Monthly Archives: October 2009

Andrew Taylor, “An Unpardonable Crime”

Maybe it’s a symptom of the weariness of the mystery genre that so many writers now do historical mysteries. It could be simply that this is an excellent moment for historical fiction of any kind, or it may be a … Continue reading

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Richard Hughes, “The Fox in the Attic”

And it started so well. The opening scene of The Fox in the Attic presents a damp autumn afternoon in Wales, with feathery clouds, swans “creaking” overhead, and finally introduces two masculine figures walking through the landscape: “The younger man … Continue reading

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Julian Fellowes, “Past Imperfect”

I really enjoyed Julian Fellowes’ Snobs, though it was something of a guilty pleasure. (Slavish American anglophilia: just not that attractive.) Past Imperfect puzzled me, though. It’s another visit to upper reaches of English society, but this time it shuttles … Continue reading

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Hilary Mantel, “Wolf Hall”

Winner of the 2009 Booker Prize, no less — and a model of what an historical novel can do. After all — who would have thought the world needed another book about Henry VIII? What Hilary Mantel does, though, is … Continue reading

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Arturo Perez-Reverte, “Captain Alatriste”

I love capes. And swords. And boots that go over the knee. Swashbuckling, gallantry, melancholy heroes. I don’t even object to villains in black. Now it’s true that Arturo Pérez-Reverte does not specifically mention the boots in Captain Alatriste, but … Continue reading

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Rumer Godden, “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy”

I’ve loved Rumer Godden ever since someone gave me Miss Happiness and Miss Flower to read around 1963. In This House of Brede is one of my all-time favorites but then, I am a total sucker for a novel about … Continue reading

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