Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Death Comes Knocking – Graham Bartlett with Peter James

Non-Fiction 4*s
Non-Fiction
4*s

Death Comes Knocking is a non-fictional look at policing in Brighton, the place which is where the fictional Roy Grace carries out a similar role to that of the author of this book, Graham Bartlett worked his way up through the ranks to the position of Brighton’s Police Commander and during the course of his career has dealt with crimes and criminals of all shapes and sizes.

Sometimes policemen who turn their hand to writing go for the fictional genre, and can woefully overburden the reader with how different real-life work is to those of the fictional characters we all love. I think what Graham Bartlett along with Peter James, have produced is far more interesting because the real and the fictional feature alongside each other celebrating the similarities but adding a side-serving of realism to the proceedings.

In nineteen chapters the book follows Graham’s life through his career picking out cases which definitely appealed to this reader. The books starts hard when one criminal gang decide to pull the trigger at a fellow Police Officer, but there are also tales of stolen gems, drugs, murder, bent policemen and the strategic policing of events like football games and demonstrations. Many of these tales reference back to episodes in the twelve Roy Grace books written by Peter James.

The stories told are interesting because the authors concentrate on the characters involved as well as the crimes being committed. There is one very touching story about a man who got involved in drugs and other’s where the authors meet up with some of the named criminals and victims years later which provides far more than a list of facts, procedure and policy but gets to the real truth of how these crimes can have consequences many years down the line.

Bravely the author also documents his private life, telling us how, unlike Roy and Sandy Grace, his marriage has stayed strong despite life’s misfortunes and the unpredictability of working hours in the force. Only on a very few occasions, oddly enough when the author was describing some of his colleagues, did the writing style feel a little on the stilted side. It didn’t put me off reading the book but I did wonder if he was aware that they would be eagerly reading the book to see what he’d said about them?

Of course with a career that lasted for thirty years Graham has seen lots of changing in policing. Some of the changes he documents are the obvious ones such as the advent of DNA and the increase in CCTV and later other technology to help in the solving of crimes, but other less obvious to those of us on the outside have also changed over the years.

I am sure that this book will appeal to both those who enjoy ‘true-crime’ but don’t want to dwell on the infamous criminals, which these books usually focus on, and of course to lovers of Peter James’s Roy Grace series. The latter category of readers can hear a little about the real people who inspired, and gave their names too, some of the fictional characters in the books and more description about the actual places detailed in these novels.

Death Comes Knocking has a very informal feel for a non-fiction piece of work in this genre because of the links to the fictional but that was exactly what kept me reading. I was worried that it would be too dry for my taste but far from it, I was eager to hear about a forging operation run out of Brighton as much as I was the poor woman who was the victim of a stalker, the variety alone felt astonishing until you remember how many different crimes Graham must have worked on over his time in the police force.

My copy of Death Comes Knocking was sent to me by Midas PR on behalf of Pan Macmillan, the publishers. This unbiased review is my thank you to them, and the authors.

Publication Date UK: 14 July 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
No of Pages 327
Genre: Non-Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 13)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

The book I’m reading at the moment is Death Come Knocking by Graham Bartlett with Peter James. This really is a really interesting look at real life policing in Brighton and cleverly linking to key plot-lines or character traits of the Roy Grace series.

Death Comes Knocking

To read an extract and the synopsis, please see yesterday’s post.

I’ve just finished I Found You by Lisa Jewell which was an excellent tale of a man who had lost his memory and wound up on a beach cold and wet. A book full of questions, just like I enjoy and much darker than you might expect.

I Found You

Blurb

‘How long have you been sitting out here?’
‘I got here yesterday.’
‘Where did you come from?’
‘I have no idea.’
East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.
Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.
Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can’t remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell’s brilliant new novel. Amazon

Next up I am going to read A Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain which got rescheduled a few weeks back due to a lack of time. I’m going to be honest, I’m not really sure that I have time for it this week either as my life is full of work and wedding bits for my daughter – she has my whole weekend planned for me and hasn’t factored in this massive book! But I’m going to do my best to get started.

