Monthly Archives: September 2009

Michelle de Kretser, “The Lost Dog”

If The Lost Dog hadn’t come to me from one of my favorite sources, I would have faltered in the early pages. The first sentence reads, “Afterward, Tom would remember paddocks stroked with light.” That set off all kinds of … Continue reading

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Angela Thirkell, “What Did It Mean?”

Published in 1954, What Did It Mean is Thirkell’s homage to the Coronation. It focuses on the Coronation festivities in Northbridge, and the comedy resides largely in observation of a group of volunteers mounting a theatrical production. Now that I … Continue reading

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Rebecca Stott, “The Coral Thief”

I loved Rebecca Stott’s Ghostwalk, a highly literary suspense novel in which the past penetrates the present. I was especially impressed by the way Stott managed that chronological slippage, making it both elegant and spooky. So I’ve been eagerly awaiting … Continue reading

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Kingsley Amis, “Lucky Jim”

This is one of those books that was on my parents’ book shelf. I tried to read it a number of times as a precocious child and then as a teenager — it was clearly marketed as humor but, like … Continue reading

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Stef Penney, “The Tenderness of Wolves”

Toward the end of The Tenderness of Wolves the part-narrator (I’ll come back to that) Mrs. Ross is afflicted by snow blindness. She discovers a body in the snow but cannot identify it “as my eyes cannot be relied on … Continue reading

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Angela Thirkell, “Jutland Cottage”

I wasn’t kidding. If I want comfort reading, I know where to get it. Some of the post-war Thirkells get dyspeptic. The woman was a crashing snob and you’re almost embarrassed for her when she starts going on about the … Continue reading

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Andrew Taylor, “The Office of the Dead”

This is the third and final instalment in the Roth Trilogy, Andrew Taylor’s answer to The Norman Conquests. OK, feeble joke, but I’m feeling a little gloomy, as Taylor surely intended. Honestly, this guy and Denise Mina between them have … Continue reading

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Tad Friend, “Cheerful Money”

Cheerful Money was always going to be a book I’d read the moment it hit the shelves, and I found it very enjoyable. It is in some ways easier to take than George Colt’s The Big House which traffics heavily … Continue reading

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Linda Barnes, “Lie Down with the Devil”

These Linda Barnes novels have proven to be pretty reliable over the years. Sure, they adhere to a formula: the tall, brassy private eye, her coterie of odd friends and lovers and enablers, her Little Sister Paolina, her low-grade friction … Continue reading

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Denise Mina, “Exile”

Was it too much, too soon? Was I too excited by Mina’s earlier Garnethill? Would I have liked Exile better if I’d waited a little longer before reading it? Or was it really not as good? One thing’s for sure: … Continue reading

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