It’s a story of romance, scandal and intrigue within the confines of a watchful, gossiping English village during the early nineteenth century. When seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson’s widowed father remarries, her life is turned upside down by the arrival of her vain, manipulative stepfather. She also acquires an intriguing new stepsister, Cynthia, glamorous, sophisticated and irresistible to every man she meets.
I’m also reading Caedmon’s Song by Peter Robinson, one of his stand-alone books.
On a balmy June night, Kirsten, a young university student, strolls home through a silent moonlit park. Suddenly her tranquil mood is shattered as she is viciously attacked.
When she awakes in hospital, she has no recollection of that brutal night. But then, slowly and painfully, details reveal themselves – dreams of two figures, one white and one black, hovering over her; wisps of a strange and haunting song; the unfamiliar texture of a rough and deadly hand . . .
In another part of England, Martha Browne arrives in Whitby, posing as an author doing research for a book. But her research is of a particularly macabre variety. Who is she hunting with such deadly determination? And why?
Then: The last book I read is Night Falls on Ardamurchan by Alasdair Maclean. My review will follow soon.
Since its first publication in 1984, ‘Night Falls in Ardnamurchan’ has become a classic account of the life and death of a Highland community.
The author weaves his own humorous and perceptive account of crofting with extracts from his father’s journal – a terse, factual and down to earth vision of the day-to-day tasks of crofting life.
It is an unusual and memorable story that also illuminates the shifting, often tortuous relationships between children and their parents. Alasdair Maclean reveals his own struggle to come to terms with his background and the isolated community he left so often and to which he returned again and again.
In this isolated community is seen a microcosm of something central to Scottish identity – the need to escape against the tug of home.
Next: I think I’ll read Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir, which will be published by Headline on 18 May 2017.
The young woman who changed the course of history.
Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love.
But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.
Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown – and the crown is what she seeks. At any price.
ANNE BOLEYN. The second of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.
But I’m tempted to slip in a Maigret book first: The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon.
A first ink drawing showed a hanged man swinging from a gallows on which perched an enormous crow. And there were at least twenty other etchings and pen or pencil sketches that had the same leitmotif of hanging.
On the edge of a forest: a man hanging from every branch.
A church steeple: beneath the weathercock, a human body dangling from each arm of the cross. . . Below another sketch were written four lines from FranÃ§ois Villon’s Ballade of the Hanged Men.
On a trip to Brussels, Maigret unwittingly causes a man’s suicide, but his own remorse is overshadowed by the discovery of the sordid events that drove the desperate man to shoot himself.
Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in previous translations as Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets and The Crime of Inspector Maigret.