Reading Bingo 2017


This is my  third year of playing the Reading Bingo Card.  I like it because during the year I don’t look for books to fill in the card – I just read what I want to read and then see whether the books I’ve read will match the squares.

And here is my completed card for 2017.

A Book With More Than 500 pages.

Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – 805 pages. I loved this book. The characters are all fully rounded and believable people, most certainly not perfect people with all their faults exposed through their dialogue and Elizabeth Gaskell’s ironic descriptions. There is gentle humour and the plot carries the novel at a fairly brisk pace despite the length of the book

A Forgotten Classic 

Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns. I’ve only read three classics this year – Wives and Daughters, South Riding by Winifred Holtby and this one. Of the three I guess Our Spoons Came from Woolworths could be the least well known. It’s set in 1930s London where Sophia and her husband Charles (both artists) live a life of poverty whilst he struggles to sell his artwork. From a lighthearted and comic beginning the mood of the novel darkens as it moves towards an inevitable tragic climax.

A Book That Became a Movie 

The Eagle Poster.jpg

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff was first published in 1954. Sometime in 117 AD, the Ninth Hispana Legion, led by Marcus Flavius Aquila’s father had marched north from its base at Eburacum (York) into the mists of Northern Britain to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes and was never heard of again – their Eagle Standard was also lost. Twenty years later Marcus sets out to discover the truth about his father’s disappearance, what had happened to the Legion and if possible, to recover the Eagle, and thus to redeem his father’s honour. The movie, The Eagle, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland was released in 2011.

A Book Published This Year

Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamala is an excellent psychological suspense novel. The main focus of the book is Nora, her traumatic background and her search for her daughter, Bonnie, now a teenager, who she gave away as a new-born baby. The plot is intricate, complicated and fast moving, highlighting various issues such as mixed race inheritance and differences in treatment based on skin colour, homelessness, and environmental issues. I loved it.

A Book with a Number in the Title

The 12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts. The 12.30 is the plane from Croydon to Paris on which Andrew Crowther is found dead. We know from the start who the murderer is and the focus is on the psychology of the murderer, how the murder was committed resulting in a story of intrigue, betrayal, obsession, justification and self-delusion.

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

Harriet Said...

Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge,  a dark story that turns child abuse on its head. It is an unsettling and chilling book, written in 1958 when Beryl Bainbridge was 25.  It was not published until 1972 because of its subject matter. Previously editors had rejected it – ‘What repulsive little creatures you have made the central characters, repulsive almost beyond belief!‘ wrote one editor. It is set just after the Second World War in the Formby sand dunes on the outskirts of Liverpool.  During their school holidays the two girls make their way to the beach each evening, where they become friends with a group of lonely, dispirited middle-aged men.

A Book With Non-Human Characters 

The Good People

The Good People by Hannah Kent is set in 1825/6, a long gone world of people living in an isolated community, a place where superstition and a belief in fairies held sway. People talk of others being ‘fairy-swept’ or ‘away with the fairies’, and kept with the music and lights, dancing under the fairy hill.This is not a fairy story, but one in which their existence is terrifyingly real to the people of the valley. The villagers believe that the fairies live in Piper’s Grave, ‘the lurking fairy fort’, at the end of the valley, a place where few people went, a neglected and wild place. People see lights there, glowing near a crooked whitethorn tree that stood in a circle of stone. Nóra is completely unable to cope with Micheál, her four-year old grandson. There is talk that he is ‘fairy-struck’

A Funny Book

Alice in Brexitland by Lucien Young. A quick, entertaining and an easy read. Parts of this book had me laughing out loud. It’s a parody of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with ‘Dave’ as the Camerarabbit, who Alice follows down the Brexithole’, Nigel Farage as the ‘inanely grinning Cheshire Cat’, Jeremy Corbyn as the ‘Corbyn-pillar, smoking a hookah all day on his toadstool and being no help to anyone’, Theresa May as the ‘hard-Brexit-pushing Queen of Heartlessness’, and the nonsensical ‘Tweedleboz and Tweedlegove.  It’s evident that the author was a remain supporter in the Brexit campaign, although the book contains a mix of British and American politics with an ‘eggcellent’ Trumpty Dumpty sitting on his golden wall that Mexico is ‘gonna pay for’, ‘believe me.’

