Musing Mondays – Currently Reading

Monday Musings is hosted by Should Be Reading.

This week’s question is:

What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it to others? Is it part of a series (if so, which one)? What are you thinking about it? What book(s) would you compare it to, if any?

Currently I’m reading A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine. I think it’s the first one Ruth Rendell wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. I’m still in the opening chapters and working out the relationships between the characters. It’s a psychological crime novel about a family with secrets. The blurb reads:

Brilliantly plotted. Vine is not afraid to walk down the mean streets of the mind and can build up an almost tangile atmosphere of menace and unease. (Daily Telegraph)

It’s not part of a series, although the Vine books are all psychological crime novels and from what I’ve read so far I would certainly recommend it if you like that sort of book.

I’m also reading Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, featuring Hercule Poirot. I haven’t read this before, although I’ve seen the film with Peter Ustinov as Poirot and the TV version starring David Suchet, so as I’m reading it I’m remembering what happens and can visualise the setting in Egypt on the Nile alongside the Pyramids. I like the way Christie sets up so many possible suspects and then reveals how each one couldn’t be the murderer. I think I remember who did it, and how – but I could be wrong. As I like Agatha Christie I’d recommend any of her books, and this one is a classic.

I have a third book on the go, although at present it’s lagging behind as I’m enjoying the other two books so much. It’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett, historical fiction set in Tudor England (Henry VIII) with Thomas More’s family. That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying this book, but it’s quite slow to get going – or rather I’m slow at reading it, because it is quite detailed and not a lot happens at first.

It covers the same period as Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, when Henry VIII wants a divorce from Katherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, but there is little comparison between these two books apart from that. I suppose I’d compare it to Philippa Gregory’s books. And if you like detailed and well-researched historical fiction, then it is for you.

9 thoughts on “Musing Mondays – Currently Reading

  1. Margaret – Death on the Nile is one of my favorite Agatha Christie novels! I’m so, so glad you are enjoying it : ). And I also hope that you’ll like A Dark-Adapted Eye. That one’s a fascinating psychological thriller.


  2. Wow, for once I’ve actually read all the books you happen to be reading. Although I love pretty much all Barbara Vine’s books, I think I especially like her earliest books the best and Dark Adapted Eye is one of my favorites. Death on the Nile was great (the movie, too) and I enjoyed the Bennett but it is a slower moving story.


  3. I liked Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile.” I like cozy mysteries. I’ve never read any by Barbara Vine, may have to look into reading one of her books, sometime.


  4. DEATH ON THE NILE is one of my favorite Christie books. I love having a plethora of characters to choose from and even though it takes place on a boat, it is a locked room mystery. My favorite kind. I’ve only read one Barbara Vine book many years ago, ANNA’S BOOK, which I think had a different name in the UK.


  5. A Dark-Adapted Eye is a book I enjoyed so much that I have to re-read it once in a while. But I can understand that Rendell chose to use a pen-name; her thrillers are very different from her fine Wexford novels.


  6. I read quite a few of the earlier Barbara Vine books but haven’t read one for years as I rather went off dark psychological books and I haven’t read an Agatha for years either. One of my mum’s friends gave me a whole stack of them when I was about 15 back in the 70’s and I worked my way through them in the summer holidays but I keep thinking that maybe I should try them again and see what I think now.
    I read Vanora Bennet’s second and third books and I have Portrait of an Unknown Woman but haven’t got round to reading it yet!
    I quite like her – not quite as much as Elizabeth Chadwick but more than the recent Philippa Gregory books. While I loved most of the latter’s Tudor novels and her earlier books, I wasn’t that impressed with either The White Queen or The Other Queen and felt that she was maybe going off the boil a bit which is a shame.
    I have just read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman which I thought was brilliant so I have handed it over to my daughter (who I got it for in the first place!) and am currently reading the latest Elizabeth Chadwick ‘To Defy A King’, the latest Charlaine Harris Dead In the Family and Anna Karenina – which is a bit of a mixture.
    Could have done without reading about the death of a horse in a race in both Anna K and the Chadwick in quick succession though as I have just lost my beloved Maine Coon Madigan and ended up in floods of tears!


  7. A Dark Adapted Eye sounds like something right down my alley. I’ve also got Portrait of an Unknown Woman which I dug out of the basement of a bookstore last summer. I haven’t read it yet though.


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