Sunday, 16 November 2008

A good start to the weekend...

The local library rang on Friday afternoon to say they had got a book for me, so Saturday morning was taken up by a dog walk on the dunes - much enjoyed by all although The Bolter was a bit nervous and whiny because it was later than usual and there were more Big Threatening Dogs (that is, two springer spaniels) around - followed by a quick whizz into the library to stock up with crime fiction.

Library staff are being very apologetic about lack of stock at the moment. Their headquarters are in Morpeth, scene of serious flooding in September, and the library was very seriously affected. Since Morpeth Library held stocks for the whole county, all the Northumberland libraries havel suffered as a result. Despite this, I have recently had a little more luck in following up recommendations from fellow bloggers, and have just finished Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death, a title missing from the catalogue earlier in the year, while Needle in the Blood (Sarah Bowers) is at last in transit from somewhere in the county.


In the circumstances, that isn't a bad haul, I think. Another Hazel Holt to look forward to - I'm reading them all in the wrong order, but I don't think it's decreasing my enjoyment. I've wanted to read Martin Edwards' The Coffin Trail for a while - it was the book the library rang about - since I've lived in the Lake District. Tony Hillerman (and yes, there really are 3 LLLs in his name on the spine - oh dear!) is an old favourite. It's probably very non-PC of me to like his books about the Native American policeman Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, but I think they are well-researched and sensitive, and I'm afraid it's hard to get books by aboriginal writers here in the UK.

Being a longterm devotee of anything to do with the Cathars, I snapped up Kate Mosse's Labyrinth when it first came out. I'm not a wholesale fan (she's a bit too prone to the "here's a dark and spooky place and I'm on my own - why don't I go in, all alone, and have a look round?" syndrome) but it was a good enough romp and I'll give Sepulchre a try. Pat McIntosh is entirely new to me, but fresh from my excursion into the twelfth century with Ariana Franklin, I decided to see what it's like. Last, I'm back to safe ground with Elizabeth Peters - or am I? Vicky Bliss is another heroine with a tendency to head off into dark and spooky places, though I recall from the first I read in this series that she does it with a certain amount of aplomb and humour. Actually, I had trouble chossing between this book and one of the Amelia Peabody series: I decided to spend a little longer next visit working out which of Amelia's adventures I still need to catch up on. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the other name Peters writes under, and the librarian didn't know, so I couldn't look for other books by her (gothic romances, I think, which would be a real wallow, lovely and frovilous for Christmas) as I had planned. Now, of course, I've Googled her, and it's Barbara Michaels. I think a catalogue search is called for!

8 comments:

  1. I have Needle in the Blood - must read it soon. I keep reading about Martin Edwards' The Coffin Trail - I must reserve it. I wasn't too keen on Labyrinth, but maybe I'll give Sepulchre a try - then again I'll wait until I see what you think about it first. I don't know Elizabeth Peters' or Hazel Holts' books - do you recommend them?

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  2. Booksplease, I've started The Coffin Trail and I'm enjoying it so far - I was reading it over my morning cup of tea and as I closed it I was conscious of smiling with approval at the way he'd just introduced one of the characters.

    I reviewed a Hazel Holt recently (http://geraniumcatsbookshelf.blogspot.com/2008/10/no-cure-for-death-by-hazel-holt.html), and Nan over at Letters from a Hill Farm has written about a couple, too - I think between us we should give a fair impression of what they are like, and yes, I think you would enjoy them.

    Elizabeth Peters might be a little more of an acquired taste, I wasn't quite sure I liked her at first, but now I find myself looking forward to them. I'm planning a post about her later this week.

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  3. A friend lent me Needle in the Blood and I simply could not read it so I'll be interested to hear how you get on. I notice that it's always available in out library, unlike the books I want to read...

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  4. I hope you enjoyed the Hazel Holt. She's a lovely lady. I interviewed her for both Somerset Life and for Exmoor - the country magazine. Have you read Veronical Stallwood's Oxford crime novels? I have read and enjoyed them all. And the Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear are excellent, too.
    Margaret Powling

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  5. Margaret, I think Hazel Holt is a wonderfully consistent writer - now that I've found her, I always enjoy her books. I like the Stallwood books too, but don't know the Winspear ones - oh good, that means another series to look forward to!

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  6. Oh, put down Jacqueline Winspear's books on your List immediately! There are five in the series thus far, but start with Maisie Dobbs. Yes, this does sound a bit Catherine Cookson-ish (sorry, all Cookson fans!) I won't say more, but I think if you like Veronica Stallwood you will enjoy Winspear's writing, too, even though the books are historical (1914 war onwards, the series is now into the 1930s - Maisie is a psychologist/Private Investigator.)
    Margaret Powling

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  7. I have Ariana Franklin's book to read now (when I'm done Middlemarch), it might be coming to England with me on the plane (small enough to fit in my bag!), I'm so looking forward to this one, everyone I know has loved it. My mother enjoys Hazel Holt, and I have picked up one of hers i think, to try. I keep meaning to read Labyrinthe, but every time I look at the first page I get bored! I'm glad it's not just me! What do you know about The Coffin Trail? I guess I could google it...i love your choices of books, and as you said once in an email to me, we share much of the same tastes in our literature! Coming here is like sitting down for a chat in front of the fire!

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  8. Galant, I shall be investigating the library catalogue, I promise.

    Susan, I hesitate to recommend another book to you, but I liked The Coffin Trail. And the Ariana Franklin would be excellent for travelling with, it's really hard to put down. Don't believe a word she says about dancing in 1493 though!

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