My Friday Post: Fire in the Thatch by E C R Lorac

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.

The book I’m featuring this week is Fire in the Thatch by E C R Lorac, which is the book I’m planning to read next. It’s set as the Second world War is drawing to a close, but it was not published until 1946.

 

It begins:

Colonel St Cyres stepped out of the French window on to the terrace and drew in a deep breath of frosty air, conscious of the exhilaration of a glorious December morning. He always felt better out of doors. In the open air the worries and irritations of life seemed less immediate, and he felt that he lost a burden when he closed the window behind him.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These 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.

56%:

Well, the plain fact is this: gossip around Mallory Fitzjohn is saying that Gressingham was out in his car on the night of the fire, and that he’s denied the fact.

Description (Amazon)

The Second World War is drawing to a close. Nicholas Vaughan, released from the army after an accident, takes refuge in Devon – renting a thatched cottage in the beautiful countryside at Mallory Fitzjohn. Vaughan sets to work farming the land, rearing geese and renovating the cottage. Hard work and rural peace seem to make this a happy bachelor life.

On a nearby farm lives the bored, flirtatious June St Cyres, an exile from London while her husband is a Japanese POW. June’s presence attracts fashionable visitors of dubious character, and threatens to spoil Vaughan’s prized seclusion.

When Little Thatch is destroyed in a blaze, all Vaughan’s work goes up in smoke – and Inspector Macdonald is drafted in to uncover a motive for murder.

~~~

I enjoyed Bats in the Belfry by E C R Lorac, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one too, another case for Chief Inspector Macdonald of Scotland Yard.

What about you? Does it tempt you or would you stop reading? 

New-to-Me Books from Barter Books

Yesterday I went to my favourite bookshop Barter Books, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain. This is where you can ‘swap’ books for credit that you can then use to get more books from the Barter Books shelves.

These are the books I brought home:

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth – I was hoping to find this book as Cafe Society recommended it. It’s the first book in his John Madden series. Inspector John Madden of Scotland Yard investigates the murder of a family in the post-World War I British countryside. A veteran of the war, Madden immediately recognizes the work of a soldier, but discovering the motive will take longer.

Ruling Passion by Reginald Hill. I always check to see if there are any of his books on the shelves that I haven’t got/read, so I was pleased to find this one. It’s the third Dalziel and Pascoe book in which Pascoe finds his social life and work uncomfortably brought together by a terrible triple murder. Meanwhile, Dalziel is pressuring him about a string of unsolved burglaries, and as events unfold the two cases keep getting jumbled in his mind.

Beryl Bainbridge is another author whose books I always look out for, and this visit I found Every Man for Himself. This novel is about the voyage of the Titanic, on its maiden and final voyage in 1912.

Sirens by Joseph Knox. I wasn’t looking for this book, or for books by Knox, but it caught my eye as I browsed the shelves and I remembered that earlier this year I’d read  and thoroughly enjoyed The Smiling Man. Set in ManchesterSirens is Knox’s debut book featuring DC Aidan Waits. Young women are lured into enigmatic criminal Zain Carver’s orbit and then they disappear.

Once more I’m torn between reading these as soon as possible, or reading from my TBR shelves and review copies from NetGalley. It’s a dilemma 🙂

What do you think? Have you read any of these? Do they tempt you too?

Stalker by Lisa Stone

WWW Wednesday: 13 June 2018

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WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading:

The Grapes of WrathOn Beulah Height (Dalziel & Pascoe, #17)

I’m making good progress with The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and I’m still loving it.The Joads have arrived in California and it’s not what they expected – too many homeless, hungry people desperate for work being moved on from place to place. Steinbeck’s writing is detailed and richly descriptive. I feel as though I’m on the road with the characters.

I’m also reading On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill, crime fiction about missing children in a Yorkshire village. A little girl took her dog out for a walk early one morning and didn’t come home. Three little girls had disappeared 15 years earlier and their bodies were never found. I’ve read nearly half the book and as usual with Hill’s books I love the characterisation, the humour and his use of dialect. It’s the first of my 10 Books of Summer.

Recently finished: Come a Little Closer by Rachel Abbott – definitely creepy and disturbing. It’s the first book of hers I’ve read, but the seventh one she’s written. It reads well as a standalone. It’s described as a psychological thriller and the characters are certainly unstable, stressed and in complex and dangerous relationships. I gave it three stars on Goodreads – maybe that’s being generous, as I’m not at all sure I did ‘like’ it.

Come A Little Closer (DCI Tom Douglas #7)

Synopsis:

They will be coming soon. They come every night. 
  
Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath. 
  
Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said. 
  
Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later. 
  
These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family… 
  
When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? 
  
How many more must die? Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped?

I may write more about this book once I’ve sorted out my thoughts about it.

Reading next: Stalker by Lisa Stone, due to be published tomorrow 14 June.

Synopsis:

Someone is always watching…

Derek Flint is a loner. He lives with his mother and spends his
evenings watching his clients on the CCTV cameras he has installed inside their homes. He likes their companionship – even if it’s through a screen.

When a series of crimes hits Derek’s neighbourhood, DC Beth Mayes begins to suspect he’s involved. How does he know so much about the victims’ lives? Why won’t he let anyone into his office? And what is his mother hiding in that strange, lonely house?

As the crimes become more violent, Beth must race against the clock to find out who is behind the attacks. Will she uncover the truth in time? And is Derek more dangerous than even she has guessed?

Have you read any of these books?  Do any of them tempt you? 

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Orion Publishing Group 3 May 2018 |432 pages|e-book |Review copy|4.5*

Bats in the Belfry: A London Mystery (British Library Crime Classics ) by E C R Lorac

Poisoned Pen Press  2018 |233 pages|e-book |Review copy|4*

First Chapter First Paragraph: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Every Tuesday First Chapter, First Paragraph/Intros is hosted by Vicky of I’d Rather Be at the Beach sharing the first paragraph or two of a book she’s reading or plans to read soon.

On Sunday I thought I’d just have a quick look at Sharon Bolton’s latest book, The Craftsman and was immediately hooked and had read 20%. I’ve had to put the other books I’m reading on hold as I just have to know what happens next.

 

The book opens with a letter from Sharon Bolton:

Dear Reader,

On a spring day in 1612, a mill owner called Richard Baldwin, in the Pendle forest of Lancashire chased two local women off his land, calling them ‘witches and whores’, threatening to ‘burn one and hang the other’, and in so doing, set in motion events that led to the imprisonment, trial and execution of nine women on the charge of murder by witchcraft: the infamous Pendle Witch Trials.

Like Sharon Bolton the north of England is my homeland and just as she has always wanted to write a book about witches, I have always been fascinated by such books. So it’s no wonder that I am now immersed in her book. It’s not about the Pendle Witch Trials as such, but is set in the shadow of Pendle Hill and moves between the events of 1969 and 1999.

Chapter One

Tuesday, 10 August 1999

On the hottest day of the year, Larry Glassbrook has come home to his native Lancashire for the last time, and the townsfolk have turned out to say goodbye.

Not in a friendly way.

Blurb (Amazon):

Devoted father or merciless killer?

His secrets are buried with him.

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.““

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?

What do you think – would you read on?