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Dr John "JMT" (Cheshire, England)

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The President's Hat
The President's Hat
by Antoine Laurain
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite original, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The President's Hat (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on holiday recently and admired the originality of the storyline, where President Mitterand's lost hat gives the wearer special powers.

By something of a coincidence, my latest reading is Simon Singh's book "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets". It highlights a 1993 episode "Springfield (Or,How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalised Gambling)". In this episode, Edward Kissinger is touring Homer's workplace and drops his spectacles down the toilet while visiting the washroom. He says "No one must know I dropped them in the toilet. Not I, who drafted the Paris Peace Accord."

A short time later, Homer visits the toilets, finds the glasses, and can't resist trying them on. They endow him with the power of Kissinger's brain and he starts regurgitating a variant of the Pythagoras theorem.

This episode in turn was derived from the "Wizard of Oz" (1939) where the Scarecrow is given a brain by the Wizard and blurts out a similar conjecture.

The story line of "The President's Hat" appeared so original that I was waiting for more from the same author, but this may be more of a challenge than I imagined!


Ten Plus One (87th Precinct)
Ten Plus One (87th Precinct)
Price: £3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned, but good holiday reading., 4 Dec 2013
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I bought about 17 of these Ed McBain books on Amazon's Kindle daily deal, and read the lot on holiday.
Good old fashioned US police stories. Easy to pick up and put down several times a day. A sub-set of the characters appear throughout the series,so, once known, only the plot matters. American Z cars!

A lot of the stories have pages that can be skipped,as most of the books describe in great detail the detectives using "cut and paste" paragraphs, a technique irritatingly copied in the much more expensive Jack Reacher stories.

Worth reading if you can get a bulk buy deal!


Dead Line
Dead Line
Price: £2.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and exciting, but written for a sequel., 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Dead Line (Kindle Edition)
I was furious when I finished reading this book on holiday, as it is not acceptably complete at the end (and it is a long book).

The reader is entitled for a book to be reasonably self contained and this is not, with key elements of the plot left open. It should have been sold as part 1 of a set, as it was clearly written to sell the sequel.

It is a fast moving kidnap story, well written and exciting, albeit with frustrating padding in some of the most exciting parts.

I could not wait to get to the end, which never really came!


Letts 2014 Rhino A4 Week to View Appointments Diary
Letts 2014 Rhino A4 Week to View Appointments Diary
Price: £9.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many years and still going, 16 Oct 2013
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I was given one of these diaries several years ago and was very impressed, and really liked it in action.

Unfortunately it was very difficult to find a replacement, but Letts would supply them singly by mail order, which I have used every year.

It lies flat and there is a quarter A4 page for each of 7 days with the last 1/4 page left for notes on each double page. Plenty of room for notes and family commitments, and big enough not to get lost around the house.

At the end of each month there are 2 pages for notes and a whole sheet for major events in the following month.

At the beginning and end there are the usual fillers of conversion factors, road maps, mileages and "useful phone numbers" which are probably past their sell by dates in these days of the internet.

I'm pleased to see it now readily available on Amazon at a good price, so I have just bought mine for 2014


The Collected Short Stories of Saki (Wordsworth Classics)
The Collected Short Stories of Saki (Wordsworth Classics)
by Hector Hugh Munro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful read, 3 Jun 2013
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The short stories are set in the period before the first world war and mostly feature "genteel" society, albeit with a couple of young characters (Reginald and Clovis) who manage to wreak havoc and cause chaos wherever they go. The stories are very funny and beautifully written, with many ending with a totally unexpected twist in the final sentence.

I go back to re-reading these stories every few years, and decided to buy the Wordsworth edition to replace my dog eared edition.

There are over a hundred stories which can be read at random, although some characters like Reginald and Clovis occur in many stories and are perhaps best read in sequence. The humour is unique and Saki's language and imagination are wonderful.

What a pity his writing was terminated by a sniper in 1916, while in his mid-forties.


Manchester Streets and Manchester Men
Manchester Streets and Manchester Men
by Thomas Swindells
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is only part 2 of a series of at least 5, 27 Sep 2012
I have the original version of this book published in 1907. Its title is "Manchester Streets and Manchester Men Second Series. I also have First series (1906), Third Series (1907) and Fifth Series (1908). I don't know if there were any more published after the 5th series.

The point is that whoever buys this book will not get more than a small proportion of the subject matter. This may be important to anybody using it for research.

I think the title should make it clear that it is only part of a set.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2013 10:50 PM BST


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