Monthly Archives: November 2009

Benjamin Black, “Christine Falls”

Another case of an overqualified author turning out a crackerjack murder mystery. Benjamin Black is a psuedonym of John Banville, the Irish poet and novelist. Which is why, I suppose, we get fabulous sentences like this:  “Suddenly for him death … Continue reading

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Sybille Bedford, “Jigsaw”

I first read Jigsaw years ago, on the warm recommendation of a friend, and picked it up again when another friend mentioned how much she was loving it. I wasn’t sure that I’d still appreciate what I’d found so compelling … Continue reading

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Frank Tallis, “A Death in Vienna”

A murder mystery set in Vienna in 1902 sounded like a terrific idea. Teaming up to solve the mystery: Oskar Reinhardt, a detective, and his friend Dr. Max Liebermann, a doctor who experiments with the new treatment known as psychoanalysis. … Continue reading

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Deborah Crombie, “Necessary as Blood”

What a terrible title! I still can’t figure out how it pertains to the book, and it’s the kind of non-sequitur that I know won’t ever stick in my brain. Nor does it tell you anything about the novel. Maybe … Continue reading

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Nick Hornby, “Juliet, Naked”

Juliet, Naked was supposed to be light relief after A Place of Greater Safety, but that may not have been fair to Nick Hornby. I was remembering him as essentially readable. I mean, who else could have gotten me through … Continue reading

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Hilary Mantel, “A Place of Greater Safety”

Bullet points: *The French Revolution was very confusing. *Only the most dedicated readers will persist for 747 pages. *The Committee of Public Safety was, in some respects, similar to a co-op board or a PTA: factions, alliances, occasional moments of … Continue reading

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Lionel Davidson, “Kolymsky Heights”

A find, by gum! A friend with good taste recommended Lionel Davidson. Sight unseen, I bought Kolymsky Heights and found it quite satisfying. It’s as if someone had put John Le Carré, Lee Child, and Michael Crichton in a Cuisinart … Continue reading

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A.S. Byatt, “The Children’s Book”

What an ambitious book this is! And a puzzling one as well. There’s sometimes something quite dull about Byatt’s writing — I think it has to do with the distance she maintains from her characters. And yet it’s also completely … Continue reading

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