I'm not at all sure where November went. I thought time would drag with yet another lockdown (it ends on the 2nd. December here in the UK) but it hasn't. Strange.
Anyway, a couple of short reviews first. First up, a Christmas/winter short story collection, Crimson Snow edited by Martin Edwards.
As usual with anthologies this was a mixed bag, some of the authors I'd heard of and some not, some of the stories I loved, some a little less. I marked four stories as being excellent. The Man with the Sack by Margery Allingham sees Albert Campion reluctantly accepting an invitation to a country house for Christmas. When he gets there he realises he's been invited to guard over the expensive jewels of one of the other guests. The reader finds out about something called 'goat-touting' in this. Death in December by Victor Gunn features his detective, Bill Cromwell, who's a bit of a grumbler apparently. He also reluctantly agrees to spend Christmas in a place he doesn't want to be, Cloon Castle in Derbyshire. This one involves an idiot spending a night in a haunted room. Great fun. The snowy hills of Derbyshire are well depicted, Cloon Castle reminded me of Peverill Castle in Castleton in the Peak District. Hadn't heard of this author before so I must look him up. Deep and Crisp and Even by Michael Gilbert has one of his detectives, DS Petrella, out carol singing with the choir. They get invited in by one owner, later a choirboy tells them that the man who hosted them was not the owner of the house. One of those, 'Oh' moments. Clever ending. The Carol Singers by Josephine Bell is another carol singing story. An elderly lady, on her own for Christmas, is pleased to have carol singers sing to her on the doorstep but a second lot that arrive are not there to sing to her... Not a bad anthology, patchy, but those that were good were very, very good so to speak. All of them were well written but the one that's stayed with me is Death in December by Victor Gunn, probably because I know the Peak District quite well and it was so well depicted.
Next, Happy Old Me by Hunter Davies.
So, eight books read in November and these are they:
86. Crimson Snow - edited by Martin Edwards (see above)
87. Happy Old Me - Hunter Davies (see above)
A decent mix there, including four non-fiction. All were good but the stand-out book would have to be this:
The Thursday Murder Club was huge fun and and very sensitively written. Looking forward to the next book.
Which is 700 pages long. I may be some time.
Happy December reading!