Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Autumn 2020 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 topic this week is Books On My Autumn 2020 TBR. I’ve stopped trying to plan what I’ll read next because what usually happens is that I’ll read anything except the books I’ve planned to read. So this is a list of books that I’ll read sometime soon … maybe. It includes books I own and review books from NetGalley.

  • Child’s Play by Reginald Hill – the 9th Dalziel and Pascoe mystery.
  • The Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter – the 1st Inspector Morse book.
  • Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch – the 2nd Rivers of London novel.
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel – book 3 of the Wolf Hall trilogy. I did start to read this book earlier in the year, but I’ll probably have to start it again.
  • The Haunting of H G Wells by Robert Masello – to be published 1 October 2020 – my choice from the First Reads selection this month, a novel mixing fact and fiction.
  • A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin – to be published 1 October 2020, the 23rd Rebus book – a ‘must read’book for me.
  • The Survivors by Jane Harper – a standalone crime fiction novel, published today 22 September 2020. I’ve just finished read her first book, The Dry, so I’m very keen to read this one soon.
  • V2 by Robert Harris – a Second World War thriller.a blend of fact and fiction.
  • And Now for the Good News by Ruby Wax – this is the book I really must read soon – we all need some good news!
  • The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths – to be published 1 October 2020 – a literary murder mystery.

Top Ten Tuesday: First Edition Agatha Christie Book Covers

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 Book Cover Freebie.

How it works:

There’s a new topic every Tuesday. You create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list on that topic or one of your own if you wish and then link back to That Artsy Reader Girl so that others know where to find more information. If a weekly topic is listed as a “freebie”, you are invited to come up with your own topic. Sometimes she will give the freebie topic a theme, such as “love”, a season, or an upcoming holiday. That just means that you can come up with any topic you want that fits under that umbrella.

So today my top ten are twelve –

Twelve First Edition Agatha Christie book covers.

I’ve read all of Agatha Christie’s crime fiction novels and the links are to my posts – although the books I read were not first editions!

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’m Reading

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.

  • Vera Stanhope by Ann Cleeves – I’ve not read books 2 and 3. The latest one, the 9th was published this month – The Darkest Evening.
  • Maeve Kerrigan by Jane Casey – I’ve read 7, with 2 novellas and 2 more books to read.
  • Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin – I’ve read 22. Book 23 A Song for the Dark Times is out on 1 October.
  • Dalziel and Pascoe by Reginald Hill – 24 books. I started by reading them out of order and am now filling in the gaps. So far I have read 13.
  • Lacey Flint by Sharon Bolton – I’ve read all 4 books and there is a novella, Here Be Dragons, which I haven’t read yet.
  • DCI Banks by Peter Robinson – another series I began reading out of order and am now filling in the gaps. There are 26 books and I’ve read 11 of them
  • Inspector Maigret by Georges Simenon – there are 75 and I’ve read 11 of them.
  • Commissaire Adamsberg by Fred Vargas – 9 books and I’ve read 5 of them.
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – 15 books and I’ve read just 3 of them.
  • The Greek Detective by Anne Zouroudi – 9 books and I’ve read 3 of them.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make Me Hungry

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.

I’ve chosen books that ether have food in their title, or include food/recipes in their content.

  • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie – Poirot is invited to spend ‘a good old-fashioned Christmas in the English countryside’ .
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris – descriptions of delicious food – not just chocolate.
  • Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé by Joanne Harris – a diluted version of Chocolat, but it is too long and drawn out for the story line.
  • Cupcake by Mariah Jones – I haven’t read this one, but I like the cover – even better though if it was a chocolate cupcake.
  • Toast by Nigel Slater – a memoir of his childhood remembered through food.
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – a modern fairy tale/myth – Claire creates dishes from the plants in her garden.
  • The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman – about a cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed.
  • The Co-Op’s Got Bananas by Hunter Davies – a memoir of the Forties and Fifties… In among the rationing and the bombsites.
  • The Gourmet by Muriel Barber – tantalising glimpses of food that Pierre Arthens, France’s celebrated food critic recalls.
  • Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes – the follow up book to Under the Tuscan Sun with more details about the restoration of the villa and its garden, plus recipes. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Made into Movies

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.

