Thursday, September 27, 2018


Bernie Gunther's latest move in a string of varied careers sees him working for an insurance company.

Sent to Athens to investigate a claim from a fellow German for a sunken ship, Bernie takes an instant dislike to the claimant.  When he discovers the ship in question once belonged to a Greek Jew deported to Auschwitz, he is convinced the sinking was no accident but an act of vengeance.

The atrocities carried out in Salonika during the second world war are not as widely known as those in Poland etc but the slaughter was enormous.  This theatre is the backdrop to this story, however the story doesn't do it justice.  I'm a huge fan of this series but this is the second dud out of thirteen so its not bad, this just doesn't have the tension of the vast majority of this series.

As usual real historical figures play a major part in the novel but its dull- Bernie is getting on a bit in years but he needs a bit more spark to liven this up.

I'm putting this down to Mr Kerr having had the 'flu and will await the recovery.

Monday, September 24, 2018


McMurtry writes frankly and with deep feeling about his own experiences as a writer, a parent, and a heart patient, and he deftly lays bare the raw material that helped shape his lifes work: the creation of the vast, ambitious, fictional panorama of Texas in the past and in the present.  Throughout, McMurtry leaves his readers with constant reminders of his all-encompassing, boundless love of literature and book.

Larry McMurtry, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the author of twenty-three novels.

This is a book containing four essays, all biographical about his childhood, through his writing life, his book scouting and his book store owning.

This is a guy who has a personal library of twenty thousand volumes and his total ownership is approximately five hundred thousand in his secondhand bookstores.  He has been a huge reader since he was gifted nineteen volumes at approximately twelve years of age.  The only time he stopped reading for pleasure was after his bypass surgery where he was unable to read for pleasure for two years.

This is a book about reading, if you love reading you should read this.  He is also a handy writer, Lonesome Dove, Texasville and many more besides.

Also he is the father of musician James McMurtry.  This is a great wee book.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Collected Essays 1944-2000.

This is a stunning collection of writing.  The essays cover a huge number of topics with writing that is effortless to read.  The skill you must have to possess to create writing that is so easy to read.

There are 43 essays, my favourites are the first " A Boy Grew in Brooklyn' which is a reminiscence of his boyhood.

"The Night Ed Murrow Struck Back"  where TV presenter Ed Murrow help to destroy the odious creature Joseph McCarthy..

"The Pure in Heart Need No Lawyers ", about Sid Shapiro an American who lived in China from the early forties.  Even though he was of the left Miller sees through and writes about the blind adherence to a political philosophy by Shapiro even when faced with facts debunking his arguments for Communist China.

Great stuff, Miller was so much more than a playwright,this stuff is beautiful to read.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


A powerful and ruthless American capitalist is found dead in the garden of his English country house.  But why is he not wearing his false teeth?  Why is his young widow so relieved at his death?  The artist and amateur detective Philip Trent arrives to find there is some more to the case than the solving of a puzzle:  he must accept his own fallibility, in detection and romance. 

This was published in 1913 and "written in reaction against the solemnity of the Sherlock Holmes stories".

I looked for this for ages finally found it, read it and was really,really disappointed.  Its all a bit silly. Bentley does the "Holmes" deduction thing with humour but plot wise its a dud and Raymond Chandler who knew a bit about writing, was right to ridicule the story.

Agatha Christie did a bit of thievery from this tale and made much better use of the device.

This is a book that needed to be ticked off as I'm a fan of the genre but wouldn't recommend it for any other reason.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


A collection of non-fiction writing from 1992- 2002..  We have essays on The Wizard of Oz, U2, Princess Diana and football (Rushdie is a Tottenham Hotspur tragic.

There is also newspaper columns & transcripts of addresses made to various groups over this period.

Superb writing, a wonderful sense of humour and highly recommended