Monthly Archives: August 2016


dot.hommeby Jane Moore

The book follows a year in the life of singleton Jess Monroe. For her 34th birthday her friends set her up with an ad on an internet dating website. Despite her initial rejection of the idea she is eventually persuaded to give it go. After all, what could she lose? 

A humorous insight into the foibles of the world of internet dating. But that is not all there is to this story. As the book progresses Jess must face not only her fears of loneliness, but also of mortality. Alongside the warm humour Jane is so good at is the more serious look at a family struggling to cope with serious illness. Jane mixes the two with great skill and compassion.

There are plenty of interesting characters, driven by a plot that keeps the pages turning. Will Jess find the man of her dreams on the internet? Will she see though the half-truths and lies? Or has she already found her perfect partner out in the real world?

Perfect holiday reading. 

The Lake District Murder

the lake district murderby John Bude

Originally published in 1935, this edition, released as part of the British Library’s Crime Classics series, is making a well-deserved reappearance.

The book opens with the discovery of a body in a remote Lake District garage. First impressions are that the victim, garage co-owner Jack Clayton, has committed suicide, but Inspector Meredith seems to think otherwise. As he begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding Clayton’s death, the more puzzling the case becomes.

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful north Lake District around Keswick and Penrith, John Bude’s novel has more twists and dead ends than a modern housing estate. The Lake District Murder may not be one of the best of its genre, but it does have plenty of clues to follow, even if the Inspector himself seems to miss a few until the very end. The book has an easy style with a plot that is simple to follow. The clues are there to be found and I enjoyed working them out as I went along. 

An enjoyable bit of summer escapism, but more for the crime enthusiast. 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

How to get filthy rich in rising Asiaby Mohsin Hamid

A second-person self-help parody, this book goes to prove what a great writer Mohsin Hamid is. It is, fundamentally, a love story wrapped around an insightful any typically affectionate, if at time critical look at the struggles and aspirations of modern day Asia.

Through Hamid’s clever narrative we follow one man’s journey from the poor village of his birth, to the greedy heights of the big city. But ambition and success do not necessarily make for a happy life. Whilst the narrator never questions the sacrifices he has made for his success, the reader undoubtable will. 

Once again, Hamid’s writing opens a window into a culture that is both fascinating and frustrating. A great book. 

The Thirteenth Tale

The thirteenth taleby Diane Setterfield

When is ghost story not a ghost story? When it’s written by Diane Setterfiled of course! 

The Thirteenth Tale has all the elements of a creepy ghost story – unaccounted sounds, shadowy figures, family secrets and a mysterious death – but it is not a ghost story in the traditional sense. Diane Setterfield’s wonderful debut is a tale of love and self-discovery set against the backdrop of dark secrets.

It is actually two stories. First we have Margaret Lea, a budding biographer more at home with books than people. When she is invited to write the life story of famous writer Vida Winter, at first she is reluctant, but is soon drawn inexplicably to this mysterious woman. As Vida begins to tell her tale, Margaret is drawn into the story, not just of her new employer, but also of the secretive Marsh family and their chilling past.

Uncovering the truth behind the former residents of Angelfield House, Margaret also begins to face her own past and her own fears. She tells Vida that she has no story of her own, but that is not true and when her researches lead her to visit Angelfield House itself, she begins to open herself up to her own loss.

The Thirteenth Tale is well written, well-paced and revealing book. I was drawn into the stories of these two families from the very first page. The style is easy but at the same time relentless. As the secrets begin to unravel I became more and more gripped by the interweaving of the two stories.

And just when I thought I had it all figured out, events take an unexpected turn and I found myself even more intrigued as the story raced to its unexpected, yet inevitable conclusion.

Diane Setterfield is a great mystery writer. Her second book “Bellman & Black” (which I read previously) is another great example of her ability to drawn the reader into a chilling world of the unknown.

The BBC have produced a drama based on the book which I really must see.