Lots of books to read and several to bring to your attention. My TBR pile is gradually spreading and I really need to sort it out.
Two books from the British Library. No I do NOT work for them nor do they pay me a retainer but hardly surprising if anybody thinks so as I am always going on about their wonderful Crime Classics which I simply adore. Interesting, intriguing and always with wonderful covers.
Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs. I discovered this author earlier in the year and am working my way through his books. They are rather old fashioned, oddly enough the later titles rather than the earlier, and can be variable as he wrote a huge amount but I really like them. Miss Tither is the local busybody, not liked and always interfering in everyone's affairs, in other words, a prime candidate for murder. A village setting and a marvelously named vicar, Reverend Ethelred Claplady, and this one is nearing the top of my pile
I have started the second Bellairs, The Dead Shall be Raised & The Murder of a Quack, two separate stories. In the first a skeleton unearthed on the moor above Hatterworth where an earlier murder had taken place, both unsolved so the murderer is still out there.
The Murder of a Quack - local doctor, a tad dubious, is found hanging in his consulting rooms but though it looks like a suicide, as in all good mysteries, it is not. Blackmail and fraud and trickery abound. Two good reads.
My final entry for the British Library is Crimson Snow, winter mysteries edited by Martin Edwards who has an unerring eye for winkling unknown tales out of the vaults at Euston Road. A great collection - I have read four of these but am rationing myself. Well known names such as Edgar Wallace and Margery Allingham are represented alongside lesser know authors, Fergus Hume (a ghost story this one - or is it?) and Ianthe Jerrold and S C Roberts, hardly household names but none the less fun to read.
Snowdrift by Georgette Heyer. A collection of short stores, NOT new, but cunningly reissued by her publishers under this title with the bonus of three recently discovered stories never before published. Clever publishers know full well that Heyer fans, of which I am one, will rush out to duplicate the majority of this book for the sake of those three and I duly bought it. My paperback of Pistols for two, the earlier titles, is battered and falling apart anyway so was quite glad to give it the heave-ho and have this new book on my shelves. I adore Heyer and most of these stories are embryonic sketches many of which were used and expanded in her full length novels. Lots of dashing, masterful heroes and glamorous young maidens in distress. No need to expand further. If you love Georgette then order this now. I spent an afternoon re-reading and loved it.
Two books from Oxford university Press who always have interesting books and always beautifully produced. Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse is a history of Women and Desire. Oo-er missus. Carol is a social and cultural historian and she draws upon literature, cinema and popular romance to show how the changing position of women has shaped their dreams about men. On flicking through I came across pictures of Elvis Presley, Adam Ant, Liberace (!) and, er, David Cassidy....
Wonderful illustrations of Barbara Cartland covers as well and this is going to be an interesting as well as an enjoyable read.
Note: this book will be published February 2017
Secondly, Charles Dickens, an Introduction - Jenny Hartley. I have bending shelves full of books by and about Dickens and I might wonder if I need any more but this is a concise book - does what it says on the tin - introduces the reader to Dickens but I am enjoying it because sometimes when you read huge fat biographies of authors by different writers, you can get a bit bogged down and need somebody to hone it down to the essentials. This is precisely what this books does.
And, finally, Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck. This is an author I came across when she was published by Persephone and now this is a title published by Furrowed Middlebrow (wonderful title) and is very Barbara Pym'ish and a bit Angela Thirkell'ish as well. If you like these two authors then you will like this. I am not madly keen on either of the aforementioned, Thirkell gets very repetitive and there are one or two of here characters who drive me demented, and I find Pym a little fey for my liking, but this is a charming book.
Camilla Lacey is a vicar's wife in a mid-sized town outside of Manchester and this diary life is set in the early days of World War II. It is impossible to read this without thinking of EM Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady, which is referred to in the narrative, and there are similarities in the content and the noting down of everyday cares and worries and absurdities. I enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would, I have to be honest. But a delightful book and a great stocking filler.
OK that is it for now.
My blogging has been pretty sporadic of late for which I apologise - one of my resolutions for 2017 is to post more. Though I have a sneaky feeling that was one of my resolutions for 2016 as well...