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January 2019



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October Books

Visions of England , Roy Strong
Puck of Pook’s Hill, Rudyard Kipling
Have I got Views for You, Boris Johnson
Dead Man’s Folly, Agatha Christie.
Malcolm Saville, a Friendship Remembered, Viv Turner
Lone Pine London, Malcolm Saville
The Secret of the Gorge, Malcolm Saville
Charles Dickens , Claire Tomalin
Rewards and Fairies, Rudyard Kipling
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Parts of Dickens, Peter Ackroyd
Charles Dickens, Ladybird Adventures from History by L du Garde Peach
Agatha Raisin As the Pig Turns, M C Beaton

I chose the cover of Dead Man’s Folly to illustrate last month’s books because it’s so unusual for a detective novel. Don’t you think it looks more like something by Angela Thirkell? It’s a book club edition.

The month was heavy on Dickens and what a delight to read David Copperfield again. There are whole sections I would cut out and there’s dreary Agnes to cope with but it matters not; I just love it. Although I have a nice edition of the book, I read it on the Kindle for convenience, as I did the two Kipling books. It’s years since I read them and I was impressed all over again by what a great storyteller Kipling was. I really prefer Puck of Pook’s Hill to Rewards and Fairies and my favourite story is A Soldier of the Wall, about a Roman centurion. Kipling’s love of his part of Sussex shines through both books. Then there’s the poetry. I wonder how many people realize that so many of Kipling’s best known poems were published as links to these stories? Here’s just four: If, A Smuggler’s Song, The Way through the Woods, Harp Song of the Dane Women. That’s the one beginning
‘What is a woman that you forsake her,
And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
To go with the old grey Widow-maker?’

Great stuff!

The books by and about Malcolm Saville were read for review, so I won’t say anything about them here. In the latest Agatha Raisin book, the one the library wants back ASAP, Agatha practically falls over bodies as is her wont. She’s answered police questions so often now that the nick must be as familiar as her cottage yet the idiots there are always suspecting her of involvement in the grisly crimes she investigates. I like the way each book follows directly from the one before and brings in the familiar cast of her friends, acquaintances, employees and ex-husbands.


Kipling's Puck books are among my very favourite reads. My father read them to me when I was little, and then one holiday we had trips to Batemans and Pevensey Castle to find as many of the places as we could. In those days my favourite stories were the ones about Sir Richard Dalyngridge, and I still love The Tree of Justice, but now I agree with you about A Soldier of the Wall - if I can also have The Winged Hats, The Wrong Thing and The Conversion of St Wilfrid as favourites!
More people should read Kipling! When I was young, it was the magical 'oak, ash and thorn' thing that appealed to me, and old Hobden Hogden?) being the nth generation of Hobdens to live in the same place. There's a very beguiling sense of an enduring 'England', created by having so many of the stories take place in the same spot.
Yes, it's these books, plus Monica Edwards' Romney Marsh series, that have made me love Sussex so much.
Very intereresting reading. thx

I bought a nice edition of Puck and Rewards and Fairies last month and I'm looking forward to reading them again. I was going to read Rewards on my Kindle but it will be twice the pleasure with a book that falls open properly and has gold lettering on the spine.

Love the Christie cover!
Is it the old uniform red binding? Those are the copies I have but they're still in a box in the book chalet! So a free Kindle download was useful.

I'm not a great Christie fan and bought the book for the cover. One of my market wonders.