Sunday Salon | 24 February ’19


It’s beautiful sunny spring day here in SW London. The windows are open, the birds are singing and I’m having a relaxing day as I prepare to stay up all night to watch the Oscars; there is wine and there may be a small box of chocolates to see me through to tomorrow morning. But first, the books!

Books read

Since my last post two weeks ago I have finished Changeling by Matt Wesolowski (my review is here) and Thirteen Guests by J Jefferson Farjeon which I shall review alongside some other classic crime novels shortly.

Currently reading

Taking a break from Global Crisis and have set aside Our Tragic Universe as I’m not in the right frame of mind to give it the attention it deserves, though I will definitely pick it up again soon. So I’m 3/4 of the way through The Affinity Bridge by George Mann and in the early stages of Death in the Air. Thoroughly enjoying the former but not sure about the latter; will give it another couple of chapters before I decide.

New books – the speculative purchases

  • No Bells on Sunday by Rachel Roberts – I bought this second-hand having been reading about Roberts after watching her in Murder on the Orient Express; these are her journals interspersed with biographical details of her tragic life.
  • The Flower Girls by Alice Clarke-Platts – “THREE CHILDREN WENT OUT TO PLAY. ONLY TWO CAME BACK. The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity. Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing. And the Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…”
  • The Man from the Train by Bill James & Rachel McCarthy James – “Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Some of these cases—like the infamous Villisca, Iowa, murders—received national attention. But most incidents went almost unnoticed outside the communities in which they occurred. Few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.”
  • The Sea Dreams it is the Sky by John Horner Jacobs – “They had escaped their country, but they couldn’t escape the past – a novella of cosmic horror”
  • The Pale Ones by Bartholomew Bennett – “Few books are treasured. Most linger in the dusty purgatory of the bookshelf, the attic, the charity shop, their sallow pages filled with superfluous knowledge. And with stories. Darker than ink, paler than paper, something is rustling through their pages.”
  • The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald – “Abi Knight is startled awake in the middle of the night to a ringing phone and devastating news – her teenage daughter, Olivia, has been in a terrible accident.”

New books – the pre-orders

  • The Plotters by Un-su Kim – continuing my interest in Korean crime fiction – Reseng was raised by cantankerous Old Raccoon in the Library of Dogs. To anyone asking, it’s just an ordinary library. To anyone in the know, it’s a hub for Seoul’s organised crime, and a place where contract killings are plotted and planned. So it’s no surprise that Reseng has grown up to become one of the best hitmen in Seoul. He takes orders from the plotters, carries out his grim duties, and comforts himself afterwards with copious quantities of beer and his two cats, Desk and Lampshade.
  • The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders – January is a dying planet – divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk. But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the wastelands outside.
  • The Revenant Express by George Mann – Sir Maurice Newbury is bereft as his trusty assistant Veronica Hobbes lies dying with a wounded heart. Newbury and Veronica’s sister Amelia must take a sleeper train across Europe to St. Petersburg to claim a clockwork heart that Newbury has commissioned from Fabergé to save Veronica from a life trapped in limbo.
  • The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari – When New York psychologist Will Hardy’s wife is killed, he and his teenage daughter Bernadette move into Godwin Hall, a dusty, shut-up mansion in the small town of Abbeville, Ohio.Meanwhile, Abbeville Chief of Police Ivy Holgrave is investigating the death of a local girl, convinced this may only be the latest in a long line of murders dating back decades – including her own long-missing sister.
  • Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech – Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught. Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers. Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P Djeli Clark – Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.
  • Master of Sorrows by Justin Travers Call – The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries. Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.
  • The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor – One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, after 48 hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.
  • Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce – Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
  • The Vanishing Man by Charles Finch – London, 1853: Having earned some renown by solving a case that baffled Scotland Yard, young Charles Lenox is called upon by the Duke of Dorset, one of England’s most revered noblemen, for help. A painting of the Duke’s great-grandfather has been stolen from his private study. But the Duke’s concern is not for his ancestor’s portrait; hiding in plain sight nearby is another painting of infinitely more value, one that holds the key to one of the country’s most famous and best-kept secrets.

I am probably going to try to avoid speculative purchases next month, though I have quite a few pre-orders on the books. We shall see 🙂

Hope everyone has a wonderful reading week!




4 thoughts on “Sunday Salon | 24 February ’19

  1. I don’t know if I ever was into the Oscars. Maybe at one time, but anymore, too much baggage and controversy. I just need a break from all that and books titled Global Crisis and Our Tragic Universe? No thank you. I like visiting your blog, though, because I usually get to see books that I’m not familiar with, since most are by authors from across The Pond that I’ve never heard of.


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