A Book By A Female Author 

The Stroke Ward: A portrait of a century of life in the north east of England, told through the lives of six very different women

I’m spoilt for choice in this category, with lots of female authors to choose from. In the end I’ve picked The Stroke Ward:A portrait of a century of life in the north east of England, told through the lives of six very different women  by Tricia Coxon because this is a little different from most of the books I’ve read this year.  It’s fiction, inspired by Tricia’s three week sojourn in a stoke ward in Northumberland when she began to imagine the lives and history of the women on the ward, their past and what the future would hold for them. I know the author, but she did not ask me to read her book and I bought my copy. And I was delighted that I loved it.

A Book With A Mystery

I could have chosen any one of the many crime fiction novels I’ve read this year, but I’ve picked Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas. Jamie and Libby arrive at their house swap in the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall and I felt the suspense and tension as they explored the house by the sea. Strange things happen and Jamie questions Libby about her past. He knew that Karen, her best friend had died in a fire when the two of them were in Thailand and that Libby had been lucky to escape. But she doesn’t want to talk about that and she knows that he is keeping things from her too.It’s one of those books that keeps you guessing right up to the end and this one is excellent, dramatic, tense and so very, very twisty and I loved it.

A Book With A One Word Title


Conclave by Richard Harris is about an election of a Pope and I found it absolutely fascinating as the process of the election unfolded. As the 118 Cardinals locked in the Sistine Chapel progress through the stages of the election, whittling down the candidates to just a few, lots of secrets, scandals and disagreements are revealed. It becomes increasingly tense as they reach their conclusion.

A Book of Short Stories

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes edited by Martin Edwards. A collection of 16 stories –  Martin Edwards has prefaced each one with a brief biographical note. Authors include – Arthur Conan Doyle, G K Chesterton, Michael Innes, Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers.

Free Square

For this square I’ve chosen an audio book, Property by Valerie Martin because this is the only one I’ve listened to this year. In fact it’s the only audio book I’ve listened to for several years. We listened to it in the car as we travelled, visiting family and friends in Buckinghamshire, Wales and the Lake District.


It’s set in America’s deep South in the early nineteenth century: a story of freedom, both political and personal. Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon’s husband’s inclinations lie. This private drama is played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings.

A Book Set On A Different Continent

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy – a book that is a ‘journey across the Indian subcontinent from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi and the glittering malls of the burgeoning new metropolis to the snowy mountains and valleys of Kashmir, where war is peace and peace is war, and from time to time ‘normalcy’ is declared.’ It’s a heartbreaking book, which doesn’t spare the details. Not my favourite book of the year – I was relieved to finish it.

A Book of Non Fiction

The Man Who Climbs Trees by James Aldred – a wonderful book, I loved it. James Aldred, a professional tree climber, wildlife cameraman, and adventurer, explains how he discovered that trees are places of refuge as well as providing unique vantage points to view the world. His travels brought him into contact with dozens of different religions and philosophies all containing ‘profound elements of truth’ that he respects very much, concluding that ‘spirituality is where you find it’ and he finds it ‘most easily when up in the trees’.

The First Book By a Favourite Author

Gallows View: DCI Banks (Inspector Banks 1)

Gallows View by Peter Robinson, his first book and the first in his Inspector Banks series. It’s set  in Eastvale in the Yorkshire Dales. There’s a peeping tom in the area, targeting young, blonde women, following them as they leave the pub and then watching as they undress for bed and there is also spate of break-ins by two balaclava-wearing thugs who rob old ladies and vandalize their homes.  Then Alice Matlock, an old woman, living on her own, is is found dead in her ransacked house in Gallows View, a row of old terraced  cottages.

A Book You Heard About On Line

Birdcage Walk

Many of the books I read these days are books I’ve heard about on line. I’ve chosen Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore because I was completely absorbed in this book as I read it. It’s historical fiction, although I think it’s mainly a meditation on death and the legacy we leave behind. It is Helen Dunmore’s last book, but the first one of hers I’ve read. The time is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.

A Best Selling Book

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz, a very clever and different type of murder mystery. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before, one in which the author himself plays a major role. Diana Cowper was killed later the same day after making the arrangements for her funeral. She was strangled in her own home. I was totally unable to solve the mystery, the clues were all there, but I was so involved in sorting out what was real and what wasn’t and enjoying the puzzle that I completely missed them.

A Book Based On A True Story

See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt, a work of fiction based on true events, about the murder of Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby in 1892. Andrew’s daughter, Lizzie, was charged with the murders. She was tried and was acquitted in June 1893 and speculation about the murders and whether Lizzie was guilty or not continues to the present day. I think it’s eerie and compelling, a mesmerising book.