Books That Should Be Made into Movies

The Year Without Summer: 1816 by Guinevere Glasfurd – the story of six people whose lives were affected by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island in Indonesia in 1815. A disaster movie.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper. A murder mystery set in the Queensland outback, a huge and isolated territory, red earth stretching for hundreds of miles, with its unbearable heat, dust and, at times, the threat of flood. A body is found lying at the the base of the headstone of a stockman’s grave – a headstone standing alone, a metre high, facing west, towards the desert, in a land of mirages. A spectacular setting!

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey – this would make an good alternative World War Two movie with a strange story about taxidermy collection moved from London to a country manor house. It struck me as I was reading it that it would make an excellent film or TV drama as one after another, some of the animals go missing or are mysteriously moved from their positions in the long gallery.

The Deep by Alma Katsu – a story of the Titanic in 1912 as it sets sail on its ill-fated voyage and its sister ship the Britannic in 1916, converted to a hospital as it picks up soldiers injured in the battlefields of World War One. I think this would make an eerie, creepy film full of atmosphere of terror and disaster.

The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland, a fascinating medieval tale full of atmosphere and superstition. It’s set in Porlock Weir in 1361 where a village is isolated by the plague when the Black Death spreads across England. It’s a tale of folklore, black magic, superstition, violence, torture, murder, and an apocalyptic cult – and also of love. There’s a colourful cast of characters from Will, a ‘fake’ dwarf, Sara, a packhorse man’s wife and her family, to Matilda, a religious zealot. It would make a terrific movie.

The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray – A dystopian thriller set in a world which has spun to a halt, bringing civilisation to the brink of collapse. Chaos followed, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and gales swept the earth’s surface.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley – a steampunk novel set in Victorian times, both in London and Japan, with colourful characters including clockwork inventions, in particular Katsu, the clockwork octopus. I’d love to see this as a film.

See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt – a re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders, this would make a horror film. So terrifying I don’t know that I bear to watch it though.

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor – about the Great Fire of London in 1666, complete with a murder mystery. This would make a spectacular movie as the fire roared through the 17th century streets of Charles II’s London.

Another historical crime fiction series of books I’d like to see as either a TV series or a film is C J Sansom’s Shardlake novels set in the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century. There are seven books, beginning with Dissolution set in 1537 at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Colours in the Titles

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 Colours in the Titles.

These are all books I really enjoyed reading.

  • Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte like Jane Eyre, Agnes is a governess and this is the story of her experiences working for two families in Victorian England.
  • The Black Friar – the second book in the Damian Seeker series, historical crime fiction set in 1655 during the Interregnum under Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector. Damian Seeker is the Captain of Cromwell’s Guard.
  • Blue Heaven by C J Box – set in North Idaho this a story about two children, Annie and William who decide to go fishing without telling their mother, Monica, and witness a murder in the woods. One of the killers sees them and they run for their lives.
  • The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon – set in London in 1924, Evelyn Gifford is one of the few pioneer female lawyers. It’s early days for women to be accepted as lawyers and this novel clearly shows the prejudice these women had to overcome
  • Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers – a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery in which he investigates the death of a landscape painter and fisherman who was found dead in a burn near Newton Stewart.
  • Greenmantle by John Buchan – this is basically an adventure and spy story with a highly improbable plot. It’s pure escapism.
  • Silver Lies by Ann Parker  – historical crime fiction set in 1879/80 in the silver-mining town of Leadville, Colarado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Joe Rose, a silver assayer, is found dead in Tiger Alley propped up behind the Silver Queen saloon.
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, based on the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967 – 70 this focuses on the struggle between the north and the south, the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa people.
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the murder of Enoch J Drebber, an American found dead in the front room of an empty house at 3 Lauriston Gardens, off the Brixton Road,  with the word “RACHE” scrawled in blood on the wall beside the body. The TV version A Study in Pink in the Sherlock series, which although very different in some respects is surprisingly faithful to the book in others.
  • Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende – Aurora is the narrator and this is the story of her family. After giving details of her birth, in 1880 in San Francisco in the Chinese quarter, she goes back to 1862 beginning her story with details about her grandparents.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Read But Not Reviewed

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 a freebie and I decided to write about – Books I’ve Read But Not Reviewed.

These are all books I read before I began blogging in 2007. I’ve linked them to their pages on the Fantastic Fiction website.

