A much shorter list this month; a good thing, due to not being flaked out on the sofa, ill.
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, Fannie Flagg
The Lost Art of Gratitude , Alexander McCall Smith *L
Corduroy Mansions , Alexander McCall Smith *L
Adventure on Ponies, Eileen Meyler
Discovered by huskyteer in a charity shop. I’d never heard of this book, a late reprint of a 1959 title, with an unpromising cover. To my surprise, I enjoyed it a lot, especially as it’s set in Corfe so has lots of local interest. I then found that it’s the third of seven books about the same family, so I’ll look out for the others.
It seems old fashioned even for its time. There are four Elwood children; their father is a soldier (Colonel Elwood) and often away. They live in Westchester, which I take to be Winchester and have a holiday cottage in Corfe. The family is looked after by Nan and Miggy the cook. When they go to Corfe, Mrs Hayward next door ‘obliges’. In spite of all this they are an agreeable lot. Johnnie is the main character, a Katy Carr-ish sort of girl, careless of her appearance, heedless and rash, often regretting her bad behaviour. At the same time she’s very romantic; she enjoys reading The Wide, Wide World and listening to sentimental old songs enjoyed by Miggy, like Just A Song At Twilight. I liked these touches.
Freda C Bond
The End House,
The Lancasters at Lynford,
Susan and Priscilla
Howards End is on the Landing , Susan Hill *L
An Expert in Murder, Nicola Upson
Dramatist and crime writer Josephine Tey becomes involved in a murder case. Strange format in which some real life characters (Josephine Tey) are named, while others (John Gielgud) are thinly disguised. I found it rather slow and was irritated by a couple of anachronisms. It’s promising, though, and I hope the author will write something better.
Magic Flutes, Eva Ibbotson
Vienna and Eva Ibbotson, what better combination? Sadly, I was disappointed in this compared with others I’ve read. Tessa, princess of ancient lineage but republican at heart is obsessed with music and works herself ragged for an opera company. Guy, Tyneside foundling and self-made millionaire is obsessed with a beautiful but money-grubbing woman. These two are obviously made for each other and it’s only a question of how it can be brought about with so many stumbling blocks in the way. I found the book plodded to its conclusion and the antics of the ramshackle International Opera Company were straight out of Bullet in the Ballet. It’s also a good example of having it both ways. She may be a democratic little republican but it’s Tessa’s birth and breeding which score.
After the Armistice Ball, Catriona McPherson
At last I’ve read the first in the Dandy Gilver series and it didn’t disappoint. I’ll be comparing this with Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson, my current bed time reading.
Blood at the Bookies, Simon Brett
I’ve read a lot of M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books, finding them silly but light, easy reads which work well as a series. People have told me the Hamish Macbeth books are better, so I wondered whether to invest in this great offer from The Book People. Now that I’ve read Death of a Scriptwriter*L, I don’t think I’ll bother, just get them from the library when I can.