First Chapter First Paragraph: Falling in Love

Every 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 planning to read soon.

This week’s first paragraph is from a library book that I’ll be reading soon, Falling in Love by Donna Leon. It’s the 24th Commissario Brunetti novel.

Falling in Love (Brunetti 24)

It begins:

The woman knelt over her lover, her face, her entire body stiff with terror, staring at the blood on her hand. He lay on his back, one arm flung out, palm upturned as if begging her to place something into it; his life, perhaps. She had touched his chest, urging him to get up, so they could get out of there, but he hadn’t moved, so she had shaken him, the same old sleepy-head who never wanted to get out of bed.

Blurb (from back cover):

As an opera superstar at La Fenice in Venice, Flavia is well acquainted with attention from adoring fans and aspiring singers. But when anonymous admirer inundates her with bouquets of yellow roses, which start to appear in her dressing room and even inside her locked apartment, she begins to fear for her safety and calls in an old friend.

Enter Commissario Brunetti.

But soon the threat becomes more serious. Brunetti must enter the psyche of an obsessive fan and find the culprit before anyone, especially Flavia, comes to harm.

I’ve only read a few of the Brunetti novels and certainly not in the order they were written. Apparently Flavia appeared in the first book, Death at La Fenice, in which Flavia Petrelli, one of Italy’s finest living sopranos had been the prime suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor – until Brunetti cleared her name.

This title doesn’t say this book is crime fiction to me. What do you think?

First Chapter, First Paragraph: The Betrayals

Every 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 planning to read soon. Diane is having a summer break at the moment, but I enjoy doing this meme anyway.

This week’s first paragraph is from The Betrayals by Fiona Neill, which was published on 10 August.

Daisy

Three is a good and safe number. I close my eyes and whisper the words three times so no one can hear. They sound like a sweet sigh. If Mum notices she might worry and the days of worry are over. I say this three times too, just to make triple sure, remembering how the words have to be spoken on the outbreath.

Blurb:

None of them would forget that week on the wild Norfolk coast.

Best friends Rosie and Lisa’s families had always been inseparable.

But that summer, Lisa had an affair with Rosie’s husband Nick.

And now, after years of silence, she sends Rosie a letter begging for help. A letter which exposes dark secrets.

Daughter Daisy’s fragile hold on reality begins to unravel.

Teenage son Max blames himself for everything that happened that long hot summer.

And Nick must confront his own version of events.

There are four sides to this story. Who will you believe?

I was captivated from the beginning of this book right to the end. My review will follow shortly.

My Friday Post

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.

I’ve recently finished reading Gallows View by Peter Robinson, the first Inspector Banks book and have decided to read the series in the order they were written. The second Inspector Banks book is A Dedicated Man. A Dedicated Man

When the sun rose high enough to clear the slate roofs on the other side of the street, it crept through a chink in Sally Lumb’s curtain and lit on a strand of gold blonde hair that curled over her cheek. She was dreaming.

This opening doesn’t tell me much about the book. If I didn’t know it’s an Inspector Banks book I’d probably not bother reading much further. But reading the blurb encourages me to read on:

Blurb:

Near the village of Helmthorpe, Swainsdale, the body of a well-liked local historian is found half-buried under a dry stone wall. Harry Steadman has been brutally murdered. But who would want to kill such a thoughtful, dedicated man?

Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called in to investigate and soon discovers that disturbing secrets lie behind the apparently bucolic facade. It is clear that young Sally Lumb, locked in her lover’s arms on the night of the murder, knows more than she is letting on. And her knowledge could lead to danger . . .

Also every Friday Freda at Freda’s Voice hosts The Friday 56

Friday 56

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
  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.

From Page 56:

‘He was a fine man, good-tempered, even-natured. He had a sharp mind – and a tongue to match when it came to it – but he was a good man; he never hurt a soul, and I can’t think why anyone would want to kill him.’

‘Somebody obviously felt differently,’ Banks said. ‘I hear he inherited a lot of money.’

I’m pleased that page 56 provides information about the man in the title and provides an answer to the question of why anyone would want to kill such a good man. I haven’t read much more of the book so I’m still in the dark about the motive – was the man really killed for his money?

What do you think? Would you continue reading?

 

First Chapter, First Paragraph: The Escape

Every 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 planning to read soon. Diane is having a summer break at the moment, but I enjoy doing this meme anyway.

This week’s first paragraph is from The Escape by C L Taylor.

