On a Monday. Because I knew there was something I meant to do yesterday but I got caught up in ejoying my newly put up Christmas decorations.
So, yeah, … In keeping with the start of the festive season, I have also started my annual seasonal reads. That is to say, from here on you’ll see a lot more Golden Age of Crime titles featuring snow, Santa, and murder. But before we dive into those, let me just summarise the titles I finished in the last week:
First off, I finally read Cheri (1920) by Colette. It’s a short novel that has been on my shelves for years. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally read it. All I can say is that the story of the aging courtesan and her younger lover didn’t really grab me at all.
Still, I liked the feel of the story and setting. I’ll definitely try something else by Colette. (2* out of 5*)
I also re-read The Magician’s Nephew (1955) by C.S. Lewis, and by re-read I mean I listened to Kenneth Branagh reading the audiobook. I don’t know what it is about this book. I liked it when I first read it but over time I have come to really dislike the heavihandedness with which Lewis adds Christian allegory left right and centre of the story. At the end, I almost felt sorry for the witch. (2* out of 5*)
Buying Time (2018) E. M. Brown was a very surprising book. I don’t normally read dystopia, sci-fi or time travel, so this book was way out of my comfort zone but I liked it. I liked it so much that I wrote a separate review for the book. What I want to say to anyone looking at this book, tho, is, the first chapter is pretty lame. It gets better after that. I’m still not sure whether it was a political thriller, sci-fi, or romance at the heart of this story. (3.5* out of 5*)
And I’ll finish this post with the two season reads that I picked up over the weekend:
Murder Most Festive (2020) by Ada Moncrieff was one of those impulse buys that are purely down to a gorgeous cover design. I don’t usually read Golden Age of Crime pastiche, but this is exactly what this charming little book was. Also, it was charming. Alas, it was not for me. I penned a separate review to talk more about why this was not a hit with me, but let me also say that this was a debut novel (apparently) and I would not hesitate to pick up a sequel. (2.5* out of 5*)
Lastly, my star read of this week was Another Little Christmas Murder (1947) by Lorna Nichol Morgan. Now, I usally shake my fist when a book title is changed for the sake of a marketing ploy, but I even forgive the publishers for changing the from the original Another Little Murder, even tho the story doesn’t have a Christmas setting. This is murder mystery set before Christmas in a wintry Yorkshire, where a snow storm causes havoc on the roads and leaves several parties to abandon their car and seek shelter in a house far off from the nearest town or village. What can possibly go wrong? LoL.
I really loved this story, because parts of it made me laugh, parts of it reminded me of J.B. Priestley’s Benighted (one of my 5*-reads this year), and parts of it were just a straight-forward great mystery. I particularly liked the main character, Dilys, a commercial traveller who doesn’t put up with a lot of nonsense. This was absolutely delightful. (4* out of 5*)
Round the Fire Stories – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Crime at The Noah’s Ark – Molly Thynne
Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson – Laura Beers
The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works – William Shakespeare (see The Will’s World Project)