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17 hours ago, taxman said:

I've got the point where I'm just hoping against hope that there isn't an unknown evil twin involved....almost as poor a plot device as "..and it was all a dream"

There's also the plot which involves multiple deaths and multiple killers doing each other's murder. It is so frustrating, almost as if the author wrote themselves into a blind ally with no way out.

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The Tilbury Poppies by Sue Wilsher.  

 

The book is fiction and it’s about women who worked in a munitions factory during World War One, they were trying to improve the conditions of the factory.  Although the book is fiction the author has done her homework on how bad the working conditions were in those factories in real life.  

 

Health and safety didn’t exist in those days. There was poor ventilation in the factory, they were exposed to harmful chemicals which would turn their skin yellow, they were known as the canaries because of their bright yellow appearance. Many of the women died being exposed to chemicals because there was no protection equipment. Also there was a present danger all the time because they were working with explosive materials.

 

I enjoyed this book and although it’s fiction I’ve learnt a lot after reading it.  

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On 10/03/2021 at 11:33, max said:

There's also the plot which involves multiple deaths and multiple killers doing each other's murder. It is so frustrating, almost as if the author wrote themselves into a blind ally with no way out.

It got worse....secret triplets separated at birth.

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Posted (edited)

My round-up of March's reading. All crime again, and still getting through them in about 2 days.

 

Robert B. Parker - Hugger Mugger. Spenser is hired to protect the prize racehorse of the title from a potential attack, but then investigates when its owner is murdered. As good as ever.

Wade Miller - Shoot to kill. Private eye Max Thursday is on the trail of a serial strangler. OK.

Dell Shannon - Death of a busybody. In this early Luis Mendoza case, he investigates the murder of a woman who can't keep her nose out of other people's business. Good police procedural.

Charlotte Macleod - Wrack and rune. The discovery of a Viking artefact on a farm at Lumpkin's Corner  leads to murder. Peter Shandy, professor at the local agricultural college and developer of an improved root crop, investigates. Her books are usually full of odd characters with curious names and this is no exception. Quite entertaining though.

John Bude - The Cornish coast murder

John Bude - The Lake District murder

John Bude - The Sussex Downs murder. These three all date from the mid-1930s and have been reprinted in the British Library crime classics series over the last few years. In the first one the detecting is done by the local vicar, but in the second and third series sleuth Inspector Meredith takes over. I really enjoyed these: Meredith has the same persistent, meticulous approach as Freeman Wills Crofts Inspector French, so if you like his books, you'll like these too.

John Rhode - Murder at Lilac Cottage. Mysterious Mr. Derrington, tenant of said cottage, is shot outside the door one evening. Inspector Waghorn investigates and as usual is put on the right track by Dr. Priestley. Good even though you can spot the murderer a mile off.

Dorothy L. Sayers - Whose body? Much to my shame, I've never read any of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books, but I'm glad I'm starting to put that right. In this one the appearance of an unidentified body in a bath is accompanied by the disappearance of Sir Reuben Levy. Are the two connected? Excellent.

Donald E. Westlake - Killy. Union organiser Walter Killy and his placement student sidekick are framed for murder in small town America. Before Westlake turned to more caper-like books, he was a good hardboiled crime novelist, and this is one of those books where nobody comes out of it well at the end.

Julia Chapman - Date with death. In Yorkshire, Samson, proprietor of the Dales Detective Agency, and contrivedly-named Delilah, proprietor of the Dales Dating Agency, join forces to solve a series of murders. As cosy as a roaring log fire and a mug of Horlicks, but actually pretty good.

Simenon - The train. Fleeing from invading forces and separated from his family on a train in France in 1940, Marcel falls for mysterious refugee Anna. You know it won't end well. Excellent as usual.

Simenon - The widower. Artist Bernard Jeantet comes home to find his wife gone and gradually uncovers more about the life she led behind his back. 

Ruth Rendell - No more dying then. A mid-70s case of child abduction for Inspector Wexford. As good as the rest of the series, if a bit dated and a bit coincidental at the end.

Edited by metalman

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Nearly at the end of April so here's what I've got through this month. Not quite as many thanks to shops reopening and so on.

