|Recently finished and currently reading.|
If you haven’t read Jim Kelly’s books, and you like moody mysteries where landscape is so important that it’s almost a character in the novel, you should try them. I’m very fond of his Philip Dryden novels, set in the flat and watery Fenland area around Ely. The main character in this series is journalist Philip Dryden. Stranded in the fens because his wife is in a coma in a local hospital, following a tragic car accident where he was driving, Dryden ditches his big time job in London and finds another writing for a small local paper, so he can stay close to his wife. He is so traumatized by the accident, he’s unable to drive. And he relies on a local underemployed cabby named Humph, who seems to do little but sit in his car, eat take-out food, wait for Dryden, and listen to foreign language tapes. Humph has his own problems, estranged from his wife and missing his two young daughters, he eats, and plans foreign trip after foreign trip, but never leaves home. Kelly’s first book in the series is The Water Clock, and there are six more after that one. I envy the luck reader who hasn’t sampled this series yet. I love this one.
I think I like Kelly’s Dryden series even more than the Shaw/Valentine books. Partly because they are so quirky. Partly because the setting is so evocative. Even Dryden comes to love the Fenlands. And partly because Dryden’s wife’s condition gradually gets better and better with each book. Phew. If Kelly had killed her off I would have been right royally pissed at him.
In a post in early January I wrote about Jim Kelly’s new Nighthawk series, the first book of which I really enjoyed. Funnily enough that post was about being sick. And here we are in early February and I’m still coughing. Sheesh. Anyhoo, Kelly has two more books out in that series. The Mathematical Bridge and The Night Raids, neither of which I’ve read. I’m about to remedy that, though.
Other books that I’ve read recently…
The Body in Question by Jill Ciment. I saw on Frances’ book blog that she had read this, and ordered it. I had a hard time putting this one down. Felt totally pissed off at the characters most of the time, and I remember saying to Hubby when I was done, “Wow… so glad that I am not going on trial in front of a jury of my peers.” My faith in regular people as jurors is certainly dashed. Still it’s a well written novel, and definitely worth a read.
Hubby and I have both been reading Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series… backwards. We read her years ago starting with A is for Alibi. But somehow she fell off our radar, but where the heck in the alphabet we were we have no idea. So we’ve started at the end, or the last book Grafton wrote before her death. I read Y is for Yesterday, and now Hubby is reading it. I also gobbled up X (that’s the whole title, presumably because what goes with X anyway?), and then W is for Wasted. I really like this series. It’s set entirely in the eighties, which is kind of interesting actually. How quickly we forget we once had to use paper telephone books. Ha. Grafton is a competent writer. I don’t think she’s on the same level as Jim Kelly. But her plots hang together well. And in an age where so many writers go off on a weird tangent at the end of a novel, for added thrills one presumes, that is saying something. I like how as a reader we puzzle along with Kinsey as she unravells the clues. And I like her characters. Grafton’s books are perfect sick room reading, I think.
So that’s what I’ve been reading. And this is what’s waiting for me on my bookshelf.
My book club buddy, Rachel, lent me Linda Grant’s novel The Clothes on Their Backs about a family of Jewish-Hungarian immigrants who arrived in London in 1938 with nothing but the proverbial clothes on their backs. Apparently it’s a novel about identity and belonging… and clothes. I took a verrry, verrry quick look at a review to get that much, mostly squinting with one eye so I didn’t read any more than absolutely necessary. Ha. I hate reading reviews of books I’m about to read. I don’t want to be told too much too soon. Weird, eh?
I wanted to use my trusty Christmas Chapters/Indigo gift card to order Tobi Tobias’s Obsessed by Dress, which was recommended as required reading by Grant in her book The Thoughtful Dresser. I’m sure that most of you have probably already read Grant’s novel The Clothes on Their Backs, and Tobias’s book. I’m behind the curve here, I know.
Sadly, I was unable to acquire Tobi Tobias’s book at Indigo. Bu-ut.. I just found that I can get Obsessed by Dress here. Yeah! The delivery of a new book will cheer up the sickroom to no end. I’m thinking that any book recommended by Linda Grant is required reading for this Thoughtful Dresser devotee.
And when I’m done those two, I’ll be going to Paris with Mrs. Harris. On Dottoressa’s recommendation, seconded by Frances over at Materfamilas Writes, I’ve ordered from our library Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. Ha. Are you spying a theme here, folks? I should add I’ve finished Mrs. ‘Arris. It was soooo good for people sipping tea and getting over a nasty cold. I smiled all the way through it. 🙂
|First on my “To Read” list|
Linking up with Catherine at #ShareAllLinkup.