Another in my popular series of mini reviews in which I grumble about books on a scale from furious bitterness to indifference. You can read more of these, and find links to others, here. Today I clear out the books on the meh end. Susan Schwartz, Byzantium's Crown I enjoyed the premise for this fantasy … Continue reading To the recycling!
This is a tremendous crime thriller from 1961, that won the Crime Writers' Association Critics' Award for that year. Mary Kelly went on to write more detective novels, but somehow her name has disappeared from sight. Crime fiction historian Martin Edwards says that she stopped writing fiction in her forties, because she chose when and what … Continue reading Mary Kelly, The Spoilt Kill
Sibyl Sue Blue is a sergeant in the police, a mother and a widow. (Or is she?) When she cruises bars in disguise to picks up the information she needs, she manages to look decades younger than she really is with wigs and makeup (and by choosing rather dim men). She adroitly refuses advances from … Continue reading Sibyl Sue Blue
I was surprised by quite how much I wanted to read Philip Pullman’s next Lyra novels. Reading Northern Lights, The Amber Spyglass and The Subtle Knife when they came out twenty years ago was rather an ordeal for me, as I don’t much enjoy stories about children in danger, struggling to survive. But I devoured them, … Continue reading Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage
This 1958 novel crackles with foreboding. It is based on the apparently artless retelling by a teenage girl of a summer spent in France with her elder sister and their younger siblings. It seethes with barely understood sexuality, and, in the absence of any reliable and responsible adults, the dangers that Joss and her sister … Continue reading Rumer Godden, The Greengage Summer
We deep-dyed fans of the Peter Grant Rivers of London universe (the Metropolitan Police's 'weird shit' squad who deal with magic) have been waiting impatiently for the next book to come along. Aaronovitch has been writing the interpolated Rivers of London comic strip series for a year or two (I wrote about this here and … Continue reading Ben Aaronovitch’s The Furthest Station
For all you Agatha Christie and devious poison-plot detective novel addicts, here's a review of Kathryn Harkup's A is for Arsenic. The Poisons of Agatha Christie. More belladonna and cyanide than you can shake a stick at.