Testament of Youth

Blurb

In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life – and the life of her whole generation – had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain’s account of how she survived those agonising years; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time, and has lost none of its power to shock, move and enthral readers since its first publication in 1933. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Fancy any of these? Please share in the comments envelope below

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (July 12)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opening comes from Death Comes Knocking: Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton by Graham Bartlett with Peter James

Death Comes Knocking

Blurb

Fans of Peter James and his bestselling Roy Grace series of crime novels know that his books draw on in-depth research into the lives of Brighton and Hove police and are set in a world every bit as gritty as the real thing. His friend Graham Bartlett was a long-serving detective in the city once described as Britain’s ‘crime capital’. Together, in Death Comes Knocking, they have written a gripping account of the city’s most challenging cases, taking the reader from crime scenes and incident rooms to the morgue, and introducing some of the real-life detectives who inspired Peter James’s characters.
Whether it’s the murder of a dodgy nightclub owner and his family in Sussex’s worst non-terrorist mass murder or the race to find the abductor of a young girl, tracking down the antique trade’s most notorious ‘knocker boys’ or nailing an audacious ring of forgers, hunting for a cold-blooded killer who executed a surfer or catching a pair who kidnapped a businessman, leaving him severely beaten, to die on a hillside, the authors skilfully evoke the dangerous inside story of policing, the personal toll it takes and the dedication of those who risk their lives to keep the public safe. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1: Man Down

One of the fascinations of policing is that you never really know what is around the corner. A much-loved and respected public order inspector I knew, Andy Parr – now sadly deceased – achieved his fifteen minutes of fame by theorizing that increases in violence were linked to the lunar cycle. Andy, almost single-handedly, led the fight against the drunken mobs who each weekend, seemed hell-bent on turning the city into a war zone. His research indicated that people became more aggressive and anti-social around the full moon. While not clearly scientific, his theory attracted a good deal of media discussion and hilarity. It was as valid as any explanation for when and why shit happens.

This extract comes from a proof copy

So what do you think? Do you want to know about real life policing in Brighton?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the envelope below!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Love You Dead – Peter James

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

Well Peter James would have to do something pretty dire to get less than five stars from me; I love this series featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace which is now up to book number twelve, and I have been a faithful follower ever since 2005 when Dead Simple was published! So did he thrill me? Yes he did! Although that’s not too say that I didn’t have some moments of concern as it took quite a while for my favourite policeman to take centre stage!

The first section of the book follows the exploits of Jodie Bentley, this isn’t a spoiler she tells us herself, more or less straightaway, that she is following the scent of money and the way she has chosen, involves extracting it from wealthy men. I’m not sure whether I was supposed to admire her or pity her, but pretty early on I took against her despite her back story. I honestly couldn’t really get into her psyche so had to take her at face value, and that face may have been pretty but it disguised a far from pretty nature. Peter James has created a character we can love to hate, one which injects a fair amount of fun as I tried to predict what schemes she would come up with next to get the money she wants! I think this is the first contemporary crime fiction I’ve read that features a ‘black widow’ and I have to say it was a refreshing change to have a female villain.

Anyway our Jodie predictably gets herself tangled up in some heavy nastiness which involves a character from the previous book, one who our Roy Grace would very much to have a bit of a chat with, wink, wink!! Peter James has a fantastic knack of layering these novels with different strands but never neglecting the central one, a device that makes for a very satisfying read, particularly when they diverge into one story, as in this case. This is a solid read that has a bit of everything for everyone; a realistic look at the modern police force (good and bad), sentimental parts, thrilling scenes and reflective sections, all centred around a great plot which is paced to perfection. Even when the book was over and I wonder what comes next I was able to wind down with the glossary which gives details of ranks, badges, slang and suchlike for the real nerdy readers, like me. Where this one differs from the more traditional police procedural is that the reader knows what’s going on and we take on the role of the observer as Roy Grace and his team try to figure it all out.

