Herewith the books read in January…
1) Dorothy L Sayers — Whose Body
First of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series. Not as good as some of the later ones, but still enjoyable.
2) Agatha christie – At Bertam’s Hotel [audiobook]
Abridged audiobook on 3 CDs. It’s a Miss Marple novel, although Miss Marple herself isn’t the focal character for much of this adaptation — I’m not sure whether this reflects the original, or is an artefact of how the book was abridged for audio. Enjoyed both the story and the reading, although as with a number of other mysteries I’ve heard read by men, I found the attempt to affect a high pitched voice for female dialogue slightly irritating.
3) Edited by Josie Brown, Rose Mambert, and Bill Racicot — Elf Love
Anthology of 20 short stories with the theme of elf love, published by new small press Pink Narcissus Press. This is an ARC I received through the LibraryThing Early reviewers programme. Reviewed 21 January 2011.
4) Sam Storyteller – Condition of Release
Re-read of a Torchwood fanfic novel, because I felt like reading it again and looked up and found I’d finished it and it was past my bedtime…
5) Iain M Banks — Surface Detail
Latest Culture novel. Long and chewy consideration of various moral issues, not least being a particularly unpleasant way in which the technology to upload personalities into cyberspace could be abused. If and when I get around to writing a review of it, I should cross-post to Bearing Witness.
6) PD James – The Lighthouse
One of the later entries in the Inspector Dalgliesh series, which I hadn’t read before. As usual with this series, excellent.
7) Agatha Christie — The Moving Finger
Reviewed 21 January 2011.
8) Agatha Christie — They Do It With Mirrors
Reviewed 24 January 2011
9) Agatha Christie – Nemesis
The last of the Marple novels to be written, and the second last in chronological order. It shows, with Miss Marple feeling her age, and feeling the loss of her ability to tend to her garden herself. But her gardening skills feature strongly in this book, as she uses them to test the claimed background of various suspects. Marple herself doesn’t know what the mystery is at first, because she has been asked by an acquaintence from a previous case to investigate something for him — only the request is set up to be delivered after his death, and with no actual information about the case, simpy instructions that take her to places where she can observe and form her own conclusions untainted by his biases. Marple is indeed the Nemesis that Jason Rafiel was hoping for, bringing a late but much-needed justice to an old case.
I thought the writing could have been tighter, but Marple herself was a delight in this book. Enjoyed this a lot.
10) E.C. Tubb — The Luck Machine
I couldn’t get into this at all. I gave it a couple of sessions, but two and a half chapters in, I uttered The Eight Deadly Words, and closed the book. I’ve liked other work by Tubb, and I think it was me as much as the book, so don’t let my reaction put you off trying it.
Started but not yet finished: The first of the New Who novels, an abridged audiobook of Reginald Hill’s “A Clubbable Woman”, read by Warren Clarke (who played Dalziel in the BBC tv adaption), and a LoveJoy novel.