... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Saturday 1 June 2019

Books I read in May

Cara Hunter In the Dark (Kindle)
Really good. Satisfying complex, but never incomprehensible. Twists and turns and dead ends unfold in  a way that's more natural and realistic than almost any comparable book I've read. Characters are really good, human and convincingly drawn, and the writing style is perfectly unobtrusive. Can't wait for the new one in December.

William Boyd Waiting for Sunrise (local library)
Well written WW1 spy thriller. A few loose/dead ends, but I mostly managed to keep track of it.

Harry Bingham The Dead House (local library)
Another new police person, in Wales this time - and I love her. Fiona Griffiths is a bit odd, and I'm definitely reading her as autistic (possibly more besides, but I can definitely relate to her). Slightly preposterous plot, but really well put together, believable procedures, good characters and a funny and touching first person narrative. Another one I'll be seeking out more of.

Elly Griffiths The Stranger Diaries (local library)
I've always enjoyed Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series, and this departure into playing with the gothic horror genre (with which I think it does some quite clever things, but I'm not familiar enough with the genre to know for sure), combined with modern police procedural, is also a winner.

Maeve Binchy The Return Journey (local library)
Very lightweight short stories, of the sort you'e expect to see in Woman's Own (which some of them were).

Adam Creed Pain of Death (local library)
Certainly not guilty of explaining too much. In at the deep end, very staccato, not sure I understood it all by the end, but it grew on me a bit.

Val McDermid Broken Ground (Tescos)
Reliable, solid quality, sub-Rebus Edinburgh cop romp.

S.A. Dunphy When She Was Gone (local library)
I can't believe somebody published this. I can't believe I read it.

Anne Fine Our Precious Lulu (local library)
A novelette really, sharply observed passive-aggressive bully, but the hero/ines just a bit too good to be true.

Christopher Fowler The Sand Men (local library)
I love Fowler's Bryant and May, and this didn't disappoint - until, perhaps, the very end. A convincing dystopia the demonstrates that they don't have to be futuristic sci-fi, conveyed with Fowler's usual fantastic use of language. It just got a bit weird at the end - which you have to expect really.

Margaret Forster Isa and May (local library)
Slightly rambling narrative (maybe deliberate) - woman discovers family secrets; reveals eternal truths, or not. A good book, no doubt, but I couldn't quite see the point.

Harry Bingham Love Story With Murders 
Harry Bingham The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths 
Harry Bingham This Thing of Darkness (local library)
Yes, thanks to Sheffield Libraries' ordering service, I'm on a Fiona Griffiths binge, and loving it. I think this has spoiled me for any other detective now. Bingham's writing is beautiful - and funny; his plots are faultlessly constructed; the procedure is convincing and handled with a really light touch; the characters are all well-rounded and believable, but Fiona herself, the single first-person narrator, is a wonderful creation. She might not be autistic - indeed, she has mental health issues that make you wonder how she was ever allowed to join the police in the first place, and which could more than adequately account for any strangeness - but there is so much in her experience and outlook that I recognise and even identify with, and talked about in such a matter of fact way, with humour and self-awareness. She is an inspiration and a role model and an extraordinary creation for a male writer from a pretty privileged background (his father was Lord Bingham, the former Lord Chief Justice). Only two more books to read (including the first one published, for which there is a queue of Sheffield readers waiting). Goodness, I shall miss Fiona.

I've read more than usual this month, as I was off work for a couple of weeks, and was getting through one a day for a while.

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