Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Questions

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. The topic this week is Book titles that are questions.

These are all books that I own. I’ve read the first six:

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie, a standalone mystery about a dying man found at the bottom of a cliff whose last words were Why didn’t they ask Evans?

N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence 3) following the publication of N or M? Agatha Christie was investigated by MI5 because she had named one of the characters ‘Major Bletchley’ and MI5 suspected she had a spy in Britain’s undercover code breaking centre, Bletchley Park.

When Will There Be Good News? by  Kate Atkinson, this is a case of bad news all round, beginning when six year old Joanna witnesses the murder of her mother, older sister and baby brother.  It goes from bad to worse.

Who Killed Ruby? by Camilla Way, Ruby was murdered 32 years ago, but her killer was never found. This is a tense and emotional mystery that kept me guessing to the very end.

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah, Melody was seven when she disappeared and although her body had not been discovered her parents were tried and found guilty of murdering her. But is Melody dead or not?

Is Anybody Up There? by Paul Arnott. This is easy reading, with information about a number of religious beliefs, but it’s not very enlightening. It’s more a biography or memoir than an exploration of why Paul Arnott calls himself a devout sceptic. 

These four books are TBRs, most of them books I’d forgotten I’d bought, and found buried deep within my Kindle:

Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers – the first of her Lord Peter Wimsey books, first published in 1923. Wimsey investigates the mystery of the corpse in the bath.

Can You See Me? by Lynne Lee, her first psychological thriller. Julia, a doctor grieving the death of her husband, worries about her daughter’s reaction.

Who Pays the Piper? by Patricia Wentworth, an Inspector Ernest Lamb murder mystery in a quiet English village, first published in 1940.

You Talkin’ to Me: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama? by Sam Leith in which he defines rhetoric and looks its history. Along the way, he tells the stories of its heroes and villains, from Cicero and Erasmus, to Hitler, Obama – and Gyles Brandreth.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021

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. The topic this week is Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021. I’ve chosen these 10 books because I’ve read other books by these authors and enjoyed them in the past. I’m expecting these to be just as good.

I’ve listed them in release date order:

8 July
That Night by Gillian McAllister. During a family holiday in Italy, you get an urgent call from your sister. There’s been an accident: she hit a man with her car and he’s dead. She’s overcome with terror – fearing years in a foreign jail away from her child. She asks for your help. It wasn’t her fault, not really. She’d cover for you, so will you do the same for her? But when the police come calling, the lies start. And you each begin to doubt your trust in one another.

15 July
Running Out of Road: A gripping thriller set in the Derbyshire peaks by Cath Staincliffe – A missing schoolgirl, a middle-aged recluse, an exploited teenager. Lives thrown into chaos and set on collision course. With the police in hot pursuit.

22 July
The Crooked Shore by Martin Edwards – Lake District Cold-Case Mysteries Book 8. Hannah Scarlett is investigating the disappearance of a young woman from Bowness more than twenty years ago.

4 August
A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris – an explosive psychological thriller about one woman who, having carved out her own path to power, is now intent on tearing apart the elite world that tried to hold her back . . . piece by piece.

19 August
1979 by Val McDermid, the first book in the Allie Burns series. It is the winter of discontent, and reporter Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. There are few women in the newsroom and she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously.

19 August
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

2 September
The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin. When McIlvanney died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of DC Laidlaw’s first case, a prequel to his Jack Laidlaw trilogy. Now, Ian Rankin has finished what McIlvanney started.

30 September
The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths, the sixth book in the Brighton Mysteries series, set in 1965. When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone.

1 October
The Unheard by Nicci French. Tess’s number one priority has always been her three-year-old daughter Poppy. But splitting up with Poppy’s father Jason means that she cannot always be there to keep her daughter safe.

7 October
April in Spain by John Banville – the eighth book in the Quirke series. When Dublin pathologist Quirke glimpses a familiar face while on holiday with his wife, it’s hard, at first, to tell whether his imagination is just running away with him. Could she really be who he thinks she is, and have a connection with a crime that nearly brought ruin to an Irish political dynasty?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer 2021 To Read List

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. The topic this week is Books On My Summer 2021 To Read List.

Some of these books are ones that have been on my shelves for ages and some are more recent additions from NetGalley.

The Mouse Trap and Selected Plays by Agatha Christie – the world’s longest running play, plus three other thrillers adapted from the novels (which I have read) – And Then There Were None, The Hollow and Appointment with Death. I haven’t seen The Mouse Trap, and doubt I ever will, so the next best thing is to read it.

Set in an manor house a number of people are isolated from the outside world by a blizzard and faced with the reality that one of them is a killer.

