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Sue Townsend

Monthly Roundup – December 2018

Another year is over and I’m happy to report that I managed to complete my Goodreads reading challenge! I’d set myself a target of 60 books but read 75, so I’m quite pleased with that!

I’ve read a range of different books this month and have taken part in a few blog tours. One of the blog tours was for We All Fall Down by Cynthia Clarke where I was pleased to be able to share an extract, and what an extract it was! I was also one of the blogs to feature on the tour for the latest book by J. S. Monroe, Forget My Name. I also shared an extract from Picking Up The Pieces by Jo Worgan as part of the huge Urbane Extravaganza, organised by Love Books Group Tours.

Books I’ve Read

61dkqcjG65LThe Mile End Murder by Sinclair McKay

In 1860, a 70-year-old widow was bludgeoned to death at her London home. Although someone was convicted of the murder, it was widely accepted that a miscarriage of justice had taken place. Sinclair McKay examines the evidence and suggests an alternative theory as to what actually happened.

41yMiciSptL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Adrian Mole the Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend

I revisited this thanks to Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime and still found it funny the second time round. The eponymous diarist is now in his twenties and is still struggling with his family, work and love life. Not the best in the series, but still worth a read.

51xSXTTs1CLShe Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

A twisted tale of power and revenge, She Was the Quiet One tells the story of the murder of one of two sisters who have just enrolled at an exclusive boarding school. Who has been killed and who is the killer? I really enjoyed this book – a full review will be posted as part of the blog tour.

51ZvNY7p0KL._SY346_The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

The fifteenth book in the Tom Thorne series sees the detective investigating a spate of cat killings in the London area. He soon deduces that cats are not the only living thing being killed but can he prevent even more deaths?

51bxBROykeLMove to Murder by Antony M Brown

A retelling of the murder of Julia Wallace which took place in Liverpool in 1931. The author puts forward five different theories that could potentially find the answer to the unsolved case. A well-written and researched book wit some very plausible theories.

518TmU9zu2LThe Slum Reaper by David Field

The fourth in David Field’s Jack & Esther Enright series sees them investigating what initially seems to be the accidental deaths of several people. As connections are made to a local slum clearance, however, they soon realise that the deaths are no accident – there is a killer on the loose in Victorian London.

The Murder of Patience Brooke by J C Briggs

After the murder of a woman on the steps of a home for ‘fallen women’, Charles Dickens and the London police force find themselves embroiled in a case which will see them exploring the darkest parts of the capital. A great, atmospheric first book in the series and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

 

The Asylum by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

This short story is the prequel to the Morton Farrier series and tells us how the forensic genealogist came to meet Juliette,who he would go on to marry. Morton investigates the suspicious death of a woman who spent some time in an asylum in a case that proves to be both emotive and challenging.

 

Books I Have Acquired

Jenna thought she had the perfect life: a loving fiancé, a great job, a beautiful home. Then she finds her stepdaughter murdered; her partner missing.

And the police think she did it…

Locked up to await trial, surrounded by prisoners who’d hurt her if they knew what she’s accused of, certain someone close to her has framed her, Jenna knows what she needs to do:

Clear her name
Save her baby
Find the killer

But can she do it in time?

 

She vanished into the ice cold night. Is this their only chance to get her back? Get ready for this winter’s most chilling thriller…

It’s been eleven years since Claire Flynn disappeared – abducted without trace from a snowy hillside, leaving her parents heartbroken.

Investigator Darby McCormick remembers the case. She knows there’s only ever been one suspect, Father Richard Byrne, linked inconclusively to two similar disappearances.

Finally, terminally ill, Byrne is willing to talk. But he’ll only talk to Darby.

She’s expecting a confession – but what she hears is far more disturbing.

And it soon becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep this cold case on ice…

 

Wishing you all a happy new year!

