My Week in Books: 18 April 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

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A similar meme,  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?

Currently reading: I’ve made some progress with Little Dorrit, my Classics Club spin book. I’ve met the Meagles family with their spoiled daughter, Pet and her maid and companion, the wonderfully named Tattycoram, and also Arthur Clennam, recently returning to England from China. Arthur goes to his family home, a dark decrepit house in London where his mother lives, his father having recently died. But I haven’t met Little Dorrit yet – still a long way to go in this book.

Little Dorrit

I’m also reading Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith, which is what it says in the title. I’ve nearly finished this book, which is fascinating, even though it is so long winded.

Description:

‘Adrian Gray was born in May 1862 and met his death through violence, at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.’

Thus begins a classic crime novel published in 1933 that has been too long neglected – until now. It is a riveting portrait of the psychology of a murderer.

Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars. None of Gray’s six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead. The family gathers on Christmas Eve – and by the following morning, their wish has been granted. 

This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas night; and what the murderer did next.

I’ve recently finished  A Dying Note by Ann Parker, her latest book in the Silver Rush Mysteries, which was published on 3 April 2018.

I loved this book, set in the autumn of 1881 in San Francisco, where Inez Stannert is making a new start in life, managing a music store. All is going well until the body of a young man, Jamie Monroe, is found washed up on the banks of Mission Creek canal.

I posted my review on Monday and gave it 4 stars.

What do you think you’ll read next:

Will it be Time is a Killer by Michel Bussi, which was published on 5 April 2018 and in last week’s post was the book I said I might read next? Or will it be something else? I still don’t know.

Description:

‘One of France’s most ingenious crime writers’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Bussi breaks every rule in the book’ JOAN SMITH

It is summer 1989 and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.

Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things – to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.

As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible – she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter – and why?

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

My Week in Books: 11 April 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

IMG_1384-0

A similar meme,  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?

Currently reading: I’m reading three, Little Dorrit, Saint Thomas’s Eve, but my main book – the one I’ve been read most of the time this week is

 A Dying Note by Ann Parker, her latest book in the Silver Rush Mysteries, which was published on 3 April 2018

Description:

It’s autumn of 1881, and Inez Stannert, still the co-owner of Leadville, Colorado’s Silver Queen saloon, is settled in San Francisco with her young ward, Antonia Gizzi. Inez has turned her business talents to managing a music store, hoping to eventually become an equal partner in the enterprise with the store’s owner, a celebrated local violinist.

Inez’s carefully constructed life for herself and Antonia threatens to tumble about her ears when the badly beaten body of a young musician washes up on the filthy banks of San Francisco’s Mission Creek canal. Inez and Antonia become entangled in the mystery of his death when the musician turns out to have ties to Leadville, ties that threaten to expose Inez’s notorious past. And they aren’t the only ones searching for answers. Wolter Roeland de Bruijn, “finder of the lost,” has also been tasked with ferreting out the perpetrators and dispensing justice in its most final form. Leadville’s leading madam Frisco Flo, an unwilling visitor to the city with a Leadville millionaire, is on the hook as well, having injudiciously financed the young musician’s journey to San Francisco in the first place.

Time grows short as Inez and the others uncover long-hidden secrets and unsettled scores. With lives and reputations on the line, the tempo rises until the investigation’s final, dying note.

I’ve recently finished 

The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor, published on 5th April 2018

Description:

Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground…

The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.

James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder…?

Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death… and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.

I’ll post my review soon – I loved this book, following the story that began with The Ashes of London.

What do you think you’ll read next:

Now the difficult part – what to read next! I say difficult because I often change my mind when the time comes to start another book. At the moment I’m thinking it could be:

Time is a Killer by Michel Bussi, which was published on 5 April 2018

Description:

‘One of France’s most ingenious crime writers’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Bussi breaks every rule in the book’ JOAN SMITH

It is summer 1989 and fifteen-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve and plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives.

Twenty-seven years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband and their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants the trip to do two things – to help exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her and her daughter. But in the very place where she spent that summer all those years ago, she receives a letter. From her mother. As if she were still alive.

As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. And yet it all seems impossible – she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter – and why?

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

My Week in Books: 4 April 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

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A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Currently reading:

I have started to read The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor, due to be published 5 April 2018 and it’s looking good so far.

Blurb:

Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground…

The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.

James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder…?

Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death… and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.

