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gertrude

February 2018

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reading

January Books

bletchleypark

Miss Bun the Baker’s Daughter , D E Stevenson
The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, Sinclair McKay
Love, Nina , Nina Stibbe
Bluestockings , Jane Robinson
The Cruellest Month, Hazel Holt
Dear Lupin
Olivier, Philip Ziegler
The Garden Plot, Marty Wingate
The Pure Gold Baby , Margaret Drabble
The Silent Tide , Rachel Hore
To Love and be Wise, Josephine Tey

olivierziegler

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park was absolutely fascinating. What struck me most, apart from the important work people did there, was the way secrecy became so much second nature to them. There were sad cases cited of people whose parents died before they could be told what their sons or daughters had done in the war. By coincidence, just after finishing it I saw one of Michael Portillo’s railway programmes, in which he visited Bletchley and spoke to an elderly woman who had worked there. It was clear she still didn’t feel comfortable talking about it.

In The Cruellest Month, Sheila Malory is working in Oxford for a while. Naturally, when a murder occurs, she happens to know some of the people involved. Poor Mrs Malory, I can’t think of another book in which she personally suffers a great blow to her self esteem. I prefer the later books, I think, and I always prefer her to be at home in Taviscombe. Josephine Tey’s Inspector Grant mysteries are, er, just OK for me. Somehow Grant, while sharing many of the qualities of Alleyn, Campion et al. just doesn’t have the same appeal. The plots are very ingenious, though. I read each of these books in an evening; not very taxing.

Philip Ziegler is a very experienced biographer and you can be sure that his work will be thoroughly researched, fair, and as accurate as he can make it. Although I enjoyed reading his biography of Olivier (I could stand to read quite a lot about him) I didn’t feel I learned anything new. Michael Blakemore’s book is far more interesting about the early years of the National Theatre.

I must mention The Garden Plot although it won’t be out until May. A mystery combining gardening and a murder. What more could you ask?

I’ve just started The Goldfinch. Very impressed so far but it’s not an ideal book to read when you’re stuck on your own in filthy weather. I may look for something more comforting and then go back to it.
Edit: I was wrong about The Goldfinch, I can't stop reading it!

Comments

Have you been watching The Bletchley Circle, series 2?
I watched the first series but didn't like it, so I haven't bothered with the second one.
It's not my favourite programme by far but I have been watching. I tend to watch it when I have nothing else :)
I've got the Bletchley Park book on my Amazon wishlist. Like you, I watched the first series on TV, but didn't think much of it, so I haven't watched the second. Am fascinated by the work done at Bletchley Park, though.

I have one of Rachel Hore's books on my TBR pile, must get around to reading it, as your description of the one you've just read in your previous post sounded just my type of thing.
Hope you enjoy them both!

BTW, I made a comment on your house post (very complimentary) but it never appeared. Anyone else had problems?