Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Monday, 31 August 2020

Rats as big as cats

Homage to Catalonia You have to admire the courage of war correspondents, the journalists who place themselves in the middle of a conflict in order to bring us reports of the fighting and destruction and its effects on citizens. In December 1936, six months after the start of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell travelled to Spain "with some notion of writing newspaper articles". Unlike today's reporters he went a step further. He promptly joined the militia, "because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do". It's rather a lame explanation, ill-considered and reckless considering what happened next.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Beach or book? Both

It was an easy choice to make on a sunny Saturday afternoon on the Cote d'Azur. I could have gone to the beach, stretched out in the sun and read the next story in Wayward Girls and Wicked Women. Instead I sat in a cool back room at the Scotch Tea House to listen to a bunch of authors talk about their books. Bliss!

Meet The Authors (3 June 2017) was organized by Margo Lestz as a fringe event during Nice's Festival du Livre. Adrian Leeds directed the afternoon and ensured the seven writers passed the baton smoothly from one to the next. Most of the speakers used their knowledge of the South of France to write a variety of fiction, fact, and memoir.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Loretta's last stand

Full Stop (Loretta Lawson Mystery) Set around 10 years after the first book of the Loretta Lawson series, the final story finds the English academic staying alone in a friend's apartment in New York.

There's no murder investigation in this book, it's about how Loretta deals with unwanted male attention, harassment and stalking. In spite of this, I enjoyed the story, especially scenes involving a pet dog that Loretta has to look after. As a stand-alone story, it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but having followed the development of Loretta's character over the previous four books in the series, and having got to know her friends, it was a satisfying read in which there were references to the plots of previous stories and the tying up of a loose end.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

.... and what women don't say

What Men Say What Men Say sees Loretta Lawson involved in a police investigation following the discovery of a body at her best friend's house. The action takes place in Oxford, stamping ground of fictional detective Inspector Morse, who is given a nod in the story.

I thought the book might be subtitled "and what women don't say", since the story revolves around the relationship between Loretta and her friend Bridget.

Friday, 7 April 2017

An ansaphone, Vivaldi, and the Communards

Don't Leave Me This Way Joan Smith's third Loretta Lawson book once again sees the English academic questioning a mysterious death, this time putting herself in danger.

Set in London over Christmas and New Year, the amateur sleuth reluctantly puts up an old acquaintance on her sofa bed. We discover Loretta's conflicting feelings about her friends, lover and ex-husband, which I think make the character more sympathetic and give her more depth.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

More 80s sleuthing

Why Aren't They Screaming? (Loretta Lawson, #2) The second Loretta Lawson book once again features Joan Smith's inquisitive English professor, still using telephone boxes and listening to cassette tapes. Throughout the story there are references to her previous investigation and love life, but there's no need to have read the first book to enjoy the second.

This time the action takes place shortly after America's air strikes against Libya, in mid-1980s UK. Our feminist investigator is recuperating in the neighbourhood of a women's peace camp on the perimeter of an airforce base, no doubt inspired by Greenham Common.