Recently finished:

The Tenderness of Wolves

The last book I finished is The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, historical fiction set in Canada in 1867. I am so, so pleased to finish this as it has taken me almost 4 weeks to read it. I found it really hard to get into it at first and disliked the use of the present tense throughout. But overall I did like the story and will try to expand on these thoughts in a separate post.

Next:

Now the difficult part – what to read next!

Little Dorritt

I really should get back to reading Little Dorrit which I temporarily put on the back burner so that I could finish The Tenderness of Wolves. It’s my Classics Club Spin book but haven’t got very far with it yet and it’s looking extremely unlikely that I’ll finish it by the end of April!

But I am so tempted to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton that I’ve borrowed from my local library as I suspect I won’t be able to renew it.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Blurb (Goodreads):

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

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

My Week in Books: 28 March 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

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A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Currently reading:

The Tenderness of Wolves

I’m making progress with The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, historical fiction set in Canada in 1867. In last week’s post I wrote that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I hoped, or expected, but now I’ve read about 40% of the book I’ve settled more into the story as Lucy Ross heads north into the forest following the trail of her son Francis, suspected of murdering Laurent Jammet. Although, I am still finding the number of characters rather confusing and am uncomfortable with the use of the present tense.

The Ashes of London

I’m also reading The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor and am totally immersed in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1666 as work begins on rebuilding London. There is mystery too as among the many dead bodies a body of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral – stabbed in the neck, thumbs tied behind his back. There are two strands to the story, one narrated in the first person by James Marwood, whose father was a Fifth Monarchist, and the other in the third person by Cat  Lovett, also the child of a Fifth Monarchist, whose father was one of the Regicides, and is now a fugitive.

Little Dorritt

And I have made a start in reading my Classics Club spin book – Little Dorrit. I was quite surprised to find it doesn’t begin in the Marshalsea Debtors’ prison but in a prison in Marseilles in 1826 with a  notorious murderer Rigaud telling his cell mate how he killed his wife.

Recently finished:

The last book I finished is The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes, pure escapism, an Inspector Appleby book about a house in Bloomsbury that had disappeared, two young girls who had been kidnapped in York and London, and a cab horse named Daffodil that had gone missing in Harrogate.

I posted my review on Saturday.

Next:

It could be the sequel to The Ashes of London, The Fire Court by Andrew Taylor, due to be published 5 April 2018.Or it could be something different as I never really know until the time comes to start another book what I want to read next.

Blurb:

Somewhere in the soot-stained ruins of Restoration London, a killer has gone to ground…

The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away.

James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder…?

Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death… and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.

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

My Week in Books: 21 March 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

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A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Currently reading:

The Tenderness of Wolves

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, set in Canada in 1867. A man has been brutally murdered, a woman finds his body and her seventeen-year-old son has disappeared. She has to clear his name, heading north into the forest and the desolate landscape that lies beyond it, Also tracking him is what passes for the law in this frontier land: trappers, sheriffs, traders. As the party pushes further from civilisation, hidden purposes and old obsessions are revealed.

I’m not enjoying it so far as much as I hoped, or expected. It may be because I can’t get the characters clear in my head and have to keep turning back the pages to identify them.

I’m also reading a rather strange book, The Daffodil Affair by Michael Innes, one of his Inspector John Appleby mysteries. It’s not at all what I expected but I am enjoying it. Set in the Blitz there’s a haunted house that has vanished, a horse, called Daffodil that has been stolen and two girls have been kidnapped. Appleby and another detective, Hudspith investigate. It is bizarre with elements of the absurd.

Recently finished:

The last book I finished is The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie. An explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

Cecily whose husband and best friend were inside the building. Kate, who fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her, and Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, who she says was also in the building. The story is told through each woman’s perspective. They all have secrets  – but who is the liar?

I’ll post my review soon.

Next:

I have so many books I want to read next, but right now I can’t decide. I really should start Little Dorrit, my Classics Club spin book soon. It was originally published  in nineteen monthly instalments, each consisting of 32 pages and I can’t imagine being a reader in 1855 keeping track of a story in monthly instalments over 2 years! I hope it won’t take me that long.

Little Dorritt

Blurb (Amazon):

When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother’s seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy’s father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea prison. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr Panks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, and the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, and the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, “Little Dorrit” is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity.

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

My Week in Books: 28 February 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

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A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Now:

51IBFwYPBfLMunich by Robert Harris, set in 1938, beginning in September as Hitler is determined to start a war and Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. I’ve read about half the book and am finding it fascinating.

