Friday, 28 December 2012
So then, let's return to an old master, Ross Thomas. I've recently reread a few of his, including Chinaman's Chance.
Monday, 24 December 2012
I hope Santa is good to you and brings lots of book tokens and gift vouchers. I know it took me decades to train my mother in what to give, and I have the beige jumpers to show for it.
Friday, 14 December 2012
Saturday, 24 November 2012
The second novel by a very promising Ami McKay, this is a tale of the fight for survival by a 12 year old girl in the poorest parts of 19th century New York. It's a sad but uplifting tale, it's sympathetic without being over-emotional or cloying -- read it and see.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Mr Dwight Botherkoch III in the village store has increased the hours of Mrs Dobbins (who used to own the shop). She'll need that extra to pay for the large plasma screen telly she probably has, what with a husband permanently on the sick. I must remind her though, we don't want to see latchkey children in our village. Just a word to the wise.
Thursday, 20 September 2012
I do like to depart from the detective fiction now and again and you can't get much farther away than The Virgin Cure - a tale of a 12 year old girl living in a New York slum in the nineteeth century, groomed for prostitution to a rich pervert. Difficult subject matter, difficult period. Was I going to get something mawkish, at best a cross between Pretty Baby and Angela's Ashes? Nope, I got a fine novel, one that is winning prize after prize and deservedly so.
Monday, 3 September 2012
A smiling David Cameron said, "this is a great opportunity for Britain. We're limiting the programme to ministers initially but it could be extended to the whole of the house. It's an ideal way to streamline the process and save money."
Friday, 24 August 2012
Cassie was pregnant at the time, else she'd have been the one trapped in a hotel room. Convicted and imprisoned, bereft of lover Max, depressed, she gives her baby up for adoption but keeps track of her. She wangles a probation in the child's home city and watches from afar - a glimpse at the school gates just feeding the ache. Now the adoptive family is planning a move abroad.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the man who was second choice to Sarah Palin a few years ago, asset stripper and all-round forgetter of facts, Mr Mitt Romney.
Sunday, 22 July 2012
Five Kentish knights gather annually at the Night in Jerusalem tavern in Southwark, a reunion of old soldiers. Good food, good drink, a doxy or two to hasten the blood, then back to their families. This year, though, is different, as one by one the knights are found dead, in mysterious and misleading circumstances.
Other murders occur, muddying the waters to be investigated by Sir John Cranston, Coroner of the City of London, and his scrivener Brother Athelstan. Underlying all is the tale of a stolen fortune, the Lombard treasure. Borrowed to pay for a war, gone missing with its escort on the night it was sent to a waiting fleet, many want the treasure - not least the Machiavellian Regent, John of Gaunt.
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Haller has changed his clientele, working mainly fot those caught in the maelstrom of bad mortgage lending and ensuing foreclosures. It's not exciting, it's not pretty, but it pays his mortgage. It does get more interesting when someone puts a hammer through the skull of a bank official and one of Haller's clients, Lisa Trammel, is accused. Haller's adrenaline starts flowing as he prepares for a difficult case.
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
I will explain to you, in words of one syllable, the events behind this night of calumny and drama. Old people. Our village rejoices in a fine 24 hour walk-in Old Folks facility. Everything is top notch, as indeed it should be for those who fought to keep our great country free from the black hordes [note to PR: cue martial music, DC to look stern but fatherly]. As I was saying, we're rightly proud of the way we treat our old age pensioners in this village but there are problems.
Friday, 29 June 2012
In the meantime, Athelstan has his own skeleton to worry about, found under the church during renovation work. Sir John adds to the list of troubles: Regent John Of Gaunt has trapped him into taking a wager of 1,000 crowns, money he does not have. Solve a locked room puzzle or rely on the Regent to cover the debt - and thus become one of his creatures.
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
I have decided to take over the running of the village. I will control the finances of the whole area and education will be in the hands of little Mike Gove - I'm sure some of you remember the shop he used to have selling pictures of himself and the Queen. Well, I know him from school and he's a sound chap, good exam results though a bit of a tick on the games field. I've asked George to step down from his role as landlord of the village pub (more of this anon) and he'll keep hold of the tin in which the PC stores the rates money. I'll keep hold of foreign affairs myself - I have some experience here with our Filipino nanny (I think she's Filipino - there's a touch of the tar brush anyway).
Sunday, 24 June 2012
An itinerant preacher and a doxy enter an abandoned house, looking for a trysting place. They find a man standing over a corpse and he's not happy to be interrupted.
A serving maid stabs a drunken lecher; in her defence she raises greater crimes by the respected widow who runs the Paradise Tree, a prosperous tavern bordering the Thames. The evidence is stacked against the widow, she makes little effort to aid Athelstan or coroner Sir John Cranston as they investigate the accusation against her.
