This looked like a straightforward mystery from the front cover. I turned it over and the bumph talked about Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, a railway accident, and how it affected Dickens, which in turn had effect on Collins.
The narrator is Wilkie Collins. On the whole the book is extremely well developed and is written in such a manner that it encourages the reader to keep turning the pages. (It took me 8 days to read the book, of almost 800 pages.)
There were a couple of things that made it obvious that the narrator was not Wilkie Collins, but Dan Simmons, these were the Americanisms when referring to footpaths and also to certain dates. I did spot one mistake . Wilkie Collins opens up the hole in the coal cellar, that Field and his men had bricked up some months previously. The problem I had with this is Field and his men bricked up a hole in the coal cellar at a different address to where Wilkie re-opened it.
That aside, it's a brilliant book, one which grabs the reader and doesn't let go until it is over.
The narrator does presume that the current day reader would not have read any of his books. I have read only one to date, The Moonstone, and remember being very surprised when I found it had been written in 1868 and not a century later.
This lovely novel by Rose tremain explores the interior lives of a choice few inhabitants of a small Suffolk community. There's Mary, who from the age of six becomes convinced that she is a boy in a girl's body. Mary's Mum, Estelle, with her flights of fancy which take to the local asylum on more than one occasion. Sonny, Mary's Dad who lives for his farm. Then there are the Loomis' family and Irene, a single mother, and Harker, a local cricket bat manufacturer of bespoke cricket bats.
The novel follows their lives through 38 years as they grow and change in outlook. Quite a fascinating story. I will keep an eye out for other books by this author.
This book is an Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel by the author. It looks like there at least 18 books in the Anita Blake series. Although I did enjoy reading this one I don't think I'll be hunting out any more.
It is a quick read, for two reasons. The novel is only 171 pages long and the reading level is not challenging. Saying that it is a fairly absorbing reading, and I read it over a day.
For those, like me, who haven't read any others of the series, Anita Blake has certain "abilities". It is one of these abilities that the book is based around. She is asked by two people to bring their dead loved ones back to life. She does not think either if their reasons for wanting the act to be done worthy and refuses. She ends up getting kidnapped by some heavies in order for them to coerce her into bring one of the people back to life. At one point it looks like things can only go from bad to worse, but she eventually gets the upper hand, and all is well in Anita Blake's world once more.
I have just done a quick search of the net. It seems that Laurell K Hamilton is primarily a "teen" writer, and looks to have written a mini mountain of books. You can find her website here.
I haven't actually been anywhere. but I am on holiday, so it's holiday reading.
On my Kindle I have been reading 50 Shade of Grey by E L James. I haven't quite finished it, but I really can't see what everyone is raving about. I have read many more much better written books. Christian Grey is not a terribly well developed character, nor is Anastasia Steele. The book seems to be written just to describe the sex taking part. I don't really care about either main character. I might be in the minority in not liking the book much, but suspect differently. Although in the book's favour I will say it is an incredibly easy book to read, and my son's girlfriend said that she read it in a day.
As for real books.
The Woman who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde.
This is the latest Thursday Next book. Swindon is due to be "Smitten" on Friday, in the biblical sense of the word. Tuesday Next, Thursday's 15 year old daughter, is working on an anti-smiting device. Chronogaurd has been disbanded, and has left some with very difficult lives to lead. Goliath are up to their dirty tricks, and Jack Shitt is in the thick of it as usual. Despite dying several times in the book, (you have to read it to understand this, but it makes sense,) Thursday wins through.
I really love Jasper Fforde's books and this is just as good as the rest of them. And Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey is much superior, in my opinion. There is also lots of grey in it! lol.
Knife by R J Anderson
An engrossing book about a faerie called Knife who is not as cute as fairy tales would have us believe.
Little People by Tom Holt.
This one's about elves. Michael has seen an elf, but his step-father discourages him from talking about it. Some years later he encounters another elf, and this time he is drawn into their world. It turns out that Daddy George, Michael's step-father, has enslaved some elves and Michael is the only one who can save them. Another brilliantly crazy Tom Holt book.
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis.
Nina gets an urgent hone call from her friend, asking her to meet. She is given a key to a left luggage locker, told to collect what is inside, but not to open until well away from the railway station.
It's a suitcase, and inside is a young naked boy. The story travels from Denmark, to Lithuania and back with loads of tension. It's a brilliant mystery and very well translated. I think translators of novels are getting better, as earlier translations always seemed a bit clunky to me, but this one is really well done.
The Sweet Smell of Decay by Paul Lawrence.
I've almost finished this one, will do after I've finished here.
Henry Lytle is asked to investigate a particularly brutal murder. He's told that the victim is his cousin. He's ably assisted by Davy Dowling, a butcher. Set in Restoration England there are very detailed descriptions of the squalor of the lower classes living conditions, but I think the title also refers to the corruption of the court at the time, and the way factions were deliberately set against each other. The detail of living conditions, and some of the murders are not for the squeamish, but it is an excellent book. I believe it is the first of a series.