Roy Grace is happy, so happy he’s worried that everything is going to go wrong for him so it isn’t a great surprise that something does, or several things, not least his Chief Inspector and that shadow from the past, his missing wife Sandy! The knowledge needed for Roy Grace to keep ahead of the criminals in this book is exceptionally specialist and had me cringing in a different way to normal.

Although as in the rest of the series home is Brighton, in this book there is a bit of travel thrown in with skiing in Europe, hotels in the US and even a cruise there is plenty of variety. We also get a guided tour of how Brighton used to look before it became the ‘cool’ place to be it is now! See Peter James really does deliver something for everyone so it really doesn’t surprise me that these books have sold over seventeen million copies worldwide. After all they have a great mix of characters, one of my favourites gets a central role in this book, and the ever dependable and fundamentally decent Roy Grace leads the way as a great balance to the nastier villains. They also all share the assured writing which is strongly underpinned by complex plotting which reaches a satisfying conclusion. For readers who even when reading a series want to feel they understand everything, this book will not disappoint you.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Midas PR who managed to get this book to me in time for me to read and review it for publication day of today, 19 May 2016, this review is my unbiased thanks to them. Love You Dead is published by Macmillan and the back of the book jacket has a handy reminder of all Peter James’s books in case you are missing any from your collection!

Back of Love you dead

Roy Grace Series in order
Dead Simple
Looking Good Dead
Not Dead Enough
Dead Man’s Footsteps
Dead Tomorrow
Dead Like You
Dead Man’s Grip
Not Dead Yet
Dead Man’s Time
Want You Dead
You Are Dead
Love You Dead

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 18)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading Deadly Focus, the first in a DI Dylan series written by husband and wife team by R C Bridgestock a book that I’ve had on my kindle since November 2012. Having recently linked up with them on social media I decided it was high time I actually started reading this promising sounding series!

Deadly Focus

Blurb

Deadly Focus is a fast moving, gripping thriller in which the reader travels with DI Jack Dylan throughout his enquiries, living and breathing the pursuit of the sadistic murderer, through his eyes.
A schoolgirl vanishes; everyone becomes a suspect. Murder is chilling and full of mystery; nobody’s child is safe. It is the ultimate and relentless test for the man in charge of the enquiry and his team but the killer is one step ahead and another body is found. Will it prove too much as both Dylan’s health and private life begins to suffer?
DI Dylan is under the microscope and struggles to find a balance between his passion for his job and his love for his partner Jen.
Will he be able to maintain the impetus to bring the perpetrator to justice and secure justice for the victims’ families? Amazon

I have just finished Love You Dead by Peter James a book where DS Roy Grace makes a fairly late entry into the twelfth book in this series, but when he does…

Love You Dead

You can read the synopsis and an excerpt from this book in yesterday’s post

Next I plan to read My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry which is due out in eBook format on 26 May 2016. With comparisons made to Liane Moriarty, C. L. Taylor and Clare Mackintosh, all favourite authors of mine, I have high hopes for this one!

My Husband's Wife

Blurb

FIRST COMES LOVE. THEN COMES MARRIAGE. THEN COMES MURDER…
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind.
But then she meets Joe. A convicted murderer who reminds Lily of someone she once knew, and who she becomes obsessed with freeing.
But is he really innocent?
And who is she to judge? Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments envelope below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 17)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opener this week comes from my favourite crime series, probably of all time, and features Brighton based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (and his lovely lady, Cleo!) Love You Dead by Peter James is the twelfth book in the series.

Love You Dead

Blurb

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

                    1
Tuesday 10 February

The two lovers peered out of the hotel bedroom window, smiling with glee, but each for a very different reason.
The heavy snowfall that had been forecast for almost a week had finally arrived overnight, and fat, thick flakes of the white stuff were still tumbling down this morning. A few cars, chains clanking, slithered up the narrow mountain road, and others, parked outside the hotels, were now large white mounds.

This extract comes from a proof copy. Love You Dead will be published on 19 May 2016
Do you want to know more about a Black Widow who makes a grand entrance in the snow? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments box below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 15)

Weekly Wrap Up

Life has overtaken in the last few weeks with the result that I have read far less than normal but despite that, I thought I’d use this wrap-up post to share what I have read and which new books I have gained.

