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  1. Here's my round-up for September. Some old, some new, mainly crime but one or two other things as well. Harry Stephen Keeler - The Crilly Court mystery. Reporter Jimmie Kentland gets a tip off about a murder in a junk shop in Crilly Court. So far so normal but then it takes off into a plot of typical Keeler bonkers-ness, not least involving a portrait of a man from Saturn and there's even a science fiction story shoehorned into the middle for no obvious reason. An experience not to be forgotten. Dorothy L. Sayers - The unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Old General Fentiman expires in a chair at said club. Lord Peter Winsey wants to know when and uncovers more than he bargained for. Quite simply a delight from start to finish. R. T. Fishall - The Twitmarsh file. From 1985, an amusing look at the actions of loony left councils and bureaucrats. Trouble is, what was loony left then is completely mainstream now... Holly Roth - The Content assignment. Terrant falls in love with a woman in post-war Berlin and tries to track her down years later, but is obstructed by the authorities at every turn. More of a spy thriller than a detective story but OK. Jack Vance - Trullion: Alastor 2262. On the watery planet Trullion, typical Vance hero Glinnes Hulden returns home after ten years to find that his brother has sold off the family assets. Can he get them back, and can he do it through the game of hussade (which definitely would be described as problematic by the Me-Too generation!). Needless to say, yes. Douglas Coupland - Shampoo planet. The only early Coupland I hadn't read, and it's like the others: nothing much happens and yet it's insanely readable. He could write the phone book and I'd probably still read it. Anthony Horowitz - A line to kill. The third in this series in which a writer called Anthony Horowitz is shadowing a detective called Daniel Hawthorne. Here they are invited to a writers' convention on Alderney, during which the obnoxious organiser is bumped off. Excellent. Belinda Bauer - Exit. Pensioner Felix Pink helps people kill themselves. But on his latest assignment, he helps the wrong person. Another excellent book by Bauer, though occasionally the actions of the protagonist did seem rather out of character. Robert B. Parker - Widow's walk. Finally managed to find a copy of one of the Spenser series I was missing. Dumb blonde Mary Smith's husband Nathan is shot dead while she watches TV. Did she do it? Jan Stewer - Ole Biskit. In the 1920s, a man from the West Country buys a car and learns to drive it. Albert Coles adopted the pen-name Jan Stewer (from the song Widecombe Fair) for his gently humorous tales written in Devon dialect which were very popular in the inter-war years. Probably completely incomprehensible to anybody from the North. Now reading: John Scalzi - Head on. The sequel to Lock In that I read last month, but I've only just started it.
  2. A sad loss. Always released something interesting, whether as Cabaret Voltaire of any of the seemingly hundreds of aliases he used.
  3. Here's my August round-up with some really good ones in amongst them. Robert Thorogood - The Marlow murder club. While swimming in the river, sprightly pensioner Judith Potts hears her neighbour being murdered and decides to investigate, assisted by the vicar's wife and a local dog-walker. I really enjoyed this one up until the final solution which suffered from Highsmithian improbability. It had the misfortune to come out at the same time as the similarly titled Richard Osman book but well worth seeking out in its own right. He is of course the man behind the Death in Paradise TV series. Jenny Randles - The Pennine UFO mystery. Strange goings on in the Todmorden area in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Supposedly factual - make of it what you will. Hulbert Footner - Easy to kill. Old men in Newport, Rhode Island are being threatened and if they don't pay up, seemingly frightened to death. Madame Storey and her sidekick Bella Brickley are on the case. Quite thriller-y rather than detective-y but not bad. Martin Edwards - Gallows Court. Edwards' attempt to write a cross between a modern thriller and a Golden Age detective story. Reporter Jacob Flint investigates a clutch of murders, all of which seem to lead back to the mysterious Rachel Savernake. Very good. Mrs. Victor Bruce - The Peregrinations of Penelope. A 1920s flapper tries her hand at motoring, flying a plane, speedboating etc. In a striking example of the phrase 'Write what you know', Mrs Bruce herself was a famous motor racing driver, aviator, speedboat racer etc. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs_Victor_Bruce). Gently amusing. Dorothy L. Sayers - Unnatural death. Lord Peter Wimsey investigates the possible poisoning of a pensioner. Excellent. Read it now before it gets cancelled for racism, anti-Semitism etc. Agatha Christie - Cards on the table. While his eight dinner guests are playing bridge, Mr Shaitana is polished off with a stiletto through the heart. Four of the guests are possibly murderers, four of them are sleuths, including Hercule Poirot. Excellent. Read it now before it gets cancelled for racism etc. Jack Vance - Alastor: Marune 993. Typical Vance hero Pardero is found at a spaceport with complete amnesia. Can he recover and fulfil his destiny as a Kaiark of the Rhune clan? You bet. As enjoyable as all other Vance novels. Harry Stephen Keeler - The voice of the seven sparrows. Author of some of the most bizarre mysteries ever, Keeler was (in)famous for his webwork plotting system (if you want to know how he did it, just download the document on this page: https://site.xavier.edu/polt/keeler/onwebwork.html). This was his first book so the plot wasn't quite as convoluted as later ones, but is still completely bonkers (and impossible to summarise). And if you think the Sayers and Christie are racist, you really won't like this one. John Scalzi - Lock in. A viral pandemic has left 1% of the population completely paralysed. Now, about 20 years later, they interact with the world through robotic bodies or by taking over the bodies of certain others, called Integrators. But now someone has found a way to use these arrangements to commit murder. A somewhat more serious work by Scalzi, with the usual wisecracking toned down a bit. Very good. Now reading: Henry Wade - Heir presumptive. Eustace Hendel finds himself nearly in a position to inherit a peerage and lots of money, if he can only bump off his cousin. Excellent so far.
