September 30th, 2008

Girl Guide Stories

September Books

Quite a murderous month: light crime fiction seems to be what I’m in the mood for. I’ve written about several of these already.

A Death in the Family, Hazel Holt.
Artistic Licence, Katie Fforde. I found this one not up to the usual standard.
Whisky Galore, Compton Mackenzie. Although I’d seen the film I’d never read the book, which was published in 1947. It’s quite slow, but so is the way of life on the two imaginary Scottish islands where the action takes place. It has the same spirit (ha ha) as one of my favourite films, Passport to Pimlico; people rebelling against the petty bureaucracy imposed by the war. For all those with a romantic view of the Highlands and Islands (for which see another great film, I Know Where I’m Going).

A Winter Book, Tove Jansson. Oh dear, I couldn’t get on with this at all; I thought it was bonkers.
Hand in Glove, Robert Goddard
The Stabbing at the Stables, Simon Brett
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale
Death in Practice, Hazel Holt
The Vows of Silence, Susan Hill. I don’t think I’ll read any more in this series. I was so looking forward to the latest instalment but I didn’t like it as much as the earlier titles. The murders and the murderer were less horrifying and mysterious and I am sick of Serraillier’s inability to grow up.
Girl, nearly 16, Absolute Torture, Sue Limb
The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie
The Murder in the Museum, Simon Brett

Now here’s a curiosity: Merrily Makes Things Move by Mrs A C Osborn Hann and F O H Nash. I picked it up at the book fair on Saturday. These two authors are best known for their Girl Guide stories but here they collaborated on a wartime (1942) adventure. I’m a sucker for children’s books published during the war and this didn’t disappoint. Merrily and her elder sister Rosemary are sent to stay with an aunt in Somerset during the school holidays because London is considered too dangerous. Some familiar Osborn Hann themes are developed with the chirpy London evacuees being the keen Guides and Cubs, snobbish Rosemary learning a lesson, both girls finding that religion is not just for Sundays (they are staying in a rectory). All this and spies, too! Rather oddly, Rosemary is described more than once as having ‘rose-leaf skin’. That would be green and covered with fungal spots, then.

Currently reading and loving The Clothes on their Backs by Linda Ford. More on this later.