Saturday, 28 January 2012

Books 2012, #4-6

Clicking on the pics will take you to the relevant amazon page.

#4 "The Old Fox Deceiv'd" by Martha Grimes

This is the second of this series which I've been reading out of order for about 5 years now. Something that astonishes me everytime I remember is that the author is an american woman, living in america. Yet she has these books *so* perfectly set in both london and more rural parts of england in the early nineties. The key characters are Chief Inspector Jury who is one of those men you just want to take care of. He's fine by himself and has various relationships as the series develops but you can't help feeling that you'd get on. He is friends with Melrose Plant, who should be an Earl but has given up the title much to the annoyance of his Aunt who is very believably ghastly. All the books are named after traditional english pubs. In this one, where Melrose and Jury have only met once before, you see the relationship between them develop while Jury resolves a local murder and an ancient mystery. The books are very well written and very engaging. I'd definitely recommend them.

#5 "Appleby's Other Story" by Michael Innes

Another series I'm reading out of order but this time set a bit further back in maybe the fifties. There is no mention of the war or of things being "groovy" so it must be somewhere round then. Innes's writing is very wordy. There are double negatives and sub clauses all over the place. In that respect it is quite like Edmund Crispin and as a result these are not flippant books to be read lightly. You need a certain amount of concentration. Whether you enjoy this or not will depend on whether you can accept that a knighthood and age entitles a man to a certain amount of respect, which I guess it did at that time. The books are a nostalgic dip into a politer age and the solutions are usually pretty fiendish and so you're usually surprised at the outcome. This one is the same and if you like traditional character observed whodunnits you'll enjoy this. 

#6 "Singing in the Shrouds" by Ngaio Marsh

This was the unabridged audiobook read by James Saxon. I've listened to this before and it's one I keep coming back to. The "Flower Murderer" has been strangling women and leaving flowers on their bodies. Another victim is found just as a ship with ten passengers on board pulls out of the dock en route to warmer climes. Could the murderer be on board? Inspector Alleyn joins the ship to find out. This is a rarity for Marsh's books as there is no mention of New Zealand or the theatre, but it is still a great example of her work and very entertaining. 

I'm always banging on about this but if, like me, you get through a fair few books I would recommend Bookmooch. If I kept all the books I read I'd be on a Channel 5 hoarder documentary. Bookmooch costs nothing and you have books you want sent to you in the post in return for you posting books you don't want to a new home. Considering the postage I probably end up spending a pound with royal mail for each book I receive. So it's boot sale prices without needing to have a boot sale filled with like minded readers nearby. You can get any of the books below just by signing up and listing 10 books in your inventory.

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