A Tommy's Sketchbook: Writings and Drawings from the Trenches
by Lance Corporal Henry Buckle, Edited by David Read
Published by The History Press Ltd
'Shall have to be about all night, for have charge of this particular bit of trench. Have now made close acquaintance with the brilliant lights we have seen breaking over No Mans Land. They are fired from a large pistol, one of which I have in my pocket now, also a supply of cartridges for same. On anything the least bit suspicious happening out in front during the hours of darkness, a shot from this pistol fired up in the air after the style of a rocket will produce a very brilliant light lasting over half a minute as it falls to the earth. It is a very useful affair, for the imagination absolutely runs riot during the darkness. The night is hardly half gone, but have used 12 or 14 cartridges already to convince the boys that there is nothing moving "out there". Lance Corporal Henry Buckle's drawings and writings are a window onto the Western Front as one man saw it. His charming colour sketches are a rare and exquisite insight into trench life that cannot fail to amuse and move the observer. This book truly allows you to experience the Great War at first hand.
Borrowed off charliecochrane, this book charmingly combines Buckle's art and diary entries with a few (very sparse) explanatory notes. The humour in adversity is wonderful, and I love the way every little detail of life is captured including the long periods when nothing much happened. He seems to have shared my fascination for unusual weather vanes too.
A Curious Indian Cadaver
by Shamini Flint
Published by Piatkus Books
Inspector Singh is sick of sick leave, so when Mrs Singh suggests they attend a family wedding in Mumbai, he grudgingly agrees -- hoping that the spicy Indian curries will make up for extended exposure to his wife's relatives. Unfortunately, the beautiful bride-to-be disappears on the eve of her wedding -- did she run away to avoid an arranged marriage, or is there something more sinister afoot? When a corpse is found, the fat inspector is soon dragged into a curious murder investigation with very firm instructions from Mrs Singh to exonerate her family. But as he uncovers layer upon layer of deceit, he knows it isn't going to be that easy...
In this fifth book of the series, Inspector Singh goes to India, where he ends up feeling more of a foreigner than ever and finds up missing the cleanliness and affluence of Singapore. Not that his in-laws are badly off, but everyone else seems to be, and he can't hide away in the expensive hotel room that's part of the wedding guest package when there's a suspicious death or two to investigate. Singh seems to have mellowed slightly in this one, although that just may be due to the wide availability of food that he actually likes. It was great to see his wife joining in with the investigation too.
The Terminal Velocity of Cats
by Carol Westron
Published by Pentangle Press
"I’ve got a skull with modern dentistry. Which means you’ve got a Scene of Crime." Archaeologist turned Scene of Crimes Officer Mia Trent is summoned by Detective Inspector Oliver Sutton to examine a pit of bones discovered on a building site in Bridge Road. The area had been the site of a medieval plague pit and Mia expects to find an ancient burial, but she swiftly realises this victim has died within the last few years. Intrigued by the strangeness of the burial, Mia helps Sutton to identify the dead man and discover the brooding malice behind his death. The case is soon resolved but Mia's presence in Bridge Road has provoked the attention of a dangerous and deeply evil man. Mia is being stalked by a killer who has already murdered three women in the town. The police identify a Prime Suspect but before they can arrest him he disappears. Can Mia and her colleagues track him down before he strikes again? Or will Mia have to live the rest of her life in fear?
An engaging first novel from one of the Deadly Dames, let down very slightly for me by a few editing issues. The characters were well rounded for the most part, and the crime that initiates the story ties in well with the larger crime that's looming in the background as well as with incidents from the characters' pasts. I just get slightly irritated by errors like 'effected' for 'affected', 'reigned in' for 'reined in' and (rather oddly) 'taizer' for 'taser' (not to mention commas being used in place of semi-colons). Also, I'm not sure that anyone younger than me would call someone a manageress, and it may be my current obsession with the English Civil War that's influencing me, but I'm surprised that people with a good grounding in history would think that the painting 'And when did you last see your father?' depicts the children of Charles I. None of that is going to stop me getting my hands on the author's next release, however.
The Outlaw Knight
by Elizabeth Chadwick
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
A Deadly Rival.
An Ancient Family Dispute.
An Impossible Love.
He should have known better than to fight with the future King John. Ruthless and feared, John is not one to forget or forgive. But Fulke FitzWarin couldn't help himself, and now the vindictive John has insured that Fulke will never become lord of the castle he loves.
Instead of accepting his fate, Fulke rebels. He begins an affair with Maude Walter, the wealthy widow desired by John himself. Negotiating a maze of deceit, treachery, and shifting alliances, Fulke's route to success is blocked at every turn. And when the turmoil of the Magna Carta rebellion combines with a shocking tragedy, everything Fulke has fought for is thrown into the path of destruction.
Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.
Beside the Sea
by Véronique Olmi
Translated by Adriana Hunter
Published by Peirene Press Ltd
A single mother takes her two sons on a trip to the seaside. They stay in a hotel, drink hot chocolate and go to the funfair. She wants to protect them from a cold and uncomprehending world. She knows that it will be the last trip for her boys. This is a haunting and thought-provoking story about how a mother's love for her children can be more dangerous than the dark world she is seeking to keep at bay. Veronique Olmi handles an aspect of motherhood we all too often deny. She depicts a woman's fear of releasing her children into the world. The simple first person narrative achieves an extraordinary level of poetry and inner truth. The French literary bestseller, first published in 2001, has been translated into all major European languages and is now for the first time available in English.
I don't know if it's because I was partially spoiled for the ending, but I was distinctly underwhelmed by this book, which has received excellent reviews elsewhere. The style of the translation didn't help, but I'm not sure a different version would have gripped me any better.
by Sabrina Darby
Published by Avon Red Impulse
The last person PhD candidate Mina Cavallari expects to meet on her research trip to London is the sexy financier whose rejection devastated her. But Sebastian Graham is even more irresistible than he was two years ago, and she's no longer the innocent girl shocked at his indulgent pursuit of physical pleasure. Now she's ready to embark on a love affair on her terms—and is using every possible moment to live out her fantasies.
Sebastian is more than happy to help Mina make her passionate dreams a reality. But he wants more, luring her into a search for a mysterious, underworld club where they can explore all of their sexual desires. He needs Mina completely at his mercy, and, unlike two years ago, this time he may not let her go.
Reviewed on The Good, The Bad, & The Unread.