Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ali Shaw & The Abingdon Writers Group

Last night I went to a meeting of the Abingdon Writers Group to which they’d invited author Ali Shaw to speak, and opened it up to non-members as part of the 2012 Abingdon Arts Festival. First we heard from several members of the group who talked about their experiences, the benefits of having a support group of other writers to… Read more »

Who is John Wayne? Who killed Susan? Does it matter?

Newton’s Swing by Chris Paling Chris Paling has written nine novels, but it’s taken those nine to get some real recognition via being chosen as one of Fiction Uncovered’s 2011 crop of the best authors you haven’t read yet with his book Nimrod’s Shadow. That book is in my TBR pile, but I discovered I already had an earlier one… Read more »

A brilliantly entertaining “Not a Sherlock Holmes” novel…

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R King Novels which adopt other authors’ characters can be a bit hit or miss – I think I was the only person who thoroughly enjoyed PD James’s Pride & Prejudice sequel. With the benefit of hindsight, I totally saw it as a continuation of the TV series though, rather than P&P the novel.  So, not… Read more »

Cosy Weirdness in Whitby

Never the Brideand Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs Just before I started this blog, I read a book that gave me a sustained bout of chuckling all the way through. On the face of it, Never the Bride was a cosy mystery set in Whitby, with two old ladies doing the sleuthing… But underneath it’s a rather different animal. B&B… Read more »

Bottling Things Up, or Bottling Out?

A couple of weeks ago, Simon at Savidge Reads chose three books he was going to read before his imminent thirtieth birthday, (and he asked for more recommendations for forty books to read before he is forty.) One of the three was based on a suggestion of mine that he give the late Dame Beryl Bainbridge a go. So, when… Read more »

A classic adventure

The 39 Steps by John Buchan (1915) Richard Hannay is newly returned from living in South Africa, and he’s already bored with London.  Everything seems to be happening elsewhere, especially in the Near East, and the Greek Premier, Karolides, seems to feature.  “It struck me that Albania was the sort of place that might keep a man from yawning.”  Dinner,… Read more »

Penguin Blogger’s Night

I had the privilege to be invited to the second annual Penguin Blogger’s Night which happened yesterday. Having been last year, I knew it would be a great evening, and I made all the arrangements so that I could go. It was held in the fifth floor bar at Waterstones Piccadilly – amazingly I’d never been in that particular bookshop before! It… Read more »

Book Group Report – Land of the grey

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder. After the racy delights of Jilly Cooper’s Riders last month, we went for something completely different for our February read. Stasiland by Anna Funder is a work of investigative journalism, chronicling the lives of some people who lived in the GDR before the Berlin Wall came down. Funder is an Australian… Read more »

Sunday Snippets …

I seem to have given up on my Midweek Miscellanies not having posted one since last July, but I do have a couple of snippets to post, hence ‘Sunday Snippets‘… Firstly – a new blog I discovered this week. Jim Morphy blogs at 366 Days, 366 books, and started on Jan 1 this year. This is how he describes his… Read more »

For blacker than black, read super-noir

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson Scene: A diner in Central City, Texas; it’s the early 1950s.  A man walks up to the counter to pay his bill… The proprietor shoved back my money and laid a couple of cigars on top of it. He thanked me again for taking his son in hand. ‘He’s a different boy now,… Read more »