  1. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – Did Grace kill her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper/lover Nancy Montgomery? I couldn’t decide all the way through the book. I’ve enjoyed all of her books that I’ve read so far – this is one of my favourites.
  2. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes – this is based on the true story of Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji, a solicitor from Birmingham. I’ve since read a few more of his books.
  3. The Conjuror’s Bird by Martin Davies about an extinct bird from Capt Cook’s second voyage, described on Davies’ website as a ‘novel of two narratives – one of the present day and one of the late 18th Century. As the two stories intertwine, the novel unfolds layer after layer of mystery and suspense.’
  4. The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill – the first book in the Simon Serrailler series. I’ve read seven books in the series – and then decided I’d have enough of them and haven’t read the later books.
  5. The Apothecary’s House by Adrian Mathews – set in Amsterdam about the history of the piece of looted Nazi art, a painting with a disturbing wartime provenance. Archivist, Ruth Braams at the Rijks Museum, enters a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates its secret symbolism.
  6. Dissolution by C J Sansom – the first in his Tudor murder mystery series featuring Matthew Shardlake. This is set in 1537 – Shardlake investigates the death of a Commissioner during the dissolution of the monasteries. I’ve read all of his subsequent Shardlake books.
  7. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields – the story of Daisy Goodwill, from her birth on a kitchen floor in Manitoba, Canada, to her death in a Florida nursing home nearly ninety years later.
  8. A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve – at an inn in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, seven former schoolmates gather for a wedding. It’s an astonishing weekend of revelation and recrimination, forgiveness and redemption. At one time I loved Anita Shreve’s but went off the more recent ones.
  9. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – The discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive.
  10. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – this is the first in the Maisie Dobbs series. In 1929 Maisie set herself up as a private investigator, having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in the Great War. I’ve read a few more of the series since I read this one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Whose Books I’ve Read the Most

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  Authors Whose Books I’ve Read the Most.

My list is of the authors whose books I’ve read the most since I began my blog. I’ve linked them to their pages on the Fantastic Fiction website. They are a mix of crime fiction and historical fiction.

  1. Agatha Christie
  2. Ian Rankin
  3. Ann Cleeves
  4. Peter Robinson
  5. Andrew Taylor
  6. Robert Harris
  7. Elly Griffiths
  8. Georges Simenon
  9. Daphne du Maurier
  10. Sharon Bolton

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

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 Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020.

I have previously read books by these authors, so I am eagerly looking forward to reading their new books – if not now, then later!

The book descriptions are either from Amazon or Goodreads.

A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin – 1 October 2020

The 23rd Rebus book

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days. Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect. He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective? As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

Still Life by Val McDermid – 20 August 2020

Inspector Karen Pirie book 6

On a freezing winter morning, fishermen pull a body from the sea. It is quickly discovered that the dead man was the prime suspect in a decade-old investigation, when a prominent civil servant disappeared without trace. DCI Karen Pirie was the last detective to review the file and is drawn into a sinister world of betrayal and dark secrets. But Karen is already grappling with another case, one with even more questions and fewer answers. A skeleton has been discovered in an abandoned campervan and all clues point to a killer who never faced justice – a killer who is still out there. In her search for the truth, Karen uncovers a network of lies that has gone unchallenged for years. But lies and secrets can turn deadly when someone is determined to keep them hidden for good …

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas – 6 August 2020

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. Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. But more disturbing is the realization that two girls had lived here before. Two girls who ended up dead.

Why won’t the McKenzies talk about them? What other secrets are locked inside this house? As the walls close in around her, Una starts to fear that she will end up just like the other girls . . .

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell – 6 August 2020

It is nearly midnight, and very cold. Yet in this dark place of long grass and tall trees where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is waiting…

When Saffyre Maddox was ten something terrible happened and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart.

Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s thirty-three years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him. But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible. Because he’s just the type, isn’t he? A bit creepy?

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett – 15 September 2020

The prequel to The Pillars of the Earth.

It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages, and England faces attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Life is hard, and those with power wield it harshly, bending justice according to their will – often in conflict with the king. With his grip on the country fragile and with no clear rule of law, chaos and bloodshed reign. Into this uncertain world three people come to the fore: a young boatbuilder, who dreams of a better future when a devastating Viking raid shatters the life that he and the woman he loves hoped for; a Norman noblewoman, who follows her beloved husband across the sea to a new land only to find her life there shockingly different; and a capable monk at Shiring Abbey, who dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a centre of learning admired throughout Europe.

