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Sadistic Steinbeck, by his wife.

REVIEW:
Notes From The Fog
by Been Marcus

Bombs and begonias

The Trial on trial

Edinburgh Book Festival

England’s lost king

REVIEW:
The Town
by Shaun Prescott

INTERVIEW:
Sophie Hannah

REVIEW:
Belly Up
by Rita Bullwinkel

Creative despots

Booker longlist 2018

Public schools
wreck Britain!

Prize shorts

Pretend I’m Dead:
confessions of a
house cleaner

Spies have changed the world

Cyber weapons

The Orwell Prize

REVIEW:
Imperial Twilight
by Stephen R. Platt

 

PaintCATHYbooktaste.com

A WEEKLY FEAST OF READING WITH CATHY MACLEOD

           OOPS! An excellent little supermarket and takeaway complement the toilet block.
                                                                                                                     –
CAREFREE CAMPING

PEOPLE BEING PEOPLE

20 Sept. 2018

I AM glad I found this author, and must thank my local library for the discovery. Now unfound in bookshops, D.E. Stevenson (1892-1973) wrote a bestseller every year for 40 years. And believe me they are still worth reading. Described as ‘light romance’, they are much more than that.

People being people is the crux of all fiction. Nobody does it better than this Scottish great niece of Robert Louis Stevenson. Her plots are simple, even seemingly accidental, fuelled by entertaining insights into memorable characters, social interactions and different locations.

Sarah’s Cottage, which I am immersed in now, was written in 1968.  It switches between Scotland and England and includes attitudes and customs long past yet remarkedly entertaining.This author’s creations are well covered at Wikipedia:
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._E._Stevenson

She is also, thank goodness, readily available at Amazon, including a few digital titles:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-D-E-Stevenson/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3AD.%20E.%20Stevenson

Alan Bradley’s latest
FLAVIA de Luce fans will find a particularly clever murder mystery in 
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place.  It amazes me how the author sustains extreme entertainment for grownups in the antics of his 12-year-old female sleuth. This latest whodunit is one of the best in a brilliant series.I

On a different theme, the British Raj, Bryce McBryce attains pageturning entertainment for adult readers via a child in Ceylon in the 1930s.  BRAT   features the perplexing Wee Charlie, regarded by Army brass as a problem more pressing than militant Japan. My last blog gives more detail, but again I’m pushing an original and entertaining writer who is not widely known these days. Happy reading! from Cathy.

Hurray for the Raj

19 August 2018

IN days of old, when Britain ruled the world and the natives knew their place and corruption was unknown, or undiscovered . . .
seeds were planted for wonderful tales to be penned by authors of the future. India, Pakistan, Malaya, Egypt and the rest of Africa, West Indies and many other locations enriched the Raj and inspired imaginations into our present wealth of fiction.

Kipling, Henty, Frances Burnett, JG Farrell, MM Kaye, Paul Scott, John Masters and the like have been succeeded by others who charm Space Age readers with British Empire tales. In recent times a good percentage of Raj authors are indigenous to the former colonies. And this gives a fresh slant to the ‘ripping yarns’ of imperialist days.

One Indian author I particularly like is Abir Mukherjee, who recently published Smoke And Ashes, book 3 of his crime fiction series featuring Captain Wyndham (ex Scotland Yard) and his irrepressible sidekick Sergeant Surrender-not Banerjee. Following A Rising Man and A Necessary Evil, this one sympathetically relates to India’s 1920s agitation for independence.

At the worst possible time, the Prince of Wales, future King-Emperor, is on a ‘goodwill’ visit. This actually happened in 1921 and nobody tried to assassinate him. Step forward a storyteller who brilliantly blends thrilling plots with real history. Abir Mukherjee’s research is keen and often, as here, uncovers shock facts. His rare sense of humour adds to the entertainment.

Even more chuckles and some succinct philosophy accompany another of my favourites, Raj joker Bryce McBryce. He claims to have been the BRAT of his book thus-called.

In pre WW2 Ceylon the British Army brass label him ‘a bigger menace than militant Japan’. The colonel trembles in rage, the nuns pray, while Wee Charlie strives to understand that peculiar species the Adult.

Believe him or not, the episodes he chronicles are delightful humour from a social niche in Empire’s history.

The author explains: “We all live in the big human comedy which never changes. I give it a setting in a far fortress of the 1930s, where a well-meaning child spotlights the pomposity of grownups.”

Happy reading! from Cathy.

HOW  TO  CAPTURE  READERS

5 AUGUST 2018

FROM the opening sentence to the very end, author Ann Morven captures readers in her latest whodunit, Unfaithful Unto Death. For August release in paperback, it features the murder of a promiscuous princess on a cruiseliner.

Bumbling female sleuth Sheil B Wright is on board to entertain the passengers with her songs, and thus finds herself thrust into a mystery that will (as always!) threaten her own life.

This amateur detective appeared in earlier Ann Morven puzzles and is one of my favourites in the genre. I like her inevitable rivalry with a police investigator, which now seems to be a repeated pattern in Morven plots. The cop this time is a pedantic knowall female descendant of Sherlock Holmes, previously outsleuthed in Morven’s bestselling Murder Piping Hot.

Not all the action is on board. There are pageturning developments in a West Australian vineyard and pagan blood rites on a tropical island.

In innovative style the author takes readers inside flashbacks imagined by different suspects. It’s a technique that maintains the pace and teases with possible outcomes.

Happy reading! from Cathy.

 

99morven

ANN MORVEN
whodunit diva

99IVOR

JOHN IVOR
Historical fiction

99McB

BRYCE McBRYCE
Humour

99chas

CHARLES BRYCE
Non-fiction and
jjuvenile
 

PaintMO

ANN MORVEN
whodunit diva

PaintIVOR

JOHN IVOR
historical tales

PaintMcB

BRYCE McBRYCE
humour

150chas

CHARLES BRYCE
non-fiction