Books read, things seen — September 2021

Something I love about murder mysteries is the specific, thoughtfully-considered glimpses they give of how and why people live and think and do things — beyond the incidental. And reading old mysteries adds such a wonderful glimpse into kitchens and living rooms, cocktail parties and political conversations of the past.

Read

  • How to Survive a Scandal — Samara Parish
  • Crocodile on the Sandbank — Barbara Mertz
  • Be Shot for Sixpence — Michael Gilbert (1964): This is the second Michael Gilbert I’ve read (the first was The Family Tomb in April). It was a completely different novel — Cold War espionage — and a delight. Fascinating, compelling, with an at first unlikeable character who began to make sense, and just… competent fish-out-of-water set-ups and cold-burned affectless confrontation with horror, and authorial inserts, and bureaucracies, and…
  • Dark Breakers — CSE Cooney: I read an advance review copy and this is what I wrote:

    Dark Breakers is a magnificent parure of novellas and matched stories, a suite of jewelled and velvet tales, delicately linked and ferociously glittering. It forms a magnificent companion piece to Desdemona and the Deep, and also the jewels set around it.
    A baroquely intense confection with a core of typewriters and coal fortunes, 
    Dark Breakers is compounded of voluptuous invention and ferocious structural loves — for new romances and old friends, for the works of hands, for mortality and its gifts, and all the possibilities of worlds bleeding, weeping, wandering into each other’s arms.
  • A Stitch in Time — Emma Lathen (1968): The first Emma Lathen I’ve read — deaths and insurance and medical misdeeds, and a banker investigating through the mazes of the US health system in the 1960s. Fascinating as a study of systems and a time, and of course also as a mystery.
  • Slowly the Poison — June Drummond (1976): Murder… or is it? Lawyers entrusted with stories-through-time, twinned Gothic-murder-family setups in London and South Africa. I didn’t love it, but it was fascinating.
  • (And a couple issues of Slightly Foxed including #67): This I do love.

Seen

1 thought on “Books read, things seen — September 2021

  1. Pingback: November 2021 — round up of posts | Kathleen Jennings

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