Back with books

It just so happened the British Council Library in Hyderabad was having another discarded books sale and obviously, it was not an opportunity I could resist. I spent a whole load of money (my sister and I split and I paid Rs 1,000, maybe it’s the relief of knowing I could go to England and not be a pauper at the end of the trip that’s making me careless?), mostly on murder and mystery. So since last Sunday I’ve demolished two books by Reginald Hill (Under World and Pictures of Perfection), one by Minette Walters (The Dark Room), one by Monica Dickens (Closed at Dusk), one by Dorothy Sayers (The Documents in the Case, with Robert Eustace) and Ngaio Marsh (Photo-finish). Have got one more mystery and a couple of travel books to go before I see if what my sister got interests me.

First,  I’d like to mention just how good it feels to read books set in England and know I’ve been to some of the places. It’s such a warm feeling, like going home or something 🙂 Someone mentions Kings’ Cross or Tottenham Court Road or Harringay and I’ve seen those places (or heard them announced on the tube) and it’s such fun!

I still haven’t touched upon the entire trip, but the thing that makes me happiest is that even if others might wonder that we didn’t see this place or that, the best take-home for me is the feeling of having spent time in the country. Riding the tube or the coach, waiting in the bus station, walking the roads. Sorry, I’m turning maudlin.

Anyway, to return to the books themselves, Reginald Hill as usual didn’t disappoint and he joins my list of male British writers I like (modern ones including Dick Francis, Alistair Maclean, Alexander McCall Smith and PG Wodehouse, and older ones like Charles Dickens and George Bernard Shaw). I haven’t been reading his books in order, but catching up is also fine. I think I liked Under World a little better than Pictures which was slightly surreal, but the former lessens my liking for Ellie Pascoe further. Somehow I don’t find her simpatico? Peter Pascoe and Sgt Wield are good, though. Would anyone else who’s read Hill care to chime in?

Minette Walters was gripping as usual. I remember I read her The Ice Room first and was sorely disappointed after I finished that she only seemed to have two or three other books published. Now of course she has a few more, for me to look forward to. Perhaps Cochin will have good lending libraries.

I found the Sayers book a bit hard going. It could have been because of the epistolary style (is that what you’d call a novel written almost entirely in letter form?) or maybe the other writer.  What is true, however, is that in the final denouement I actually skipped a couple of pages because the science/philosophy was too dense for me. And it wasn’t so much a question of whodunnit as howdunnit.

I’ve read a few Marsh novels and for me they are on the second rung of the cosy murder mystery ladder. I think the last one I read (Final Curtain?) entranced me a bit more than this one did. But it’s good timepass, as we say in India.

Since yesterday, I’ve been engrossed in the seventh Harry Potter. Good read. It did make me wonder if I’d skipped a book or something, I couldn’t seem to remember all the details this one talks about. No matter. Wasn’t difficult to catch up, anyway, since I’ve read the bulk of them. We saw the latest film in Meadowhall. My mom slept through most of it and dismissed it as “graphics!” but I didn’t mind. I like the idea of magic (don’t like graphics when applied as in the weird movie they were advertising, Transformers).

Got a couple of other books to discuss, but perhaps later.

Oh, and by the way, how long is this embargo on discussing Harry Potter to continue? Until every last human has read it? Just joking…

3 thoughts on “Back with books

  1. I believe that it’s open season on the fate of Harry and his companions. I mean if people haven’t jumped out to get it by now then they probably aren’t too concerned. Personally, I felt the end of the book was rushed, especially following the long search for the remaining horcruxes and the background given to the deathly hallows items. And would it be juvenile and show unsophisticated literary tastes to wish that Percy had died instead of Fred?

  2. I recently read a Reginald Hill book (April Shroud), but it was one in which Dalziel was on vacation, so I didn’t get a very good picture of his regular co-workers. Peter Pascoe was in it, but very briefly; Ellie was in it even less. I have a few more on my TBR pile; I’ll have to dig them out soon. 🙂

    I just finished The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh (how DOES she say her first name?), and I agree with you about her mysteries belonging on the second rung of cosies. The book had great potential and then she went and mucked it all up with material that did nothing to advance the plot or make it more interesting.

    I’ve just started Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers, and so far I’m finding Sir Peter a bit too foppish — more of a caricature than a first rate sleuth. But Sayers does have a wonderful sense of humor, so I’ll keep reading.

    Love your blog! I too read, knit, and crochet. Is there anything better? 🙂

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