Agatha Raisin Something Borrowed, Someone Dead, M C Beaton
The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp , Eva Rice
Binny for Short , Hilary McKay
Virginia Woolf’s Garden , Caroline Zoob & Caroline Arber
Au Reservoir , Guy Fraser-Sampson
The Janus Gate, Elly Griffiths
The House at Sea’s End, Elly Griffiths
The New Few or A Very British Oligarchy. Power and Inequality in Britain Now, Ferdinand Mount
After the Bombing , Clare Morrall
Girl, 15, Charming but Insane, Sue Limb
Girl, 15, Flirting for England, Sue Limb
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple
Love and Treasure, Ayelet Waldman
Something Borrowed, Something Dead is just as you’d expect, another hectic episode in Agatha Raisin’s life. After discovering Elly Griffiths, I grabbed two more of her books when I saw them at the library. The Janus Gate was so gripping that I read in bed far later than usual to finish it. The House at Sea’s End I found not as good; I couldn’t see how the murderer would benefit from trying to kill Ruth.
I read about six novels while I had The New Few on the go. It’s an elegant account of how, over the past thirty years, inequality in Britain has increased; the differential between the remuneration of the highest and the lowest paid workers greater than ever. At the same time, Mount argues, centralisation has increased the reach of government, the great financial institutions and the EU, thus diminishing localism and concentrating power in the hands of fewer people, with a lack of the necessary checks and balances. He quotes the famous words of Adam Smith: ‘People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or in some contrivance to raise prices.’ and finds them to be as relevant as ever. This book was first published in 2012 and, alas for the author, things can change very quickly. He writes of his lack of regret at leaving Barclays after fifty years and transferring to the Co-op. ‘the bank is doing very nicely, having steered clear of all those dodgy derivatives and kept out of trouble.’ Oh dear.
I’ve written before about how much I enjoy Sue Limb’s books. Charming but Insane is the Jess book I should have started with. It’s very good but Flirting for England is a retrospective and felt as though it was hard to write. I bet the publishers made the author write it. When I was young, there weren’t any books like this. You read children’s books, then you graduated to the adult library and read adult books. There was no YA market at all in those days.
I’d been wanting to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette since reading Mary’s review, then picked up a new copy at the market. It’s an epistolary novel which intrigued me from the start, although it made me think everyone in Seattle must be bonkers (no doubt accounting for the prosperity of Frasier and Niles). The big question is whether Bernadette, architect, wife and mother, is a remarkably different woman or mad. The chief commentator is her daughter, Bee, who gets a raw deal but never loses faith in Mom. I didn't like Bernadette and thought she was a bad mother but I still enjoyed the book.
I received Love and Treasure from NetGalley and a review will follow.