Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog. This week’s topic is Books with Numbers in the Titles.
I did a top ten post in October 2019 on Book Titles with Numbers in Them, using the numbers 1 – 10, so for this week’s topic I decided to use different numbers. These are all books I’ve read.
The numbers are 0, 4.50, 11, 12.30, 13, 17, 39, 70, 100 and 1,000.
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie – an intricately plotted murder mystery featuring Superintendent Battle, in which a group of lawyers discuss a recent case at the Old Bailey. One of them puts forward the idea that murder is not the beginning of a detective story, but the end, that murder is the culmination of causes and events that bring together certain people, converging towards a certain place and time, towards the Zero Hour – ‘towards zero’. A thoroughly puzzling murder mystery.
4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie, another murder mystery, this time featuring Miss Marple. It’s an intriguing puzzle about a murder on a train, because you know there has been a murder, and that the victim was a woman but her identity is not known, until much later in the book. You also know that the murderer is a man and there are plenty of male suspects to consider.
Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days by Jared Cade. In December 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared from her home, Styles, in Berkshire. She was found eleven days later in a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire apparently suffering from amnesia. Jared Cade delves into the mystery of her disappearance and reveals how those eleven days and the events that led up to her disappearance influenced the rest of her life.
The 12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Croft begins with a murder but the identity of the murderer is known before he even thought of committing the crime. Set in the early 1930s when the country is suffering the effects of the ‘slump’, unlike the 4.50 from Paddington, the 12.30 from Croydon is not a train, but a plane. Charles Swinburne is on the edge of bankruptcy, and he is unable to raise the money to keep his business going, so he sets about murdering his uncle, Andrew Crowther, in order to inherit his fortune.
Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer. Moving at a fast pace this book follows the events during the thirteen hours from 05:36 when Rachel, a young American girl is running for her life up the steep slope of Lion’s Head in Capetown. DI Benny Griessel is mentoring two inexperienced detectives who are investigating these crimes. With a strong sense of location it reflects the racial tension in the ‘new South Africa’ with its mix of white, coloured and black South Africans.It’s tense, taut and utterly enthralling.
The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth Century England by Adrian Tinniswood is set in a period of political and social upheaval, revolution, war, plague, famine and fire. The book starts with the death of Sir Francis Verney at Messina in 1615 and moves through the seventeenth century to the death of Sir Ralph Verney at Claydon House in 1696. The Verney family history is told through from the family archives and tens of thousands of their letters and placing it within the national context.
The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan, a fast moving action-story, beginning with an international conspiracy, involving anarchists, financiers and German spies. Richard Hannay, having found Scudder, murdered in his London flat, fears for his life and goes on the run, chased by villains in a series of exciting episodes, culminating in the discovery of the location of the ‘thirty-nine steps’.
When the Lights went out: Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett, a journalist, a very detailed book, using original material such as diaries, letters, personal memoirs as well as books written about the period. I particularly liked the personal, face-to-face interviews with some of the key figures such as Ted Heath, and Beckett’s assessments of politicians such as Margaret Thatcher in 1975 when she was a contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party. He described the crises Britain faced then – the economic crises, the floods, food shortages, terrorism, and the destruction of the environment. So, what has changed?
100 Days on Holy Island: a Writer’s Exile by Peter Mortimer, a playwright and a poet. He went to Holy Island with the intention of seeing how he coped with living there for one hundred days and writing about it. His time on Holy Island was from January to April 2001, when foot and mouth disease swept through the UK, and although it never got to Holy Island it was affected by the closure of the countryside. The islanders were hit by the threat to the tourist trade. It was freezing cold, blasted by snow storms and afflicted by power cuts.
A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry, a sequel to Days Without End this continues the story of Thomas McNulty and John Cole, and Winona, the young Indian girl they had adopted. It’s set in the 1870s, some years after the end of the Civil War in Tennessee, about seven miles from a little town called Paris. The town was still full of rough Union soldiers and vagabonds on every little byway. Dark skin and black hair were enough to get you beaten up – and it wasn’t a crime to beat an Indian. After Winona was brutally attacked she set out for revenge. And in so doing she began to remember more about her early life and about her mother, a strong Lakota woman, full of courage and pride.