Sunday, April 17, 2016

THE CLUB OF QUEER TRADES - G.K Chesterton




















"Eccentric sleuth,Basil Grant....mystic,enigmatic and often considered mad by his brother Rupert- the over zealous private eye- and by Charles Swinburne, gullible narrator of the six tales."

The six stories invariably involve the "Club of Queer Trades".

This is a very short collection,100 odd pages, they are very funny and not too serious.  Once again showing what an imagination Chesterton had.


NEMESIS - Agatha Christie




















Miss Marple is set a task by an associate she met in "A Caribbean Mystery" to set right an injustice. If she rectifies the injustice she will inherit 20,00 pounds from her friends will.

She is given no clues to what she has to do or how to go about it but in the world of Christie things are always alright on the night, with events slotting into place.

This is a no brainer, which isn't a criticism rather that is a book for a flight or lazy Sunday.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

THE WOMAN IN WHITE - Wilkie Collins

























I have finally got around to reading this after seeing it feature on 'best of' & 'greatest lists' for years, and it deserves to be on all these lists.

"When the hero, Walter Hartright, on a moonlight night in north London, encounters a solitary, terrified and beautiful woman dressed in white, he feels impelled to solve the mystery of her distress".

What the above blurb fails to state is this has two of the best villain's in literature, absolutely ruthless, and it is slightly mistaken in that although Hartright plays an integral part the real hero is Marian Halcombe.

This was published in 1860 and is one of the first "mysteries".  The story is told by sections by the main players in diary and statement form.

This is the first book in a long time that I have wanted to flick through to the end to find out exactly how things end.

It is easy to see how this book has influenced mystery and crime writers for the past 150 years, brilliant.

TRICKS - Ed McBain

























Another solid procedural featuring the detectives of the 87th Precinct.

There's a disappearing magician, kids killing liquor store owners and a psychopath murdering prostitutes. All in a days work.

You can't go wrong with McBain, the plots may vary in quality a bit but the dialogue is always engaging and sharp.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION - Gore Vidal




















"Its 1939, and a teenage maths genius is mysteriously summoned to the Smithsonian Institution, where a crash program to develop the atomic bomb is being conducted in the basement.  The boy turns outs to hold the key to both the secrets of nuclear fission and breakthroughs in the time continuum........surrounded by figures from American history past and present, including Albert Einstein, Grover Cleveland, and Abraham Lincoln- he battles to save not just himself, but humanity."

This is total fantasy so its best to leave any concept you have of time, life and death behind, just read and enjoy.  There are many key world events touched upon and with the books concept we get to hear from the people involved no matter how long they have been deceased.

The movie series " A Night at the Museum" is loosely based from this book i.e the exhibits coming alive when the museum is shut, but this is not a comedy, it has lots of humour but touches on all of life's theme's, love, death, and the morality of war.

Its great fun just don't expect any sort of linear sense to be made because if you do, having a B29 Superfortress flying inside The Smithsonian Institution will do your head in.

RUMPOLE AND THE GOLDEN THREAD - John Mortimer




















A collection of six stories featuring Horace Rumpole, Barrister.  Rumpole even gets a trip to Africa in this set.  He is still bravely defending the put upon and unlucky, doing so with the brains and humour I enjoy so much.

I cannot read a Rumpole story without seeing Leo McKern, like Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster, the casting is perfect.

Always a lovely way to spend time reading these stories.

Monday, March 28, 2016

DIFFICULT QUESTIONS EASY ANSWERS -Robert Graves




















Another collection of speeches and essays from Robert Graves.  He covers a wide range of topic's, religion, drugs and religion and ancient history.

He has an opinion on everything.  This from an interview in 1970 by Edwin Newman:

Mr Newman:  You once said " If I were a girl, I'd despair.  The supply of good women far exceeds that of the men who might deserve then."  Do you...

Mr Graves:  Oh yes I do... The fact is that for one reason or another homosexuality among men has gone so far that its difficult now for a woman to find a man who isn't in some way tainted with it.  I suppose that its partly due to heredity, partly to environment, but largely because men now drink too much milk.

Mr Newman: Really?

Mr Graves:  Its a fairly widespread medical view.

So very entertaining, the above exchange is only part of it and its not world class trolling he attempted to argue his point as if it were fact.