Monday, May 30, 2011

{review} also seen (& read)

Also known as: books that I'm pretty sure that everyone else in the entire world has already reviewed so that I am paralysed by my inability to say anything original, but I can't put these books away until I mention that they were quality reads and well worth a go.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel  The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. Alan Bradley (Flavia De Luce Mystery 2)

For a moment there seemed nothing to say. And then the woman spoke:
'You wouldn't happen to have a cigarette, would you? I'm dying for a smoke.'
I gave my head a rather idiotic shake.
'Hmmm,' she said. 'You look like the kind of kid who might have.'
For the first time in my life, I was speechless.
'I don't smoke,' I managed.
'And why is that?' she asked. 'Too young or too wise?'
'I was thinking of taking it up next week,' I said lamely. 'I just hadn't actually got round to it yet.'
The first Flavia de Luce mystery (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) set such a high standard that it is doubtful that any sequel could live up to the hype. I enjoyed this book mostly for its wonderful setting - the archetypal, almost Utopian, English village of the 1950s. I wonder if it could only have been written by someone who was not English. It contains a sort of nostalgia that, as a colonial, I sometimes feel for the 'motherland'. The plot had holes the size of, um, really big holes in it and Flavia herself is a bit of a pain. Read it for the evocation of England, My England and the wonderful light touches of humour. On Mrs Mullet's awful cooking:
'I knew you'd like it, she said, 'It was no more than this morning I was sayin' to my Alf, "It's been a while since the Colonel and those girls 'ave 'ad one of my lovely jells. They always remark over my jells [this was no more than the truth], and I loves makin' 'em for the dears.'"
She made it sound as if her employers had antlers.
{Have I mentioned that I HATE dialect?}

The Snowman ((A Harry Hole Mystery)) The Snowman

Jo Nesbø The Snowman (English translation 2010)
At that moment Harry felt it again. The sensation he had had at Spektrum, earlier that evening. The sensation that he was being observed. Instinctively, he switched off the torch, and the darkness descended over him like a blanket. He held his breath and listened. Don’t, he thought. Don’t let it happen. Evil is not a thing, it cannot take possession of you. It’s the opposite; it’s a void, an absence of goodness. The only thing you can be frightened of here is yourself.
OK. Really gripping, high quality stuff. Great plot. Excellent build up of tension. Serial killing. Who could ask for anything more? Less: I could have done with a little less police politicking, but I can live with that for some really inventive and grotesque crimes. The murderer also belongs to my favourite occupational category for a serial killer but I can't say any more than that (apart from that when you both live and work with this group of people, nothing much they do can surprise you). Fabulous crime novel. I've now read all of the Nesbøs that have been translated so far and this one is by far the best (IMHO. I loved The Redbreast next best: better plot, more interesting subject matter, but not so scary).

The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse: A Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless Mystery (Maney, Mabel)

"It's all my fault," she sobbed, collapsing on the bed in tears. "People are always disappearing around me. Why, when I was a dude ranch nurse-in-training, an entire family disappeared and was never found!"
Were you brought up on Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames? Do you like a tongue-in-cheek girl detective parody with some spoofy lesbians thrown in for good measure? Join Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless as they search for Cherry's missing aunt and a gaggle of lost nuns. Eat a lot of pie. Always carry a clean handkerchief. Accessorize. These books are very funny and spot on in their take-offs of the ultra-nice, well-fed, immaculate good girls of 50s' young adult fiction. There's a Hardy (Hardly!) Boys spoof out there too. Verdict: amusing. But maybe not in large doses. You'll never read a Cherry Ames' story again with a 'straight' face. Warning: very small font. The next one I'll get on the Kindle, I think.

Audrey Niffenegger Her Fearful Symmetry (2009)

Her Fearful Symmetry
'Ahem,' she said. 'What are you doing?' Jessica had a voice that rose and fell like a swooping kite. The children instantly stopped what they were doing and looked self-conscious, like cats that have fallen off something ungracefully and now sit licking themselves, pretending nothing has happened. Jessica walked carefully to where Robert and James sat. Two of her friends had broken their hips recently, so she had temporarily modified her habit of striding boldly wherever she went.
I hope that this book makes a lot of money for Highgate Cemetery because the cemetery is the big star here. This book is completely freaky, and for ages I kept oscillating wildly between love/loathe. I think, on the whole, if not 'love', then 'definitely liked' wins out. Certain passages were so beautiful that they carried the book for me. But what a strange creature it proved to be: love story, ghost story, horror story, family history, local history. The story of two American identical twins and their inheritance of a flat in Highgate from their dead aunt receives a twist in the tail of the tale (another feline reference) that is astonishing, spooky and absolutely fitting. I've not read any other of Niffenegger's books. Should I? Not sure...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

