The book stalls which I run alongside Diane’s “Growing Newsome” events (you will have noticed our advertising on the back page) are an ideal place for talking to my customers about their likes and dislikes (not many of these luckily). I do try to offer a very varied selection of books and I try to provide current books by popular authors. On hearing the comments regarding Michael Connelly’s writing, I took one of his books to review for you. A very good choice as it happened.
This is one of the Harry Bosch series, crime fiction at its best. He was with the Los Angeles Police Department but by this part of the series he has retired. Being unable to sit and do nothing he decides to investigate a former unsolved crime with rather spectacular results.
Many characters come along as he backtracks over a two million dollar theft from a film set. The money was actually loaned to them by a bank under tough security! Obviously not good enough.
Me an’ Albert wor just thinkin’ o’ puttin’ us coits on ter do a bit o’ shoppin’ while t’ sales wor on an’ then Albert sez, “‘Eigh up ther’s Jack thrum across i’ t’ gate ‘oil. ‘Ang on a minute lass, ther’s ‘appen summat up.”
“Reight,” ah sez, “It’s generally t’ other way rahnd wi’ Jack. ‘E’s t’ first chap fowks thinks on if the’re stuck fast wi’ owt. Oppen t’ door an’ call ‘im in.”
“Nah then Jack lad,” sez Albert, “‘Ow’s ta gerrin’ on i’ t’ New Year? Ah mun say it’s grant weather fer t’ middle o’ Winter.”
“Mi gas an’ ‘lectric’s gone off,” sez Jack, “an’ all on a suddin ah’d a hinspiration. I’stead o’ frackin’ an’ causin’ Britain ter collapse in ter t’ sea, why dooan’t ther ‘arness all t’ lightning strikes? Ther’s all yon power goin’ ter waste all ovver t’ planet iv’ry tahm ther’s a storm.” T’ lad’s face fair glowed wi’ t’ idea.
“Sit thi dahn Jack lad,” sez Albert. “Put t’ kettle on owd lass. Ah mud say lad as that’s t’ first ah’ve ivver ‘eard suggest such a hidea. ‘Appen tha owt ter patent it afoor t’ power companies catches up.”
Ah’d ‘anded t’ mugs o’ tea rahnd an’ then ah’d begun ter wunder ‘ow it wor as both t’ gas an’ t’ ‘lectric wor off at Jack’s an’ t’ rest o’ t’ street’s wor still on. “Ah ‘ope that’s nooan i’ difficulty, Jack lad,” ah sez tactful lahk. “Yon dual tariffs is a bit confusin’.”
“Ee no, lass,” sez Jack, “ah’ve telephoned in an’ the’ll be ‘eer directly ter put things reight.” ‘E ‘anded mi t’ empty mug. “It wor just ‘as if mi idea atches on ah wor ‘opin’ sumb’dy well respected’d ‘appen’ confirm as it wor me as thowt on it first.”
“Tha’s cummed ter t’ reight shop,” sez Albert shakin’ Jack’s ‘and. “Me an’ ‘er’s bin sat i’ t’ dark eytin’ cowd stuff ivver sin’ t’ clocks went back, flayed o’ t’ fuel bills, an’ ‘eer’s a Cleck’eaton lad savin’ t’ planet fer t’ lot on us.”
“Ah didn’t want ter spoil it for t’ lad,” ah sez when Jack ‘ad gooan back ‘ome, “but ‘ow will ther knaw wheer t’ lightnin’s bahn ter strike?”
“Easy,” sez Albert fetchin’ us coits. “It nivver strikes twice i’ t’ same place.”
In the beginning there was just was, or so it seemed, but then
ah then, but this is now, and being now how does one compare?
In the beginning then. Yes, then it felt like a beginning though in fact for all the sense of striding forth we were going nowhere as there was nowhere to go.
Dare I say in the beginning and start here or would it mean something else to start elsewhere? Was the beginning where I would place it or was I simply not there? In the beginning had it already begun?
Isn’t this the beginning if I could only begin?
