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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Book Review: 'The Spare Room' by Helen Garner

Not an easy read, cancer is never an easy topic but Australian author, Helen Garner, does it with style.

A friend, dying of cancer, comes to stay. That's a difficult topic to write about, and when the friend is simply a pushover for any 'alternative' treatments the scene is set for a struggle.

Cry, laugh - yes, laugh - and enjoy this sensitively handled look at death, friends dying, cancer and hope.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Saturday 17th Auckland Book Fair

Goodnessme! I've ben neglecting my blog. I've a heap of reviews to post too.

BUT
 this is a shout to get anyone in Auckland to come to the Great New Zealand Book Fair.

The Book Fair is on. Come and meet a lot of good New Zealand authors and check out their books. Mount Eden War Memorial Hall (a.k.a. the Mount Eden Community Centre) Opens at 10 a.m. closes at 4 p.m.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Review of Treason's Daughter by Antonia Senior

Oh dear. Why do we have to have the wilful daughter - just because it's thought more appealing to the modern reader? The girl running around dressed as a boy etc.? Drives me nuts because 17thC women did have courage but in their own way. The book does deal with the political troubles and war quite well but Ms Henrietta Challoner seemed a modern miss and other character lacked depth.

I did finish it but only because I hate not to to finish a book.
There have been a few good reviews so if you like reading historicals give it a go.

Review of 'Money in the Morgue' the Carol Duffy write of Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel.

Being asked to finish another well loved and liked author's book must be a real challenge. I'm sure Stella Duffy intended to do it well, and follow the Marsh pattern, but Stella Duffy is not Ngaio Marsh, and her philosophy and beliefs are far from Marsh's own. In places this shows very clearly and, in places Duffy, not Marsh, came through, it stopped the flow of the story for me. And I don't think Stella Duffy was as fond of her Inspector Alleyn as Marsh was. That shows too. She does know New Zealand though which helped with this story.

Set in wartime New Zealand, with everyone anxious about the Japanese threat and all the young Kiwis sent far from home to fight for ‘Home’, we have Inspector Alleyn on secret wartime business. He arrives at Mount Seager Hospital and quickly is involved with a payroll theft and murder. It's a complicated plot as so many of the characters have things to hide, or things to fear and secrets abound. The final few twists are a Duffy specialty and make for breath taking ending.

I think keen readers of Marsh will be a little disappointed, but most fans will enjoy another taste of Inspector Alleyn. I expect there will be another Duffy/Marsh if the sales are good. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's hard to shake that modern tough girl mental state and channel Marsh, who was a tough lady, but in very different ways.

Review of ' Mortal Causes: An Inspector Rebus Novel' by Ian Rankin

Another complex plot for a complicated character. Inspector Rebus at his stroppy best dealing with what looks like an execution. But who is it and why was it done?

If you like Ian Rankin's prose, and his tricky plots then you are in for a delight If you've never read a Rebus and wonder what the fuss is about over this Ian Rankin bloke then this might be the novel to  turn you into a fan.

Another good read.

Review K is for Killer A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 11 by Sue Grafton

I found this a sad read. A cold case which let us into the minds of parents, friends, siblings of the murdered girl but left us still not knowing who she really was. Like life really. Do we ever know, really know the people closest to us?

Kinsey soon finds that investigating this ten month old mystery is dangerous. The police suspected murder but could prove nothing. Kinsey is sure Lorna was killed and by a vicious man who kills again and looks to escape justice. Not if Kinsey can help it!

Another well written Kinsey tale to add to the series.

Review of "R" is for Ricochet (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 18 by Sue Grafton

I always enjoy a Kinsey Millhone story and this one had a couple of neat twists in its 'tale'!

Kinsey has to baby sit a spoilt brat, Reba Lafferty, whose rich and doting father couldn't keep her out of prison.  She was convicted of embezzlement and sent to the California Institution for Women. Now she's released and Kinsey has to keep her away from trouble or she'll be back in prison.

It should be simple, if only Reba was genuinely contrite and determined to be a good girl and follow  all the rules of her parole. Alas, poor Kinsey soon finds out there's real mayhem afoot.

Another well written and enjoyable story in the series.