Category: Books

What I’ve been reading – January 2017

I’ve had six months off from Lord Peter! The last book I read about this character was a bit of a challenge. This novel was found in a charity shop some time ago and knew it was the last book Ms Sayers wrote about Lord Peter Wimsey and although I struggled with some of her novels I have come to love them and was reluctant to read the last.  But read it I did. And, maybe because it was the last, it was probably my favourite.

All the expected elements were there for a classic detective story. A body, a country house and a cast of colourful characters. The detective story was interlaced with a little romance and Bunter at his best! I would definitely pick it up again and re-read.

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Read – The Lake District Murder by John Bude

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This is another of a pile of books given to me by a friend. Previously I read the Cornish Coast Murder but don’t think I blogged about it!?

Anyway this is a detective story set in the 1930’s and this edition is the first time it has been re-published. It is locked in its time but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that and if you like a detective murder mystery then this would suit you well. A little slow and perhaps too long but as with the Cornish novel the characters are interesting and overall I enjoyed it.

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Read 2016 – The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

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Don’t you think that sometimes it’s the cover of a book that pulls you in? Those folk who design covers are very good at their job! I picked this book up in a bookshop a few months ago based on the word ‘detective’ in the title and the jazzy! (pun intended) cover. I didn’t buy it that time but then spotted it again recently and thought it looked interesting so I did buy it.

And I was right it was interesting. A little bit silly too but overall I’m glad I bought it. I think that it’s more for the male market but I usually don’t mind that in a book. I liked the central character and the overall plot, there is something so romantic about vinyl! Takes me right back to my youth and this book made me want to search through charity shops for records, find a turntable and listen to a good old fashioned LP.

So yes a good read!

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Read – Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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This was a good holiday read. YA and set at the time of King Henry VIII. It was  recommended over here. (I really like Jamie’s blog even though she is twenty years younger than me!)

I don’t often pick up historical YA – or historical anything actually, I’m never sure about the mix of fact and fiction, so this was something new for me.

The book takes place during Ann Boleyns time as Queen in the court of Henry and is told from the perspective of a young courtier who has been married off, at the age of fourteen,  to Henry’s illegitimate son. It was enjoyable and interesting and made me do some research about the period and people so that alone has to make it a success. The author just about manages to keep it a romance while dealing with the facts of that time.

I did enjoy it but don’t think I’ll read any other historical YA. Having said that though it may have tempted me to pick up Hilary Mantel’s final installment of novels set in the same time period. Gav and I watched the BBC dramatisation of her previous books, Wolf Hall.  Although, like I said,  I’m never sure about mixing fact and fiction this series was excellent and I wonder what Hilary will do with the last one.

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Read 2016 – A Particular Eye for Villany by Ann Granger

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Another book that my Mum lent me and another from a series. I have read this author before but this series is altogether different as its set in Victorian London.

Strangely I found it interesting not just because of the story which was a quirky detective tale but I also found myself wondering how hard it must be to set a story back in time. No DNA tests or forensic evidence for this detective! Overall I liked it and will probably read the other books in this series.

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Read 2016 – The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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Waited ages for this, the last in Raven Cycle, to be published. Here are my thoughts on book one, two and three.

Although I would say that I enjoyed it and it was good I was a teeny bit disappointed because it seemed to me like she tied the ending up in a neat bow in a very few pages. We pressed on meeting new characters, discovering new revelations then all of a sudden it was all finished and done. Maybe I should give YA a rest? Ha! Who am I kidding, that will never happen.

After thinking about this series of books for a while I came to a conclusion about Maggie and her books. Apologies if this was obvious! Her novels mirror growing up. I guess all YA books do because well the characters do grow up as the time in a story progresses. But Maggie tends to have all manner of crazyness happen to her characters then they come out the other side and get on with their lives. Just like the teenage years! She does it well and it’s a good lesson built into the novels, it’ll all be okay.

That was that then, another series bites the dust.

Read 2016 – Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Yes, more Dorothy. But this one, oh this one I struggled with so much. I found it quite surprising that after reading ten of her books and yes I have struggled with a few, this one almost got the better of me. It is way too long and there isn’t much action and Lord Peter is absent from over half the book. I think that author was indulging herself in a female lead here, testing out and pushing poor old Harriet to craft a different type of story and for me she failed. I was glad I kept reading but so thankful when I got to the end.

I have only one novel left to read in the Lord Peter series and although Gaudy was not fun I’m sure I will read Busman’s Honeymoon. (Another author came along and wrote some modern ones about the same characters and maybe I’ll read those?)

Anyway onward to a complete change of pace…..the final instalment of the Raven Cycle!

Read 2016 – Have his Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

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Yes I know another Wimsey. But this was so good I really enjoyed it. We meet up with Harriet Vane once more in this story, in fact she is the one who finds the body! Of course Peter hot foots it to the scene of the crime and together they set about solving a very well thought our and cleverly written mystery.

As before I would recommend if you like that sort of detective tale.

Read 2016 – Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

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I know, I know another Wimsey.

This novel is when we meet Harriet Vane. I think it was sheer genius of Dorothy to make Wimsey fall for an accused murderer! And the author does a great job of altering the usual course of a detective story chronology. We have the accused murderer at the start of the book and Wimsey sets about trying to prove they have the wrong person.

I really enjoyed this one.

Read 2016 – Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

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I said last time that I was in the middle of a Wimsey binge. So here is another one.

And a very good one at that! Clever. Actually lots of her books fall into that category, there is often a twist or a surprise and I love them all the more for that. But mostly I like returning to the familiar. They are lovely characters Wimsey and Bunter and I also enjoy reading about life set in the time of these books too.

This novel is actually the third in the Lord Peter series, I have been reading them out of order which didn’t really matter up to this point as most do not make reference to other stories. Or if they did I never noticed.

The final three novels that I have to read all contain Harriet Vane and are best read in order and I am progressing well with this task…

Anyway as I say I liked this one if you like a literary detective then its a good choice.