  4. Looks like both Sheffield teams have carried on where they left off.
  5. It was on, and I went, but it was a rather disappointing turn out of sellers.
  6. Dreadful news. Great band and they were obviously good mates too because not many bands keep the same line up for 50 years. RIP Dusty.
  7. Here's my last month's reading. Simon Brett - Blood at the bookies. More cosy crime on the Sussex coast: when a Polish immigrant is stabbed outside said establishment, middle-aged sleuths Carole & Jude investigate. Simon Brett - The poisoning in the pub. A deliberate outbreak of food poisoning is part of an orchestrated campaign against the local. Simon Brett - The shooting in the shop. A gift shop burns down, and in the ruins is a body with gunshot wounds. Simon Brett - Bones under the beach hut. Carole rents a beach hut in a neighbouring village for the summer, but it comes complete with some added human remains. Somewhat darker than usual for this series. I thought I'd finish these four off because they're the last ones of the series I've got; I think Pan stopped publishing them in paperback after this one. As a whole, they're OK to while away a few hours - there's no real detection in that Carole & Jude seem to get results simply by pestering people until they let something slip, but the two lead characters are relatable enough and there's usually enough to keep you guessing until the end. Janwillem van de Wetering - Seesaw millions. Van de Wetering wrote a series of excellent crime novels featuring Amsterdam cops Grijpstra and de Gier but this isn't one of them. Instead this is the tale of what happens when old Mr. Sobryne dies and divides his fortune between his three sons and his young mistress and how they contrive to lose it all. Written in his usual idiosyncratic style and still very entertaining. Dominic Devine - Three green bottles. The murder of a schoolgirl is followed by the apparent suicide of a young doctor and people draw their own conclusions; the doctor's brother isn't convinced however. I've enthused about Dominic Devine (aka D.M. Devine) before, and this is another superlative effort, best read of the month probably. Time someone reprinted his entire oeuvre. E. & M.A. Radford - Murder jigsaw. Retired colonel on fishing trip is found drowned in Devon river. Inspector Manson, a somewhat Thorndyke-like scientific detective, is on the case. Not bad. Magnus Mills - The restraint of beasts. Two Scottish fencing labourers and their supervisor go to England for a job. Chaos ensues. As surreal and entertaining as all his books. Ruth Rendell - Put on by cunning. Famous flautist falls through ice in lake... but was he pushed? Inspector Wexford smells a rat when his estranged daughter turns up to claim his fortune. Doug Lansky - Ultimate signspotting. Photos of daft signs from around the world. An amusing half hour spent. Fougasse - Drawing the line somewhere. Cartoon book from 1937; maybe our sense of humour has changed a bit because I didn't find it as amusing as the one above. P. G. Wodehouse - Ring for Jeeves. Jeeves but no Wooster in this one but still very good. Michael Bond - Paddington on top. More bear-related mayhem. Now reading: Dell Shannon - Coffin corner. Another Mendoza police procedural from the late 1960s as the squad investigate the murder of a junk shop owner and a possible suicide in a hotel.
