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
M C Bolitho, A Victorian Lady in the Himalayas, edited by Jean Burnett Jean Burnett is part of Writers Unchained, a collective of writers from Bristol, and has published novels with Little, Brown about the adventures of Lydia Bennett. She has edited the diary of Maria Bolitho, a Victorian Englishwoman who travelled across the Himalayas … Continue reading Enjoyed, with caveats
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
Sybille Bedford is a glorious writer. She's alluringly readable, and the two novels I have read by her were instantly absorbing. Her prose exudes authority and intelligence, her novels charm, intrigue, persuade and convince. She is magnificent, and I don't understand why she has received so much less attention than, say, Elizabeth Bowen or Elizabeth … Continue reading Sybille Bedford, A Legacy
Bea Howe was the dedicatee for Sylvia Townsend Warner's immortal first novel, Lolly Willowes in 1926, and in 1954 she published A Galaxy of Governesses, thanking Sylvia for her support in the acknowledgements. She and Sylvia spent Sylvia's last birthday together, her 84th, in 1977. That's a long and fruitful friendship. Bea published some novels … Continue reading Bea Howe, A Galaxy of Governesses
I found this book of travel writing about the south-west of mid-1950s USA in The Second Shelf, a new antiquarian bookshop in London specialising in works by women. This was only the second book (partly) by a man I've seen there (the other was a lesbian pulp novel apparently written by a man with a … Continue reading J B Priestley and Jacquetta Hawkes, Journey Down a Rainbow