Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I discovered Rankin and 'Rebus' right at the start and followed the series right to the end and apart from a couple of wee moans the entire nineteen novels were great crime writing.

Then Rankin retired Rebus and then the trouble began.

The trouble being he has started a new series with a new cop who is the exact opposite of Rebus.  'Malcolm Fox' works for the Complaints Section in that he locks up other cops ( my prejudice shows here because I hated these bastards when I was a lowly constable)- Fox doesn't drink, Rebus drank like a fish - its almost like Rankin sat down with a chart and drew up a list of what Rebus was and then went completely contrary.

Then to the story, Fox is called to investigate a policeman who is suspected of being involved in a child pornography ring, but then gets involved professionally with this detective after his sister's boyfriend is murdered and Fox ends up quite liking him, and so on and so forth...........

To say I was disappointed in this is a understatement of mammoth proportions, its over wrought ,its convoluted and worst of all its tedious.

Please Ian Rankin, timeshift some Rebus stories because 'Fox' is not the detective who you should be remembered by. (Published 2009)


Josef Vadassy is a Hungarian refugee living in France earning a living as a language teacher.

While on holiday on the Riviera he innocently takes a roll of film of his holiday into be developed and as a result he is arrested as a Gestapo Agent.

What follows is an intriguing tale of espionage with Josef trying to uncover the real spy prior to his world being destroyed.

It's very Agatha Christie in that it has a cast of characters all in one place at one time with the  spy being one of them. There the comparison ends, its very well written and the tension is continually built. This is Ambler at his peak. (Published in 1938)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Another slice of thriller genius from the best.

Chubb Dunjee, ex-politician is employed to recover the brother of the U S President from terrorists, who may be U S citizens and then there are the Lybian terrorists who are aggrieved over the death of their star terrorist.

Usual fantastic story, some of the best names ever given to characters in a book, Bingo McKay, Thane Coombs and Dunjee (The Mordida Man, the bribe man).

Its too amazing to summarize, but again this book is out of print so its hard to get but its well worth the effort. One of Thomas's best. (Published 1981)

Friday, March 9, 2012

PRAGUE FATALE - Phillip Kerr

This is a stunner. Kerr takes us back to 1941 where Bernie is installed as Heydrich's personal body guard and house detective.

Heydrich is now the 'ruler' of Bohemia and Moravia and is busy planning a more efficient way of 'eliminating' the Jewish population.

Just after Bernie is installed as pet detective one of Heydrich's adjutants is murdered in his room. This gives the reader a locked room mystery as the core of the story. There are also side shows involving Czech terrorists and Bernie's latest love interest.

Of the six stories I have read in this series this is by far the best. The main positive is the author has had the courage to go back in time and not continue with the post war stories, a couple of which in my opinion were a bit thin.

Along with a good mystery we have more of the sickening history of Nazism, with many of the characters being real people.

And to cap it off the book has one of the best first pages I have ever read.
A very good story indeed. (Published 2011)

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The first volume of memoirs from the author of 'A Dance To The Music Of Time".

It covers his life from birth until he leaves Oxford.

It's not a riveting read but ambles along in a very gentle fashion, it is especially interesting regarding his schooling at Eton. The talent that was there when he was a pupil was amazing, the  most famous being George Orwell (Eric Blair when he was there).

Like "A Dance...." this volume is  a capture of a period of time, a time that few were privileged enough to experience, although Powell did not himself come from an exceptionally wealthy background.

There are no real clues to who were the original templates for his great novel's characters , he explains they are all composites of several people he met. You can see however that his early education covered here is pretty thoroughly reproduced in the first volumes of 'Dance".

It's an interesting read. (Published 1976)