No sooner has autumn properly set in than the weather forecasting bods start talking about winter. Snow coming for us in the south and south west next weekend apparently. I tend to be of a, 'I'll believe it when I see it' frame of mind, if I'm honest. Living in the south west we don't get anywhere near the snow Scotland or the north of England get but we'll see. At least these days we get plenty of warning so can stock up on essentials because our drive turns into a ski slope when it snows and I'm past the age when whizzing down it on my rear end sounds like fun...
Anyway, books. I've finished three since my last post about WW2 crime fiction ten days ago.
Doorway to Dilemma: Bewildering Tales of Dark Fantasy, is a book of weird fiction short stories put out by the British Library and edited by Mike Ashley. Unusually for a collection by him I found this a bit average. I marked several as being good though: The Anticipator by Morley Roberts, a story about a writer of short stories who gets exciting ideas only to fine another author thinks of exactly the same idea just before he does and writes the story first to great acclaim. The Mysterious Card by Cleveland Moffat - a man gets given a strange card in some gardens in Paris. Thereafter he is completely shunned by by everyone he knows including his family. Why? I love this kind of supernatural mystery. The Thing in the Cellar by David H. Keller was about a young child not happy about the cellar and won't even be in the kitchen where the door to it is... very good indeed, probably the best story in the collection.
Next, Rotten to the Core by T.E. Kinsey. This is book eight in his Lady Hardcastle and Flo the Maid, books.
It's September 1911 and a heatwave has been ongoing for weeks. The apples are ready to harvest, Gloucestershire being a cider area, and The Weryers of the Pomary are doing their appley thing though no one quite knows what that is as it's all supposed to be a bit secret. It's not of course as the villagers know exactly which men are in it. When their members start to turn up dead it lands on Lady Hardcastle and Flo to help the police with their enquiries. I do enjoy the instalments of this series which are Littleton Cotterell (the village where the two women live) based, as we get to see and hear more of the locals who are a joy. But the real joy of these books is T.E. Kinsey's wonderful touch with the dialogue between Lady Hardcastle and Flo. It's very funny. And I love how nothing whatsoever phases these two, they think nothing of flying planes, driving racing cars, chasing after Russian spies. It's all completely bonkers but this is one of my favourite series at the moment.
And lastly, I've just finished A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly, book fifteen in the author's 'Charlie Parker' series.
Parker is called in by FBI agent, Edgar Ross, to help him find private investigator, Jaycob Eklund. Ekland has some paranormal investigations going on, which are clearly troubling Ross, but not all of which he divulges to Parker. But he's disappeared and Ross wants him found. Eventually Parker discovers that Ekland was obsessively investigating some strange murders and disappearances involving ghosts. The deeper Parker delves the more he discovers about a group of people called The Brethren, and the more strange and dangerous the case becomes. Well, of course it does, it wouldn't be a Charlie Parker book otherwise! We now know that there's something very different about his daughter, Sam, and that's fascinating as dribs and drabs are revealed. And there're some highly creepy villains (or not) in this instalment. Someone on Goodreads said they wanted John Connolly to write literary fiction because his writing is sublime. Well, yes it is, but I (and many thousands of others) thank our lucky stars that he loves writing weird, paranormal fiction with a mystery bent and would not want to lose him to literary fiction. He's brilliant quite honestly and I hope he has no plans to go anywhere!
I hope you're all keeping well and finding loads of great books to read this autumn which may soon be turning into winter...