Wednesday, 24 August 2011

More About Books

I`ve not posted any book reviews for a while, simply because it stopped being fun.

Here are my comments on a few of the books I`ve read in the last few months ;

GYLES BRANDRETH - Oscar Wilde and the Dead Man`s Smile.

The idea - 19th century murders solved by Oscar Wilde - is genius, of course. Brandreth has come up with an ingenious plot and his grasp of historical detail seems impressive, as far as I can tell. His main shortcoming is that, while he can tell a story, he can`t conjure up an atmosphere. For this reason, while I`m glad I read Dead Man`s Smile, I`ve no real intention of reading any of the others.

MATT HART - The Black Sphinx

Mystery/Fantasy-type thing aimed at the younger reader. Set in a version of 19th century England, the story brings together mystery, murder, demons and Ancient Egyptian gods. I enjoyed it immensely, though no-one would now class me as a `younger reader` !

P G WODEHOUSE - Mr Mulliner Speaking

I was something of a Wodehouse buff as a youngster and I still like to indulge now and again. While I have nothing but affection for Jeeves and Wooster, Sally, Psmith, Uncle Fred, Monty Bodkin etc, I`m not so keen on the Mulliner books of short stories.

I presume they are among the writer`s earlier works, which do tend to be disappointing.  While there was the occasional pearl in the collection - there was one golf story I enjoyed very much - taken as a whole it was a bit low on laughs.

Some characters did seem to be prototypes of those encountered in the novels in a different guise. Roberta `Bobby` Wickham appears to be an early version of Stephanie `Stiffy` Byng, and Sidney McMurdo seems to be Roderick Spode. intrepid explorer Bashford Braddock also has Spode-like qualities.

JOHN TIMPSON - Paper Trail

This story of an inexperienced young man`s move from the big city to Norfolk to take up a post on a local newspaper was ex-BBC man Timpson`s first novel. An old-fashioned sort of story, but enjoyable. About three quarters of the way through I began to wonder if it was losing it`s way, but it was reprieved by a dramatic plot twist based on a real-life incident.  

That`s your lot for now.

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