Monday, May 6, 2019


This is another book I've read several times and never tire of.  It will be read several more times as well as there is so much in this as well as being a very good murder mystery.

The story is set in 1327 where Brother William of Baskerville and his novice Adso of Melk are travelling in relation to the heresies that have split the church.   William is an ex-inquisitor who is no slug intellectually.

They stop at an Abby where over the next seven days several murders occur and William is tasked to solve them by the Abbot.

As stated there is much religious philosophy, much discussion of how the church should be run, much to think about as well as a cracking mystery.

A  great book.

THE 39 STEPS - John Buchan

This is one of the original great adventure yarns, I have no idea how many times I've read it but I take it our every few years and still get great enjoyment from it.

Richard Hannay has returned to England to retire after years in Africa.  Through circumstances he befriends a man who ends up murdered in his flat.  So begins a chase by the police and 'agents of a foreign power' across large chunks of Scotland.

Yes, there are ridiculous coincidences but who cares.  This has never been out of print since it was first published in 1915 and every couple of years you can see why.

ASHENDEN -W.Somerset Maugham

This is a re-read, a selection of stories disguised as Maugham's own espionage work during WWI.

There is no James Bond escapades but people die and the works has a degree of risk.

I like Maugham's writing and anything he wrote is worth reading.  This is good

THE BIG HEAT - William P. McGirvern

Why did they fear a dead man?  Dave Bannion, homicide sergeant, fought for the answer to that question.  He got it ..Then the big heat came.

The dead man was a police clerk who shot himself for no obvious reason.  That was Bannion's first judgement, until a girl named Lucy presented quiet a different picture of the dead man from the one he had shown to the world- and his fastidious glacial wife.

Published in 1952 this is very old fashioned in its language but there are several excellent surprises on the way to a resolution.

Evidently there is a very good movie starring Glen Ford made from this book which doesn't surprise as this is a very good story.


This is the story of a Hollywood millionaire who fears his impending death, Huxley has a good crack at the superficiality of Hollywood where strangely enough he was making a fortune writing for the movies.

This was strange, so strange I may have to read it again, it starts off very funny and then wanders off.  I didn't get it anyway and may have to re-visit when I'm older and a bit wiser.

BIG RED - Douglas C. Waller

The Trident nuclear submarine is the most complex war machine the United States Navy has ever produced, a $1.8 billion marvel crammed with more modern military technology than any other vessel in the world.

The author spent a three month deployment on this sub, logistically it is an amazing bit of kit, capable of staying under water undetected for ever, its just the crew dies of old age or starvation after they run out of food.

A fascinating read but not employment I'd go looking for.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

STARS AND BARS - William Boyd

'He loved America, but would America love him back?'  This is the dilemma facing Henderson Dores - shy, English, self conscious and nearly forty- as he stands in the middle of Park Avenue, New York City worrying.

He has come to America to work- true- but he really hopes that it is America that will work for him.

And sure enough, it does- in no uncertain way.  From New York his job takes him to the deep south, to the isolated, tiny hick town of Luxora Beach, Georgia  (or is it Alabama?).  There he encounters the bizarre millionaire Loomis Gage and his extraordinary, unreal and threatening family

This started out OK, Dores goes to the south to purchase some art work, at the beginning the absurdities were amusing but as the book wore on it ran out of steam and quickly got silly.

It the end it just got annoying for me. Boyd now has now written lots of good stuff to read before you need to get into this one.