Saturday 15 August 2020

Quick Lit August 2020

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy as usual for QuickLit.
Ah, the dog days of summer. We're sweltering here on the edge of the Mediterranean, so thank goodness we live only a five-minute walk from the sea. I feel like I'm not really into my reading at the moment, so it's nice to keep this record and remind myself that I've managed to squeeze in some good books.

Melon and very little clothing - that's how it's going at our house nowadays

Katherine Reay - The Bronte Plot [audio]
This was free via the InSnyc teen summer reading programme. I liked the premise of the novel: a dying woman, Helen, determines to settle past regrets, and travels to England, choosing as her companion Lucy, the granddaughter of her first love. Lucy is also grappling with her past, wondering if she can ever break free from the dubious influence of her family - and has also just broken up with Helen's grandson over this. However, the setting was the lives of the super rich, which does not interest me, so I felt somewhat detached from the characters.

Daphne Du Maurier - The Parasites
Not so with this novel, that is still haunting me. Several avid Du Maurier readers told me they had not heard of this one, so I suppose it must be a hidden classic. The Delany children - step siblings Maria and Niall, linked by Celia, half-sister to each - are the children of famous artistes. When Maria's husband bitterly announces one afternoon that they are nothing but parasites, they delve into their past to put themselves on trial. To call it a psychological drama might sound boring, but it is anything but. Even the narrative voices are parasitic, feeding off one another and merging in and out of one unidentifiable 'we'. If I could make a wish to write like only one novelist, I think it would have to be Du Maurier (Barbara Pym would be second). Absolutely read it if you have enjoyed her other books.

Dorothy L. Sayers - Five Red Herrings
There seems to have been a run on sales for the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. I have to say, I wish I had read this one in a physical copy so that I could flick back and forth. There are six suspects, many of whom Sayers gave standard Scottish names, and much of the mystery involves railway timetables. Many times, I felt like I should go back to the beginning and start a whodunnit spreadsheet. But, to the plot: a belligerent artist is found dead with his half-finished painting, and all his acquaintances are suspects. A good story, excellent red herrings, but an abrupt ending, I thought.

And now, onto confession time...

Katherine Hayton - Marjorie's Cozy Kitten Cafe [audiobooks]
I was getting the 'second wave' of Covid-19 anxiety, and this trio of audio mystery novellas beckoned for only 99 cents. Actually what sold me was the reviewer who complained 'Not enough cats.' Easy listening while I make dinner, and better for the hips than chocolate therapy.

I hope you are enjoying summer reading. With any luck, I won't be posting next month, because I have a holiday booked to see family in the UK. Fingers crossed for the flight!