The Survivors by Jane Harper – 22 September 2020

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

The House of Lamentations by S G MacLean – 9 July 2020

The final historical thriller in the award-winning Seeker series (Damian Seeker 5)

Summer, 1658, and the Republic may finally be safe: the combined Stuart and Spanish forces have been heavily defeated by the English and French armies on the coast of Flanders, and the King’s cause appears finished.

Yet one final, desperate throw of the dice is planned. And who can stop them if not Captain Damian Seeker?

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – 13 August 2020

Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – 15 September 2020

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell transported over four million readers into its mysterious world. It became an instant classic and has been hailed as one of the finest works of fiction of the twenty-first century.

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville – 6 August 2020

It is 1788. Twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth is hungry for life but, as the ward of a Devon clergyman, knows she has few prospects. When proud, scarred soldier John Macarthur promises her the earth one midsummer’s night, she believes him.

But Elizabeth soon realises she has made a terrible mistake. Her new husband is reckless, tormented, driven by some dark rage at the world. He tells her he is to take up a position as Lieutenant in a New South Wales penal colony and she has no choice but to go. Sailing for six months to the far side of the globe with a child growing inside her, she arrives to find Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, scheming and rumours.

All her life she has learned to be obliging, to fold herself up small. Now, in the vast landscapes of an unknown continent, Elizabeth has to discover a strength she never imagined, and passions she could never express.

Inspired by the real life of a remarkable woman, this is an extraordinarily rich, beautifully wrought novel of resilience, courage and the mystery of human desire.

Top Ten Tuesday is Ten Years Old!

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. For this week’s topic there are a number of options and as I only posted my first TTT in December 2018, I decided to pick a past TTT topic from March 2018.

It’s Books that Take Place in Another Country, because although travel is restricted right now, I can virtually go anywhere in place and time through books.

These are all books I own but haven’t read – yet.

Greece in Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop – ‘a tantalising glimpse of a country far removed from the usual tourist resorts and beaches.’

Australia in The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville – based on real events, this tells the unforgettable story of Lt Rooke’s connection to an Aboriginal child – a remarkable friendship that resonates across the oceans and the centuries.

France in Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi – crime fiction – where a man has been found dead in the stream running through Monet’s garden of Giverney. Bussi explains the descriptions of Giverney, Monet’s house, the water lily pond – all the locations are as exact as possible and the information about Monet’s life and works are authentic.

Iceland in Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson in an isolated fishing town, Siglufjordur, in Northern Iceland, only accessible via a small mountain tunnel. Crime fiction where a killer is on the loose as an avalanche closes the mountain pass.

America in Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck – In 1960, John Steinbeck set out in his pick-up truck with his dog Charley to rediscover and chronicle his native USA, from Maine to California.

Italy in Italian Neighbours an Englishman in Verona by Tim Parks – this book is the story of Tim Parks’ love affair with life in Verona. Gradually he comes to accept what the locals take for granted. Infused with an objective passion, he unpicks the idiosyncrasies and nuances of Italian culture with wit and affection.

Germany in Death in Berlin by M M Kaye – this is set against a background of war-scarred Berlin in the early 1950s, when Miranda is on a holiday in Germany. When murder strikes on the night train to Berlin, she gets involved in a complex chain of events that will soon throw her own life into peril.

South Africa in Disgrace by J M Coetzee – set in post-apartheid South Africa, this book won the Booker Prize in 1999. Professor, David Lurie and his daughter, Lucy, moved to an isolated smallholding in the bush, after he had an affair with a student. The balance of power in the country is shifting and they are savagely attacked. A multilayered story about what it means to be human.

Europe in Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor – continuing his journey on foot across Europe in 1933, begun in A Time of Gifts (a book I have read). This book begins on the bridge over the Danube in Esztergom in Hungary as he continues his journey to Constantinople, following ancient ways that were later destroyed during the Second World War.

Europe in New Europe by Michael Palin, continuing on from Between the Woods and Water, I think it’s interesting to see how this area has changed since 1933. New Europe does just that, beginning in the mountains of Slovenia, he travels down through the area in Between the Woods, on his way to Estonia.