Monday, 2 May 2016

Book Purchases Update No.2 - April 30th (Rotary Club Book Fair)

Two posts ago I updated my book purchases for 2016, including the first day of the Comox Rotary Club's Biannual Book Sale. Saturday, 30 Apr was the closing day so I went back one more time to see if there were still any good books to be had. The good thing about the last day is that you only pay $7.00 for each bag of books you buy. I managed to find 14 books, so basically they were only $.50 a book, quite a bargain.

I've been slowly incorporating these latest purchases into my various book lists; my 2016 Challenge listings, my old MS Access book database, my Goodreads book lists and my hard copy 'Books I want to Read' books. Now it's time to let you all know what I've added to my overflowing book shelves. I think I've got a nice variety of series, fiction (classics), Science Fiction and my new Canadian Literature listing. Let's start with that...

Canadian Literature

Canadian Literature
In my post on the 28th of April, I mentioned that I've been reading a book which highlights the author's favourite Canadian Literature (Can Lit) since 1984. Since I did take a Can Lit back in my university days, 1976 I think it was, I thought it might be a good idea to check out some of the more recent authors, you know, from the 1980's to present. Or maybe I'm just trying to become a literary snob.. :) I had added a few books from the catalogue in this past month. I found two more at the Book Sale - Rules of Engagement by Catherine Bush and The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan.

Rules of Engagement is described as 'an exceptional second novel from Catherine Bush, a powerful exploration of what love is, the emotional borders we must cross in order to try to attain it, and the responsibilities inherent in its possession." The Wives of Bath was a finalist for the 1993 Guardian Fiction Award. According to a blurb by the Boston Globe, it is 'a wry coming-of-age story built around a murder tale that bristles with sexual secrets." (Yup, they are both definitely down my alley)

Ongoing Mystery Series
Dutch and Canadian mysteries
I've read two or three of AC Baantjer's Dutch Inspector DeKok mystery series set in Amsterdam and enjoyed very much. I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent copy of another in this series. According to Wikipedia, 23 of his 60 books have been translated into English.

"In The Geese of Death, DeKok takes on Igor Stablinsky, a man accused of bludgeoning a wealthy old man and his wife. to DeKok's unfailing eye the killing urge is visibly present in the suspect during questioning, but did he commit this particular crime?"

Alan Bradley is a Canadian but his Flavia de Luce series takes place in England. Flavia is a precocious child who gets involved in crimes in her town of Bishop's Lacey. I read the first book a couple of years ago and have been looking for the 2nd in the series, The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, (You could buy these books just because of the titles) so I could continue it.

"Flavia de Luce didn't intend to investigate another murder - but, then again, Rupert Porson didn't intend to die. When Porson's van breaks down in Bishop's Lacey, he becomes the victim of an electrocution too perfectly planned to be an accident."

(Did the teasers make you want to try these books?)

More Crime Stories / Thrillers

US Crime Fiction
I've not read any of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct books, although they have been pretty highly recommended in my Mystery Book Club. I've bought a few of the series, mostly his more recent stories. The Mugger was released in 1956 (one year after my birth.. egads!) and is the 2nd book of the series. From what I understand, different police tend to feature in each story, so I shouldn't have to worry about missing the first.

"Clifford thanks you, Madam," he said, bowing from the waist. Then the mugger vanished into the night, leaving behind his battered, terrified female victim. It had happened fourteen times so far. The cops of the 87th Precinct wanted it to stop now. Then a beautiful young woman is found dead, and the case of Clifford turns uglier. Enter a handsome blond patrolman named Bert King, who knew the murder victim, knows the rules, and may just catch a killer in spite of himself."

I have read the first book in the Butcher Boy series by Thomas Perry. My brother told me that he thinks the Jane Whitfield series is even better. Shadow Woman is the third book in this series.

"Jayne Whitfield is a name to be whispered like a prayer. A shadow woman who rescues the helpless and the hunted when their enemies leave them no place to hide. Now with the bone-deep cunning of her Native American forebears, she arranges a vanishing act for Pete Hatcher, a Las Vegas gambling executive. It should be a piece of cake, but she doesn't yet know about Earl and Linda - professional destroyers who will cash in if Hatcher dies, killers who love to kill slowly. From Vegas to upstate New York to the Rockies, the race between predator and prey slowly narrows until at last they share an intimacy broken only by death."

Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe detective series is another I've been slowly collecting, but have yet to delve into. I definitely plan to give it a go this year. And a Villain was originally published in 1948 and is the 13th book in the series.

"Horse racing expert Cyril Orchard unintentionally made broadcasting history when he died of cyanide poisoning on Madeline Fraser's popular radio program. Now Nero Wolfe is about to make history - by agreeing to investigate the case with his sizable fee contingent on his solving the murder. It's a rare gamble for the great detective - and the odds are stacked high in the killer's favour."