 

Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend

41yMiciSptL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Now in his twenties, the eponymous diarist is not enjoying life. Still an aspiring writer, his debut novel, Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland is not going according to plan and this is only made worse when his schooldays tormentor, Barry Kent, has a book published and is becoming a minor celebrity. His personal life is not faring much better; lodging with the love of his life, Pandora, and her boyfriend is not an ideal situation for Adrian. As his life plummets from one despair to the next, there are little glimmers of hope for our hero that maybe life will, one day, take a turn for the better.

The Adrian Mole series is my go-to set of books that I revisit from time to time if I want to have a good laugh. I remember reading the first book in the series when I was only a child and it is only with hindsight that I wonder if I actually understood what I was reading about! When I saw that The Wilderness Years had recently been serialised on Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, I decided that it would be a good time to ‘read’ this one again.

Still funny the second time round, it is hard not to feel sympathy for our hapless hero who goes from one bad situation to another with ease. Ever the dreamer, Adrian is still longing for Pandora who is enjoying flaunting her succession of lovers in front of him. When he finally realises that there may be other women out there, more suited to him, we begin to see a much happier character. Of course, in true Adrian-style, this turns into another disaster of mega-proportions!

As always, his family are causing him even more problems. His parents are no longer together and the death of a much-loved family member brings a rare solemn moment in what is a funny book; several moments did make me laugh out loud whilst listening.

Although this is not the best in the series, it is still a very humorous book that I will, no doubt, return to once again some time in the future.

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

I’ve been looking for ideas for something different to post on my blog so was pleased to discover the Goodreads ‘Top 5 Wednesday‘ group. While I can’t promise to partake every Wednesday, I’m going to give it a good try!

Today’s topic is an interesting one. While I’ve never really experienced a reading slump, there are some books that, over the years, I’ve returned to numerous times when I didn’t really know what to read next. There are also a few series where I know I could pick up any one of the books at any time to read.

1. Ruth Rendell, Shake Hands For Ever

img_1038I have been a huge fan of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford novels ever since seeing the first one on TV. This one is, by far, my favourite and one that I have read and watched numerous times. When a woman is found strangled in her own home, Chief Inspector Wexford undertakes an investigation that soon turns into an obsession, threatening his career. He knows who the killer is, but can he prove it before it is too late?

2. Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾

img_1040I remember reading this book at a fairly young age and, despite probably not understanding everything at the time, finding it incredibly funny. This series is one that I pick up every few years as each book is a quick read and guarantees me a good laugh. Detailing the trials and tribulations of teenager Adrian Mole, he writes candidly about his parents’ marital troubles, teenage angst and his love for Pandora Braithwaite.

3. Enid Blyton, The Mystery of the Missing Necklace

img_1039Enid Blyton’s ‘Five Find-Outers’ books were probably what encouraged my love of crime/mystery books. As a child, this one was always my favourite, and I remember taking it out of the school library to read at least once every year! I recently purchased a box set of this series and can’t wait to revisit my childhood in one of those rare reading lulls! In The Mystery of the Missing Necklace, someone is stealing jewels but when an expensive necklace goes missing and the police are stumped, it is up to the children to save the day.

4. Elly Griffiths’ ‘Ruth Galloway’ series

img_1041A recent convert to the novels of Elly Griffiths, I have, over the past year, read each one of the ‘Ruth Galloway’ series. Ruth, an archaeologist, teaches at university but is also developing a reputation for being the go-to person when the local police unearth human remains. These are books that I know, in time, I will read over and over again.

5. Steve Robinson’s ‘Jefferson Tayte’ series

img_1042Genealogical mysteries are a fairly new addition to the world of fiction and there are some great authors writing in this genre. For me, however, the best has to be Steve Robinson and his Jefferson Tayte novels. Tayte, a genealogist, tackles the family mysteries that others can’t solve and, more often than not, finds himself in danger when doing so! Even though I have only read these books once, I know that they will definitely be revisited at some point as they are so well-written.

 

 

 

 

 

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