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piscator (London)

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East of the Sun
East of the Sun
by Julia Gregson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant but unimpressive, 12 July 2010
This review is from: East of the Sun (Paperback)
"East of the Sun" is nicely, rather than particularly elegantly written, and one can tell that its author has previously written for women's magazines, in that although she hints at possibly disagreeable eventualities, her characters somehow manage to avoid them.There is very little characterisation beyond the stereotype - the tough, charming,artistic and slightly anarchic old ladies are old friends from other novels, and the three girls from the Fishing Fleet are just different enough to have three slightly different stories, but not drawn with any degree of depth. We are told that Rose is sweet, Tor is a bit wild (but charming) and Viva finds it difficult to express her feelings. This isn't really enough to explain why they get on together, or why we should care about them. There is clearly a lot of careful research in this novel, which is maybe why it reminds me of a pie with many ingredients, none of which has much flavour of its own.Perhaps its main fault is that while it contains descriptions of Indian life and scenery, it conveys no compelling sense of Indian reality.


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
by Alan Bradley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a treat for lovers of old-fashioned mysteries, 3 May 2010
This is a lovely book. At first I wondered if it wasn't too much of a wish-fulfilment exercise- the thoroughly old-fashioned and comfortable English setting, the charming, literate and funny heroine and her improbably successful sleuthing and so on,- but I was soon caught up in the excitement and the good nature of it all. This would be a perfect book for reading during convalescence. I shall be interested to see how long Flavia can flourish before she becomes tiresome, though.


Crowner John - 10 book box set.  Collection The Elixir of Death, Figure of Hate, The Witch Hunter, Fear in the Forest, The Grim Reaper, The Tinner's Corpse, The Awful Secret, Crowner's Quest, The Poisoned Chalice, The Sanctuary Seeker Rrp 69.90
Crowner John - 10 book box set. Collection The Elixir of Death, Figure of Hate, The Witch Hunter, Fear in the Forest, The Grim Reaper, The Tinner's Corpse, The Awful Secret, Crowner's Quest, The Poisoned Chalice, The Sanctuary Seeker Rrp 69.90
by Bernard Knight
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far too much of a good thing, 3 Mar 2010
I was given the 10 book set, which was unfortunate, as reading these books one after another serves only to draw attention to this author's weaknesses. Knight writes vigorously but not well: his repetitive verbal formulae are sufficiently noticeable within each book, but over the series they become ridiculously predictable- the delectable Hilda, the homely Evelyn, the sprightly Enyd, and so on. As for historical accuracy, the details of a coroner's job are well described and Knight evokes something of the life of an ex-Crusader, but he is often inaccurate (and I suspect uninterested) about ecclesiastical details and makes no attempt to understand how an intelligent 12c person might think.While Knight's plots are usually interesting, often exciting, his characters are not, and the worst offender in this regard is John de Wolfe himself, forever grunting his way about Exeter looking like a black bird of prey, groping and pinching the plump thigh of the buxom Nesta until we wish she would clout him with one of her own quart pots.


The Pauper's Cookbook
The Pauper's Cookbook
by Jocasta Innes
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be acclaimed as a modern Mrs Beeton, 5 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Pauper's Cookbook (Paperback)
I used this cookbook when I was first married and still have it, minus the cover and a couple of pages. The wonderful thing about it is that it gradually trains you to cook sensibly, finding ways of using up odd ingredients and not wasting food, which is important for us all, but particularly vital for the young and penniless.Favourites: Alsatian onion tart,onion bacon and potato hotpot, pork and beans, (slightly) curried chicken ragout, and the salmon souffle.


Tragedy at Law
Tragedy at Law
by Cyril Hare
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an old fashioned treat, 20 Oct 2009
This review is from: Tragedy at Law (Paperback)
"Tragedy at Law" is a delight: literate, funny and very well-informed. P.D.James's recommendation of Cyril Hare must have earned her the gratitude of thousands of detective story readers. Some modern crime writers are as clever as Hare, a very few are as literate, but none combines these qualities with wit as he does. Of course this book and Hare's others are of their time- they present intellectual puzzles rather than any kind of social comment, but this makes them more valuable in many ways. Cyril Hare knew about the law, and modern writers usually know a lot about crime scene procedures. The vagaries of the law, however, offer many more opportunities for sensible reflections about justice and psychology. Not all modern authors who can provide detailed descriptions of horrific and grisly forms of murder and earnest accounts of forensic pathology, are as well-equipped in the area of lucid intellectual comment.


The Vows of Silence: Simon Serrailler Book 4 (Simon Serrailler 4)
The Vows of Silence: Simon Serrailler Book 4 (Simon Serrailler 4)
by Susan Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another success, 20 Oct 2009
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[ASIN:0099499290 The Vows of Silence (Simon Serrailler 4)] Susan Hill always writes convincingly about bereavement and grief, and this is perhaps what makes the Serrailler books so impressive. The basic premise, of a cultured and sensitive policeman, so beloved of mystery writers from Ngaio Marsh to P.D.James, is, unfortunately, improbable and increasingly difficult to believe in these days, and the fact that Hill does make us believe in the possibility of a Simon Serailler must be attributable to her careful construction of an attractive and interesting family background for the detective. The plot of this latest novel is harrowing at times, but she avoids sentimentality very well.


All the Colours of Darkness: The 18th DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks Mystery)
All the Colours of Darkness: The 18th DCI Banks Mystery (Inspector Banks Mystery)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a self-indulgent writer, 3 Sep 2009
Peter Robinson has in the past produced some exciting murder mysteries with interesting twists. One of his major faults, though, is his need to project his hero (and himself?) as a thoroughly modern, right-on, politically correct middle-aged man- although Banks' relationships with women young enough to be his daughters is surely pretty unwholesome? One would think, as well, that a man of his age might have grown out of his rather childish tastes in music. In "All the Colours of Darkness", Robinson's target is a collection of people about whom he obviously knows nothing at all, i.e. the British intelligence community.Opposing the invasion of Iraq is one thing, and perfectly reasonable, but the ensuing nonsense about the murderous doings of MI6 is just petulant and hysterical. This is a profoundly ill-informed book.It is also irresponsible and scaremongering. This kind of conspiracy mania should be left to the Americans.


Piece of My Heart: The 16th DCI Banks Mystery
Piece of My Heart: The 16th DCI Banks Mystery
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying too hard, 3 Mar 2009
Piece of My Heart An interesting use of the split time-frame and a good pace makes this a mildly enjoyable read. But there are too many of the characteristic Robinson tics- coincidence (which is glaringly predictable in this book), an over-busy list of characters and Inspector Banks' everlasting CD collection, which owes too much to Rebus' jazz and is much less interesting.The 1969 settings are anachronistic at times: Leeds teenagers simply didn't talk like that in those days.Although described in enormous detail, Banks himself never really comes alive.A recurring problem is Robinson's inability to portray anybody described as religious or churchgoing as other than a Puritan of the most rabid sort. This simply isn't realistic, and Robinson's constant campaigning against prejudice of all kinds is undermined by this evidence of a serious and disabling prejudice on his own part.


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