{weekend words}

I'm afraid that this line made me laugh quite a lot. I'm guessing the exotic fruit was neither pineapple nor rambutan.
Her beautifully rounded derriere reminded him of some exquisite, exotic fruit he had once grown in his conservatory.
Amanda Quick
Mistress (1994)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've got a bit of 'historical espionage' lust now after having thoroughly enjoyed Alan Furst's The Spies of Warsaw. All of the Furst titles sound vaguely the same so I am going to have to make sure I don't absent-mindedly end up buying them all twice. I am leaning towards Spies of the Balkans (2010) next, set in Salonika in 1940.

Spies of the Balkans: A Novel  Spies of the Balkans. Alan Furst

Monday, May 23, 2011

{review} good evening mrs. craven

Good Evening Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes (Persephone Classics)

Women of all ages liked Winthrop Biddle - 'He's a great dear' was the expression they generally used - and he was devoted to the whole sex in the cosy way of an uncle who enjoys the confidence of a vast number of totally unrelated nieces. His feminine friends knew that he could be relied up to provide a lunch, a bed, sound advice, or a cast-iron alibi as required, and not to go in for jolly avuncular pouncings in taxis. ('Lunch with Mr. Biddle', 1940)
These short stories appeared in The New Yorker during the Second World War. Mollie Panter-Downes was drawn to what the ordinary lives of ordinary people - the 'quotidian' as the Introduction nicely puts it. She wrote, "If the pieces had value, it's because I took note of the trivial, ordinary things that happened to ordinary people." How do the 'ordinary' man and woman on the home-front deal with the changes wrought by war?

Barrage balloons. Source.

Panter-Downes' writing completely blew me away: she has such a gift for the iconic portrait of her subjects (and objects: the barrage balloons are "spread over the sky like some form of silvery dermatitis". Isn't that perfect?). A baby-wear saleswoman "snuffled… with a damp blend of sentiment and catarrh" ('The Waste of it All', 1944)
"Battalions of willing ladies" have "emerged from herbaceous borders to answer the call of duty": "firm-lipped spinsters who yesterday could hardly have said 'Boo!' to an aster." ('Letter from London', 1939)
Major Marriot, "a grizzled Adonis", lives with his sister in the country. He waits for the false war to end so that he can throw himself into air-warden duties. Mrs Trent sees him watching the sky "smiling sweetly as he sometimes smiled at her, with rakish twinkle of the born charmer, the absent-minded tenderness of a man who loved women and danger but had somehow ended up with Miss Marriot and a warden's rattle beneath crossed assegais." When he picks up the air-warden's rattle, she sees him "look at it longingly, and put it down again, like a small boy with a parcel which he knows he mustn't open till Christmas." ('It's the Real Thing This Time', 1940)

Panter-Downes' language is terribly seductive, and she has a very witty line in the revelation of her character's hidden, internal observations. Mrs. Ramsay, in the opening story, who goes to meet an old flame home from Malaya, "noted coldly that he was a good deal yellower than he had been five years ago." ('Date with Romance', 1939)

On a friend's mother who has imposed herself into the Ramsay's Sussex cottage for the duration, Mrs. Ramsay offers the observation ("morbidly"):
All autumn Mrs. Parmenter had run out between the showers and picked the asters, saying brightly that an old woman must be allowed to do something around the house. Opposition would hardly have been hysterical if she had offered to make the beds, but her tastes appeared to be floral. (Mrs. Ramsay's War, 1940)
A number of stories display this delicate wickedness. Other stories are quite melancholic or reveal the tiny tragedies of life in wartime: how can a mistress discover that her married lover is safe? Dare she ring his wife? Do one's domestic squabbles still rate while the world outside faces destruction? What if one realises that one "had almost grown used to doing without him." Will wartime break down the social barriers between the middle-class lady and the char when both share similar heartbreaks? And what about all that interminable waiting, waiting, waiting and pretending not to fear the worst?
When she had hung up the receiver the clock was striking six. She went over to the radio, turned the knob, and sat down with all the other anxious women to knit and listen. ('War Among Strangers', 1942)
In sum: a must read for lovers of the 30s/40s. Beautiful prose. Wonderful, jewel-like stories.

