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balzar "balzar" (ireland)

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An Officer and a Spy
An Officer and a Spy
by Robert Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 3 Sept. 2014
This review is from: An Officer and a Spy (Paperback)
I thought I knew about the Dreyfus case, but now realize I didn't really!
This novel brings it all to life - the deceitfulness of the army, the extraordinary anti-Semitism, the hones and honourable Picquart - who, although being anti-Semite, still doggedly pursued the truth.
I have since read the life of Clemenceau and another book by a contemporary French politician, so that this has been a most useful book in widening my horizons.

Spies of the Balkans
Spies of the Balkans
by Alan Furst
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Fursts!, 8 July 2014
This review is from: Spies of the Balkans (Paperback)
The hero of this novel/thriller is one of the most sympathetic of Furst's gallery of brave men (and women).
The story is quite simple and logical - details can be found elsewhere.
I would really like to meet Zanis and his pals - and Frau Kleider - but feel they might find me a little dull!
The only drawback is the usual one with books written 60 years after the event - the characters are all able to make wise judgements about the future............

Midnight in Europe
Midnight in Europe
by Alan Furst
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 July 2014
This review is from: Midnight in Europe (Hardcover)
The first thriller in which the results on the ground are shown!
This concerns the purchase of arms for the Spanish Civil War - all very exciting - plus the usual lovely ladies.....
But it also includes descriptions of various battles, so that the reader can see there is more to the thrills than just boys being boys!

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike)
by Robert Galbraith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So disapppointing, 5 July 2014
Such ghastly people! I very much enjoyed the first Cormoran Strike - but this is a sad disappointment. The murderee is a horrid person, his wife (Cormoran's client) is totally obnoxious. - in fact I wonder why he took on the case - seems to be some reverse snobbery.....The plot can be found in other reviews, but involves copious excerpts from a particularly dull gothic fantasy novel where everybody has strange names.... Also, this novel within a novel concerns the London publishing world - would it be guaranteed a wide readership?
The modus operandi is revolting.
All in all a big disappointment. As someone has already pointed out, the constant reference's to Cormoran's prosthesis become quite tedious - of course, being the hero, he can't actually look after himself.
One point that particularly sticks in my mind is the wrapped bunch of flowers just dumped in a sink full of dirty crockery - really conveys the feeling of this book.
However, on the plus side, the descriptions of London streets and atmosphere are fascinating.
I haven't actually finished this and doubt if I will.

by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, 28 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Dominion (Paperback)
This is an excellent idea - that Britain has become an ally of Germany. The story is set in 1952 (I think!). More details of the plot can be found in other reviews......
It is very well constructed - but has a major flaw in Frank Moncaster - a doctor of science - who seems to be a sort of holy fool, timorous, terrified, etc. and yet when he speaks it is always apt and the other characters gaze at him in amazement.
This quickly becomes quite tedious - personally I had a great urge to give him a good kick!
I haven't actually finished this, but enjoying it so far. Winston Churchill seems to be very well done, judging by what I know of him from his books.

Meltwater (Fire and Ice)
Meltwater (Fire and Ice)
by Michael Ridpath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 18 Feb. 2014
This must be the only book where I hoped one of the main characters will be killed in a most painful way!
Erica Zinn, the leader of Freeflow (a website that reveals secret information) is a most unpleasant person - opinionated, paranoid, always right of course (except when she is quite wrong!). If things don't go well, she simply sleeps with whoever is causing the problem - ho hum!!
The detective has the statutory family problems...
An interesting aspect of this thriller is that it takes place when the Icelandic ash cloud occurred, so that all the characters are trapped where they were before the eruption.
The other reviews explain the plot - so just recording my views

Ireland: A History
Ireland: A History
by Thomas Bartlett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.19

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great history book, 12 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Ireland: A History (Paperback)
From the very first sentence "May I begin in the year 431 a.d.?" I was hooked....
I know quite a lot of Irish history and have always found it particularly tedious. An American friend asked me to recommend a book on Irish history and I picked this; naturally I had to read it first and found it most entertaining and illuminating.
Highly recommended.

Elegy for April (Quirke Mysteries)
Elegy for April (Quirke Mysteries)
by Benjamin Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Coronation Street on the Liffey, 26 Dec. 2013
I have only read about 50 pages of this and find it increasingly tedious.
I had been told it was "beautifully written" and indeed there are 5 metaphors or similes in the first half-page....
The heroine, Phoebe, is the daughter of a man who handed her over to his sister in law when her mother died giving birth. The sister in law (sister of the late wife) is married to the adoptive son of a judge, who was in fact also his natural father!
A girl called April has not been in touch with Phoebe for a whole week! How can she find out where she is. It is suggested she might phone April's mother, but this doesn't suit....too easy of course.
At that stage I lost patience - not helped by the "beautiful writing" which, while undoubtedly entertaining for the author, is just a big nuisance.
Back to John Buchan for me!

Warning at One (Lois Meade Mystery Book 8)
Warning at One (Lois Meade Mystery Book 8)
Price: £3.77

2.0 out of 5 stars oh dear!, 2 Nov. 2013
Poor Loise Meade! I first met her in Murder on Monday, Terror on Tuesday.....
This latest offering is seriously depressing. Poor Lois seems unable to speak to anyone without a snarl or a cutting reply. She must be very good-looking to get away with such constant rudeness.....The story itself is quite uninteresting, although I did read to the end.
Her relationship with Cowgill of the police is rather like that of the commander in chief of an army dealing with a private. This tendency is even worse in Tragedy at Two (I got this from the library...). She seems to think that the police should report to her before doing their job.
The by-play with family and friends (such as they are) has quite disappeared.
Obviously this is now written by a computer!

Terror on Tuesday (Lois Meade Mysteries)
Terror on Tuesday (Lois Meade Mysteries)
by Ann Purser
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable, 15 Oct. 2013
This is the second in the Lois Meade series.
Very entertaining picture of English village life - lots of cups of sweet tea, Gran making chocolate cake, pleasant time in the local pub.....
I gave it only 4 stars because as a detective story it is not really great - more an atmospheric read.
The best thing to my mind is that all the chapters are quite short and separated into smaller sections, so that you can read it piecemeal - although in fact I read it straight through!

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