Six Degrees of Separation: Friendaholic

First Saturday of the month, time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books chosen.

This month our starting book is…

Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day

Not a book I’ve read, although I enjoyed her psychological drama Magpie, so I’ll go straight to my first link – friends – to:

Our Friends in Beijing by John Simpson

Ageing Irish journalist Jon Swift is clearly Simpson’s fictional alter ego, and in this engaging thriller Swift persuades his bosses to let him go to Beijing after a not really by chance encounter with an old friend from university days, now high up in the Chinese govt, he persuades the agency to let him disappear off to China to see what’s happening. Lin Lifang is up to something, and Swift wants to get the story. You can’t help but see Simpson in Swift, who in this book will dodge bullets at Tiananmen Square just as Simpson did, and is tortured as Simpson was and that resemblance does add a certain level of extra peril.

My link is to a novel by someone who worked with Simpson as his producer…

The Unbeliever by Oggy Boytchev

Boytchev grew up behind the Iron Curtain in Bulgaria. He developed an interest in spies and spy novels as a child, after hearing propaganda on the radio of a convicted spy’s confession – broadcast after his execution. For his first novel, Oggy returned to the subject of that broadcast to tell the fictionalised true story of a spy, a Bulgarian communist diplomat who spied for the CIA from the late 1940s through a turbulent period in eastern Europe’s times, before finally being caught in late 1963.

My link is from one fictionalised biography to another:

Magda by Meike Ziervogel

Magda was a terrifying five star read for me, knowing what was to come to the Goebbels’s children.

My link is via a European author, writing in English to:

Trouble by Katja Ivar

This is the third book by Ivar following the investigations of Hella Mauzer, now a private investigator after starting her career in the Helsinki police. She’s great fun, but this installment also takes in her family history as she investigates the death of her father, some years before.

Another novel with a female investigator is:

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R King

Mary Russell, at the story’s start in 1915, is just fifteen herself.  Recently orphaned, she is chafing under the guardianship of her penny-pinching aunt, and one morning out walking on the Sussex downs to escape her argumentative relative, she stumbles upon a man whom at first she mistakes for a tramp.  He has been observing bees, and puts her in her place, but mistakes her for a boy at first. He is Sherlock Holmes, but this is not a Holmes novel. He gets second billing, but there are minor supporting performances from Mrs Hudson, Dr Watson, Mycroft Holmes and Inspector Lestrade too. Huge fun – but I never went on to read more of the series.

My final link is through the bees to:

Beeswing by Richard Thompson

To those of us in the know though, Thompson is one of the most influential guitarists and singer-songwriters to have come out of the 1960s folk scene; a much-respected musician’s musician. He’s often compared to Bob Dylan, indeed they both have distinctive voices, but Thompson is also a virtuoso guitarist and has the edge on his Bobness there as far as I’m concerned! In his engaging and self-deprecating memoir Thompson takes us chronologically from his schooldays through being a founding member of Fairport Convention into solo work and singing with his wife Linda, from 1967-75 and a little later in the epilogue. Loved it.

My six degrees have taken me from Beijing to Bulgaria, Germany to Helsinki, then coming home to the Sussex Downs and Swinging London.

Where will your six degrees take you?

12 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Friendaholic

  1. conmartin13 says:

    I really enjoyed The Beekeeper’s Apprentice although have not read anything by Laurie King lately.

    I also liked the first Katja Ivar, which I read because of your review of her books. Thanks!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I feel as if having read the first Mary Russell book, I know what the series is about now, so don’t necessarily need to read more, although I might as it was fun.

  2. Frewin55 says:

    One more 6 degrees that makes me wonder why I haven’t read many recent novels and whether the whole world of book-review writing is conducted by women? Nothing wrong with that – just saying – but I realise all the delights I seem to be missing out on…

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