Well, to begin with I sense that what I’ve understood all along may be beyond my ken -and I hope you’re keeping up as to begin on a false premise is to not begin at all.
So in the beginning there must have been a starting point, or maybe the point is that there never was and things were always begun just as I’ve found every time there’s been time to stop and take stock.
Oh, where to begin: maybe this is the end?
It was Mrs Mitzi Kalowski
Who eventually put paid to not only my life
But also my successful career as a serial killer
One beautiful moonlit night
In the ASDA car park
Of the all night branch at Croydon
It was a combination of hubris and simple bad luck
That brought about my untimely end
In my arrogance
I had ventured far from my usual killing zone
In search of greater excitement
And a further challenge to my skills
(It’s amazing how far one can travel
When one has supernatural powers)
I had deliberately chosen this place
After viewing it from the top of a London double decker bus
Whilst out on a jaunt in my human form
The previous week
The location offered a generous amount of shrubbery
In which to conceal my vile intentions
And the prospect of a large, unpatrolled
Expanse of tarmac combined with a full harvest moon
Was not to be resisted
How could I be expected to know
That Mitzi had recently secured
An Olympic gold medal
For her native home in Transylvania?
Or that the medal would be awarded for shot putting?
Of course she recognised me immediately
For the evil thing that I was
And drinking deeply from her well of peasant folk lore
Swiftly took affirmative action
I thought that I had chosen my spot carefully
Car parked far enough from the electric lighting
To allow me the time I needed to snare my prey
Yet not so far that the victim would approach with caution
In case of such an event as the one I had planned
Curses! At the last moment she dropped her car keys
And bending low to retrieve them
Espied my silent, stealthy approach
From a rather attractive floral display to her left
Without a moment’s hesitation
She stunned me with a bulb of garlic
Drawn swiftly from her heavily laden carrier bag
And followed through with a precise
And deadly piece de resistance
From her size eleven Dr Marten’s boot!
And so, gentle reader
My fiendish reign of terror came to a terrible
And sticky end
I beg you, do not judge me too harshly
And if you can, find a quiet moment in your busy life
To say a tiny prayer for Norman Hodgkiss
The dreaded were-snail of Balham
We search for wisdom as we grow old
For when we’re young we blow hot and cold
Not knowing the answers we need
We have to age before life’s quest will succeed
Being young we just learn all the time
And time is on our side
But when we reach our prime
We find more power and pride
Experience bring much laughter and tears
Having lived many fruitful years
The secret is in learning from mistakes made
So the truth will not evade
Our longing for the true meaning of life
Spurs us on thru trouble and strife
When at last all become clear
We should cherish our loved ones and hold them dear
For life’s quest is different for each of us
The true meaning is to make of our family a fuss
For this we learn from year to year
Julie Sweeney (Mrs)
My eye has been caught by book the book jackets on many shelves picturing Brighton Pier where I listened to Lonnie Donnigan many years ago while on a family holiday with my cousins. The author is Peter James, his central character being Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Again part of a series of novels very well researched and with a great storyline following a rather nasty burglary of many antiques but featuring an unusual watch and the search for its whereabouts coupled with revenge for its original owner’s mysterious death. The action moves from Brighton to Europe and then to New York where it all started in 1922 with the Irish immigrant gangs. The reason for these happenings is held until the very end of the story, which makes for an unhappy ending.
I sometimes read a book for our Circle while trying to read something for myself. Our book this month is “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” by Simon Mawer and my own reading is “Escape by Moonlight” by Marcy Nichols. I started these two books without realising that the subject matter is very similar. Both are based during the Second World War and the events take place mainly in France.
In “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky”, Marian is parachuted into France to help the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) in their fight against the occupying German forces.
In “Escape by Moonlight”, Elizabeth is already in France living with and helping on her Uncle’s farm. She becomes involved in helping escaping members of all British forces as part of their escape route. This book includes a linking story of people who are living their lives on the fringes of the war.
Two books with a single aim but different in content. I quite happily coped with both at once due to them being so well written.