 

Robert B. Parker - Small vices. Spenser tries to correct a miscarriage of justice after a petty criminal is convicted of murder, and almost gets killed as a result. Good as always. Sadly I think I've now read all of the Spenser series, though I've still got a few of the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series to go.

Julia Chapman - Date with malice. Samson & Delilah (see post above)  investigate some sheep-rustling and a possible murder in a retirement complex. As enjoyable as the first one was.

Dell Shannon - The death-bringers. Another Mendoza case from the early 60s. Here he's on the trail of a serial  bank robber who shoots one of his colleagues.

R. M. Meluch - The Myriad. An uneasy alliance of the United Staes and the Roman Empire (don't ask) is fighting a war against the ravenous insectoid hordes of the Hive when they chance upon the Myriad star cluster. Good military SF all the way, and then right at the end Meluch does something completely unexpected.

Jack Crossley - You couldn't make it up. One of those books of amusing occurrences culled from the local and national press. A reasonably entertaining quick read.

Dorothy L. Sayers - Clouds of witness. Lord Peter Wimsey's brother is accused of murdering their sister's fiance.

M. W. Craven - The puppet show. A serial killer incinerating victims in Cumbria's stone circles... a maverick cop constantly in conflict with his superiors, with an autistic genius sidekick... you might think this has all the elements to make me put it back on the shelf, but the difference is that Craven is one of crime fiction's new stars and actually this is a cracker, providing you can suspend disbelief long enough. 

M. W. Craven - Black summer. This time Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw try to work out how a girl supposedly murdered six years ago has apparently turned up alive. Another cracking read.

M. W. Craven - The curator. The latest (until June) Poe & Bradshaw case has them on the track of a serial killer who leaves his victims' severed fingers in unexpected places. As good as the previous two, and that's saying something. Taxman & Feargal should certainly go out and buy them all!

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The Chain by Adrian McKinty. A good read/plot.

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I have just re-read, after a gap of many years, "The Fly" by Kathryn Mansfield. I am still at a loss to account for the behaviour of "The Boss". The story is very short & takes only 5 or 10 minutes to read & is available on the internet for free. I wonder if any of you Eng. Lit. buffs would care to have a go at it?

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Astrobiology, Andrew May
So much seems to depend on how life is defined. NASA, in the 1990s, used
Life is a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.
(which excludes artificial life which may have consciousness)
And SETI uses the word intelligence in a different way to most scientists. If you look for biosignatures, Earth has had life for billions of years but technosignatures for only about 100.

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The Confession by Jo Spain.  Great read. Just finished it.

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Here's this month's reading, a bit more varied than usual.

 

Commander R.T. Gould - Enigmas. Interesting essays on unexplained events and phenomena. Gould was a multi-talented polymath: for example, he restored John Harrison's original marine chronometer and appeared on the radio programme The Brains Trust.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir - Why did you lie? Excellent thriller in which three different story strands come together very effectively. One of the best I've read for ages.

Michael Bond - Paddington at large

Michael Bond - Paddington abroad

Michael Bond - Paddington takes the air

Michael Bond - More about Paddington

Michael Bond - Paddington marches on. Nothing wrong with regressing to childhood for a few days! Good fun still.

Julia Chapman - Date with mystery. Samson & Delilah look for the death certificate of a girl who died in a car crash ten years ago, but uncover some family secrets instead. Another good instalment in this series.

John Rhode - The fourth bomb. Four bombs fall on a village during an air raid and a dead body is found by the crater made by the last one. But when it turns out to be the local diamond merchant and some stones are missing, Inspector Waghorn takes up the case. Enjoyable wartime mystery.

John Thomas - Obstruction - Danger. Readable account of various railway accidents and disasters, published in 1937. A good read if you find this sort of thing interesting. The later Red for Danger by L.T.C. Rolt covered similar ground.

M. W. Craven - Born in a burial gown. This is Craven's other series, featuring DI Avison Fluke investigating a murdered woman dumped on a building site. Very good again though perhaps not quite as good as the Poe/Bradshaw series; the main characters are almost interchangeable anyway.

M.W. Craven - Body breaker. The second in the series has Fluke investigating the death of an old colleague in the Marines who was mixed up with a group of new age eco-warriors. Better than the first one, I thought.

