This week’s books: (NB — added the Heyer, which had escaped from the pile awaiting logging)
48) Edward Marston — Murder on the Brighton Express
Fifth in the Railway Detective series. This time Detective Inspector Colbeck has reason to think that a train was deliberately derailed, with multiple fatalities, specifically to kill one man — but which man? As with previous books in the series, this is enjoyable pulp that I’d be happy to read more of if it came my way, but which doesn’t leave me actively wanting to seek out future books.
49) Georgette Heyer — Behold, Here’s Poison
Second in the Hannasyde series, which started with Death in the stocks. A wealthy man is found dead one morning. There is no obvious reason to think it anything other than than his medical history catching up with him, but his sister insists that it must be poison and demands a post-mortem. Poison it is, and there are suspects aplenty within the family. Another entertaining and witty 1930s police procedural from Heyer.
50) Jonathan Fast — Mortal Gods
Science fiction set in a future where humans have colonised a significant fraction of the galaxy, but are not the only intelligent species to have done so. Human politics haven’t changed all that much, even if the technology has, and a PR man from a genetic engineering company learns this the hard way when he’s given the job of liaison with an envoy from an alien species in desperate need of the company’s services. I liked it a lot once I got past some clunkiness in the writing in the first couple of chapters.
51) Frank Herbert — The Green Brain
Near-future (from the point of view of the 1960s) sf about a campaign to eradicate all insects other than genetically engineered bees, and the desperate attempt of an intelligent hive mind to communicate and/or fight back. There’s a very tight focus on three individual humans, building the world of the novella through their interactions with one another. It relies heavily on silly stereotypes, but is still worth reading, and although it’s clearly written with a sixties ecology sensibility, it hasn’t suffered from the passage of time.
And my current audiobook-in-progress is “The moon’s a balloon”, the first volume of David Niven’s autobiography.