Blurb

As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the Channel and the Führer’s train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel with secrets of their own. 

Hugh Legat is one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries; Paul Hartmann a German diplomat and member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Great friends at Oxford before Hitler came to power, they haven’t seen one another since they were last in Munich six years earlier. Now, as the future of Europe hangs in the balance, their paths are destined to cross again. 

When the stakes are this high, who are you willing to betray? Your friends, your family, your country or your conscience?

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan, due to be published tomorrow, 1 March 2018. This is a delightful book taking me back to the books of my childhood as Lucy Mangan describes the books she loved. I’ve nearly finished it, so I’ll post my review soon.

Blurb

The Cat in the Hat? Barbar? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Whoever it was for you, it’s very hard to forget the vivid intensity of your first encounter with a book.

As a bespectacled young bookworm, Lucy Mangan devoured books: from early picture books, to Swallows and Amazons, Enid Blyton to Little Women, and from trashy teen romances to her first proper ‘grown-up’ novels. In Bookworm, she revisits this early enthusiasm; celebrating the enduring classics, and disinterring some forgotten treasures.

This is a love letter to the joys of childhood reading, full of enthusiasm and wit, telling the colourful story of our best-loved children’s books, the extraordinary people who created them, and the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. It also comes packed with brilliant recommendations to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

This impassioned book will bring the unforgettable characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate. It will also act as an invaluable guide to anyone looking to build a children’s library and wondering where to start, or where to go next.

Then:

The last book I finished is Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman. This book has won several awards: Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller (2014), Edgar Award for Best First Novel (2015), Strand Critics Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2014). I really enjoyed it. My review will be up soon.

Blurb

When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell follows the investigation to strange places in the countryside, and into the depths of his own frayed soul.

In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, secrets and feuds go back generations. The lone policeman in a small township on the sparse northern border, Henry Farrell expected to spend his mornings hunting and fishing, his evenings playing old-time music. Instead, he has watched the dual encroachment of fracking companies and drug dealers bring money and troubles to the area. As a second body turns up, Henry’s search for the killer opens old wounds and dredges up ancient crimes which some people desperately want to keep hidden.

With vivid characters and flawless pacing, Tom Bouman immerses readers in this changing landscape. In these derelict woods, full of whitetail deer and history, the hunt is on…

Next:

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey, also due to be published tomorrow, 1 March 2018.

Blurb (Amazon):

15th century Oakham, in Somerset; a tiny village cut off by a big river with no bridge. When a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim, Thomas Newman, the wealthiest, most capable and industrious man in the village? And what will happen if he can’t?

Moving back in time towards the moment of Thomas Newman’s death, the story is related by Reve – an extraordinary creation, a patient shepherd to his wayward flock, and a man with secrets of his own to keep. Through his eyes, and his indelible voice, Harvey creates a medieval world entirely tangible in its immediacy.

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

My Week in Books: 14 February 2018

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.

IMG_1384-0

A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Now:

I’m reading three books:

the NightingaleThe Midnight line51IBFwYPBfL

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, historical fiction beginning in 1995 in Oregon it moves back to France during World War Two. See yesterday’s post for the first paragraph and a teaser. I’ve read nearly half the book.

The Midnight Line by Lee Child, a Jack Reacher thriller. See this post for the first paragraph. Jack Reacher, a former military policeman, is looking for the owner of a West Point class ring from 2005. The search takes him to the deserted wilds of Wyoming.

Munich by Robert Harris, set in 1938, a year before the start of World War Two during the four days of the 1938 Munich Conference. I’m only at the beginning of this book.

Then:

The last book I finished is The Secret Vanguard by Michael Innes, a Golden Age mystery first published in 1940 and published last October as an e-book.  It’s the fifth in his Inspector Appleby series. See this post for my review.

Next:

I think it will most likely be Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman:

Blurb (Amazon):

When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell follows the investigation to strange places in the countryside, and into the depths of his own frayed soul.

In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, secrets and feuds go back generations. The lone policeman in a small township on the sparse northern border, Henry Farrell expected to spend his mornings hunting and fishing, his evenings playing old-time music. Instead, he has watched the dual encroachment of fracking companies and drug dealers bring money and troubles to the area. As a second body turns up, Henry’s search for the killer opens old wounds and dredges up ancient crimes which some people desperately want to keep hidden.

With vivid characters and flawless pacing, Tom Bouman immerses readers in this changing landscape. In these derelict woods, full of whitetail deer and history, the hunt is on…

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