April 18th, 2014

Reading - La Liseuse

Books #1-2

1. Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 356 pages, Mystery, 2010 (In Death, Book 30).

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has to wonder if Science Fiction has become reality when a gaming executive is killed in his home holographic gaming room – locked, with security records showing no one but the victim inside. I love the science fiction part of this series, being set in 2060 and usually pretty understated, but here it takes the main stage as light becomes a means of murder. And the human part of the story is never left out.

2. Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 373 pages, Mystery, 2010 (In Death, Book 31).

Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her partner, Detective Peabody, investigate a series of murders of people who were known for being among the best in their area of service, from chauffeur to licensed companion, chef and beyond. All were hired with a stolen identity, all tied to two distinguished firms run by upper-class families. Dallas’ husband, Roarke, knows them, of course, but also knows their views on his new-money rich and those outside their little circle. So, is someone trying to set them up? Or are they trying to run their own little game of murder? Excellent read, lots of creativity in the murders.
  • cat63

Books 54-62 for 2014

54. Black Ship by Carola Dunn. 252 pages.
Another inconvenient corpse for Daisy - this one practically on her doorstep and her new neighbours heading the suspect list….
55. Kim by Rudyard Kipling. 246 pages.
Classic tale of the son of an Irish soldier growing up in India and eventually joining the British secret service. Some will likely find it objectionable because of the imperialism and jingoistic attitudes, but the writing is very good, and Kipling’s attitude toward the different races and religions of India seems quite enlightened for the period.
56. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. 221 pages.
This was one of those books that took me a while to get into and then, just as I was getting into the swing of it, it stopped. I was not the least bit surprised to discover that there’s a sequel in the works.
57. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. 89 pages.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever sat down and watched any of the films which have been made of this book, but I’ve certainly seen bits of more than one - none of which bears much resemblance to the original written version beyond the name of the protagonist….
It was interesting to read it though and to see how linear the story was, considering it’s one of the archetypal spy stories.
58. Sheer Folly by Carola Dunn. 266 pages.
Another entry in the Daisy Dalrymple series. Pleasant enough, but not as good as most of the others for some  reason I can’t quite put my finger on.
59. Roman Blood by Steven Saylor. 265 pages.
First in the Roma Sub Rosa series. I think I was unable to appreciate this one fully as I’m a big fan of Lindsey Davis’ Falco series and I was constantly comparing the two in my head as I was reading.
Saylor’s book is set in an earlier (and more bloody) period of Roman history and one with which I’m less familiar. I think I’ll need to read a few more in this series to give it a fair chance.
60. Anthem for Doomed Youth by Carola Dunn. 262 pages.
Alec is called in to a serial killer case. Daisy, meanwhile is off to a school sport’s day. So she can’t possibly get mixed up in the case. Yeah, right.
61. Clementine by Cherie Priest. 146 pages.
Second in the Clockwork Century series.
Captain Croggon Hainey is determined to get his airship back - after all, he stole it, fair and square!
Belle Boyd, the Pinkerton Agency’s newest recruit is determined to bring Hainey in - until she finds out what’s being carried in the ship he’s chasing….
This second book in the series seemed somehow sketchy, as if the plot had been curtailed by a rapidly approaching deadline, but was still entertaining.
62. Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo. 139 pages.
Will has just lost his soldier father in Iraq, so his grandparents send him and his mother on holiday to Indonesia. with incredibly bad timing they’re caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. will is on an elephant ride at the time, and this saves his life - the elephant senses the approaching disaster and flees into the jungle with Will still aboard.
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Book #20: Buttoned-Up (Fantastic Man)

Number of pages: 112

Fantastic Man is not, as I first thought, a pretentious pseudonym, but a men's fashion magazine that originated in The Netherlands.

Although this book is part of a series celebrating the 125th anniversary of the London Underground, this book has absolutely nothing to do with trains or public transport, instead focussing on: "The peculiarity of buttoning up one's shirt, especially in east London"; it sounds like a strange topic, and it is one, and it seems incredible that a 112-page book was published about this subject. It sounds like it could be meant as hilariously funny, but the writers take themselves very seriously.

The book consists of a series of different articles, written by different writers from the magazine, all talking about how several young men in the Shoreditch area of London took to wearing a shirt with the top button done up, but without a tie. The book includes an interview with Neil Tennant of 1980s band The Pet Shop boys and an article that connects the fashion with mod rock culture.

Overall, this feels like a very niche interest, and the book is padded out by various pictures of young men modelling shirts and street corners in Shoreditch. I thought it made for a reasonably interesting read, though the chapter where it talked about mod rocker culture felt like it was giving a very quick overview when it could have gone into great depth about this topic. I thought this was an okay book, but I suspect many audiences would be quite cynical about it.

Next book: The X-Files Season 10 Issue #5 (Chris Carter, Joe Harris, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire)