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Saturday April 30, 2022

Books in April

  • Low Actionby Andrew Cartmel [Read by Finlay Robertson]
    BOM-LowAction.jpg Another interesting excursion into the world of popular music - in this case: Punk.
    Our hero, the Vinyl Detective - a moniker he has come to rue - is again drawn into danger (and a murder plot) with the lure of finding a rare record. As before, I found the mystery and characters highly engaging - already looking forward to the next one.
    I also have to say, I enjoy the setting of the characters lives, which is in and around Richmond and Surrey. In this book in particular there are many fairly detailed descriptions of journeys taken by bike and car to places very familiar to me and which I have great delight in unpicking. I especially hope the author does actually live in the residence described as the detective's home - which is lovely - since I know he lives or lived in that area.

  • Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome [Read by Gareth Armstrong]
    BOM-PigeonPost.jpg I decided to listen to the Swallows and Amazons books - it's a very long time since I read them. I do plan to approach them in order but for nostalgic reasons I had to start with this one. It was the first one I read - aged about 8 - when I knew nothing about the book nor that it was part of any series. In truth, I was probably a bit young for it, but I went to the local library (located in a tin hut behind the Parish Hall) every week after Brownies, and I was always drawn to plain book covers (this one red with no dust cover) where the contents provided all the colour and excitement you could ever want.
    At the time I remember being completely mystified in trying to keep track of a rather large number of children - introduced all at once - and by the fact that they all called each other Captain, Able Seaman, and so on, when there were no boats in sight. I think in hindsight that I must have struggled with the reading - or was simply missing the experience to really understand what was happening - because it was quite a surprise to find how thrilling the plot is. The children face real jeopardy from a wild fire, which, as an adult, makes you sick with fear - even when you know the outcome...
    Despite that, there are a lot of interesting nuggets of information in the book which clearly stayed with me into adulthood, without my ever consciously remembering where they came from, and it was fun to rediscover them.

  • A Rising Man, A Necessary Evil, Smoke and Ashes, A Death in the East,
    and The Shadows of Men by Abir Mukherjee [Read by Simon Bubb]

    For me, these books are wonderful, and splendidly narrated by Simon Bubb.
    Set in India, just after the first World War, it's the time of the British Raj, a time of nationalistic agitation against direct rule and India's push for independence. Again for me, I think they are perfectly pitched - and I feel comfortable in that view because of the author's ethnicity. Abir Mukherjee is a Scottish Bengali author, so to my mind he is able to tread a tricky line describing the inherent injustice of the era but also with some insight into "Britishness" and all that that conveys.
    His two protagonists are Captain Sam Wyndham (ex policeman relocated from Scotland Yard), and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee (educated in England and called Surrender-not, by his British superiors, claiming to be unable to pronounce his name). Banerjee has rejected his family's plan for his career and instead chose to join the police; in the first few books he is accepting of the status quo, however I think his attitudes harden as the author uses the novel to reflect social issues of the time. Wyndham's attitude to politics seems moderately neutral, especially compared with his peers in the force - but then he has his own internal demons from his experiences fighting in the war in Europe (WW1) to deal with. He does offer a certain wry cynicism in his thinking, but not generally expressed. I find his attitudes somewhat warmly familiar. My own Father was in India in the 1930's up until independence. He was first in the British Army and then later the Indian Army, and he definitely had no chauvinistic illusions about Britain's "right to rule", or the general superiority of the then rulers. At the same time, he wasn't standing up to be counted - just doing a job. At the current point in the stories, Sam reminds me of him - probably without the opioid addiction though...
    We are now up to the 5th book, but I'm not quite up to date in my reading yet.

    BOM-ARisingMan.jpg BOM-ANecessaryEvil.jpg BOM-SmokeAndAshes.jpg BOM-DeathInTheEast.jpg

Posted by Christina at 8:36 AM. Category: Books of the Month


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