Blurb:

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter’¦”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe ‘“ RUN.

It begins:

Someone is walking directly behind me, matching me pace for pace. Her perfume catches in the back of my throat: a strong, heady mix of musk and something floral. Jasmine maybe, or lily. She’s so close she’d smack into me if I stopped abruptly. why doesn’t she just overtake? It’s a quiet street, tucked round the back of the university, with space for half a dozen cars to park but the pavement is easily wide enough for two people to walk abreast of each other.

My friend has read this book – she said she couldn’t put it down – so I want to read it even though it’s written in the present tense, which I often find so irritating.

What do you think? Would you carry on reading?

My Friday Post: An Uncertain Place

Book Beginnings ButtonEvery 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.

My opening this week is from An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas*, another book that has sat unread on my shelves for a while.

An Uncertain Place (Commissaire Adamsberg, #8)

Commissaire Adamsberg knew how to iron shirts. His mother had shown him how you should flatten the shoulder piece and press down the fabric round the buttons. He unplugged the iron and folded his clothes into his suitcase. Freshly shaved and combed, he was off to London, and there was no getting out of it.

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

Friday 56

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.

From Page 56:

Since London, and perhaps since Danglard had presented such an encyclopedic account of Highgate Cemetery, the commissaire had been feeling he ought perhaps to try harder to remember names, phrases, sentences. His memory for them had always been poor, though he could recall a sound, a facial expression or a trick of the light years later.

Blurb (Goodreads):

Commissaire Adamsberg leaves Paris for a three-day conference in London. With him are a young sergeant, Estalère, and Commandant Danglard, who is terrified at the idea of travelling beneath the Channel. It is the break they all need, until a macabre and brutal case comes to the attention of their colleague Radstock from New Scotland Yard.

Just outside the baroque and romantic old Highgate cemetery a pile of shoes is found. Not so strange in itself, but the shoes contain severed feet. As Scotland Yard’s investigation begins, Adamsberg and his colleagues return home and are confronted with a massacre in a suburban home. Adamsberg and Danglard are drawn in to a trail of vampires and vampire-hunters that leads them all the way to Serbia, a place where the old certainties no longer apply.

I have just started to read this book this morning and so far it looks very promising, rather quirky and bizarre.

*Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau.  Her crime fiction policiers have won three International Dagger Awards from the Crime Writers Association, for three successive novels: in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

First Chapter, First Paragraph: Past Encounters

Every 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 planning to read soon.

This week’s first paragraph is from Past Encounters by Davina Blake, one of my TBRs. I was reorganising my bookshelves yesterday when I found this book at the back of one of my double stacked shelves. I’d forgotten I’d got it. That’s the drawback of double shelving.

Past EncountersIt begins:

1955 Rhoda

I saw him do it. Put his fist through the window of our back door. The blurred shadow at the window, then the crack as his white knuckles burst through. I was coming downstairs with a batch of laundry and my first thought was that it was a burglar. But then I saw Peter’s white face as the splatter of glass fell away.

I dropped the clothes and rushed through the kitchen, calling, ‘Are you all right?’ Only afterwards did I have time to think, what a ridiculous question. My husband had just put his fist through a door. On purpose. Of course he wasn’t all right.

Blurb (from the back cover)

From the moment Rhoda Middleton opens one of her husband’s letters and finds it is from another woman, she is convinced he is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks her down, she discovers the mysterious woman is not his lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem – Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out how and why her husband, Peter, has kept this friendship hidden for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime secrets she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For if they are ever to understand each other, Rhoda too must escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, this is a novel of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Would you keep on reading – or not?

First Chapter, First Paragraph: Bilgewater

Every 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 planning to read soon.

This week’s first paragraph is from Bilgewater by Jane Gardam, one of my TBR books that I’m planning to read soon.

BilgewaterChapter 1

My mother died when I was born which makes me sound princess-like and rather quaint. From the beginning people have said that I am old-fashioned. In Yorkshire to be old-fashioned means to be fashioned-old, not necessarily to be out of date, but I think that I am probably both. For it is rather out of date, even though I will be eighteen this February, to have had a mother who died when one was born and it is fashioned -old to have the misfortune to be and look like me.

Blurb:

Marigold Green calls herself ‘hideous, quaint and barmy’. Other people call her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill’s daughter. Growing up in a boys’ school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence.

I’m looking forward to reading this as I’ve enjoyed other books by Jane Gardam, such as her Old Filth books.

Would you keep reading, or not?