A couple of more thrillers
I read the first of US thriller writer, Meg Gardiner's, Jo Beckett series, The Dirty Secret's Club last year and found it a nice, tense story. Since then, I've bought a few more of her books. Jericho Point is the third book in her Evan Delaney series.

"When the body of a young woman washes up on the black sands of the California beach Jericho Point, it's identified as Evan Delaney's. But Evan is very much alive - apparently the victim of an identify thief who was playing the Hollywood rich for everything they're worth. The crook may be dead, but the crimes she was murdered for - crimes committed in Evan's name - are turning Evan's life into a nightmare. Now, in the shadow of a dead woman's lies, it's all Evan can do to survive."

Daniel Silva is another new writer for me. His books have been nominated for group reads in my Mystery, Thriller book club, so once again, I thought I should check him out. The Mark of the Assassin is the first of two books in the Michael Osbourne series. He's also written a number of books in the Gabriel Allon series.

"When a terrorist bomb blows Flight 002 out of the sky off the east coast, there is only one chilling clue. A body found near the crash site bears the deadly calling card of an elusive, lethal assassin - three bullets to the face. Michael Osbourne of the CIA knows the markings. Personally."

Classics / Literature
The Classics (1)
I've read a few of English writer, Evelyn Waugh's stories over the past few years. I like his dry sense of humour. I've never read anything by Baroness Orczy before. In fact, I'd never really ever heard of her before. I had, of course, heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel, so thought I should give it a try when I saw the book. It could suit my upcoming 'book to movie genre challenge' nicely.

This is the synopsis for Evelyn Waugh's Put Out More Flags -
"What happened to the characters of Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies when war broke out? Put Out More Flags shows them adjusting to the changing social pattern of the times. Some of the play valorous part; others, like the scapegrace Basil Seal, disclose their incorrigible habit of self-preservation in all circumstances. Basil's contribution to the war effort involves the use of his peculiar talents in such spheres of opportunity as the Ministry of Information and an obscure section of Military Security."

This is the synopsis for The Scarlet Pimpernel -
"Each day this question grew more pressing to the rulers of the French Revolution. Only this man and his band of followers threatened their total power. Only this maddeningly elusive figure defied the vast network of fanatics, informers and secret agents that the Revolution spread out to catch its enemies. Some said this man of many disguises, endless ruses and infinite darin was an exiled French nobleman, returned to wreak vengeance. Others said he was an English lord, seeking sheer adventure and supreme sport in playing the most dangerous game of all. But of only one thing could those who sought him be sure. They knew all too well the symbol of his presence, the blood-red flower known as the Scarlet Pimpernel."

The Classics (2)
W. Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene have been two of my favourite writers over the past couple of years. I enjoy their writing style and skill and their story-telling. I've also enjoyed Greene's Travel novels, his journeys to Liberia and Mexico. I'm looking forward to taking another book off the shelves this year to continue reading their novels.

This is the synopsis for Maugham's Cakes and Ale, originally published in 1930 -
"Rosie, in less decorous days, had been married to a famous author whose second wife later nursed him into the position of Grand Old Man of English Letters. Some have professed to see a likeness to Thomas Hardy in Edward Driffield, and to Hugh Walpole in Alroy Kear, the ambitious but untalented biographer. Maugham, however, denied any such connection."

And this is the synopsis for Greene's The Captain and the Enemy, originally published in 1988 -
"The Captain always maintained hat he won Jim from his father at a game of backgammon. Fraud, adventurer, robber and thief, the Captain has as many tall stories to tell as Jim has had boarding-school dinners. Now aged twenty-two, a hack journalist and unwitting Judas, Jim attempts to piece together the Captain's story."

Science Fiction / Fantasy
Two favourites, Wyndham and Burroughs
John Wyndham is one of my all-time favourite Science Fiction authors. The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids both rank in my top-ten Science Fiction stories. I thought I'd read all of his stories, but The Secret People was published under John Benyon in 1935 and was his first full-length novel. It was a nice surprise to see it at the Book Sale. As to Edgar Rice Burroughs, I read his John Carter of Mars series back when I was a high school student and then again a few years later. I'd avoided the Tarzan series, but of late, thought it might be interesting to give it a try. Tarzan Lord of the Jungle is the 11th book in this series.

This is the synopsis for The Secret People -
"The planners of the world's greatest engineering feat - the flooding of part of the Sahara desert - knew nothing of the life which teemed below their New Sea. But for the accident which plunged Mark Sunnet and his girl-friend into a cavernous world, nothing would have been known of the catastrophe which now threatened the survivors of an ancient race. Their struggle against doom, and Mark's flight for survival, is the theme of this fascinating story."

And, finally, this is the synopsis for Lord of the Jungle -
"Tarzan, always alert against intruding despoilers of his beloved jungle, orders an American hunter and an Arab slave trader to leave his country. But all are trapped in an ancient, medieval community isolated behind a wall of mountains for seven hundred and fifty years - and Tarzan is involved in one of the most fantastic adventures he has yet encountered."

There you go, all up-to-date. Do any of the books tweak your interest?

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