Sunday, 13 January 2013

Shopping for Books

I had a very nice Saturday yesterday. Spent the morning reading and watching Premiership footie. Then the missus and I headed down for a day of wandering around shops in Nanaimo. We stopped at the Post Office to pick up a late Xmas prezzie that Jo had ordered for me from a leather shop in England, The Tannery, from Holt, UK. We had visited it when we were in England last fall and wandering through the lovely town of Holt. It turned out the missus had bought me a new Picard briefcase from the store. I can't wait to use it when I go to work on Monday. We got sandwiches at Extra Foods, then headed down island, visiting Urban Barn, a favourite furniture/ accessory store of ours. We then headed over to Home Sense and Home Outfitters. Jo went to those stores and I wandered over to Chapters Books to use up a gift certificate that my daughter Jennifer got me for Xmas. (Well, she actually got me an e-reader, but gracefully let me trade it in for book certificates). Of course, I splurged a bit and bought more than the certificate was worth, but it sure helped out and got me on my way. (Thank you, Jenn) So here are the books I  bought -

1. Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher, by Kerry Greenwood. I've wanted to get copies of these books since I watched the Australian TV series, starring Essie Davis. It's a mystery series, set just after the Great War. Phryne Fisher is a member of English high society who returns to Melbourne, Australia, when society life becomes too boring. She decides to become a Private Detective and quickly becomes involved in many interesting cases. The TV series is funny, suspenseful and sexy, helped in great part by Essie Davis. This book has the first 3 stories, Cocaine Blues, Flying Too High and Murder on the Ballarat Train. I'm looking forward to reading these stories, hoping they are as good as the series.

2. The Crow Trap, by Ann Cleeves. The missus has been watching the Vera series, starring Brenda Blethyn. I've also heard about the books in my various goodreads book clubs. Vera Stanhope is a Detective Inspector created by Ann Cleeves. The Crow Trap is the first book in the series and involves a murder in the North Penines.

3. The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles, by Rosemary Sutcliffe. Back in my public school days, in the late '60s, I read the first book of this series, The Eagle of the Ninth. It's a young adult series, following the adventures of the lost legion. It's a book I've been looking for for a considerable time, one I've wanted to reread to see if it was as good as I remember it. I turns out there are three books in the series, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers. They involve varied stories, solving the mystery of the disappearing Ninth Legion, undoing a plot to overthrow the emperor or tracking down enemies to exact revenge.

4. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This is one of those young adult fantasy series that I've pulled off the book shelves many times and then put back. I finally saw the movie of the first book a couple of weeks ago and it was quite entertaining. It re-ignited my interest in reading the books. So when I saw this copy in Nanaimo, I figured I really should finally get it. The book tells the story of Katniss Everdean who volunteers to take part in the annual Hunger Games, a challenge organised by the central government to keep the provinces in its thrall. The Hunger Games bring together challengers, one boy and one girl, from the various regions, in a fight to the death for the entertainment of the public.

5. Plain Murder and The Pursued, by C.S. Forester. C.S. Forester is best known for his series of books on Horatio Hornblower and other classics such as The African Queen. However he also wrote a few mysteries. I had previously read Payment Deferred, a very suspenseful mystery. As I checked out the mysteries in Chapters, I saw that one again, but also the two listed above. Both looked very interesting. The Pursued was lost for 60 years after being written in 1935, so it's great to get a copy of it. Plain Murder involves 3 advertising men, discovered taking bribes and plotting to kill to murder the man who can report them. The Pursued involves the discovery of the dead body of Marjorie's sister, her head in the oven. The mother suspects the death is more than it looks and plots revenge against the suspected killer.

6. The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill. Daniel Radcliffe starred in the recent movie adaptation of this novel and I've wanted to read it ever since as it was a nicely suspenseful movie. The book was written in 1983, one of many fiction works by Susan Hill. She has also written a series of mysteries featuring Inspector Simon Serrailler. The plot summary of The Woman in Black reads as follows, " Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the sheltered windows. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses  wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose."

7. The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo. Jo Nesbo is a Norwegian crime writer who has introduced Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo police to the world. I've previously read The Redbreast and enjoyed very much. Nesbo has created a gritty, realistic crime novel and since reading The Redbreast, I've also purchased, but not yet read, Nemesis. I thought it would be good to get another in the series while I was in Chapters, hence the purchase of The Snowman. In this book, Harry and his team work to find a number of missing wives/ mothers. As the case progresses, he discovers he is working to find a serial killer working on his own turf.

8. The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Over the past couple of years, I've become quite addicted to Scandinavian mystery writers. I saw this book at one of the local book stores, but didn't get around to buying it before. Jussi Adler-Olson is a Danish crime writer and this is one the Department Q mysteries. Department Q is the equivalent of the Cold Squad, except in this series, the Department consists of only one person, Detective Carl Morck. Set in Copenhagen, the case involves the vanishing of a liberal politician over five years before. The politician is presumed dead, but Carl doesn't believe this and so the case begins. I look forward to reading this; my one concern being whether the translation into English works effectively, as I've found in at least one case where it didn't and that can definitely ruin a novel.

So there you go, both the missus and I had a nice day out; finished off with Wendy's Baconators and an excellent movie on the tube, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an excellent, well - made romantic comedy with Emily Blunt and Ewen MacGregor. I highly recommend.

Anyway, had a lovely Saturday and now it's time to head off to get a few groceries. Have a great week and keep on reading!

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