Saturday, 4 January 2014

Curently Reading and New Books

A new year is on us, 2014. It's been a lovely start to the year for us on the West Coast. Not so good for those in the East, what with the heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures. It's cool and clear here, but was a nice morning for my first morning run of the year. Stars bright in the sky, temperature frosty. I hope I'll be a bit more consistent with the running this year. Now that the puppies are settling in to our home routines, I should be able to.

So how's the year started off in regards to my reading challenges. I'm currently reading the following two books:

Currently Reading

1. In the Woods by Tana French. Tana French is an Irish writer and this is her first book,  a mystery novel set near Dublin. It's a book that quite a few of the other members of my Goodreads' clubs have read. I finally picked up a copy at my local Courtenay Used Book store back in March of last year. I decided to read it as one of my 12 + 4 selections in 2014 and thought it would be a good book to start the year off with. This is the synopsis on the back page.

"You're twelve years old. It's the summer holiday. You're playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again. Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Even he has no memory of what happened that day. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with its own sinister undercurrents. The victim's apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob's own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back.. into the woods."

I'm about 25% of the way into the story so far and enjoying very much. Tana French writes thoughtfully and intelligently and is developing the story and characters very nicely. I'm very impressed with this so far as a first novel. If it ends as well as it starts, I will definitely continue to read her books. Next in line is The Likeness, which features Rob Ryan's partner, Cassie.

2. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie originally wrote this novel in 1929. My edition is a Pocket Book published in 1986. It is the third story featuring Hercule Poirot, who has retired from detective work to King's Abbot to raise marrows. This is the synopsis of this mystery -

"The peaceful English village of King's Abbot was stunned. First the attractive widow Ferrars died from an overdose of veronal. Then - twenty-four hours later - Roger Ackroyd, the man she planned to marry, was murdered in his own study. Hercule Poirot the redoubtable Belgian detective, questioned Abbot's nearest and dearest, one by one. 'You will find,' he said slowly, 'that all such cases resemble each other in one thing: everyone has something to hide...."

I'm so glad to be getting back into Agatha Christie's mysteries. They are like a comfortable sweater or warm socks, they feel so good to curl up with. The story flows nicely and I already can't wait to see how  Monsieur Poirot will solve this case. I'm reading the Christie's as part of my bedtime nightstand challenge. Reading two books by the same author as my bedtime read. Not sure what my second Christie will be, but I'm looking forward to it already.

New Books (Xmas presents)

I received three new books for Christmas, two from my sis-in-law Sue and her husband Rob and one from my lovely wife. Supposedly there are still a couple more from the missus and one from my daughter in the mail. :0) These are the three I've received so far.

1. The American Boy by Andrew Taylor. Andrew Taylor is a prolific British mystery/ historical fiction writer. The American Boy is one of his historical novels and came out in 2003. The synopsis looks very interesting -

"England 1819. Thomas Shield, a new master at a school just outside London, is a tutor to a young American boy and the boy's sensitive best friend, Charles Frant. Drawn to Frant's beautiful, unhappy mother, Thomas becomes caught up in her family's twisted intrigues. Then a brutal crime is committed, with consequences that threaten to destroy Thomas and all that he has come to hold dear. Despite his efforts, Shield is caught up in a deadly tangle of sex, money, murder and lies - a tangle that grips him tighter even as he tries to escape from it. And what of the strange American child at the heart of these macabre events - what is the secret of the boy named Edgar Allan Poe?

2. The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor. This is the second Andrew Taylor book I received from Sue and Rob. It was published in 2013 and is another of Taylor's historical mysteries.

"August 1778. British-controlled Manhattan is a melting pot of soldiers, traitors and refugees, surrounded by rebel forces as the American War of Independence rages on. Into this simmering tension sails Edward Savill, a London clerk tasked with assessing the claims of loyalists who have lost out during the war. Savill lodges with the ageing Judge Wintour, his ailing wife, and their enigmatic daughter-in-law Arabella. However, as Savill soon learns, what the Wintours have lost in wealth, they have gained in secrets. The murder of a gentleman in the slums pulls Savill into the city's underbelly. But when life is so cheap, why does on death matter? Because making a nation is a lucrative business and some people cannot afford to miss out, whatever the price..."

3. Mr Standfast by John Buchan. My wife got me this for Xmas, purchasing it from a book dealer in Winnipeg, Canada. I have been collecting the Mr Hannay adventures by British writer, John Buchan and this will now complete my collection. It's an excellent Penguin edition, published in 1960. The five books in the series are - The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), Greenmantle (1916), Mr Standfast (1919), The Three Hostages (1924) and The Isle of Sheep (1936). I've previously read the first two, The Thirty-Nine Steps is one of my favourite adventure thrillers. This is the synopsis of Mr Standfast -

"Richard Hannay - now a Brigadier - General - is again taken from active service to become entangled in the most dangerous and mysterious secret service. A group of pacifists is working against the war effort and agitating in countless ways - underhand and open - to stop the war. In this seemingly sincere movement, Hannay detects something deeper and more sinister, and with the help of his friends (and some of his opponents) and of The Pilgrim's Progress, reveals a plot, covering Europe as well as Britain, to bring victory to Germany. The attempt by their leader to win the love of Hannay's fiancĂ©e complicates the political issues, and in the breaking of the conspiracy Hannay and his friends take great chances and undergo grave risks. The setting ranges from rural and suburban England to the battlefields of France, and the Highlands and Islands of Buchan's beloved Scotland. Buchan captures the uncertainty and fear that haunt the minds of the characters as well as he describes the warfare on the Western Front."

So there you have it, my first update of 2014. Have a great year!


  1. Hey Bill,

    I liked your review of Tana French's book that I'm going to get all 3. They look very interesting and can't wait to hear what else you have to say. I'm also in Book Addicts group.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Susan. I hope you enjoy the books. I'll probably be getting her others as well. See you at the Book Addicts. :0)


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