The Enchanter’s Forest by Alys Clare – historical fiction set in Midsummer 1195. A ruthlessly ambitious man has fallen deeply into debt, his desperate situation made even more difficult by the contribution he has had to pay towards King Richard’s ransom. To make matters worse the beautiful wife he tricked into marriage has tired of him and her mother hates his guts.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles set in Paris in 1939. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books, and her new job at the American Library in Paris is a dream come true. When war is declared, the Library is determined to remain open. But then the Nazis invade Paris, and everything changes.

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas – standalone psychological thriller. Una Richardson’s heart is broken after the death of her mother. Seeking a place to heal, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of Elspeth McKenzie. But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.

The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald – In 1912, rational Fred Fairly, one of Cambridge’s best and brightest, crashes his bike and wakes up in bed with a stranger – fellow casualty Daisy Saunders, a charming, pretty, generous working-class nurse. So begins a series of complications – not only of the heart but also of the head – as Fred and Daisy take up each other’s education and turn each other’s philosophies upside down. 

The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore – Bellevue Gardens is a tranquil London square, tucked away behind a busy street. You might pass it without knowing it’s there. Here, through the imposing front door of Number 11, is a place of peace, of sanctuary and of secrets. It is home to Leonie; once a model in the sixties, she came to the house to escape a destructive marriage and now, out of gratitude, she opens her house to others in need.

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson –

After her father’s tragic suicide, Una is desperate to get away from Reykjavik. So when an advert appears for a teaching position in a remote, northern Icelandic village, she seizes her chance. But with unfriendly residents, bleak weather and a population of just ten, it is far from what Una knows. And then, just before midwinter, a young girl from the village is found dead. Now there are only nine villagers left. And Una fears that one of them has blood on their hands . . .

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce – 1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need. Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann. Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind …

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox – a standalone murder mystery told as a true crime story. In the early hours of Saturday 17 December 2011, Zoe Nolan, a nineteen-year-old Manchester University student, walked out of a party taking place in the shared accommodation where she had been living for three months.

She was never seen again. Seven years after her disappearance, struggling writer Evelyn Mitchell finds herself drawn into the mystery. Through interviews with Zoe’s closest friends and family, she begins piecing together what really happened in 2011. .

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston are bound for work, reunions, holidays and new starts, with no idea that the journey is about to change their lives for ever, as one of the passengers, sitting in the middle of the carriage is Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . .

In the aftermath, amidst the destruction and desolation, new bonds are formed, new friendships made… and we find hope in the most unlikely of places and among the most unlikely people.

Top Ten Tuesday: A Freebie -Spy Thrillers

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. The topic this week is a Freebie so my ten this week are Spy Thrillers. I’ve read all of these, except for An Officer and a Spy, which is one of my to-be-read books:

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré set in the 1960s. Alex Leamas, an aging British intelligence agent, who has beenout in the cold’ for years, spying in the shadow of the Berlin Wall for his British masters, is ordered to discredit an East German official. 

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie – set in 1950 this is a story about international espionage and conspiracy. No Miss Marple of Poirot, just Victoria Jones, a short-hand typist, a courageous girl with a tendency to tell lies. She gets involved in a plot to sabotage a secret summit of superpowers is to be held in Baghdad.

The Spy by Paul Coelho, a fictionalised biography of Mata Hari, who was an exotic dancer, executed as a spy during the First World War in October 1917.

Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh, set in May 1593, this a tense, dramatic story of the last days of Christopher Marlowe, playwright, poet and spy. 

The English Spy by Donald Smith tells the story of how Daniel Defoe was sent to Scotland in 1707 under secret instructions from the English government to persuade the Scots to give up their independence. 

The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan, a spy thriller, set in 1914 just before the outbreak of the First World War, in which Richard Hannay finds Scudder, a spy, murdered in his London flat. Fearing for his own life he 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’.

Winter in Madrid by C J Sansom -an action packed thrilling war/spy story and also a moving love story and historical drama all rolled into this tense and gripping novel. Harry Brett, traumatised by his injuries at Dunkirk is sent to Spain to spy for the British Secret Service. 

An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris, a fictionalised account of the Dreyfus affair. Dreyfus was a French military officer convicted of spying for the Germans in 1895. He is sentenced to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil’s Island.

Corpus by Rory Clements a spy thriller set in the 1936. I was immersed in the mysteries, with spies, communists and Nazis, Spanish Gold, Soviet conspirators, politicians and academics all intricately woven into the plot.

