Books – Jan 2007

Saturday Ian McEwan. Novel.
A single day (Saturday) in the life of an off-duty neuro-surgeon. His thoughts and reaction to interesting public and personal events during the 24 hours. A reflection of present-day English zeitgeist.

Talk to the Snail Stephen Clarke. Non-fiction, humour.
Affectionate look at /send up of French lifestyle and culture – sub-titled “Ten Commandments for understanding the French”.

The Bookwoman’s Last Fling John Dunning. Detective novel.
Retired Denver cop/bookseller investigates theft of rare books and a 20 year old murder against a background of US horse breeding and racing industry. (A bit of an American Dick Francis)

Guardians of the Key Clio Gray. Historical novel.
Set in 1805 in the Lucchese section of London – a race to find the religious relics of the City of Lucca hidden somewhere in London in 1257. Mabel is unaware that she is custodian of the “key”. Whilbert Stroop is a period Holmes/Poirot who investigates the mystery and riddle.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bill Bryson. Autobiography.
Bryson’s early years in the 1950s growing up in Des Moines, Iowa. An affectionate and ironic reminiscence of life in middle America.

Beyond the Headlands Garry Disher (Ann’s cousin). Novel.
Parallel stories of Neil Quiller’s escape from the Japanese invasion of Singapore in WW2, and contemporaneous activities on a station near Broome with flashbacks of the pre-war lives there of Quiller and other characters who weave in and out of the main stories.

The Secret Supper (“Cena Secreta”) Javier Sierra. Historical novel. Translated from Spanish.
New Year 1497 in Milan during the painting of Leonardo’s “The Last Supper”. Father Agostino is sent from Rome to investigate anonymous accusations against Leonardo and faces the challenge of decrypting the secret messages embodied in the Last Supper and investigating alleged related heresies. (More credible than the Da Vinci Code).

Family Matters Ira Berkowitz. Crime Novel.
Present in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York. Suspended detective Jackson Steeg investigates related murders involving his family members. Various underworld characters. Light read, a bit of pot-boiler.

Uniform Justice Donna Leon. Detective novel.
Present day Venice. Inspector Brunetti investigates a suspicious death in a private school cum military college on the Giudecca. Bureaucracy, incompetence, minor corruption, graft and political interference hinder and subvert the case.

Eva’s Angel Garry Disher. Young adult fiction.
Australian university and art school students on scholarship placements in Florence and Venice. Evolving relationships and growth of self-knowledge.

The Saint Intervenes Leslie Charteris. Short stories, crime fiction.
England, mainly London in 1934 (date of publication). Twelve short stories featuring Simon Templar as The Saint, turning the tables on an assortment of swindlers and con artists.

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