Saturday 1 October 2022

Books read in September

Well, that was a month wasn't it? Who knew September would be like 'that'! Heaven forfend. I didn't think I would but I watched The Queen's funeral from start to finish. I was ok until the pipes played The Skye Boat Song which always has the ability to finish me off. Add to that the Shetland pony and the Corgis and that was me, gone. What a send off. And now we have a new era and we shall see what that brings. 

So, September has been quite a slowish reading month for me. I'm starting this post on the 27th. and at the moment I've read six books this month. Many distractions and those include putting together a 3,000 piece jigsaw: that always cuts down on my reading time. 

So, now it's the 1st. October and I'm up to eight books because I finished off a short story collection and snuck in a final crime read. 

Anyway, these are the books:

82. Rushed - Aurora Rose Reynolds. I spoke very briefly about this book here. 

83. Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers 

84. Burglars Can't Be Choosers - Lawrence Block 

85. The Pact - Sharon Bolton 

86. Death Walks The Woods - Cyril Hare

This was a very typical example of a village-based vintage crime story. Retired judge, Francis Pettigrew, and his wife, move from London to a village in the English countryside. Very pretty, lots of hills and woods, a view of which they have from their house. Pettigrew is writing his memoirs but is dragged out of retirement to help at the County Courts. Which is where he comes across a Mrs. Pink who is trying to resist being evicted by her landlord who wants her house for his daughter's young family. Mrs. Pink is one of these irreplaceable women in villages who help to run various charities and events by doing all their typing. But she has A Past which only comes to light when she's found murdered on the hill that Pettigrew's house overlooks. Not only that, it seems he might've been the last person to see her alive. So this is my first book by Cyril Hare, I don't think I'd even heard of him until I nabbed this for 99p for my Kindle. It turns out this is book 4 in a 5 book series but it honestly doesn't matter. It's very well written with a nice bit of humour running through it, which is of course my favourite thing. Hare (real name, Alfred Clark) was apparently a county court judge himself so the details in the story feel very authentic, especially the brief courtroom scene near the beginning. As usual there are heaps of suspects all with their own agenda and reasons why they might want the dead woman gone. I thoroughly enjoyed this and have grabbed another cheap book for my Kindle, a book of Hare's short stories.

87. Caliph's House - Tahir Shah. I read this for my Book Voyage challenge, September's region being Africa. The book recounts how the author moved his family to Morroco to live, despite his wife not wanting to go and his relations and friends thinking him mad. I'm with them! Reading this was like reading a catalogue of disasters, one after the other, mainly to do with building renovations and the fact that the author really did not understand the psyche of the local people. His wife was hardly mentioned and I just wondered what effect it really had on her. I was exhausted reading it all and none of it happened to me! Three stars on Goodreads for good writing and the flavour of Morroco being very strong, strong enough to convince me that I could never, ever go and live there. 

88. The Ghost Slayers: Thrilling Tales of Occult Detection - edited by Mike Ashley. To be reviewed but it was an excellent anthology. This and the Sharon Bolton were my two 5 star reads of September. 

89. Mark of the Lion - Suzanne Arruda. To be reviewed but this was a 'ripping yarn' kind of murder mystery set in 1920s Africa (aroundabout the time Kenya became Kenya, although back in my prehistoric day we called it Keenya) and I really enjoyed it but it needs to be remembered that attitudes to big game hunting were very different back then. Book one of the author's 'Jade del Cameron' series and another book for my Book Voyage challenge. Oh... interesting fact for today, Mount Kilimanjaro used to be known as Mount Kilima Njaro.

So, eight books read. Seven fiction, one non-fiction. I was very heavy on the murder mystery books in September... mainly because that was what I was in the mood for, so that was what I read, and I thoroughly enjoyed my crime reading month. My September books also took me around the world, Montana, Scotland, Morroco, Kenya and, in one of the long short stories in The Ghost Slayers, Australia

So now it's October, one of my favourite months of the year. Lots of reading plans and I hope you have too. Happy reading!


Sue in Suffolk said...

That Cyril Hare was a puzzle, had to do a search to find out about it as I've read 5 of his books and some were reprinted fairly recently but not this one which is apparently also called That Yew Trees Shade. It's a shame this wasn't reprinted too as it's a silly price for the old original.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I was quite taken by the Queen's funeral. I would have liked to watch more and should have gone to another room or recorded it as the husband was uninterested overall. I haven't read any of your September reads but, a few have me wanting to know more. Hope October is a good month for you and me.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

We had booked to spend the Sunday night before The Queen's funeral away, so we were travelling home whilst the main bulk of the service was taking place on the Monday morning. However, we did get back in time to see the journey to Windsor and the service there, which was lovely and well worth watching. The floral tributes which lined the route to the chapel, were so beautifully arranged and in such lovely straight lines too!

I have been downloading as many of the vintage crime books as I can get my hands on and have them all squirrelled away for that elusive 'rainy day' reading, when I might not have another book available to me!! - Seriously, I really do want to strike a few of them off my list and I do enjoy the more descriptive and unhurried style of writing and the way that makes me feel when reading and I certainly include the Dorothy L. Sayers 'Lord Peter Wimsey' series in that mix.

The Sharon Bolton book is already on my list, so I'm looking forward to that one too!