Rating: 10/10.

If you liked this... Jan Struther's Mrs Miniver and E. M. Delafield's Diary of a Provincial Lady, of course.

Diary Of A Provincial Lady (Provincial Lady Series) Mrs. Miniver (Virago modern classics)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

{weekend words}

The most famous victim of the Death Cap was the Emperor Claudius. He succumbed to a dish of what he thought was Amanita caesarea, Caesar's Mushroom, a particularly scrumptious member of the otherwise highly dangerous Amanita (another first-rate joke on nature's part: the shy beauty in a family of hoodlums). But Claudius' Amanita caesarea had been spiked, almost certainly by his wife Agrippina, with an admixture of its fatal cousin - a member of his family poisoning him with a member of the family of what he thought he was eating.

John Lanchester (1996)

The Debt to Pleasure: A Novel. John Lanchester (Spanish Edition)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{review} the spies of warsaw

{Ed. This is last week's blogger disappearing post.}

Alan Furst The Spies of Warsaw (2008)

The Spies of Warsaw: A Novel THE SPIES OF WARSAW

Now this is a very good spy novel - a meaty historical espionage novel, filled with wonderful period details and well-written to boot. 

It is 1937. Colonel Jean-François Mercier is running spies from the French embassy in Warsaw. The French are playing a tricky game, trying to support Poland and undermine the old enemy Germany. What are the German plans for Poland? And - most importantly for the under-prepared and internally divided French  government - what might the Nazi regime be planning for France? 

Mercier embarks on a quest to uncover the extent of the German menace and makes some dangerous enemies in the process. This is a complicated novel, filled with fascinating characters whose motives are almost always ambiguous. In a world where no one is quite what they seem (including his French colleagues), Mercier's dangerous game could cost him his life and imperil his loved ones. 

Mercier is a great hero figure: honest, honorable, handsome and - obviously - heroic. He's the sort of figure who makes the reader long for a sequel. What is particulary interesting for the reader is that one knows that, despite all of Mercier's heroism, France is ultimately doomed. This knowledge sends a shiver up the spine, particularly in the book's deliberately rose-tinted views of a thoughtlessly carefree Paris. The travel scenes in the The Spies of Warsaw make one long for this lost, glamorous 1930s' Europe.

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked this... there are many more Fursts of course and in terms of quality I think that David Downing's Berlin stations series comes pretty close too (Zoo Station is the first in the series). Hmmm, they've all got spookily similar covers.

Zoo Station Spies of the Balkans: A Novel 

Monday, May 16, 2011

{review} how luxury lost its luster

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Or, 'lustre', if you spell like a colonial.

You'll never think the same about designer fakes again after you read this book. Thomas lays bare the hidden cost of your cheap designer knock-off, and it is a cost to be measured in the blood of young impoverished sweat-shopped workers who slave in horrendous conditions. To buy a fake is to take a step into a river of blood, corruption and crime.

That all sounds horribly off-putting, but amazingly Thomas has also produced a very readable and accessible - and even sometimes funny - account of the decline of tailored, handmade, bespoke luxury and rise of the "democratization" of luxury:
The idea, luxury executives explained, was to "democratize" luxury, to make luxury "accessible". It all sounded so noble. Heck, it sounded almost communist. But it wasn't. It was as capitalist as could be: the goal, plain and simple, was to make as much money as heavenly possible."
The cover, an image by Tom Sachs entitled 'Prada Value Meal' (1998) is perfect:

While Thomas's tone is sometimes irritatingly perky ("Heck!"), her book contains a serious amount of detail in the form of statistics and reports of her on-the-ground research. Her interviews with fashion designer royalty ("Tom Ford explained to me…"), the ruthless money-men and -women, the wearers of couture, old style glamour queens (Joan Crawford had her hip flasks styled to match her clothes and changed ten times a day), modern celebrities paid to advertise fashion labels and the stylists who hook the big fish (her description of Rachel Zoe in the Jimmy Choo Oscar Suite, who "wailed as she cradled a pair of purple satin pumps" is pure acid), and the wildly eccentric fashion addicts add to the readability of a book that is, fundamentally, a quite depressing exploration of the desire to possess luxury at any cost.

