Books, life the universe

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Books read

It's a good thing I've got at least 100 unread books to attack as this enforced leisure is giving me plenty of time to read.

Books finished in the last few days include:

Martin Edwards - The Arsenic Labyrinth - the third in his Lake District series involving Daniel Kind - Oxford historian who has moved to a cottage with his girl friend Miranda; and DCI Hannah Scarlett - head of the cold case review team. Hannah is reluctantly re-visiting a 10 year old missing person case which may or may not be a murder. Daniel is looking for a new historical subject to write a book about as his savings are dwindling. The result is a densely plotted mystery involving a murder from 50 years previously as well as the disappearance of Emma Beswick 10 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next in the series.

Frances Garrood - Dead Ernest - a poignant and amusing story of a marriage and how Ernest's widow deals with his sudden death. Annie tells her story to the local vicar - Andrew - whilst getting to know her grand-daughter - Ophelia. It is a common story - farm girl in war time falls pregnant and is forced into an unwelcome marriage by her parents fearing for their standing in the community. The author brings a wealth of compassion and understanding to the story and the characters come to life on the page. Ernest is far from being all bad and both he and Annie are victims of their upbringing and their circumstances.

Currently reading - Arianna Franklin's - The Mistress of the Art of Death - just as good as The Death Maze. Larger than life characters and flashes of humour. I think it's the humour that has attracted me to this author's two books. Historical fiction often lacks a spark of humour. These two books show it is possible to write historically accurate fiction but not have the characters take themselves too seriously. Added to which it is set in my beloved Fens - though in the 12th century.

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