My flat looks a tip, particularly my bedroom which has heaps of clothes ready to pack all over the floor and endless lists of things to take and things to do for my Oz trip. In between all of this I have managed to do some reading and this is probably going to be my last post until I arrive in Sydney.
First up, A Crowded Coffin by Nicola Slade. Her last book, Murder Fortissimo, was reviewed here and I think I can safely say it is the only mystery I have ever read, or am likely ever to read, where the victim is killed by a falling euphonium. This is her second book to feature retired headmistress, Harriet Quigley, a lady with Miss Marple tendencies who cannot resist trying to sort out mysteries. In this story we have a missing man who vanished from the village some months earlier and has never been seen since, a good looking recently widowed vicar who is a bit too smarmy and charming for his own good (was his wife's death really an accident??); a handsome Texan who thinks there might be oil to be discovered locally, a death in Winchester Cathedral and various assorted eccentrics and murky goings on. As with Murder Fortissimo, it is tremendous fun and in Harriet and her beloved cousin Sam, we have a detecting duo who I hope will have many more adventures.
Tangled Lives - Hilary Boyd. This is the author's second novel, the first being Thursdays in the Park which I read last year, featuring an older couple and their romance which was rather refreshing. This latest title also features an older couple, Annie and Richard Delancey, married for years, grown up family and settled life. Though her husband knows, her children are unaware that Annie gave up a son for adoption when she was nineteen and now this son wishes to meet her. Overjoyed and delighted to see him it is not till later that she realises that her family are not as thrilled as she is to greet a new relative. Her son reacts with jealousy and doubt and though her two daughters are more welcoming, the entire family is thrown into disarray. Well written and perceptive I read this through in one sitting. My only criticism is of the resolution to an event which threatens to split the family totally - I guessed what the outcome would be and I felt, in a way, that it was the easy and obvious way out. Others may disagree, but apart from this, I thought this an excellent book and I enjoyed it very much.
As for my other reading, I have been revisiting more Frances Hodgson Burnett. This time The Lost Prince, a wildly romantic Zenda type story which I adore and had a lovely couple of hours propped up in bed last night enjoying it all over again.
Then, following on from the Susan Coolidge which I read recently, I read my Katy Omnibus which contains What Katy Did, Katy goes to School and What Katy did Next and loved them all over again. I read these in my early teens and adored them and have not read them for light years so had a good nostalgic wallow.
Not starting any books at the moment as I don't want to have to take any with me though of course, one or two will be going in my suitcase, but am choosing ones that I will leave behind for my daughter, Kathryn. She tells me that her house is full of books anyway so should I run out there is plenty of choice, but my Kindle is loaded up and full of lots of great stuff to read. Bloomsbury have been particularly generous in sending titles from their e-list direct to my Kindle and I have promised to read and review many of these while away.
Off on Tuesday but will post again before then.