Wednesday 11 August 2021

Catching up and currently reading

Rather busy at the moment so not a lot of time for blogging and although I'm trying to keep up with my favourite blogs, I can't help but feel I'm failing miserably. Hopefully in a few weeks things will settle down and I can get back to commenting regularly.

In the meantime a bit of a catch-up post... two crime yarns that could not really be more different.

First, The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. I read this after reading Sam's excellent review.

It's the early 1950s and Lou Ford is a deputy sheriff in the Texan town of Central City. He's 'Mr. Nice Guy', not necessarily the brightest bulb in the pack but honest, reliable, genuine. But is he? The title of this book answers that question in a pretty blunt manner, what it doesn't tell you is how chilling this tale is. Told in the first person, Lou relates how he sets about deciding that various people who are complicating his life will have to be disposed of. Plus, he feels that his brother was probably murdered and plans to revenge said murder. It's a tangled web and even the story of his brother is not as straightforward as it sounds. This is a twisted little tale and made all the more chilling by the matter-of-fact manner in which the narrator tells his story. I had to have frequent breaks from this one as it is very cold-blooded and no one in it is very pleasant. But my goodness it's incredibly well written and by an author I'd not previously heard of. And that's the joy of blogging in a nutshell, if I hadn't seen Sam's review I would never have read this superb book. Plus, it's my second entry for 'Texas' in my US States challenge, the first being Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr... perhaps my next 'Texas' book ought to be something that isn't all about psychotic serial killers or snakes in a tent?

Next up, something more humorous and gentle - In the Market for Murder by T.E. Kinsey, book 2 in his 'Lady Hardcastle' historical crime series.

Lady Hardcastle and her maid/companion, Florence, are asked by an over-burdened with work Inspector Sunderland to look into the death of a farmer in a local pub. Apparently he was alive one minute, face-down in his pie the next. Unfortunately all too many people loathed Farmer Carradine, who was the epitome of a miserable git. The two investigators can find no one with a good word to say for him. Add to this being asked to look into some thefts at the local rugby club and a mystery concerning a visiting clairvoyant and the two suddenly have their work cut out. There's a great deal of excellent banter and humour in this series. Lady Hardcastle and Flo have a lot of history together and there are hints of spying which they have apparently retired from and taken up sleuthing instead. It's all extremely unlikely but massive fun, not to be taken at all seriously and I like that a lot. I nabbed every book (7) for my Kindle at the bargain price of a quid each which I considered an absolute steal. (I think they're still available at that price too.)


So I'm currently reading Through Siberia by Accident by Dervla Murphy.

This is my 11th. book for the 20 Books of Summer challenge and will also complete a line for my Book Bingo virtual card, so it's quite an important book. I wish I could say I was thrilled with it but at the moment it's feeling a bit pedestrian. I'm pretty sure it's the writing. I wasn't mad about her book about Ethiopia so perhaps Dervla Murphy isn't for me despite her being one of the most famous travel writers of the genre.

Hope your summer is going well!


Vallypee said...

Ooh, I think I'll be looking out for the Lady Hardcastle and Flo books. T E Kinsey is a new name to me, but I love improbable mysteries as long as they're meant to be. That is the beauty of the Cosy Mystery genre. You can suspend belief and still have fun working out the puzzle and enjoying the characters. If you don't mind a bit of a Christian slant as well, Stephanie Parker McKean's books are great fun, and also just 99p each. They're mostly set in Texas where she comes from, but some are in Scotland where she lives now. I'm not religious, but I really enjoy her books. They're all totally implausible, but so colourful!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

That first book recommend by Sam does sound chilling. Curious about the Siberia one as well. I think I have 15 of the 20 books of summer read but don't think I will finish - we shall see.

DesLily said...

They sound like good ones..! But you always pick good books! The world is going crazy with the virus , fires, floods, killings...It seems I can't keep what mind I have on anything lately. Thank goodness for The Mandalorian... I've watched the 2 seasons 4 times. One of the absolutely very few things that takes my mind off of the rest of the world! Love you sis!

Cath said...

Val: Exactly, I'm not a huge cozy mystery fan but every now and then it's just what I need and I can happily suspend belief and enjoy the weirdest things, deaths in knitting shops, bakeries, even a typewriter shop in Utah! All good fun. I'm not religious either but have no problem reading books with a religious slant or set in a cathedral or with a vicar as a main character. In fact I quite like that. I've bought Black Pudding Murder about the Fog Busters detectives. Sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the rec.

Diane: Sam's book was 'very' chilling, but also excellent. I'm probably going to manage 11 or 12 out of my 20 books for summer but hey... that's 12 books off the tbr pile!

Pat: I think you would like the Lady Harcastle books. The world is going from bad to worse at the moment. Terrible fires in several places, Greece looks like hell. I'd like to watch The Mandalorian but I think it's on Disney, which we don't have. Must look into some other way to see it.

Sam said...

Happy that you enjoyed The Killer Inside Me, Cath, even though I'm not sure "enjoyed" is the right term for what we experience when reading that one. That character is most definitely not one I'm ever going to forget. Still kind of hard to believe it was written so many years ago.

Maybe for your next Texas book you could read one of Larry McMurtry's...maybe something like Terms of Endearment. A kinder, gentler look at the state. LOL

Lark said...

I put The Killer Inside Me on my TBR list after reading Sam's review, too. I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Probably because I know it's not going to be an easy book to read.

Vallypee said...

Great that you're giving The Fog Busters a try, Cath. I enjoyed that one too, and I liked the three Texas Rik Patience books too.

Cath said...

Sam: No... LOL... 'enjoyed' is hardly the right word but it was still a fascinating read. Yes, it felt like it could've been written this year not 70 years ago.

And yes, I truly do need a kinder look at Texas, excellent though the two books I read for it were, I need something else. Larry McMurty sounds like a good suggestion.

Lark: When you do get to the book - brace yourself.

Val: To tell the truth I had difficulty on the Goodreads page deciding which books belonged to which series. I'll look into the other series you mention too.

TracyK said...

You are much braver than I, Cath. I have thought about read The Killer Inside Me for years, but have considered it would be too wrenching for me, too tense. I have one book of Jim Thompson's that I may read some day (The Getaway, made into a movie with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw), and others I have considered, but still not sure I am up to his type of story. He wrote The Grifters, which was made into a movie that I watched and found horrifying, and I have heard that the novel is even worse.

The Lady Hardcastle series looks worth trying, and it also seems that they are reasonably priced as Kindle editions here too. I will look into them more.

I am hoping that Through Siberia by Accident gets better. The title is great.

Cath said...

Tracy: Yes, I have to say that The Killer Inside Me is very tense and cold-blooded. I'm not really sure I knew what I was getting into. LOL!

Lady Hardcastle and Flo were a good antidote to all that psychotic killing. I have to say. And the books being cheap helps.

Susan said...

Bummer that THROUGH SIBERIA BY ACCIDENT isn't more exciting. Just the title has me intrigued!

Cath said...

It turned out a little more interesting than I thought, Susan. Still not wonderful though.