A Book At The Bottom of Your To Be Read Pile

The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson, a beautiful book set in  in Northern Canada about two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn who grow up on a small farm near Struan (a fictional town) in the 1930s. I’ve had this book for 10 years and was delighted to find it was just as good as her first book, Crow Lake. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

A Book Your Friend Loves

Night Falls on Ardnamurchan: The Twilight of a Crofting Family

Night Falls on Ardnamurchan: The Twilight of a Crofting Family by Alasdair Maclean is a book recommended by a member of my local book group. Alasdair Maclean was a Scottish poet, born in Glasgow. He left school at fourteen to work in the Clydeside shipyards. In his late thirties he read English at Edinburgh University, later returning to the family croft at Sanna in Ardnamurchan to write. The main section of the book is made up of extracts from his father’s journals forming a factual account of his daily life on the croft covering two years, a decade apart: 1960 and 1970,  a fascinating book describing life in a dying community.

A Book that Scares You

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir was my first venture into Icelandic Noir and the first in a new series – the Children’s House thriller series. There are some particularly dark and nasty murder scenes and it’s dark, mysterious and very cleverly plotted, full of tension and nerve-wracking suspense. Seven-year old Margrét wakes her mother, frightened because there is a man in the house. What follows is the first horrifying murder (read it quickly and try not to linger over the details because the pictures they paint don’t bear thinking about).

A Book That Is More Then Ten Years Old

Malice in Wonderland by Nicolas Blake, first published in 1940. Another book with allusions to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. But this Wonderland is a holiday camp, set on a cliff top overlooking the sea. And all is not well in Wonderland as there is a prankster in the camp , the self-styled ‘Mad Hatter’, who is playing nasty and cruel practical jokes on the holiday makers. Swimmers are ducked in the sea and held down, tennis balls are coated in treacle, left with a note that refers to a part of the dormouse’s story in Alice in Wonderland. Then the jokes get more dangerous.

The Second Book In A Series

A Darker Domain (Karen Pirie, #2)

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid the second book in her Kate Pirie series. I like Karen Pirie, who had been a Detective Constable in the second part of the first book, The Distant Echo. Now she is a Detective Inspector in charge of the Cold Case Review Team in Fife. The Miners’ Strike of 1984 is the backdrop to the mystery of Mick Prentice’s disappearance. It is intricately plotted, with a large cast of characters and it’s deceptively easy to read – it’s easy to pass over significant facts that you realise later are of importance.

A Book With A Blue Cover

The Body in the Ice (Romney Marsh Mystery #2)

 The Body in the Ice by A J MacKenzie, the 2nd Hardcastle and Chaytor Mystery set in Romney Marsh and the surrounding countryside in 1796-7. The winter of 1796-7 was exceptionally harsh and cold and on Christmas Day in the village of St Mary in the Marsh, on the Kent coast Amelia Chaytor is spending the day with her friends, spinsters Miss Godfrey and Miss Roper when their maidservant bursts in and announces that she has seen someone at New Hall stables, frozen into the ice face down.

I loved this way of looking back at the books I’ve read this year. My thanks to Cleo for this idea!

What’s in a Name 2018

What's In A Name 2018 logo

Next year Charlie at The Worm Hole is hosting the eleventh annual What’s In A Name challenge, originally started by Annie, then handed to Beth Fish Reads and now continued by Charlie. For full details go to the sign up post. I’ve been doing this challenge since Annie started it in 2007, just missing the one in 2009! So, this is a must for me.

The basics

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories. (Charlie’s examples of books you could choose are in brackets – translations and other languages most definitely count!):

  • The word ‘the’ used twice (The Secret By The Lake; The End Of The Day, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time)
  • A fruit or vegetable (The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society; The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake)
  • A shape (The Ninth Circle, The Square Root Of Summer, Circle Of Friends)
  • A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ (Zen In The Art Of Writing; The Zookeeper’s Wife, Zelda)
  • A nationality (Anna And The French Kiss; How To Be A Kosovan Bride; Norwegian Wood)
  • A season (White Truffles In Winter; The Spring Of Kasper Meier; The Summer Queen; Before I Fall; The Autumn Throne)

I’ll be choosing from the following books – or any others that I come across before the end of 2018:

The word ‘the’ used twice

  • The King in the North by Max Adams
  • The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
  • The Chapel in the Woods by Susan Louineau
  • The House by the Churchyard by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Riddle of the Third Mile by Colin Dexter
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A fruit or vegetable 

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Gem Squash Tokoloshi by Rachel Zadok
  • The Olive Readers by Christina Aziz

A title which has a shape in it

  • Dead Men and Broken Hearts by Craig Russell
  • In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Heartstones by Kate Glanville

A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ 

  • Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler
  • Zed Alley by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen (do short stories count?)

