Friday, 2 January 2015

Welcome to 2015

Well, here we are, starting off 2015. I spent yesterday watching New Year's Day footie and finishing off an Alistair MacLean thriller, The Last Frontier, one I'd hoped to finish 2014 with. Such is life, so my first 2015 book of the year was a bit of a carry-over. It wasn't my favourite Alistair MacLean book, I found it kind of pontificating. It involved a British spy who sneaks into Hungary to try and 'rescue' a British scientist who's attending a conference in Budapest. Along the way, with typical MacLean verve, there are many crises, which endanger his helpers as much as Mr. Reynolds and also much discussion about the causes of world disorder, etc. It's still an entertaining Cold War thriller, but, as mentioned, not my favourite MacLean book.

Now onto my first starts of 2015.

1. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious - This is the Pan edition that I found. It was published in 1970, a 20th printing. The first printing, as per the inside flap, was in 1957 by Frederick Muller Ltd. A few of my Goodreads' friends read this the past couple of years and seeing them listing it, brought back memories of the TV series that I remember my parents (and me of course) watching back in the late' 60s. It's described as a prime time soap, so must have been in the evenings. It had a great cast; Ryan O'Neal as Rodney Harrington, Barbara Parkins as Betty Anderson, Mia Farrow as Alison MacKenzie, Dorothy Malone as her mother, Constance MacKenzie, etc. A couple of years ago, the missus watched the original movie on TCM. That helped get me interested in the book. So this year, it's my first selection. As it says on the back, 'Frank, revealing, shockingly honest! Teeming with incident and vitality, this big, rich diverse novel of American small town life truly presents the characters in the full dimension of their lives." From what I've read, it was quite a shocking novel for its time, sold 60,000 copies in its first ten days and remained on the Times best seller list for 59 weeks. The author, Grace Metalious (I do love that name) did write a few other books, but this was her big success. I've just started but I'm enjoying how the characters and the town of Peyton Place are being introduced.

2. The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett - This edition was published by Pan Books in 2001. The book was first published in 2000. Simon Brett is an accomplished radio producer and mystery writer. When I heard the missus listening to his Charles Paris series on BBC Radio, it got me looking him up. He wrote not only the Paris mysteries, but also the Mrs. Pargeter series and the Fethering series, amongst other works. I've slowly been collecting his books, but up until now haven't had the opportunity to read any. The Body on the Beach is the first in the Fethering mysteries and is also the first book in my 12 + 4 challenge. It features two women sleuths, Carole Seddon and her neighbour, Jude. This is the synopsis, "Very little disturbs the ordered calm of Fethering, a pleasingly self-contained retirement settlement on England's southern coast. Which is precisely why Carole Seddon, who has outlived both her husband and her career at the Home Office, has chosen to reside there. So the last thing Carole expects to encounter in Fethering is a new neighbour with but one name and an obviously colourful past. 'Jude' was not really Fethering..... but neither was the body Carole found on the beach. A body, it has to be said, that has disappeared by the time the police arrive. Only Jude is ready to believe what her neighbour says she saw - and from that moment on, the two women are resolved to turn detectives."

So there you go, 2015 is underway! Have a great weekend.

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