a community with some fantastic people and be able to bake cakes and savouries and eat chocolate! Trisha also has released a short story for the Jubilee do go and have a look here.

Familiar authors continued with P.G.Wodehouse but an unfamiliar tale – Leave it to Psmith. This is in fact a double whammy of Wodehouse I discovered. Psmith is a character that features in his own set of stories. In this particular one he is at Blandings. I have read nothing of either, sticking in the past to Jeeves and Wooster. However, to learn of Blandings coming to the BBC. I wanted to have a go. What I got was a priceless piece of witty literature and I am so grateful that I actually discovered Wodehouse in my late teens and early twenties and can continue to enjoy him.

My final book does not fit into any of the themes, genres or categories above and it is a return to novels which looking back I have not read for a while. The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn* is a debut novel and what a debut. Set during and after the First World War, this romantic tale pulls you right in, weaving some sort of spell over me as I had to keep reading it.

So that was May, and I finished it reading Room by Emma Donoghue which is my book club’s choice and that review will appear and count in June!

So on with June then!

* Book review yet to appear on this blog.