Last Week on the Blog

I took part in the Extract tour of Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard which had the unusual setting of a cruise ship for her psychological thriller.

I wrote a review for Little Bones by Sam Blake, a Dublin based crime novel, which was full of good things: action, great characters and a credible plot with an equally believable solution.

My Tuesday Post had an extract from the wonderful Play Dead by Angela Marsons which is out 20 May 2016. If you haven’t read the first three in this series, you are missing out!

Wednesday’s post  confirmed t that I have finished Mary Kubica’s third book, Don’t You Cry, the review will be posted next week as part of the book tour.

I then took part in the latest fun meme ‘My A-Z of Books’ which had me reflecting on those books I love from the past as well as the more recent additions.

Stacking the Shelves

It’s quite a while since I featured new additions to my bookshelves so here is what I’ve got!

There have been some irresistible bargains for kindle on Amazon recently so I purchased this one from my wishlist: Pariah by David Jackson which is the first in his Callum Doyle series. I loved his latest book A Tapping at my Door – one of my favourite reads of the year, so I now have a back-catalogue to explore.

Pariah

Blurb

Where can you turn when your very presence brings death to those around you?
That’s the question Detective Callum Doyle is about to face. It begins with the calculated murder of his partner on a vacant lot. But more death is to follow, and when the chilling anonymous messages arrive, Doyle is left in no doubt that this is about him.
You cannot go near your friends, your colleagues, or even your family. Because if you do… they will be killed.
To save others, Doyle is forced to cut himself off from society. But with the investigation getting nowhere and his isolation becoming unbearable, Doyle has to ask himself how much he’s willing to sacrifice to get his life back. Goodreads

The many excellent reviews I’ve read of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings made buying a copy of this at a bargain price a no-brainer

In Her Wake

Blurb

A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own.
A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.
Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home. Goodreads

The lovely Alice from Midas PR sent me a copy of Love You Dead by Peter James which arrived Friday to squeals of excitement, the Roy Grace series has been a firm favourite of mine for years now, a whole twelve in fact.

Love You Dead

Blurb

An ugly duckling as a child, Jodie Bentley had two dreams in life – to be beautiful and rich. She’s achieved the first, with a little help from a plastic surgeon, and now she’s working hard on the second. Her philosophy on money is simple: you can either earn it or marry it. Marrying is easy, it’s getting rid of the husband afterwards that’s harder, that takes real skill. But hey, practice makes perfect . . .
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is feeling the pressure from his superiors, his previous case is still giving him sleepless nights, there have been major developments with his missing wife Sandy, and an old adversary is back. But worse than all of this, he now believes a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills. Soon Grace comes to the frightening realization that he may have underestimated just how dangerous this lady is. Goodreads

And finally while out with a friend just yesterday I came across a used copy of Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín which has also been on my wishlist since reading Nora Webster by the same author.

Brooklyn

Blurb

Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighbourhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. Goodreads

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 8 books, and gained, 4 so the total has plummeted to 176 books!
94 physical books
69 e-books
13 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!

Posted in Uncategorized

My A-Z of Books

I saw this on Portebello Book Blog and By The Letter Book Reviews  and felt compelled to do this myself!

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

This has to be Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine when you take into the stand-alones and the Wexford series I have devoured a fair few of her books.

Best Sequel Ever

This is really hard but I’m going to pick The Lewis Man by Peter May which is the middle book of the Lewis Trilogy – if you haven’t read these, you are missing out.

Currently Reading

Play Dead by Angela Marsons the fourth in the amazing Kim Stone series

Drink of Choice While ReadingCoffee

Coffee, coffee and coffee – I’m addicted

E-Reader or Physical Book
I love my kindle and couldn’t live without it for ease and space reasons but I now accept that I prefer a physical book

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

At the time I was in high school it would have been Rupert Campbell-Black from Jilly Cooper’s Riders although he would have been far too old for me of course!

