In the meantime it's the end of the month and time for a run-down of what I've managed to read in June:
33. Cloudworld - David Cunningham
34. The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H. Cook
35. Body Double - Tess Gerritsen
36. Death at La Fenice - Donna Leon
37. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
38. The Warden - Anthony Trollope
39. Flying Visits - Clive James
40. Paradise Barn - Victor Watson
41. Voice of the Violin - Andrea Camilleri
42. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
Ten books this month. This sounds a lot for me, who averages five to seven books a month, but several of these were quick reads and some were the 'unputdownable' kind which you just have keep reading until you've finished... Tess Gerritsen for instance. Any rate, *all* were excellent books and June goes down as a very good reading month indeed.
My final two books for the the month were, firstly, Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri:
This is book four of the author's Inspector Montalbano series, set on the island of Sicilly. Montalbano discovers the body of a woman, bound and suffocated on her bed. The suspects for the murder are many, including her husband, her lover, a slightly retarded admirer, a doctor, and even the victim's best friend whom Montalbano is attracted to. The inspector has his work cut out this time, not only to discover the perpetrator of this hideous crime but also defending himself against his superior officers, who lack confidence in him.
I decided to give up on this series a while ago because I didn't like Montalbano very much, but I changed my mind. I'm glad I did. This is the best so far... not confusing as a couple of them have been... but a good, solid, easy to follow plot that was fast paced and surprising. Not to mention peppered with the usual humour and excellent cuisine. I'll not be giving up on this series again.
And secondly, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:
Sixteen year old Tessa Gray arrives in Victorian London expecting to be met by her brother, Nathaniel: he's not there. Instead, two very strange women escort Tessa to their home where things very quickly turn bad. It seems Tessa has some latent talent, which the sisters need to bring out... and not in a kindly manner - Tessa is a prisoner. Eventually Tessa discovers that the talent she possesses is to 'change' into any person she wants. Her other discovery is that the sisters are preparing her to be the wife of 'The Magister', but who this person is, Tessa has no idea. She escapes and takes refuge with a band of Shawdowhunters whose mission in life is to uphold the laws of the magical world. But they all know that the Magister will come after her with every weapon he has... daemons, vampires, warlocks and even an army of clockwork automatons. And Tessa still does not know where her brother is...
Very enjoyable this, if you like YA horror yarns that keep you on your toes with their twists and turns. Characterisation is good, the young people all feel like real people with real reactions, jealousies and faults. There's a bit of a romantic aspect to the books, which I liked, and a very real mystery element. The magical elements mix very well with Victorian London and it's suitably seedy and at times frightening. It should be explained that this is book one of a new 'prequel' series to Cassandra Clare's 'Mortal Instruments' series, which I've not read. Book two is out in December and in the meantime I'll probably read that previous series which is connected but set in modern times. I gather it's very good so the wait until December should not be too arduous.
And now I can't decide what to read. I have Barchester Towers already started on my Kindle but I like to read a proper book alongside a Kindle read. My grand-daughter loaned me Magyk by Angie Sage to reread, as she wants me to read the rest of that series but I can't remember a lot of what happens in that first book, so I may reread that. Or Vanish by Tess Gerritsen, or I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett which I picked up in Cardiff. I also picked up two crime books by Karin Slaughter, people tell me she's an excellent crime writer. I don't know... decisions, decisions.