My favourite fashionista?
…a Martin Margiela manic who is so fastidious about his collection that he never cooks at home because he doesn't want the clothes to retain the odors. The only thing in his refrigerator is eyedrops. "When he gets thirsty… he goes to a convenience shop and drinks there then goes back home. He does not want to put any kind of trash in the room."
This gentleman is from Japan and it is the Japanese demand for Western luxury goods which is, in part, responsible for the world-wide spread of this democratized luxury. In the late 1980s the 'Parasite Single' (sc. women) phenomenon - estimated to number 13 million Japanese women (thirteen MILLION!) who enjoyed travel (principally to Hawaii) and had plenty of yen to throw about - awakened the luxury labels' interest. In the 1990s, Hawaii's Chanel store, Thomas tells us, was the number one Chanel shop in the entire world. All on the back of the yen.

Another fascinating chapter focuses on the perfume market: affordable luxury for the woman who cannot afford a Hermès Kelly or Birkin bag but can afford a bottle of Hermès scent. The perfume industry is totally cut-throat about achieving its 15 billion dollars of sales a year. What tactics do the luxury brands espouse to maintain their high profiles (and profit-margins) against a tide of popular, but ultimately forgettable, celeb scents? Thomas also deals with the rise of the designer 'It' bag, which eases her into the most disturbing section of her book about the manufacture of handbags, both the fakes and the real things themselves:
Yes, luxury handbags are made in China. Top brands. Brands that you carry. Brands that deny outright that their bags are made in China make their bags in China, not in Italy, not in France, not in the United Kingdom.
It is, of course, all about the bottom line. You can short-change the customer on fabric (e.g., linings) and you can raise your prices, but the easiest way to improve the bottom line is to save on labour. Look at your labels: were they "Designed in Italy" and "Assembled in China"? Was the bag made in China and the handle added in Italy (and, so, "Made in Italy")? 

This leads Thomas on to the really horrible revelations about the market in counterfeit luxury goods (notably hand-bags). Don't buy a fake. DON'T. Fakes fund organized crime. Fakes reek of human misery. The big-time counterfeiters also deal in "narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking, and terrorism." It is estimated that at any one time up to 90% of Vuitton and Dior goods on eBay are fake. Hermès is particularly vigilant in pursuit of knock-offs and trademark protection (the house is currently suing these people for their screen-printed calico Birkin bags). But everyone has a taste for what passes for luxury now, and the luxury companies (notably the monstrously large LVMH which has swallowed almost all of the once independent luxury brands) are fuelling the fires with their badly made and not particularly good value 'fast fashion' lines (Stella McCartney for Target, etc.).

Of course, let's get real: I have about as much chance of possessing a Birkin as I do of growing wings and flying. The message of this book will remain highly theoretical to me and I do not think that I will ever need to deal with a hands-on ethical dilemma in a luxury goods' shop. But the general questions - Do we need all this stuff? Why do we crave the label? - provide much food for thought. This book is fascinating and horrifying and very, very salutary and I shall never look at an 'It' bag again without a small quiver of revulsion.

Rating: 7/10

If you liked this… buy vintage! Tho' I wouldn't mind a nice hip flask collection to match my clothes. If you like fashion observation, I thoroughly recommend getting hold of the dvd of The September Issue.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

{weekend words}

A small, shrivelled, bird-like woman, who might have been thirty-five and who might have been ninety, clad in a blue and sulphur jumper like the plumage of a macaw, came forward with that air of easy condescension which is usually achieved by royalty only, and fixed the vicar with an eagle eye. 'Am I addressing the spiritual adviser of this parish?' she enquired. Her voice was startling in that it belied her whole appearance. Here was no bird-like twitter nor harsh parrot cry, but a mellifluous utterance, rich and full, and curiously, definitely, superlatively attractive.
Mrs Bradley, the heroine of 
Gladys Mitchell's 1929
and many, many more.

The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop (Vintage Classic Crime)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the f*ck to sleep.

Go the F**k to Sleep

Adam Mansbach (2011)

I've pre-ordered it - and I don't even have kids.

Monday, May 9, 2011

{one book, two books...}

I'm getting plenty of inspiration for my reading from this mini quiz - a great idea from Stuck In A Book.

1. The book I'm currently reading:

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks
by Steven Johnson.

I am completely enthralled by Johnson's exploration of how the terrifying cholera epidemic in Soho, London in 1854 was traced to the Broad Street Pump. This book is a really accessible introduction to the history of epidemiology. There's a great companion web site too here.

2. The last book I finished:

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 2)
by Charlaine Harris.

Eek! A vampire book... I loved the first one in the series (Dead Until Dark - {REVIEW}) and am now completely hooked on the lively, witty and well-written adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, telepath and waitress.

