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Archive Entries for December 2018

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Monday December 31, 2018

Books in December

  • The Cuckoo's Calling: The Silkworm, and Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
    [read by Robert Glenister]

    I think Alison must have pointed me at these books - J K Rowling writing detective stories under a pseudonym. The critics at the time (who did not know) rated The Cuckoo's Calling as a good debut novel - but the cat was soon out of the bag. I like Rowling's novels for adults, (even if The Casual Vacancy was so very sad). And I rate these as good detective novels, although perhaps the mystery plots are pretty complex - not to mention improbable - but I have covered that before... who needs strict realism in this kind of story? The strong attraction in these books is: Strike himself (if you are a woman) and the relationship between him and Robin (actually, again, probably if you are a woman). Anyway, I am keen to read more.

    BOM-TheCuckoosCalling.jpg BOM-TheSilkworm.jpg BOM-CareerOfEvil.jpg

  • Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly BOM-DarkSacredNight.jpg

    Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch join forces to solve the murder of a 15 year old girl. The partnership is reluctant at first (of course) but both parties are stalwart incorruptible upholders of the law so...
    I've been keen to read Dark Sacred Night ever since we went to see Michael Connelly interviewed by Mark Billingham at Waterstones in October. I like to listen to the audio versions but am usually too impatient to want to wait so I'm reading the "real" book, and I don't need to tell you how great I think Connelly is - again.
    We all like Harry, so it's a comfort when he appears (however peripherally) in the books even when he's not the hero. However, Connelly has created other really strong characters - as in the most obvious "Lincoln Lawyer", but also in the maybe less obvious Jack McEvoy. The Scarecrow is one of the most thrilling books I have read, so I'm glad to hear there is another novel featuring Jack in the pipeline.

  • In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin [Read by James Macpherson]

    The gang's all together again, even though Rebus is well into his 60s and has emphysema. It's nice for those of us in our sixties to feel there's a useful role for us in the workplace - even when we have retired...
    A decade old handcuffed skeleton of a man is discovered locked in the boot of a car, and it's not long before Ger Cafferty is in on the act too. There's a strong implication of police corruption - all apparently inspired by a real case in the Met in the 1980s.
    Since it's about an internal investigation of police corruption. Malcom Fox is both formally working on the case, as well as informally, joining the team to discuss the case in their favourite watering hole. [It seems Malcolm has not been able to achieve the same iconic status as Rebus, despite the books in which he features being excellent. So, similar to Connelly, I think, Rankin's having to weave his characters together. Maybe presenting Malcolm alongside the more renegade Rebus gives greater scope for the writing. I know an author can only survive on books that actually sell well, but I hope Rankin continues to persevere with Malcolm Fox.]

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [Read by Josephine Bailey] BOM-PrideAndPrejudice.jpg

    I felt I needed some comfort listening, so I went back to an old favourite. Having watched many dramatic adaptations of this novel over the years (including a school play in my youth), I wondered how much the novel might differ - and yet I found, rather like Brideshead Revisited, that most really had stuck remarkably close to the dialogue and plot in the text (as much as the length of the production would allow).

  • Falco: The Complete BBC Radio Collection by Lindsey Davis BOM-FalcoBBC.jpg
    I revisited these novels in the form of the BBC radio plays. These were dramatisations of the first five Falco novels by Lindsey Davis, starring Anton Lesser - and a host of others.
    • The Silver Pigs
    • Shadows in Bronze
    • Venus in Copper
    • The Iron Hand of Mars
    • Poseidon's Gold
    Despite fans haranguing Lindsey about it, there were only the five. I guess Anton Lesser is getting a bit long in the tooth to record any more, although his voice still seems quite youthful - maybe they will consider some plays about his daughter Flavia Albia...

  • TheSittafordMystery.jpg The Sittaford Mystery
    Set in 1931, in a snowed-in remote house in Devon. Six people decide to pass the time by having a seance for a bit of fun. But it's anything but fun when the Ouija board prediction of a death becomes reality.... Stars Geoffrey Whitehead as Inspector Narracott.
    The basic plot twist in this novel is reused, or expended upon, or developed in slightly different ways, in several of Agatha Christie's works, including the famous Mousetrap. I'm not giving anything away here, as the whodunnit element remains a surprise - but isolation (locked room) and snow (it was a dark and stormy night) are persistent features.

  • AnnetteBadland.jpg DI Gwen Danbury
    The discovery of a skeleton buried in a wood in Suffolk back in 1965 sparks a murder investigation.
    These series are police procedurals written by Sue Rodwell - maybe not a thrill a minute but anything with Annette Badland is going to be good. As well as the crimes, we get a lot of Gwen's home life including her fairly annoying if not impossible Mother (played by Gudrun Ure).

  • Fatherland.jpg Fatherland
    I've always known that Fatherland was a best seller, and that there is a much-praised TV film starring Rutger Hauer - and I knew the basis of the plot: "suppose the Germans had won WW2 in Europe". So I saw it as a political thriller and it didn't much appeal to me. However, listening to this play makes me realise what a gripping thriller it is - and it all starts with a murder, so all Good.... Stars Anton Lesser and Angeline Ball.

Posted on December 31, 2018 at 3:40 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)