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Archive Entries for March 2020

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Tuesday March 31, 2020

Books in March

  • The Sussex Murder (County Guides 5) by Ian Sansom [read by Mike Grady] BOM-TheSussexMurder.jpg
    This was the book I saw reviewed in the Guardian which set me off reading the County Guides in the first place. I was really looking forward to hearing about "my own" county (in 1937) as part of this series. In fact it centres in Lewes, so mainly East Sussex - and I'm a West Sussex girl - but I made the best of it - and they did visit the Bramber museum which holds defining memories of my childhood, being full of cases of deformed stuffed animals - all at toddler viewing height... (there were other rather more lovely Victorian scenes - but all stuffed animals I'm afraid - kittens, rabbits, rats, and even one of red squirrels....).
    Readers gave this book mixed reviews: "fun and very quirky, probably not for you if you're looking for traditional murder mysteries" (positive) and one, which made me laugh a lot and with which I totally agree, and yet I - unlike the commenter - still love the books: "...[I read on] in the hope that Sefton, after running around inner London during the early hours, in a naked state, would get washed, put on clean clothing, eat a meal and finally emerge from his seemingly permanent state of a hangover..." - and like the reviewer I have wondered what it would be like travelling in a car with Sefton in that state, as Morley and Miriam often seem happily to do.
    I guess if Sansom intends to carry on with his 44 book series (and I really hope he does), I guess he will have to find some content beyond the quirks of his travellers, as we are complacent about them now, and the books are not really mystery novels at their core.

  • Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke [read by Will Patton] BOM-TinRoofBlowdown.jpg
    This is from the Desert Island Crime list of Michael Robotham who says he "could have chosen any one of a dozen books by James Lee Burke". It is a Dave Robicheaux novel (the 16th) and is set in 2005 New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The story follows various characters caught up in the tragedy - a junkie priest, street thugs, a mob boss, a sadistic psychopath - each with his own story.
    Having read other of Burke's novels since this one, I see he writes lyrically and lovingly of his home territory, which makes these descriptions of the lawless wasteland confronting Robicheaux even more stark and tragic.
    I think this is a very good novel on many levels and pretty educational for me. I never visited New Orleans - only ever saw it in films - so I really could not (and probably still can't) imagine how dreadful and catastrophic this was, despite the copious amount of news footage at the time. As well as a positive review of this book in the Guardian, there is also a strong critique which is well worth looking at for someone as generally ignorant of world events as I am.

  • Ripper by Isabel Allende [read by Edoardo Ballerini] BOM-Ripper.jpg
    Helen recommended an Isabel Allende book which she was reading with her book group (In the Midst of Winter I think). So when I found that Ripper was Allende's venture into thriller territory, I had to read it - or listen to it.
    There are many adult characters, beautifully described, and each with long back stories, which may really give this book its real heart. However, the protagonist is a teenager, Amanda, who with her friends play a game on line called "Ripper", and who comes to decide that they can solve some rather bizarre and gruesome real-life murders. The initial murder is grim to say the least - and for Amanda it becomes an obsession. Exasperating though the teenagers are - especially for Amanda's Father who is the deputy chief of police - they do have a lot of help from the adults one way or another, as they inevitably move closer to the truth.
    This is a strange book, and was rather strangely read, but thrilling and tense to the last.

  • Sacrilege by S.J. Parris [read by Laurence Kennedy] BOM-Sacrilege.jpg
    It's 1584, and the action moves to Canterbury. Against his better judgement (and the advice of anyone else) Bruno is drawn into helping an amour (who appeared in the first book) who is on the run. It demonstrates the dangers of the time (or even now) where moving to an autonomous strange city with no allies or sponsors means corrupt bullies can reign apparently unchecked by the law of the land.
    And then, funnily enough, after risking his life and having been subject to considerable ill treatment - all for love (of a woman and not to mention his beloved ancient book) - he is betrayed yet again.
    Let's hope he learns his lesson in the folly of both loves.

  • The Healers by Ann Cleeves [read by Simon Mattacks ] BOM-TheHealers.jpg
    Part of the Inspector Ramsay series written in the 1990s (just before Vera Stanhope made her first appearance). Had I realised this was a "series" I might have read them in order; however in this case, not having previously met the characters made absolutely no difference to the understanding and enjoyment of the story.
    It's an (apparently) straightforward murder case with some (apparently) ideal new-age traveller suspects readily to hand. Soon, however, there is a second murder which, on the surface, seems unlikely to be connected. Then, inevitably, as the plot evolves things seem to focus on the Alternative Therapy Centre - the Healers of the title - and Ramsey gradually puts the pieces together.

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 5:43 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 3, 2020

Inspiring buttons


After spending time coveting Textile Garden buttons at Unravel, I sent away for some that I need to complete the "Beach Baby" outfit for the baby expected in June. As usual, given the cost of postage, I made it more worthwhile by buying a number of sets that I found appealing, as well as the ones I really need...!

Posted on March 3, 2020 at 10:12 AM. Category: Crafts. | Comments (0)