Catch-up – two shorter reviews

My pile of books read but not reviewed yet is taller than I like, so here are two shorter reviews to catch up a little. Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson Only Hutchinson’s second novel, but you can tell the author has been writing other stuff for ages. Europe in Autumn, published in 2014, is the Read More

The first of two top notch psychothrillers…

After my disappointment last week reading The Girl on the Train (see here), I persevered to seek out a psychological thriller that I did like – and cor blimey – two came along at once, here’s my review of the first … The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware Ruth Ware’s second novel takes the classic Read More

An evening with Vaseem Khan

Last night I went to Mostly Books to hear Vaseem Khan talk about his two crime novels featuring Inspector Chopra which are set in Mumbai. I didn’t have time to read one of the books before the event, but any novel that begins: On the day that he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that Read More

French, comic and dark – it’s a Pascal Garnier story…

Too Close to the Edge by Pascal Garnier Translated by Emily Boyce The dark short novels of Pascal Garnier have been a revelation for me (find out more here) so, the moment I got my hands on the latest to be translated by French to English specialists Gallic books, I just had to read it. He Read More

Three shorter reviews

Trading Futures by Jim Powell Matthew Oxenhay is having an existential crisis. He set his hippy ideals behind him long ago, swapping them for a career in the city, wife, kids, nice house in a nice London suburb. Then it was his 60th birthday, and shortly afterwards he lost his job, but his boss let Read More

Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley

Yesterday I went to another of literary agency PFD’s salons at the Groucho Club, this time to celebrate the books and lives of John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley.  Authors who were read by everyone at their peaks, hugely influential with totally different lives and styles – yet as we discovered, they have a lovely connection… Read More

My introduction to Margery Allingham

Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham You may recall that last November I went down to London for an afternoon hosted by literary agents PFD to celebrate the authors Margery Allingham and Eric Ambler (see here).  Barry Pike, the chairman of the Margery Allingham Society recommended Look to the Lady as the best place to start with her Albert Read More

Meeting Commissaire Adamsberg

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas Translated by David Bellos Although not my first read of French author Fred Vargas (that was The Three Evangelists – reviewed here), this was my first encounter with her detective, Commissaire Adamsberg. SWHMD is the second novel featuring Read More

Ronning and Stilton return

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive. Third Voice by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind Translated by Hilary Parnfors I had the good fortune to give out copies of Spring Tide, of which Third Voice is the sequel, for World Book Night back in April. I enjoyed Spring Tide so Read More

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

A double helping of Maigret

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. One of the great things about Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels is that they’re short. Each features a story told in full, but achieved within 160 pages or so – in this he resembles Muriel Spark. No words are wasted and there is no flowery Read More

When the third part of a trilogy falls a little flat …

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive Something Nasty in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli You may remember my enthusiasm for the reprints of the first two wickedly funny and totally non-PC Charlie Mortdecai books by Kyril Bonfiglioli last year; if you don’t, see my write-ups: Read More

Annabel’s Shelves: A is for…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Arnott, Jake – The Long Firm Thank you to everyone who suggested authors beginning with ‘A’ for the first read of my Annabel’s Shelves project. Atwood was a very popular suggestion, and I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have Read More

Irene – Alex – Camille: The Verhoeven trilogy comes full circle

Camille by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne I was meant to be reviewing this for Shiny New Books‘  in the ‘Extra Shiny’ edition (coming to you on May 12th).  I loved it, it is definitely a ‘Shiny’ book, but it is the final part of a trilogy and I felt it would be too difficult to Read More

Scandi-crime time…

Spring Tide by Cilla & Rolf Börjlind On Thursday 23rd April, it is World Book Night. Once again, I applied to be a ‘giver’. I picked a book from the list, and wrote my case for being awarded a batch of copies to give out. I was delighted to be accepted and even more pleased to get Read More

Camille Verhoeven Irene Frank Wynne Pierre lemaitre maclehose

Irène by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Irène is chronologically the first novel in Pierre Lemaitre’s trilogy featuring Parisian police detective Commandant Camille Verhœven, yet in the UK it was published second, after Alex and is followed this spring by the third volume, Camille. I reviewed Alex in 2013 (click here) and it was the best crime thriller I read all that Read More

The first in a long line of crime novels

Naked in Death by J.D.Robb Last week, Victoria over at Tales from the Reading Room wrote a post about Obsession in Death, the latest in J.D.Robb’s long-running crime series featuring detective Eve Dallas. In fact, it turns out that Obsession in Death is the fiftieth in the series! I knew that I had the first novel in the Read More

Charlie Mortdecai, volume two

After You With The Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli This is going to be a quick post, as you shouldn’t read the second novel in this delightfully Un-PC comedy crime series until you’ve read the first – they follow directly on from each other, but I’m not giving anything away with this quote from near the beginning… To this day Read More

A Walk Among the Tombstones: Book v Film

The recently released movie A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson is based upon the 10th in the series of Matt Scudder books by Lawrence Block. I’ve read the first twelve – and have enjoyed them all, with a few more still to read one of these days. I read this back in 2006, and Read More

Growing Old Disgracefully …

The Little Old Woman Who Broke All The Rules by Catharine Ingelman-Sundberg Let’s get it out of the way. If you enjoyed The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson as I did, (my review here), I’m certain that you will enjoy this novel. This is primarily because the Read More

The game’s afoot once again…

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz The vogue for new writers keeping others’ literary characters alive has never been stronger. I would wager that no one character has continued to be written more about than Sherlock Holmes, although James Bond must be getting close. Most of the non-Fleming Bond novels are, however, officially commissioned Read More

Jazz Vampires – another case for Peter Grant

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch This is the second novel in Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London‘ series of humorous police procedurals involving magical crimes in contemporary London. If you’ve not read the first volume Rivers of London – head over here to find out about it – for you won’t understand much of what’s going on Read More

Introducing Bernie Rhodenbarr

It’s some years since I read one of Lawrence Block’s crime novels, and then I’ve only read the first twelve of his seventeen Matt Scudder books. In this series alcoholic ex-cop turned private investigator Scudder plies his trade around the shady joints of NYC. Scudder is a very likeable PI, but the books are quite Read More

Crimes & Casinos, Miami & Puerto Rico – R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

I was sad to hear of the death of Elmore Leonard a week and a half ago. He was 87, and had suffered a stroke earlier in the month. He was one of my favourite crime writers. I liked him particularly for his ability to make me laugh and of course for his distinct style Read More

Gone Girl meets The Secret History – not quite, but a good try

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight When a novel sets itself up on the front cover to be compared to Gone Girl (my review here), and in other places I’ve seen it compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, it raises the bar rather high… Kate is a hard-working lawyer and single mum to teenage daughter Amelia, Read More

Bought it on Wednesday, read it by Friday, blogged on Saturday

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Alex is one of those thrillers that has been quietly gathering a word of mouth momentum since its publication earlier this year. Now the paperback is out, it is going to go stratospheric as Gone Girl did, (my review of that here). A French teacher friend has been recommending Alex to our book Read More

Lighten up Anita

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton I am profoundly aware that I often read books in the wrong order. I’m not referring to books in a series here though – I always prefer to start from the beginning with them; instead I’m talking about influence. This means for instance that it was forty years before I Read More

A French crime novel of character…

The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas, translated by Sian Reynolds This was our bookgroup read for June into July, the first roman policier, and an award-winning one too, by frenchwoman Fred Vargas – Fred being short for Frédérique.  Vargas is an archaeologist and historian and, with Reynolds as her translator, won three successive CWA International Dagger awards for Read More