Simon Brett - The stabbing in the stables. Cosy sleuths Jude & Carole investigate the murder of a stable owner. I found this one better than the last couple of his that I'd read.

John Crowley - Novelty. Four long fantasy/SF stories, including Great Work of Time, which won the World Fantasy Award. Excellent, but then Crowley has been one of my favourite writers for a long time.

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OK the first two are full of pictures.

'View from the hill' by Mick Jones. Excellent front cover looking down Gleadless Rd, Heeley Btm with 'The Sheaf View' on't corner.

I didn't partake much in the drinking in't Sheaf, coz it didn't have a liquor licence (no good to a Scott's man).

lots of memories throughout. Derelict houses in Heeley,  Skins & Greasers  in't Hole in the Road, Duke St , Park hill & Hyde Park flats.

Lots of Motorcars from the period, nice MK4 Zephyr aircraft carrier and memories  of driving a FG Austin (3d bitt) lorry, Happy Daze.

Sheffield Parks and Gardens Douglas Hindmarch. Excellent pictures of the open-air auditorium, (former rifle range) in Cobnar woods / Graves Park. There all there, Millhouses, inc Lido,  boating lake,  Endcliffe woods etc, etc, etc.

The Bluebird Years, the pursuit of speed.  Arthur Knowles & Graham Beech.  Two books in one. 1st part from Mr Knowles original 1967 edition followed by Mr Beech's story of the recovery of Bluebird and finally the recovery of Donald Campbell's remains.  Again excellent book.

Gulliver's Travels. Jonathan Swift. Came as a job lott of books prior to Coro V. one of those books that had always passed me by, fully enjoyed it.  The political intrigue hidden in the story is worth reading in it's self.

Personal dislikes;  long introductions; 41 pages way too much,  get on with the story. 

Panic O'Clock. Christopher Hodder-Williams. Remember when we used to buy Books (& LP's come to that) because we liked the look of the cover? well this was one of them. I was going to buy it way back in 1974 but it eluded me until I came across a copy on Fleece Bay.  Was 47 years worth the wait? the answers Yes. relevant to today's pandemic crisis - good news - every thing ends up ok. 

Jaguar XJ40 evolution of the species Andrew Whyte. OK it's another one with pictures in but I don't care. lot's of pictures of how the old XJ6 was revamped into the XJ40. Don't be fooled into thinking a new model is simply designed and that's it. Pictures of prototypes & mock-up's that didn't make it or others that only part of were incorporated in the final version run throughout the book. My favorite pic is of how we know the XJ Saloon became but with the front end of the XJS.  Happy daze and not a Ford / pretend Jag in sight.

The Swastika Tattoo. Geraldine Birch. Job lot book. I do have a thing for Submarines (the history of) so the story of a rescued German submariner locked up in an American prisoner of war camp (Camp Papago Park) as ww2 comes to an end did sound interesting enough to read. Wanted to hate this for some reason & probably still do in a way. The reason for continually repeating the name of 'Camp Papago Park at every opportunity is probably something the author might understand but had me for one lost. 3/4 of the way through the book if the men have been working out in the fields she still insists in telling us after a day in the fields the men walked back to Camp Papago Park, for god sake just tell the reader they've gone back to Camp. Other than that this piece of Fiction was worth the read. the farm owners just happen to be Jewish not that our main character is told that at first. Does the main character mend or alter his views on the capitalist state and the freedom its people are allowed to enjoy or does he still believe in the thoughts that he had been indoctrinated into believing through his early life? Usually this sort of story ends with the main protagonist finding religion.  Not going to spoil the ending but i thought the conclusion was significantly left hanging for you to make up your own mind. well done.  lots of Historical facts interwoven into the story that would probably interest a younger student (if you can get them away from the play station).

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Acton Bell (Anne Bronte). I must be going soft. Given a cart load of books left in a house my mate bought i thought why not. Totally enjoyed this 1st edition of Vol 11 circa 1893. 

The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov. this has to be my favorite book of all times (with a Clockwork Orange  a close second) and this is the 4th time of reading. I have no intention of telling anyone what it's about other than Do - It you won't be disappointed. 

 

Keep safe & keep reading.

 

 

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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. Obviously popular but also very good.

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