3. The next book I want to read:

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation

This is tricky as I already have far too many books on the go at once, but I think I will probably bury myself in the excellent Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation 1940-1944 by Charles Glass.

4. The last book I bought:

The Serbian Dane
On my Kindle: 
by Leif Davidsen. 

I've wanted to read this for EVER but it has been out of print or too expensive. And then it popped up for the Kindle (and for Australia, which is the really tricky part) and finally it is mine.

5. The last book I was given:

Recipes and Memories from Mama Cash's Kitchen

This is a funny one: a good friend of mine from the UK was on sabbatical in the US and went on a trip to Tennessee. She knows that I love awful local cookbooks and sent me a wonderful addition to my collection: Recipes and Memories from Mama Cash's Kitchen (1989). Mama Cash is Johnny Cash's mum mom. My favourite recipe involves 3 cups of hash brown potato mix and a can of asparagus soup. Needless to say, I won't be making it anytime soon. {It's a lousy photo from Amazon, sorry}

{READ IN 2018}

  • 30.
  • 29.
  • 28.
  • 27.
  • 26. The Grave's a Fine & Private Place - Alan Bradley
  • 25. This is What Happened - Mick Herron
  • 24. London Rules - Mick Herron
  • 23. The Third Eye - Ethel Lina White
  • 22. Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mewed - Alan Bradley
  • 21. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
  • 20. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches - Alan Bradley
  • 19. Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley
  • 18. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
  • 17. Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
  • 16. The Long Arm of the Law - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 15. Nobody Walks - Mick Herron
  • 14. The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
  • 13. Portrait of a Murderer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 12. Murder is a Waiting Game - Anthony Gilbert
  • 11. Tenant for the Tomb - Anthony Gilbert
  • 10. Death Wears a Mask - Anthony Gilbert
  • 9. Night Encounter - Anthony Gilbert
  • 8. The Visitor - Anthony Gilbert
  • 7. The Looking Glass Murder - Anthony Gilbert
  • 6. The Voice - Anthony Gilbert
  • 5. The Fingerprint - Anthony Gilbert
  • 4. Ring for a Noose - Anthony Gilbert
  • 3. No Dust in the Attic - Anthony Gilbert
  • 2. Uncertain Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 1. She Shall Died - Anthony Gilbert

