Saturday, 1 April 2017

Books I read in March


My goodness, it's been a long month.

Anna Pavord Landskipping (local library)
A readable account of our relationship with landscape since Victorian times.

Lulu Taylor The Winter Folly (local library)
Run of the mill family saga which I've already forgotten. 

Val McDermid The Skeleton Road (charity shop)
A new (to me) police detective character. Good stuff - better than the psychologist ones which I always found a bit laboured, even if he did latterly live on a narrow boat.

Sarah Ward In Bitter Chill (local library)
Decent mystery, good characters, nicely written.

Peter May Coffin Road (local library)
A good, genuinely scary and believable thriller. May's Hebridean novels are excellent; his Enzo McLeod ones (at least, the one I read) are appalling. How does this happen?

Kate Ellis A High Mortality of Doves (local library)
Set in the aftermath of the first world war - superficial and formulaic and the ending is barely credible.

Saskia Sarginson Without You (local library)
Decently written entertainment, if you accept the credulity-stretching premise.

Val McDermid Out of Bounds (charity shop)
The fourth and latest Karen Pirie novel, and another excellent read, with a good challenging but credible mystery and characters that are really growing into themselves.

Val McDermid The Distant Echo (ebook)
Downloaded this when I realised I was going to have a long wait with no book. The first Karen Pirie, good, but maybe not quite got into her stride. I think it predates the others - and maybe much of her other work - by quite a long time.

T.J. Lebbon The Family Man (local library)
Credulity stretching run-and-hide thriller, with lots of gratuitous violence rather too lovingly dwelt upon.

Sharon Bolton Daisy in Chains (local library)
Unnerving, subtle, keep-you-guessing psychological thriller/love story with multiple unreliable viewpoints. Strangely haunting.

Graham Hurley The Order of Things (local library)
Another really good story from Hurley, as much personal relationship saga as police mystery, and works well on both fronts.

Minette Walters The Cellar (local library)
Essentially a novella; an evening's read which plays really effectively with the reader's sympathies.

Alison Moore Death and the Seaside (local library)
As the blurb says, a gem. Atmospheric, beautifully drawn, and just weird enough.

Jeanette Winterson The Gap of Time (local library)
The last book of the month is my book of the month. Winterson's retelling of The Winter's Tale renders the plot believable, and the characters gripping, but much, much more than this are the breathtakingly beautiful things she does with language. Just wonderful.

Books I didn't read in March

Rowan Coleman The Other Sister  (local library)
I think this might be what they call chick lit. Very dull with an inexplicable interest in shoes.

Anne Holt No Echo (local library)
No doubt an excellent bit of Nordic Noir, but I couldn't get past the first page of the translation: 'Mary was quick-witted, remarkably lacking in the beauty stakes, and what's more had sustained an injury to one leg during her birth.' It's that 'and what's more'. No one readable writes like that.


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