Monthly Archives: February 2015

One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night

by Christopher Brookmyer

One Fine Day In The Middle Of The NightTwo years ago I stumbled across Christopher Brookmyer’s “All Fun and Games until Somebody Looses an Eye” in a charity shop. I had to buy it for the title alone. The book itself was funny, gripping and difficult to put down. Was this a fluke? Could he do the same thing again? Well it has taken me nearly two years to get around to finding out, and I can say, with some confidence, “Yes, he did do it again. And how!”

“One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night” is one of the funniest books I have read for some time. There are scenes that are very reminiscent of the late, great Tom Sharpe at his best. But it is not just a comedy, it is also a compelling thriller. Set aboard a floating holiday resort trying not to look like an oil rig, the cast of characters for this little soiree into murder and mayhem are a group of thirty-something’s attending a school reunion.

But all is not as it seems, as the presence of a hastily put together team of mercenaries confirms. 

For the former school pals, this evening is an opportunity to catch up, reminisce and, in some cases, exorcise some demons. Maybe even rekindle an old flame or two.

But as the presence of men armed to the teeth with Uzi’s, rocket launchers and sundry other items of destruction confirms, things may not go according to plan. 

Rivalries on both sides come to the fore as the real purpose of the hijacking becomes clear. 

“One Fine Day” is a wonderfully witty book, full of interesting characters, clever one-liners and thundering along at an unstoppable pace. Christopher Brookmyre is a definitely a writer who’s work has to be on my reading list in future. 

A Brief History of British Kings and Queens

by Mike Ashley

A Brief History of British Kings and QueensI love history but am terrible at remembering names and dates. This became all too apparent over the New Year when we had a couple of games nights with friends. I became increasingly frustrated when I could never get British monarchs in the right order. This book was my daughter’s way of dealing with the problem. 

“A Brief History…” is a well written reference book covering every British monarch since, well, since there were any. Did I learn anything? Certainly. Will I remember it all? Probably not, but at least I now have an excellent reference book I can use to remind myself of the more obscure monarchs of England, Wales and Scotland. 

Mike Ashley’s easy style has helped me to place events in order and add context the events I had previously viewed as disconnected. An excellent reference book but also an enjoyable read. I wouldn’t expect many others to read the book as a whole like I did, but if you are feeling that way inclined, it is well worth the effort.

The Woman on the Bus

by Pauline McLynn

The Woman on the BusThere is something endearing laid back about the Irish. This is my observation have read the work of several Irish novelists, and one not challenged by Pauline McLynn’s charming and very funny look at rural Irish life.

Probably better known for her portrayal of Mrs Dyle on the comedy Father Ted, she is carving out a parallel career as an author. I read her first novel “Something for the Weekend” several years ago and must admit that I had kind of forgotten about her as an author. Silly me. Now that I have “rediscovered” her work I will make a point of getting my hands on her other novels.

The woman on the bus of the title arrives in the village of Kilbrody on quiet summer’s evening, drinking herself into oblivion at the local pub. Who is she and why is she there? Very soon the woman on the bus is the only subject of interest to the people of Kilbrody. 

But they are not the only one’s asking questions about her past. It seems she is as much a mystery to herself as she is to those who have come to her rescue.

A very funny book with some charming characters – the alcoholic famer on the verge of losing his family and the tee-total publican with a chequered past. With romance blossoming and rivalries coming to a head, The Woman on the Bus is a treat, a light-hearted look at rural Ireland but with a string message about families and the importance of relationships.