Latest Additions at BooksPlease

It was my birthday last week and I was delighted to find amongst my presents two books – this lovely hardback book by Val McDermid, My Scotland, and an e-book, Transcription by Kate Atkinson.

My ScotlandIn My Scotland Val McDermid writes about the landscapes she has known all her life, and the places where her stories and characters reside. Accompanied by over 100 stunning photographs by Alan McCredie, it uncovers Val’s own Scotland in all its glory – from the iconic Isle of Skye to the majestic streets of Edinburgh; from the undiscovered hideaways of the Highlands to the wild and untamed Jura.

I’m a relative newcomer to Val McDermid’s books as years ago I couldn’t watch Wire in the Blood on TV, based on the characters she created, because of all the blood and gory details it was showing. So, for years I avoided her books, not realising that she writes far more than just the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. So far I’ve only read her Karen Pirie books, but some of these feature in My Scotland and it’s a bonus to see the locations. And it also includes a short story, The Devil’s Share, set on Jura.

TranscriptionRecently I’ve seen some unfavourable reviews of Kate Atkinson’s books, but I’m hoping I’ll enjoy Transcription as I’ve loved some of her earlier books, especially A God in Ruins.

In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Other new arrivals – via NetGalley are:

Furious hoursFurious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep.

This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn’t.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted – thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

As Alabama is consumed by these gripping events, it’s not long until news of the case reaches Alabama’s – and America’s – most famous writer. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee makes a journey back to her home state to witness the Reverend’s killer face trial. Harper had the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

Lying RoomThe Lying Room by Nicci French. I’ve read a few of Nicci French’s books, so I have high hopes that I’ll like this book.

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.
But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared  to go to protect those she loves?
And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

Nothing Ventured by Jeffrey Archer. Years ago I enjoyed reading two of his books –Not a Penny More and Kane and Abel, but nothing else since. So, I wondered if I’d enjoy Nothing Ventured, described as not a detective story, but a story about the making of a detective.

Nothing venturedWilliam Warwick has always wanted to be a detective, and decides, much to his father’s dismay, that rather than become a barrister like his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC, and his sister Grace, he will join London’s Metropolitan Police Force.

After graduating from university, William begins a career that will define his life: from his early months on the beat under the watchful eye of his first mentor, Constable Fred Yates, to his first high-stakes case as a fledgling detective in Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques squad. Investigating the theft of a priceless Rembrandt painting from the Fitzmolean Museum, he meets Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the gallery who he falls hopelessly in love with, even as Beth guards a secret of her own that she’s terrified will come to light.

While William follows the trail of the missing masterpiece, he comes up against suave art collector Miles Faulkner and his brilliant lawyer, Booth Watson QC, who are willing to bend the law to breaking point to stay one step ahead of William. Meanwhile, Miles Faulkner’s wife, Christina, befriends William, but whose side is she really on?

18 thoughts on “Latest Additions at BooksPlease”

  1. Happy birthday, Margaret! I hope you had a lovely day. You certainly got some great books. I’m especially interested in what you think of the Crowd, as I’ve heard good things about it. And you’re right about the reviews of the Atkinson. Still, I’ve heard a few good things, so I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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  2. Happy Birthday! The Val McDermid book sounds great – I always like her best when she’s writing books based in Scotland, but maybe I’m biased. 😉 I loved Furious Hours – it’ll be showing up in my books of the year for sure, so I hope you enjoy it. And I have a copy of The Lying Room too but won’t get around to it for weeks yet.

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    1. Thanks, FF – I like both her books set in Scotland and those in Northumberland, but as I know Northumberland more than Scotland I suppose I prefer those, being able to visualise the settings. That’s why My Scotland is so interesting – seeing photos of the locations I’ve never visited and thinking about going there to see for myself.

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  3. Happy Birthday. The Bears are going to have a party (and eat vast amounts of cake) to celebrate. I’m in two minds about the French book. I’ve so enjoyed her Frieda Klein novels that I’m not certain about something which is just a one off. I shall await your review.

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    1. Ooh I’d love to have a party with The Bears! It’s been quite a while since I read any of the French books – I’ve only read some of the Frieda Klein novels and that was years ago.

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  4. Belated birthday wishes, Margaret. I hope you had a good day 🙂 My Scotland sounds sumptuous. I’ve never read anything by McDermid – I have come very late to all the various crime genres. But I can imagine what a treasure this would be for a McDermid reader. And I hope Transcription appeals. I loved Life After Life and still intend to read more from Atkinson, despite the less than favorable reviews of late!

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