Over the past week I've read an impressive but somewhat harrowing book (it's not for the squeamish), a really fun book (the second of the two there), a charming and uplifting one, and one whose characters are all seen in extremis, its three parts linked by plot and theme.
It's time to slacken the pace a little and open something relaxing and engaging, and I think James Runcie's new Grantchester Mystery, Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night will be just the thing. I read the first in what will be a series of six last year and I loved it, so much so that I went to hear James talk about it at the Edinburgh Book Festival - he is as erudite as he is entertaining.
In the new book, we are in 1955 and Canon Sidney Chambers is called to investigate the fall of a don from King's College Chapel, a case of arson at a glamour photographer's studio, and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler. The reluctant sleuth has personal problems, too, as he is drawn to both his socialite friend Amanda Kendall and to Hildegard Staunton, the beguiling German widow. Taking a trip abroad, he finds himself in a web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up. At least at home he has his lovely black Labrador Dickens for company ....
That's my weekend reading, and I'm greatly looking forward to it. Which book will you be picking up?
Still on the subject of detective fiction, P.D. James has an interesting theory as to why so many "Golden Age" novelists were female.