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

There are loads but most recently, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris was an amazing read, one that has softened my opinion of literary fiction considerably.

Hidden Gem Book

White Lie by Andrea Gillies which blew me away with its deep and dark secrets that shaped generations of the Salter family in Scotland.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life

Being invited to join the Amazon Vine program which meant that I was offered books that I might previously have ignored which really expanded my reading.

Just Finished

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

No fantasy novels or sci-fi – I’ve tried to embrace the genre but it just isn’t me!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure this is the longest in all time but about six years ago I read London by Edward Rutherfield which came in at a whopping 1152 pages – it took a long time for me to read but it was worth it to travel through London’s history and witness the changes.

Major Book HangoverBuriel Rites

Ooh this is hard, possibly after reading Burial Rites by Hannah Kent where I had immersed myself in Agnes’s story in Iceland where she awaited trial for murder with the Jonsson family – heartbreakingly sad!

Number of Bookcases You Own

Four but I desperately need a new one, I can’t part with any of the books currently residing in my abode!!

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

Margaret Forster’s Shadow Baby a book which underlines the fact that mothers come in all shapes and sizes and not always in a good way! Better still this is one of those dual time-line stories which I love!

Preferred Place to Read

If I could be on holiday all year round it would be by the pool on a sun-lounger with a fruity cocktail – reality designates my dear bed though.

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure that this inspires me so I’m going for the second half of the question from The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

Reading Regret

That I will never have time to read all the books that I want to! TBR cupboard

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Lots and lots, including those that I started part way through! The one I am most compelled to finish is Camilla Läckberg’s  Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series– I’m up to book eight, Buried Angels but I think I still need to read book four too!

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to choose just three, I will but on the proviso that I can change my mind at any time to include the three-hundred books which would be a far fairer question.

Asta’s Book by Barbara Vine

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brook

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Three books

Unapologetic Fangirl For

I’m not really a fangirl in the long-term way, maybe I don’t have the stamina but everyone who talks books to me gets told about the aforementioned Lewis Trilogy by Peter May

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

This has to be Love You Dead by Peter James which is out later this month! Considering I am fairly rubbish at reading series, this is one I always pre-order and make space in the reading schedule for!

Worst Bookish Habit

Buying far too many books that deep down I know I will never have time to read.

X Marks the Spot: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, which is a ‘sliding-doors’ novel; Irina McGovern’s destiny hinges on a single kiss. Whether she stays with her reliable partner Lawrence, or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player.

Your Latest Purchase

Pariah by David Jackson, the first in Detective Callum Doyle series bought because although I have the fourth in this series, Cry Baby, I enjoyed A Tapping at my Door so much I wanted to start at the beginning of his previous series.

Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late)

White Is The Coldest Colour by John Nicholl which was not only compulsive reading, the subject matter was so dark sleep wouldn’t come easily anyway.

 

Reading silhouette

Posted in My book problem

On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

On My Bookshelfv1

Following on from yesterday’s post where I gave you a peak at some of my bookshelves I have decided to extend the theme and show you more – yes there is more!

I have endured a lot of mocking about my reviews over the years, chiefly from my brother who on discovering them on Amazon felt the need to add helpful comments on random reviews. These comments are chiefly made up of ‘in jokes’ and will make no sense to anyone hoping for enlightenment, something that is gratifyingly noted by the number of people who thinks it adds to the discussion!

One of the latest objects for mirth is my ‘Five of the Best’ posts, which was initially prompted by my son, who insists that what I read in a certain month can’t possibly be of any help to anyone – after all a book I read in February has no relevance to what someone else will choose in February – I take all this on the chin and tell myself it is done out of affection.

However all this mickey taking got me to thinking… and I give you an excerpt of an early comment on one of my book reviews. The book I was reviewing was written by Sophie Hannah:

Probably also the kind of person who only reads books by people who have surnames as first names like Clive Michael or Betty Richards – don’t bother looking them up as I made them up as I’m not that kind of person myself –  although I once did have a surname as a first name but now I don’t as I changed it about three weeks ago for a first name to another name with a first name afterwards so it’s not a hypocritical thing to say at all…

So if you can disentangle the last part of that sentence you will deduce that my  maiden name is also a surname which is a first name… so today I am spotlighting five authors who have first names as surnames and currently sit on my bookshelf! That’s got to be helpful right?