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II by Ben Macintyre about the Allies’ deception plan codenamed Operation Mincemeat in 1943, which underpinned the invasion of Sicily. It was framed around a man who never was.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

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. The topic this week is Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences.

These are all books I’ve read.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Come Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie – a memoir about what life was like when she accompanied her husband Max Malloran on his excavations in Syria and Iraq in the 1930s.

Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie – a detective story set in on the West bank of the Nile at Thebes in about 2000 BC. 

Death Comes to Pemberley by P D James, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice set in 1803, when Elizabeth and Darcy have been married for six years. 

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah – Melody was seven when she disappeared and although her body had not been discovered her parents were tried and found guilty of murdering her. What really happened to her?

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey – Maud has dementia – but she knows her friend Elizabeth is missing. I enjoyed the TV adaption with Glenda Jackson as Maud much more than the book.

Jacob’s End is on the Landing by Susan Hill – describing the books she read, reread, or returned to the shelves over the course of a year, as well as her thoughts on a whole variety of topics. It’s fascinating, rambling and chatty.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré – a story of love and betrayal at the height of the Cold War. Back from Berlin where he had seen his last agent killed whilst trying to cross the Berlin Wall, Leamas is apparently no longer useful. 

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie – set in 1950 this is a story about international espionage and conspiracy. The heads of the ‘great powers‘ are secretly meeting in Baghdad.

 When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. The 3rd Jackson Brodie book – in a quiet corner of rural Devon, a six-year-old girl witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Most Recent Reads

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. The topic this week is: My Ten Most Recent Reads The links are to my reviews, where they exist.

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville – historical fiction inspired by the lives of Elizabeth and John Macarthur, who settled in Australia at the end of the eighteenth century. 

The Royal Secret by Andrew Taylor – historical fiction set in 1670, the 5th book in the Marwood and Lovett series, murder, spies and conspiracies.

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future by David Attenborough, in which he writes about the spiralling decline of our planet’s diversity and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right.

Ice Bound: One Woman’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole by Jerri Nielsen – autobiography of Dr Jerri Nielsen, a doctor working at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Station in Antarctica, who discovered a lump in her breast.

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie – a Poirot murder mystery on an archaeological dig. A seemingly impossible murder.

The Mirror Dance by Catriona McPherson – a Dandy Gilver mystery set in 1937, in which a Punch and Judy man is killed, told with plenty of red herrings and impossibilities.

The Pact by Sharon Bolton – novel about a group of five teenagers. It’s summer and they are waiting for their A level exam results. It’s the night before the results come out, the night before all their lives were changed for ever. 

The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville – historical fiction, set in Australia at the end of the eighteenth century, based on the journals of William Dawes. This is a parallel book to A Room Made of Leaves, about a a young astronomer, serving as a lieutenant in First Fleet.

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal – historical fiction set in Victorian England in which a young girl is sold by her father to Jasper Jupiter’s travelling circus to perform as Nellie Moon, a leopard girl because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin.

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson – set in Northern Ontario in 1972, seven-year-old Clara’s teenage sister Rose has just run away from home. This is not a thriller but a heart-warming and heart-breaking story of the lives of ordinary people, whose lives have been touched by tragedy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Animals from Books

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. The topic this week is Animals from Books (these could be mythical, real, main characters, sidekicks, companions/pets, shifters, etc)

These are all books I’ve read. The first five are about rabbits, dogs, farmyard animals and a moth.

 Watership Down – Sandleford Warren is in danger. Hazel’s younger brother Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the land, but no one will listen. Together with a few other brave rabbits they secretly leave behind the safety and strictures of the warren and hop tentatively out into a vast and strange world. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell – It tells the story of a farm where the animals rebel against the farmer, Mr Jones, and throw him off the land. They hope to create a society where they are all equal, free and happy. Ultimately, the farm ends up in a state that is as bad, if not worse than it was before, under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon. 

The Call of the Wild by Jack London – Buck, a cross between a St Bernard and a Scotch Shepherd (Collie) was stolen from his home in the Santa Clara Valley in California and taken to the Yukon where strong sled dogs were needed during the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck has to fight for existence and as he learnt by experience, instincts that were long dead came alive in him:

Bob in Agatha Christie’s Dumb Witness – The ‘dumb witness’of the title is Bob, a wire-haired terrier in what is described as ‘the incident of the dog’s ball.’ Agatha Christie dedicated Dumb Witness to her wire-haired terrier, Peter, describing him as ‘most faithful of friends and dearest companion, a dog in a thousand‘. Bob plays an important part in the plot.

Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf, in a collection of twenty-eight essays, sketches, and short stories. The first essay is a meditation on the nature of life and death seen through the perspective of a moth. It flies by day, fluttering from side to side of a window pane. As the day progresses the moth tires and falls on his back. He struggles vainly to raise himself. She watches, realising that it is useless to try to do anything to help and ponders the power of death over life:

The last five are all about birds:

Grip, a pet raven in Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens. Grip goes everywhere with Barnaby. He’s a most amazing bird who can mimic voices and seems to have more wits about him than Barnaby. He is based on one of Dickens’s own ravens, also called Grip.

The Raven a narrative poem by Edgar Allen Poe. Poe was inspired by Dickens’s portrait of Grip to write his poem. It tells of a talking raven‘s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow descent into madness. 

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson historical fiction about the early years of Henry’s reign as seen through the eyes of Joan Vaux, a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York. Joan’s fascination for and care of the ravens of the Tower of London firmly believing in the legend that should the ravens leave the Tower for good then the crown will fall and ruin will return to the nation.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. It’s three  books in one – one about herself, her childhood and her intense grief at the sudden death of her father, one about training a goshawk and another about T H White and his book, The Goshawk.

Corvus: A Life With Birds by Esther Woolfson is a remarkable book about the birds she has has had living with her; birds that were found out of the nest that would not have survived if she had not taken them in. Although the book is mainly about the rook, Chicken, Esther Woolfson also writes in detail about natural history, the desirability or otherwise of keeping birds, and a plethora of facts about birds, their physiology, mechanics of flight, bird song and so on.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Pre-Blog

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.

The topic this week is: Books I’d Gladly Throw in the Ocean, but as I’d never throw books into the ocean, my topic is Books I Read Pre-Blog (pre April 2007) and are all books I enjoyed! Some are my own books and others I borrowed from the library. The descriptions are from a number of sources.

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood – the first book of hers I read. Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for 40 years.

The Sea by John Banville – Max Morden visits the seaside town where he spent his summers as a child after the death of his wife. There he remembers the Graces, the family that introduced him to a world of feeling he’d never experienced before. Interwoven with this story are Morden’s memories of his wife, Anna–of their life together, of her death.

Poet in the Gutter by John Baker – Sam Turner has always had a romantic yearning to be Sam Spade. So he tells his men’s group in York that he’s a private eye – it’s better than admitting he’s an unemployed alcoholic. But then one of his friends asks for help in tracking an erring wife. So suddenly Sam is a P.I. And the next thing he knows, he’s on the track of a serial killer – with the help of a street-liver and an ex-English teacher pensioner. . .

March by Geraldine Brooks – I loved the March family in Louisa May Alcott’s books and wondered about Mr March away at war, not knowing as a child which war that was. It was of course the American Civil War, and this book is about his life as an abolitionist and chaplain in the Union Army. During this time, John March writes letters to his family, but he withholds the true extent of the brutality and injustices he witnesses on and off the battlefields.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle – when Sir Charles Baskerville is found mysteriously dead in the grounds of Baskerville Hall, everyone remembers the legend of the monstrous creature that haunts the moor. The greatest detective in the world, Sherlock Holmes, knows there must be a more rational explanation — but the difficulty lies in finding it before the hellhound finds him.

Matilda by Roald Dahl – Matilda Wormwood is only five years old, but she is a genius. Unfortunately her parents are too stupid to even notice. Worse, her horrible headmistress Miss Trunchbull is a bully who makes life difficult for Matilda’s teacher, Miss Honey, and her friends. But what Miss Trunchbull doesn’t know is that Matilda has a trick or two up her sleeve… I loved the film too.

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – A forty-ton truck hurtles out of control on a snowy country road, a teenage girl on horseback in its path. In a few terrible seconds the life of a family is shattered. And a mother’s quest begins–to save her maimed daughter and a horse driven mad by pain. It is an odyssey that will bring her to The Horse Whisperer. He is the stuff of legend. His voice can calm wild horses and his touch heals broken spirits. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, such men were once called Whisperers. 

Haweswater by Sarah Hall – set in 1936 in a remote dale in the old county of Westmorland, and tells of the flooding of the dale to make way for a reservoir, against the wishes of many of the local hill farmers. It is a story of love, obsession and the destruction of a community.

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler – One hot summer day Maggie and Ira drive from Baltimore towards Pennsylvania, to the funeral of the husband of Maggie’s best friend. During the course of that journey, the author shows all there is to know about a marriage.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Places In Books I’d Love to Live

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.

The topic this week is :Places In Books I’d Love to Live.

Lothlorien, the Elf Kingdom in The Lord of the Rings – between the Misty Mountains and the River Anduin, the fairest realm of the Elves remaining in MiddleEarth It is ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn from their city of tree-houses at Caras Galadhon.

