#42 Unseen Academicals
By Terry Pratchett
This is a reread since I am a total Pratchett addict and read them as soon as they come out. Whenever I want some intelligent comfort reading I turn to these and am in fact rereading another one at the moment. This story concerns the Wizards and the head of the night kitchen. You also get scenes with the Watch and the Patrician (who at one point becomes drunk and reminds me of another Alex I know). The key theme though is football and anyone who has ever stood on a terrace will recognise the rivalry and the people who weave this amazing story. These books are all well worth reading.
#43 4.50 From Paddington
by Agatha Christie
Another comfort read and an old friend. This book was made for television three times with three different women playing Miss Marple. All have subtle differences and I'd forgotten that all differ from the book, so it was good to get back to the original. This is one of her best books with original writing and ideas. Still a very easy read though.
#44 A Better Quality of Murder
by Ann Granger
This was a library book and the first I've read in this series. It's 1867 and a scotland yard inspector has a forward thinking wife and so they approach the crime in their own ways. For me this was initially an ordeal to read. It just took soooooo long to get going. Once it did though it was quite good but I found the way the upper class characters behaved rather irritating. I'm still not sure whether this was because they were irritating or because of the way it was written. I guess I need to try another one.
by Terry Pratchett
This is not out in paperback for another year so I won't give much away. I hadn't done my research with this one and was expecting a Discworld book. Not least because of the illustration style on the cover. I was rather stupidly surprised then when it turned out to be a Dickens style romp. I think to use the word 'parody' would be unfair as this is a novel in its own right and the use of the name 'Dodger' (as in The Artful Dodger from Dickens' "Oliver") for the main character works well when it's explained. The way the story pans out is very dickensian and satisfactory. The writing is as good as you would expect from Pratchett and although it wasn't what I had expected I was very happy that I had bought it in error.
#46 The Chalk Circle Man
by Fred Vargas
I am eternally grateful to my cousin for sending me this. Vargas is a french writer and the original book is called L'homme aux Cercles Bleus which translates as The Blue Circle Man but I guess chalk is thought to be more appealing to english speakers. Perhaps because 'blue' can mean rude/porn? Anyway, completely irrelevant tangent. The Chief is a brilliant character and we get his back story here as this is the first in the series. His supporting detective is also an excellently drawn man and the people the Chief meets as he traverses Paris to solve the case are also wonderfully outlined. An author like Michael Innes, and you can hardly get a more english detective than Appleby, would spend a page and a half laboriously explaining each of their characteristics while Vargas puts them down in just a few pen strokes. Like the difference between a Stubbs and a Degas. The ending was a little bit...odd. But lovely cousin did mention this wasn't the best one in the series. If you read this I suggest bearing in mind Vargas's gender. I was astonished.
All the images in this post are Amazon affiliate links, but I'm only in it for the images.