Sophie Hannah – I have read all the books in the Culver Valley series which are very clever puzzles, one was too obscure for this reader, and although I haven’t enjoyed them all, I do like to see what direction the author will take us in next.

My review for book nine in the Culver Valley series: The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah1

Peter James – Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of this series, not least for another name detail, Roy Grace’s wife is called Cleo! Peter James delivers consistent well-told tales including his latest book You Are Dead which is out later this month.

Peter James 1

Agatha Christie – probably the author that started my trend of reading books by people with surnames that can be first names. I love Poirot and his little grey cells and here are three 1970’s editions published by Fortuna!
See my review of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie 1

Graeme Cameron – the newest author to join this special gang has created a serial killer with a wicked sense of humour in Normal

Graeme Cameron

Sarah Hilary has created a fantastic protagonist in Marnie Rome (perhaps my next post should be characters who have countries for names?) while simultaneously covering difficult issues in this immensely readable series.

See my review of No Other Darkness Sarah Hilary

So today’s challenge is to tell me who sits on your bookshelf with a first name as a surname!

Tune in next time and you might be lucky and find a useful link between my chosen books although this can’t be guaranteed!

Posted in Books I want to Read

On My Bookshelf

On My Bookshelfv1

As I haven’t acquired any new books this week – how good am I? I thought I’d share my bookshelves with you this week having got the idea from another bookshelf sharer; Snazzy Books

So for one week only I have some pictures and I will answer some pre-ordained questions.

I often rearrange my bookshelves mainly because I can’t keep all the books that pass through this house so I have to rationalise fairly frequently. I tend to do this by giving my books away in small amounts rather than having one big clear-out.

Top Shelf

This is the shelf that originally made up the header for my blog and the most prominent of the bookshelves in the house, the one book-loving guests first gravitate to when if they are like me want to have a good nose!  These are the bigger paperbacks that I have and on this shelf because they are more or less the same size.   The newest addition to this shelf is No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary

Full Shelf 1
How do you organise your books?
Each bookshelf is organised in a slightly different way. The full bookshelf (aka bookshelf 1) has the top shelf by size, the middle shelf is half-full of recently read larger books and half-full of the dual time historical novels by Kate Morton, Katherine Webb and Rachel Hore.

The bottom shelf is smaller favourite books and new additions to the TBR!

Favourite Authors that appear on your shelf?

These live on bookshelf 3 – amongst others you will find my Peter James collection, including You Are Dead, Sophie Hannah, Reginald Hill, Margaret Forster and Barbara Vine books. This shelf isn’t as easily accessible, being in the hallway, which is fine because I’m not so keen on lending these books out – many of them have been on several house moves with me!

Bookshelf 3 full

What books do you have that you want to read soon but haven’t yet got around to?

Well these live on the bottom shelf of bookshelf 2 – apart from the overspill to bookshelf 1 (see above)

Bookshelf 2 bottom shelf

The book I’m most looking forward to reading from this shelf is The Night Watch by Sarah Waters after remembering how much I love her books when I read The Paying Guests

Which books do I wish that were on my bookshelf but aren’t?

I wish I’d kept a selection of my childhood favourites. I was often given books as presents and had beautiful copies of The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables etc alongside well-worn copies of an abundance of Enid Blyton books, Noel Streatfeild and Roald Dahl.

Which books on your shelf are borrowed?

I have been lent a copy of A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry by a work colleague

A Fine Balance

Blurb

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.
The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers – a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village – will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.
As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state. Goodreads

So that’s a snapshot of my books that sit neatly on a bookshelf and aren’t squirreled away because I may have run out of space again! Check out Snazzy Books shelfie too!

What’s on your bookshelf today?