It’s time again for Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.
The starting book this month is Hydra by Adriane Howell, a book on the Stella Prize 2023 shortlist and a book I haven’t read. This review in the Guardian describes it as an elegant debut, sinuous and strange – a slow-burn gothic thriller spiked with antiques and Freud, and partly set on the Mornington Peninsula. Adriane Howell is a Melbourne-based writer and arts worker and Hydra is her debut novel.
Here’s my chain:
beginning with my first link which is to another Australian author’s debut novel The Dry by Jane Harper, a thriller set in a fictional town five hours west of Melbourne. A Federal Agent, Aaron Falk, returns to his old hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke. Falk teams up with a local detective and tries to uncover the truth behind Luke’s sudden mysterious death, only to find more questions than answers. I loved this tense thriller.
My Second Link is another book with ‘dry‘ in the title – Dry Bones That Dream by Peter Robinson, the 7th book in the Inspector Banks series. Two masked gunmen tie up Alison Rothwell and her mother, take Keith Rothwell, a local accountant, to the garage of his isolated Yorkshire Dales farmhouse, and blow his head off with a shotgun. Why? This is the question Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has to ask as he sifts through Rothwell’s life.
The 7th book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series is my Third Link. It is Cold Earth featuring DI Jimmy Perez. The body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress is found in a croft house after a landslide had smashed through the house.
My Fourth Link is via the title of another book with the word ‘cold‘ in the title – The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre, first published in 1963. It’s the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment. George Smiley appears as a supporting character.
My Fifth Link, The Clocks by Agatha Christie, was also published in 1963. A dead man is found in a room where there are five clocks, all of which, except for the cuckoo clock which announced the time as 3 o’clock, had stopped at 4.13. Poirot runs through what amounts to a potted history of crime fiction and the art of detection. He refers to real crimes, including that of Lizzie Borden and then to examples of fictional crime.
Lizzie Borden is my Sixth Link – See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, a Melbourne librarian. It was her debut novel. Lizzie Borden was charged with the murders of her parents and was acquitted in June 1893. Speculation about the murders and whether Lizzie was guilty or not continues to the present day. It is based on true events using various resources.
My chain begins and ends with debut novels by Australian authors. In between are crime fiction novels and a spy thriller.
Next month (3 June 2023), we’ll start with Elizabeth Day’s exploration of friendship, Friendaholic.