Jan Morris is one of the most familiar names in British travel writing, so I was surprised to find a new work by her that I did not know, Last Letters from Hav. The New York Review Books Original edition - Hav - has a stupendous cover image that relates to the sequel, Hav of … Continue reading Jan Morris, Hav
I read this in a Dial Press edition of the Virago reprint, with Nicola Beauman's sound introduction from 1981. It is the most satisfying English society novel I've read in a long time, yet is also flawed in its last third with too much exposition, as if Kennedy (this was her first novel) did not … Continue reading Margaret Kennedy, The Ladies of Lyndon
The subtitle of this impressively large group biography makes a big claim: 'How Dorothy L Sayers and her Oxford Circle remade the world for women'. The publishers have latched onto the most obviously marketable aspect of the book - the selling power of Dorothy L Sayers' name and life - and thus skewed the reader's … Continue reading Mo Moulton, Mutual Admiration Society
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
Update: Vox won the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award on 16 September 2019! The title of this very good thriller is a little misleading: the word 'Vox' (Latin for the voice of, as in 'vox populi', the voice of the people), doesn't appear anywhere in the novel. I was hoping for some time that it would … Continue reading Christina Dalcher, Vox
I love Colette's writing, though I've not yet managed to read her most scandalous novels about Claudine. Nor have I yet seen the Keira Knightley biopic; undoubtedly I'll get around to them. My Colette collection consists of her two Chéri novels, Julie de Carneilhan, Chance Acquaintances, The Other Woman, The Vagabond, Gigi and The Cat: all short works … Continue reading Colette, My Mother’s House