Freddie de la Hay, the dog of Corduroy Mansions
Anderby Wold, Winifred Holtby
Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King’s Daughter, Simon Brett
The Music at Long Verney , Twenty Stories, Sylvia Townsend Warner
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce)
Katherine at Feather Ghyll, Anne Bradley
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
Humbug, E M Delafield.
Leave the Grave Green, Deborah Crombie
A Conspiracy of Friends, Alexander McCall Smith
Not much reading, very little knitting, lots of fiddling about with stamps. I should have put Stanley Gibbons’ Specialised Commonwealth Catalogue to 1970 on the list. Not read cover to cover, obv., but I’ve spent a lot of time with it.
I seem to have given the impression that I disliked Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. Not at all; it’s a haunting book, one I’ll always remember. It’s just that the jungle gave me the heebie-jeebies. I really did dislike Humbug by E M Delafield. It’s a moral tale about the effects of bad parenting by people who ‘mistake ignorance for innocence’. I felt it was unsuccessful because the heroine is far too dim and set in her ways to have a sudden conversion in the last chapter and see what has been wrong with her life.
I agree with gghost that I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is the weakest book so far in the Flavia de Luce series. Perhaps it’s because all the events take place in the house and I like Flavia whizzing about the countryside on Gladys. Also, being picky: I read the British edition yet ‘draughty’ was spelt ‘drafty’. And I don’t think someone of Flavia’s background and at that time would have said ‘toilet’, more probably ‘lav’ like the Mitford girls. I’m reading Deborah Crombie’s Gemma & Kincaid series backwards, as I get hold of the books. The further back I go, the less I like them, as I feel like smacking the pair of detectives for not seeing the obvious and getting together. The most recent ones, where they are a couple, are much better, IMO. I do like the topography in these books. Leave the Grave Green is set in a part of Buckinghamshire which I know quite well, so I could picture the scenes. Blotto and Twinks are very different types of detectives. The stories may be silly but they’re highly entertaining and I applaud Simon Brett for writing lightly humorous books; it’s a great talent and one I prefer to solemn pretentiousness.
Alexander McCall Smith also writes light fiction, but with a moral dimension. Scotland Street is still my favourite series but I enjoy keeping up with the inhabitants of Corduroy Mansions, too. The things that happen to them get increasingly improbable but there’s enough potential in just one of the threads for a full length novel, so who’s complaining? Katherine at Feather Ghyll was my comfort read of the month.