Monday 24 June 2013

Last post for June...

Well, summer is definitely here, with all the heat and humidity we expect in Southern Ontario.  And with summer comes the desire to read lighter fare, or so the theory goes.  I remember one day when I was living in Toronto, I headed off to one of the public pools to cool off.  As I was lying poolside with my book, a man came over and asked what I was reading.  I showed him the cover of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, upon which he commented that this was not a “typical light beach read”.  Perhaps he was right, as it took me five weeks to finish reading it - maybe I should have waited until the winter to read it, when I may have been able to appreciate it a bit better!

Anyway, speaking of “light” reading, I just finished An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St James, which tells the story of Jillian Leigh, an Oxford student in 1924 who is summoned to take care of her estranged uncle’s belongings in the small town of Rothewell, where he recently fell to his death from a cliff.  Her uncle Toby was a ghost hunter by profession, and as Jillian reluctantly travels to Rothewell to fulfill her duty, she becomes more and more deeply entrenched in the mystery surrounding her uncle’s death and the haunting and possible criminal activity taking place in the town.  This novel is like Rebecca meets “Nancy Drew”, and the love interest, Drew, reminded me of Inspector Lynley of the Elizabeth George mystery series.  While it was a far cry from Rebecca, I felt it was a delightful read.  The author did an excellent job of creating just the right tone and using the right language to make it feel, at least for this reader, as though I’d been transported back to England in the 1920s.  There was romance, mystery, and haunting - what more could a reader want from a book on a hot summer weekend?!  I would definitely recommend this title to female readers.  The author lives in Toronto and this is her second novel.  Her first, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, is also set in 1920s England and deals with a young woman who receives a request from a temporary agency to assist a man, Gellis, as he goes on an assignment as a ghost hunter.  I look forward to reading that title as well, but not right away - it may be a bit too much like the one I just finished, so I need a bit of a break first.

And I’m halfway through an audio book entitled A Foreign Country, by Charles Cumming.  This novel tells the story of Thomas Kell, a former MI-6 agent who is called back into duty for a special assignment, to locate the Chief-designate of the Secret Service after she disappears on a sudden and unexplained holiday, supposedly to take a painting course in the South of France before her life becomes too busy for such activities.  I’m enjoying it so far, and I believe this is the first in a planned trilogy featuring Kell.  I listened to another espionage novel by this author, The Trinity Six, about five British double agents in the 1930s and ’40s, and the search for the supposed sixth member of the group, which was based on a true story.  It was an excellent novel, so my expectations were pretty high.  So far, the current novel does not disappoint.  I'll write more when I finish it.

That’s all for today.  Gonna go for a refreshing swim (but not bringing Crime and Punishment to the pool with me!)

Bye for now…

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