A nationality

  • The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
  • Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell

A season

  • Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christie
  • Summer by Edith Wharton
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
  • The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne
  • A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

New-to-Me Books from Barter Books

Barter Books in Alnwick was looking very festive yesterday with a Christmas tree made out of books. It’s my favourite bookshop, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain with books galore, open fires and plenty of places to sit and peruse the books. (See this Picture Gallery for more photos)

I browsed the shelves to see which ones jumped out, shouting ‘read me’ And these are the books I brought home:

Where Roses Fade by Andrew Taylor – psychological crime fiction, one of his Lydmouth series, in which Mattie, a waitress drowns  – did she fall, or did she jump? Rumours circulate that her death wasn’t accidental – and then comes another death. I’ve read Andrew Taylor’s Roth trilogy, but none of his Lydmouth series.

You Made Me Late Again! by Pam Ayres – a collection of poems, anecdotes and short verses, covering a wide range of subjects from a nervous racehorse, a proud granny, to a dog reunited with his master at the Pearly Gates. I fancied some light relief after all the crime fiction I’ve been reading lately and this collection of witty poems appealed to me.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – a thriller set on a luxury cruise ship going to see the Northern Lights, a body overboard – but there are no missing passengers.  I was looking in the ‘W’s for a book by Louise Welsh (I didn’t find one I hadn’t read) but this book caught my eye. I haven’t read any of Ruth Ware’s books, but have seen her mentioned on other book blogs.

Loitering With Intent by Muriel Spark – Would-be novelist Fleur Talbot works for Sir Quentin Oliver at the Autobiographical Association.  Mayhem ensues when scenes from Fleur’s novel-in-progress begin to come true with dangerous and darkly funny results. One of my favourite books is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, so I’m hoping to love this book too.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale –  after an illicit affair Harry Cane, is forced to travel from Edwardian England to the town of Winter in Canada  to start a new life. I’m currently reading and enjoying Patrick Gale’s Notes from an Exhibition, so when I saw this book on the shelf I had to get it.

A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear – a Maisie Dobbs novel, set in 1932 when Maisie takes on an undercover assignment directed by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and the Secret Service. I like the Maisie Dobbs books and began reading the several years ago, but I haven’t kept up with the series. This one is book 8.

What I love about Barter Books is that it’s not only filled with thousands of books, but it works on the swap system – you bring in books, they make an offer for them and your credit can then be used for books to bring home. I’m in credit, so I didn’t have to pay anything for these books – brilliant! Plus, it’s in a lovely building that was Alnwick’s beautiful old Victorian railway station and you can get tea, coffee, hot food (I love their macaroni cheese) and cakes etc in the Station Buffet. Yesterday we were there early and David had a Bacon Buttie from the Breakfast Menu – I had some of it too.

First Chapter First Paragraph: The Earth Hums in B Flat

eca8f-fistchapEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros to share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or is planning to read soon.

This week’s opening is from The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan.

The Earth Hums in B Flat

It begins:

I fly in my sleep every night. When I was little I could fly without being asleep; now I can’t even though I practise and practise. And after what I saw last night I want more than ever to fly wide-awake. Mam always says: I want never gets. Is that true?

Blurb (from the back cover):

Young Gwenni Morgan has a gift. She can fly in her sleep. She’s also fond of strawberry whip, detective stories and asking difficult questions. When a neighbour mysteriously vanishes, she resolves to uncover the secret of his disappearance and return him to his children. She truthfully records what she sees and hears: but are her deductions correct? What is the real truth? And what will be the consequences – for Gwenni, her family and her community – of finding it out?

Gwenni Morgan is an unforgettable creation, and this portrait of life in a small Welsh town on the brink of change in the 1950s is enthralling, moving and utterly real. Mari Strachan’s debut is a magical novel that will transport you to another time and place.

I like the idea of being able to fly.

What do you think – would you read on?

A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon

A Christmas Mystery

Publication date 2 November 2017, Penguin Books (UK). Newly translated by David Coward

Review copy from the publishers, via NetGalley

My rating: 4 stars

The review copy of A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories by Georges Simenon I received contains just one of the three stories in this collection, A Maigret Christmas which was first published in 1950 as Un Noël de Maigret.