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
It's 1397, John Of Gaunt has just become Regent on the death of Edward The Confessor, the future King Henry VII being too young to be made king. The Machiavellian Gaunt has close ties with rich merchants, one of whom is found dead in his bedchamber. All the evidence points to his manservant who has conveniently committed suicide, supposedly in remorse for the murder.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Doherty is a historian, writer of historical fiction and school headmaster. The first contributes to the second as he has produced a large body of enjoyable and historically accurate novels under his various noms de plume. The third hasn't as yet led to any books - I'm sure though that there'll be something one day.
Monday, 4 June 2012
Today is the anniversary of the massacre of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Chinese people by its own government's troops. To this day, nobody except the authorities knows how many were killed, wounded or arrested on that awful day.
For nearly seven weeks up to half a million people had gathered in Tiananmen Square to protest harsh economic measures, loss of freedoms and corruption in the ruling classes. The government initially tried to appease demonstrators but then, as with the Russians in earlier years, arrogance and brutality won and the tanks rolled in. Troops had orders to clear the Square - they did so with live bullets.
Sunday, 3 June 2012
A quiet little town on a summer's day. Bodies start dropping, people, a dog.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Two more bodies follow, man and woman, very old, both shot to death. Now there's a link, three of the four have the awful tattoo of Auschwitz on their wrists.
Sunday, 20 May 2012
They've obviously learned some lessons from their sad essay into Twitter land - "#McDStories When u make something w/pride, people can taste it". That got a wonderful reception, with many people pointing out all the things you can taste in a McMeal - including a finger if you're lucky. Better to get some seasoned bloggers (spot the joke) to step up to the plate as Jamie Oliver delivers another stinging pitch. Alas, many people will believe an unknown blogger before they'll credit an expert like Oliver, and so the dumbing-down and fattening-up can continue unchecked.
Monday, 14 May 2012
In the meantime, the body count rises...
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Mother Patricia (P.J.) and daughter Traci Lambrecht have produced a set of crime novels which are way better than I'd have expected. Given they claim to have only some freelance writing and a little romantic fiction behind them, their writing is assured, their characters are good and their plotting is of a similarly high standard.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Three years on. Find a missing man - nothing unusual for Cole and Pike, except that the clients are the man's children, the eldest Teri at fifteen. Cole has turned down the job but girlfriend Lucy's maternal instincts persuade him to change his mind. With some annoyance at Craig Haines' behaviour but no great expectations, Elvis begins the hunt.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
However, Teddy has one advantage: he's worth about $150 million. That buys a lot of defence, beginning with superstar lawyer Jonathan Green and the funding of The Big Green Defense Machine - an army of lawyers, investigators and more to scrutinise every aspect of the case, to get Teddy the best justice money can buy.
Monday, 9 April 2012
|Our headparent hard at work|
We may be looking to revise our teacher recruitment policies in the coming months. As you know, we took full advantage of our Government's leave to recruit a few teachers who would supply what we need: discipline, sound academic values, willing to work for less than a trained teacher. That has worked well in some cases: Madame Pompadour is enormously popular with the boys and, I believe, shows a healthy appetite for the world of work by exploring a second career in interpretive dance, offering private lessons to tired businessmen. It's that kind of thinking that made Britain great!
Friday, 30 March 2012
Harry Hole is a member of the team investigating the robbery, as is a young Beata Lønn (who goes on to feature strongly as a forensics expert in later novels). The two are asked by senior police to form an unofficial investigation team as a rigid Inspector Iversson leads the main team nowhere.
Friday, 23 March 2012
"All well and good," says an older friend of mine who has recently rediscovered reading, "but I've read all the Ross Thomas you've reviewed and I don't like Michael Connelly. What else would your mother read?"
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Monday, 12 March 2012
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Monday, 27 February 2012
Richard Knox has served his time, found God and returned to his grandparents' house in Aberdeen. He's accompanied by a very large DI Danby from Northumbria, a DI who doesn't like giving out details and who doesn't like McRae's insubordinations.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Someone is abducting young women from the daylit streets of Oslo. Bodies are found, characterised by a chopped-off finger and a blood red diamond secreted on the corpse. The case is given to Harry's arch rival, the man he suspects of being a smuggler and a murderer, Inspector Tom Waaler. The two are due a showdown ...
Saturday, 28 January 2012
My teen years were spent largely with sci fi and Lovecraft, even less promising. It wsn't until George Lucas arrived on the scene that sci fi discovered romance and I can't really imagine the great Cthulhu getting his end away with some slimy lesser great one.
Friday, 27 January 2012
Monday, 16 January 2012
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