I always find it exciting to be starting a new year of reading. Ridiculous really as it's only one day from 2019 to 2020 but it still feels like a whole new world of possibilities suddenly opens up, regardless of the fact that these possibilities were there on the 31st. December as much as they are on the 1st. January! So why I'm so excited heaven only knows: easily pleased I think.
Anyway, my first book for 2020 is Kickback
by Damien Boyd. This is book three of the author's 'DI Nick Dixon' series of books set in and around Somerset, not too far from here where I live in Devon. I read the first two books in the series last year.
Trainee jockey, Noel Woodman, is found dead in the stalls of one of the horses in the stables where he works. It seems he may have been kicked to death by the dangerous stallion although Noel and the horse were thought to have a special relationship. The brother of the dead man is adamant that Noel was murdered and when he begins to investigate DI Nick Dixon is inclined to agree with him. Thus begins an involvement in the world of racehorse betting and race fixing that Nick was previously completely ignorant of. This he's prepared to do but what he isn't prepared for is the amount of personal danger he suddenly finds himself and his girlfriend, Jane, in. It seems some people will do anything to protect their secrets.
Well, horse-racing is about as far from being an interest of mine as it's possible to be. 'I know nothing' as Manuel used to say. Thus, I thought I might struggle a bit with this one but oddly enough it really didn't seem to matter. A lot is explained as we go along as Nick Dixon is as ignorant of the horsey world as I am. The plot fair gallops along (sorry) and is actually quite the pageturner so I was through it in no time. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, As the Crow Flies
and Head in the Sand
, but I think this one is even better. Typical case of the author hitting his stride (still sorry) I think. I also remain as fascinated as ever with books set so close to where I live and being so familiar with all of the places mentioned. It really is just plain weird as I do live in a bit of a backwater. Nice one and I've already nabbed book four for my Kindle, Swansong
, and it's set in a school which is a setting I actually do enjoy so I'm expecting good things from it.
So anyway, these are the three books I'm reading at the moment:
The First Cadfael Omnibus
is a volume of the first three books in Ellis Peters's Cadfael series. I've read them all before; somewhere around the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s I went through the whole lot from the library, gobbled them up in quick order. Loved them. I decided on a reread because of the third book in the above line-up. Anyway, I've read the first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones
, and can't think why I did not remember how very good the writing is in this series. Very strong sense of Welsh country life in the 12th. century. I've now started the next book, One Corpse too Many
, which is again excellent but entirely different to the first book.
Travelling Light: Journeys Among Special People and Places
by Alastair Sawday is an autobiographical account of some of the author's travels from when he was a boy to the present day. He owns a company that promotes unusual places to stay, I think
mainly in France but I'm not far enough into the book to be able to confirm that. It's a very readable and enjoyable book.
The Morville Hours
by Katherine Swift is all about the creation of a garden in the Dower House at Morville in Shropshire. It's utterly delightful, so calming and gentle and meandering and informative. There's a lot about monastries as the house was built on the site of one... leading to me wanting to reread Cadfael because of course it's set in a monastry in Shrewsbury which is in Shropshire. I absolutely adore how one book can lead to another in this manner.
To finish I'm just popping this pic up here as this is the shelf of books I'm hoping to make inroads into, mainly for the Mount TBR challenge for this year. I thought if I put it up here I can look back at it at the end of the year to see how far I got. Unfortunately I forgot to put back the three books I'm currently reading which all came from this shelf...
Happy 2020 reading, I hope it's a good reading year for everyone. :-)