It’s set in Paris on Christmas Day. Inspector Maigret has the day off and Madame Maigret, hoping to bring him croissants for his breakfast in bed, as she usually does on Sundays and public holidays, is disappointed to find that he had got up before she returned from the corner shop. Both Maigret and his wife are feeling not exactly depressed but rather melancholy, with no family to visit at Christmas.

Their plan to spend a quiet morning cocooned in their apartment is disrupted by the arrival of two ladies, Madame Martin and Mademoiselle Doncoeur, who live in the apartment opposite in the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Colette, a little girl staying with her aunt and uncle, Madame Martin and her husband, had woken in the night and seen Father Christmas in her room, making a hole in the floor. He gave her a present, a big doll and then held up his finger to his lips as he left. But who was he and why was he trying to take up the floorboards?

Maigret, concerned about Colette, decides to help and, phoning his colleagues at the Quai des Orfevres for information, he spends the rest of the day solving the mystery. As the mystery is unravelled it turns out to be anything but simple. I enjoyed this story for the mystery itself, but I also liked the light it throws on Maigret and his wife, their relationship and the sadness they feel at being childless, particularly so at Christmas.

My thanks to the publishers for a review copy via NetGalley.

Amazon UK link

My Friday Post: Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’m featuring Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. This is one of the TBRs I featured in my last A – Z of TBRs. I’ve decided now is the time to read this book which has been on my TBR shelves for five years.

Notes from an Exhibition

The title of this book is taken from the notes displayed describing works of art in a gallery or museum or referring to Rachel Kelly’s art or possessions, and each section of this book is headed by one of these notes. This is the note heading the first chapter of the book:

Notes from an Exhibition P1020321


Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56

She had less strength in her arms than in vigorous youth and hated asking for help in stretching canvases. Besides Anthony had arthritic wrists so was not much stronger than she. So she had taken more and more to working on convenient whiteboards rarely larger than a biscuit tin, sometimes s small as a piece of toast.

From the back cover:

Gifted artist Rachel Kelly is a whirlwind of creative highs and anguished, crippling lows. She’s also something of an enigma to her husband and four children. So when she is found dead in her Penzance studio, leaving behind some extraordinary new paintings, there’s a painful need for answers. Her Quaker husband appeals for help on the internet. The fragments of a shattered life slowly come to light, and it becomes clear that bohemian Rachel has left her children not only a gift for art – but also her haunting demons.

Catching Up with Inspector Banks

Last month I read A Necessary End and Past Reason Hated by Peter Robinson, books 3 and 5 in his Inspector Banks series. I’ve read a few of his books out of order and I’m now filling in the gaps in my reading.

In A Necessary End a policeman is killed at an anti-nuclear demonstration in Eastvale. With over a hundred people at the demonstration at first there are plenty of suspects, but it soon becomes apparent that the main suspects are the organisers of the demonstration and the people living at Maggie’s Farm, an old Dales farmhouse set on the moors above the dales, the home of Seth Cotton.

To complicate matters Banks’ friend, Jenny Fuller is in a relationship with Dennis Osmond, a social worker and one of the main organisers of the demonstration. Jenny can’t believe that Dennis could be the culprit as he’d told he the last thing they had wanted was a violent confrontation.

This is the first book to introduce Detective Superintendent Richard ‘Dirty Dick’ Burgess, a troubleshooter from London called in to help with the investigations. Banks had worked with him a couple of times when was working in London and is not happy to see him. Because of this Banks works independently of Burgess and eventually gets to the bottom of the mystery.

Past Reason Hated is set just before Christmas when Caroline Hartley is found brutally murdered in her home she shared with Veronica Shildon. Three people had been seen visiting the house separately that evening. Nobody could describe them clearly – it had been dark and snowing and the street was not well lit and the investigation into her death centres on identifying them.

There are a number of suspects, among them is Charles Ivers, Caroline’s ex-husband, whom she had left to live with Veronica. There are also the members of the Eastvale amateur dramatic society who are rehearsing for a performance of Twelfth Night at the community centre. Caroline had a small part. But Banks is also interested in the music that was playing  when Caroline was found – the Laudate pueri – and in identifying the woman whose photo was found in Caroline’s belongings.

Both of these books are enjoyable but I preferred Past Reason Hated, because it has so many strands, which of course all interlinked and because of Robinson’s descriptions of the scenery in a snowy December. I also liked the focus on Susan Gay, newly promoted to Detective Constable as she stumbles to find her way in the team.

I am now addicted to the Banks books, which I enjoy more than the TV series. Both these books are from my TBRs.