Heidi’s grandfather’s mountain in the Swiss Alps above the hamlet of Dorfli in Heidi by Johanna Spyri and the sequels, Heidi Grows Up and Heidi’s Children, written by Charles Tritten.

Hundred Acre Wood in Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne – we stayed in a cottage near Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, where the Winnie-the-Pooh stories were set and played Pooh Sticks on the bridge.

Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the home of Mr Darcy, located near the fictional town of Lambton, and believed by some to be based on Lyme Park, south of Disley in Cheshire. I’ve been there too.

Oxford in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse books. In his poem ‘Thyrsis’ the Victorian poet Matthew Arnold called Oxford ‘the city of dreaming spires‘ after the stunning architecture of its university buildings We used to live near Oxford, so often visited. One of my favourite Morse books is The Dead of Jericho.

The Lake District as in Martin Edwards’ Lake District mysteries, featuring Hannah Scarlett and the historian Daniel Kind. I love the Lake District, and have been there many times. The first book in the series is The Coffin Trail.

Tuscany – as in Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes – about the abandoned villa she restored and life in the Italian countryside. Tuscany is one of my favourite places in Italy and I’d love to go there again.

Atlantis’ – the fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva in The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley a a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, the home of the D’Aplièse sisters.

And finally two English fictional villages:

Fairacre in the Miss Read books (the real-life Dora Saint), with its thatched cottage, church, and school,. The first one is Village School.

St Mary Mead in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books. It was first mentioned in a Miss Marple book in 1930, when it was the setting for the first Miss Marple novel, The Murder at the Vicarage.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2021 TBR

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.

The theme this week is: Books On My Spring 2021 TBR. Some of these books are physical books, others are e-books. They are just the tip of my TBR mountain and when the time comes to start a new book it might be one of these – or anyone of my other TBRs, but I hope I do get round to reading at least some of these books this spring.

First the physical books:

The Prophecy by S J Parris (library book) – historical fiction, 1583 – the second in her Giordano Bruno series set in the reign of Elizabeth I. Bruno was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy for his belief that the Earth orbits the sun and that the universe is infinite. Elizabeth’s throne is in peril, threatened by Mary Stuart’s supporters scheme to usurp the rightful monarch.

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman, set on a lighthouse keeper’s island, where the Indian Ocean washes into the Great Southern Ocean. A boat washes up on the shore of the island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.

Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor – historical fiction set in 1847 when the Star of the Sea sets sail from Ireland bound for New York. On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees, among them are a maid with a devastating secret, the bankrupt Lord Merridith and his family, and a murderer hungry for vengeance. It has the look of a Victorian novel but was first published in 2004.

Death in Berlin by M M Kaye – crime fiction set in war-scarred Berlin in the early 1950s. Miranda is on the night train when she discovers a dead body. Years ago I read The Far Pavilions and it is only in recent years that I discovered she wrote the Death in … series. This is the 2nd book in the series first published in 1955.

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel – the final book in her Wolf Hall trilogy. I bought this when it was published last year and started it just before the first lockdown. But for a variety of reasons I put it to one side for ‘a while‘, where it has stayed! So I’m determined to read it this year. I loved the first two books – this one traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbed to the heights of power under Henry VIII, before he fell.

Next the e-books:

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths – the 12th Dr Ruth Galloway Mystery, Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway. She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis – set in 1950s/60s America this is a novel about chess. Orphan, Beth Harmon, addicted to tranquillisers, becomes a top chess player, competing for the US Open championship at the age of 16. There is a Netflix mini series of the book – we’ve watched the first episode, which made me want to read the book.

The Driftwood Girls by Mark Douglas-Home, the 4th Sea Detective book, with investigator Cal McGill who uses his knowledge of tides, winds and currents to solve mysteries. In this book when Flora Tolmie disappears her twin sister Kate asks Cal for help to discover what has happened to her and also to look into the disappearance of their mother,Christina, who had vanished without trace from northern France, 23 years earlier.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lipton – set in rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, where a school is under siege. Pupils and teachers have barricaded themselves inside the school and the headmaster lies wounded in the library, Outside, a police psychiatrist must identify the gunmen, while parents gather desperate for news.

Mountains of the Mind: a Fascination by Robert Macfarlane, an investigation into our emotional and imaginative responses to mountains and how these have changed over the last few centuries. He describes his own climbing experiences, inspired by reading The Fight for Everest when he was twelve. It won the 2003 Guardian First Book Award, the 2004 Somerset Maugham Award and the 2004 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and has been filmed by the BBC.