{READ IN 2017}

  • 134. Third Crime Lucky - Anthony Gilbert
  • 133. Death Takes a Wife - Anthony Gilbert
  • 132. Death Against the Clock - Anthony Gilbert
  • 131. Give Death a Name - Anthony Gilbert
  • 130. Riddle of a Lady - Anthony Gilbert
  • 129. And Death Came Too - Anthony Gilbert
  • 128. Snake in the Grass - Anthony Gilbert
  • 127. Footsteps Behind Me - Anthony Gilbert
  • 126. Miss Pinnegar Disappears - Anthony Gilbert
  • 125. Lady-Killer - Anthony Gilbert
  • 124. A Nice Cup of Tea - Anthony Gilbert
  • 123. Die in the Dark - Anthony Gilbert
  • 122. Death in the Wrong Room - Anthony Gilbert
  • 121. The Spinster's Secret - Anthony Gilbert
  • 120. Lift up the Lid - Anthony Gilbert
  • 119. Don't Open the Door - Anthony Gilbert
  • 118. The Black Stage - Anthony Gilbert
  • 117. A Spy for Mr Crook - Anthony Gilbert
  • 116. The Scarlet Button - Anthony Gilbert
  • 115. He Came by Night - Anthony Gilbert
  • 114. Something Nasty in the Woodshed - Anthony Gilbert
  • 113. Death in the Blackout - Anthony Gilbert
  • 112. The Woman in Red - Anthony Gilbert
  • 111. The Vanishing Corpse - Anthony Gilbert
  • 110. London Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.)
  • 109. The Midnight Line - Anthony Gilbert
  • 108. The Clock in the Hatbox - Anthony Gilbert
  • 107. Dear Dead Woman - Anthony Gilbert
  • 106. The Bell of Death - Anthony Gilbert
  • 105. Treason in my Breast - Anthony Gilbert
  • 104. Murder has no Tongue - Anthony Gilbert
  • 103. The Man who Wasn't There - Anthony Gilbert
  • 102. Murder by Experts - Anthony Gilbert
  • 101. The Perfect Murder Case - Christopher Bush
  • 100. The Plumley Inheritance - Christopher Bush
  • 99. Spy - Bernard Newman
  • 98. Cargo of Eagles - Margery Allingham & Philip Youngman Carter
  • 97. The Mind Readers - Margery Allingham
  • 96. The China Governess - Margery Allingham
  • 95. Hide My Eyes - Margery Allingham
  • 94. The Beckoning Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 93. The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham
  • 92. More Work for the Undertaker - Margery Allingham
  • 91. Coroner's Pidgin - Margery Allingham
  • 90. Traitor's Purse - Margery Allingham
  • 89. The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham
  • 88. The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
  • 87. Dancers in Mourning - Margery Allingham
  • 86. Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
  • 85. Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
  • 84. Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
  • 83. Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
  • 82. Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham
  • 81. Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
  • 80. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • 79. The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham
  • 78. Murder Underground - Mavis Doriel Hay
  • 77. No Man's Land - David Baldacci
  • 76. The Escape - David Baldacci
  • 75. The Forgotten - David Baldacci
  • 74. Zero Day - David Baldacci
  • JULY
  • 73. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth
  • 72. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth
  • 71. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth
  • 70. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth
  • 69. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth
  • 68. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth
  • 67. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth
  • 66. Mistress - Amanda Quick
  • 65. The Black Widow - Daniel Silva
  • 64. The Narrow - Michael Connelly
  • 63. The Poet - Michael Connelly
  • 62. The Visitor - Lee Child
  • 61. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories - Lee Child
  • JUNE
  • 60. The Queen's Accomplice - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 59. Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 58. The PM's Secret Agent - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 57. His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 56. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 55. Mr Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal
  • 54. A Lesson in Secrets - Jacqueline Winspear
  • 53. Hit & Run - Lawrence Block
  • 52. Hit Parade - Lawrence Block
  • 51. Hit List - Lawrence Block
  • 50. Six Were Present - E. R. Punshon
  • 49. Triple Quest - E. R. Punshon
  • MAY
  • 48. Dark is the Clue - E. R. Punshon
  • 47. Brought to Light - E. R. Punshon
  • 46. Strange Ending - E. R. Punshon
  • 45. The Attending Truth - E. R. Punshon
  • 44. The Golden Dagger - E. R. Punshon
  • 43. The Secret Search - E. R. Punshon
  • 42. Spook Street - Mick Herron
  • 41. Real Tigers - Mick Herron
  • 40. Dead Lions - Mick Herron
  • 39. Slow Horses - Mick Herron
  • 38. Everybody Always Tells - E. R. Punshon
  • 37. So Many Doors - E. R. Punshon
  • 36. The Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
  • 35. A Scream in Soho - John G. Brandon
  • 34. A Murder is Arranged - Basil Thomson
  • 33. The Milliner's Hat Mystery - Basil Thomson
  • 32. Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? - Basil Thomson
  • 31. The Dartmoor Enigma - Basil Thomson
  • 30. The Case of the Dead Diplomat - Basil Thomson
  • 29. The Case of Naomi Clynes - Basil Thomson
  • 28. Richardson Scores Again - Basil Thomson
  • 27. A Deadly Thaw - Sarah Ward
  • 26. The Spy Paramount - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 25. The Great Impersonation - E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • 24. Ragdoll - Daniel Cole
  • 23. The Case of Sir Adam Braid - Molly Thynne
  • 22. The Ministry of Fear - Graham Greene
  • 21. The Draycott Murder Mystery - Molly Thynne
  • 20. The Murder on the Enriqueta - Molly Thynne
  • 19. The Nowhere Man - Gregg Hurwitz
  • 18. He Dies and Makes No Sign - Molly Thynne
  • 17. Death in the Dentist's Chair - Molly Thynne
  • 16. The Crime at the 'Noah's Ark' - Molly Thynne
  • 15. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh
  • 14. Night School - Lee Child
  • 13. The Dancing Bear - Frances Faviell
  • 12. The Reluctant Cannibals - Ian Flitcroft
  • 11. Fear Stalks the Village - Ethel Lina White
  • 10. The Plot - Irving Wallace
  • 9. Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • 8. Give the Devil his Due - Sulari Gentill
  • 7. A Murder Unmentioned - Sulari Gentill
  • 6. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  • 5. Gentlemen Formerly Dressed - Sulari Gentill
  • 4. While She Sleeps - Ethel Lina White
  • 3. A Chelsea Concerto - Frances Faviell
  • 2. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul - H. G. Wells
  • 1. Heft - Liz Moore
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