  8. Graves Park (which is about 3 or 4 times as big as Hillsborough Park)? Millhouses Park? Plenty of places really.
  9. At least for the last 16 months that hasn't been a problem. But before that the closure of Leppings Lane for the entire afternoon and the closure of Penistone Road after the match was a real pain as well, if you must know. Wednesday's poor performances in recent years have meant that parking hasn't been too much of a problem, and with them getting relegated this time I can't see crowds picking up much. Two wrongs don't make a right. Tramlines was OK when it was a free event in the middle of town and didn't inconvenience anybody but now it's been commercialised and dumped on the people of Hillsborough, it's just a nuisance - park boarded up and off limits for a fortnight or more, roads closed, noise nuisance, tons of litter to clear up afterwards and so on.
  10. Of course they don't care about local residents. Several of the roads that we routinely use to get home (such as Dixon Road, Far Lane etc.) are being cordoned off as residents only access because of Tramlines, so we'll be forced to either go a much longer way round or stay at home for the weekend. It's bad enough with the council making us drive miles out of our way without this lot at it as well. Hillsborough Park is simply the wrong place for this festival of has-beens and nonentities, and I'd have thought last year's cancellation would have been an ideal opportunity to discontinue it for good, but I dare say somebody makes lots of money out of it so it will carry on being a complete nuisance for years to come.
  11. While driving past the Thorpe Hesley cricket ground up towards the M1 at Chapeltown, I noticed they'd had a car boot on 11th of July. Their Facebook page says that the next dates are 1st August, 29th August and 19th September.
  12. Just out of interest, which supermarkets have second hand books reappeared in? Certainly the book table at Sainsbury's at Wadsley Bridge hasn't come back yet. Credit though to the Co-op at Stocksbridge who have kept theirs going throughout.
  13. Here's what I've read lately, not so many as usual but a couple of them were quite long. Robert B. Parker - Shrink rap. Sunny Randall investigates a psychiatrist who seduces his patients. Robert B. Parker - Melancholy baby. Randall tries to find the birth parents of a girl who thinks she's adopted. One of things I like about Parker's books is that they're all set in the Boston area, so characters from the Spenser series (or indeed the Jesse Stone series) make appearances in the Sunny Randall books too. James Lee Burke - Neon rain. New Orleans homicide cop Dave Robicheaux stirs up a whole load of trouble when he pulls a dead girl from a lake. As hardboiled as they come. Anthony Horowitz - Moonflower murders. Retired publisher Susan Ryeland tries to solve a nine-year-old murder using the clues hidden in a detective novel she published. The sequel to Magpie Murders, and just as good. Simon Brett - Death under the drier. A strangled hairdresser leads to more Sussex sleuthing for Carole and Jude. Essentially the same as all the others but still a decent read. H.R.F. Keating - A rush on the ultimate. Schoolmaster malleted to death during a croquet tournament; young Aussie master investigates the mostly dotty participants. One of Keating's earlier efforts, before he invented Inspector Ghote. Good fun. Peter Haining - A slip of the pen. Collection of mistakes, gaffes etc. made by writers. Amusing enough, but spoilt by having all the quotes set in almost unreadable fonts. Why oh why etc. Frank Parrish - Snare in the dark. Poacher Dan Mallett becomes prime suspect when a gamekeeper is crossbowed to death in front of him. Parrish was one of several pen-names used by Roger Longrigg, and this whole series of 8 books, published mainly in the 1980s, was a delight. Gene Wolfe - On Blue's waters. The first part of the trilogy called the Book of the Short Sun, which followed the tetralogies Book of the Long Sun and Book of the New Sun. If you haven't read Long Sun in particular, you won't understand most of what's going on here as it follows on quite closely with many of the same characters. In Long Sun they were reaching the end of their voyage on a generation starship, but now they have dispersed to two planets, called Blue and Green. Surprisingly this last trilogy was never published in the UK so it's quite hard to get hold of a copy. Leland Gregory - Cruel & unusual idiots. Collection of press reports of people doing very stupid things. Amusingly diverting for a couple of hours. Now I'm half way through Death by inches by Dell Shannon, another mid-1960s case for LA cop Luis Mendoza. This series is definitely recommended for police procedural fans.
  14. Really? The A629 is already 30 or 40 all the way along from the M1 into Rotherham, what more can they do to it? 10mph limit?
  15. Advanced Technology by Empirion. Can't believe it's 25 years since this classic techno/industrial album was released. It contains the much-played single Narcotic Influence (the one that has that sample of a woman saying "drugs taking their lives away").
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