Enjoy some great reading in October! :)

Margot Kinberg said...

The Skye Boat Song always gets to me, too, Cath. And, yes, September was something else, that's for sure. You read some fine books! I do like Sharon Bolton's work, and Lawrence Block is such a talent, in my opinion. You've reminded me, too, that I need to read some Cyril Hare!

Cathy said...

I was so happy to see Suzanne Arruda's book listed. I enjoyed the entire series and was sad to see it end.

I've been busier than a one-armed paperhanger with the hives, which has prevented me from finishing The Pact, but I'm so gobsmacked over how the characters are behaving, that I've sworn to lock myself away from all distractions to find out how it all ends!

Lark said...

October is a fun reading month! I'm hoping for some good ghost stories, spooky and suspenseful reads myself. The Mark of the Lion sounds like it's a good book; I do love that African setting. :D

TracyK said...

I am glad you liked Death Walked the Woods by Hare. I have liked many books in the Francis Pettigrew series, but not read all of them yet. I think it is the very first one I haven't read and it is supposed to be a very good mystery. The book before Death Walked the Woods is where he meets his wife, and I love that one. And I am very glad you noted that the book is available in Kindle at a good price, because now I have purchased a copy and can read it again. My other copy is too hard to read.

You are doing well with the Book Voyage challenge, I don't think I am doing well with any of my challenges, although I have read a good number of Canadian books lately.

I am overloaded with books I have been planning to read in October, but I will just have to pick what I want to from them and not worry about it.

Cath said...

Sue: Yes, it's daft the way some books in these older crime series are so easy to get hold of and others aren't. This one is 'well' worth reprinting in my opinion as it's very good.

Cath said...

Diane: My husband and myself have wondered for a few years about what would happen when The Queen died. Both of us thought there would be a huge outpouring of grief and that the funeral would be an amazing spectacle, and so it turned out to be. I still can't really get my head around the fact that she's no longer with us.

Thanks, I hope October is a better month for you all round.

Cath said...

Yvonne: I bet there wasn't much on the road when you were travelling home! I think the whole funeral was very tastefully done, hard to believe that absolutely nothing went wrong.

I like the idea of squirrelling about a nice collection of vintage crime books on your Kindle. And you never know when you might be glad of them. I was certainly glad of my huge Kindle library during the lockdowns.

That Sharon Bolton is 'well' worth a read. A real pageturner.

Thank you, happy October reading to you too.

Cath said...

Margot: Glad I'm not the only softy when it comes to The Skye Boat Song.

I love that there's such a huge variety of crime writing that it doesn't matter what mood you're in you can always fine something to suit it. After a Sharon Bolton, or something similar, I always need something quieter with a much more gentle pace. LOL Yes, Cyril Hare is well worth a try, a couple of people who've commented enjoy his books too.

Cath said...

Cathy: You took me by surprise when you said that the Suzanne Arruda series had ended. So I checked Fantastic Fiction and yes, there hasn't been an instalment since 2015. What a shame! And she doesn't seem to be writing anything else. I wonder what has happened?

Yes, gobsmacked is a good word to describe my reaction to the behaviour of the kids/adults in The Pact. What a shower they were.

Cath said...

Lark: Yes, and I've already started a good creepy read, A Time of Torment by my favourite author, John Connolly. I really think you would like The Mark of the Lion, such a fun, adventurous story and the African setting is very strong in atmosphere and history.

Cath said...

Tracy: Availability of the Cyril Hare books seems to be a bit hit and miss but I'm so glad my tip-off enabled you to get a cheap Kindle copy of Death Walks the Woods. I'll go back now and read the series from the beginning, if I can get hold of the books or ebooks.

Thanks. I'm keeping up with the Book Voyage challenge, not doing too badly with the Bingo one, but failing miserably with Back to the Classics. I think I'll do less next year.

Snap. Like you I have a load of books needing to be read for various things this month, 5 or 6, and likely as not, not all of them will get read. So, like you, I will go with the flow and not worry about it.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

We were away from home in the Lake District when the Queen's death was announced. We were all shocked and I watched her funeral from start to finish when we got home - so very sad. It all got to me but the Shetland pony and the Corgis just was too much - she loved them so much.

I too found The Pact a compulsive read! I am way, way behind writing reviews. I get to the end of a book and no matter how much I enjoyed it I just don't want to write about it. I want to get on with the next book. And my blog is now mainly lists of books! I'll have to do a summing up post to catch up.

FictionFan said...

I read my first Cyril Hare not long ago too and loved it - Tragedy at Law, which is the first in the Pettigrew series. The second is lingering on my TBR - must shove it up the priority list! Never ceases to baffle me why some authors become "forgotten" when they're as good as others who are still popular.

Cath said...

Margaret: I think a lot of people were very affected by the pony with The Queen's scarf draped across the saddle and the corgis. Chokes me up even now.

Yes, exactly the same with me. And if I don't review the books quickly I'm then faced, a week or two later, with trying to remember what happened in several books while I'm deeply immersed in a couple of others.

Cath said...

FictionFan: I'm definitely going to seek out that first book as I've heard good things about it. Yes, and in some cases 'remembered' authors seem not actaully as good as the forgotten ones! It defies explanation.