What I'm Reading by Sian - The Missing Clue - October 2017

First off, many apologies for the delayed newsletter again. Turns out a teething baby who isn’t a good sleeper is not a recipe for a prompt newsletter. We’ll be in Winnipeg for a few weeks in November and December though, so I hope you’ll come by and say hi.

            It was my intention to write a long meaty piece a la Jack about Sherlock Holmes pastiches featuring female protagonists, but please see aforementioned teething non-sleeping baby as well as the fact that one of the books that I want to feature is a front-runner for my Book of the Year (let that be a hint). So expect that from me in February.

            We were on vacation for two weeks in August, so despite the fact that going on vacation with an infant is really just not sleeping in another place, I did manage to get quite a lot of reading done. A customer recommended Anne Perry’s ‘Charlotte and Thomas Pitt’ series to me and when I finally got around to reading the first in the series, The Cater Street Hangman (in stock, used mass market), I wondered why I hadn’t read this series yet, as it is just up my alley (thank you for the recommendation!). There’s little I enjoy more than a smart Victorian woman who does the unexpected and I’m delighted that I have another 31 books to look forward to. I sometimes struggle with books where the narration bounces around among characters, but so far I’m enjoying getting to know Charlotte and her loved ones. If you’ve been meaning to dip into Anne Perry, we’ve got lots of options in used (40 titles at time of printing). If you think you’ve read something that I would enjoy, please don’t hesitate to recommend it!

            I was lucky enough to receive a box of books two days before Penelope was born and I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still working through it. I did however just manage to read several more from that To Be Read pile, including Measured for Murder (available to order, trade paperback) by Janet Brons. This is the third book in her ‘Forsyth and Hay’ series and I really enjoy them. They are fairly short books (this one was 192 pages) and somewhat sparsely written, but they are a quick read and maybe something worth recommending to someone who isn’t a very strong reader. There is murder (obviously) as well as romance, British police, and…Canadian diplomatic politics. Something for everyone, right?

            In that same box was Benedict Jacka’s Bound (in stock, mass market $10.99), book #8 in his Alex Verus series. I’ll admit that I was putting off reading this one because the series was starting to take on a whiff of Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’ series where it just seemed like endless drama and bad news for our protagonist. That certainly continues to be the case, but I felt like this title finally started moving the story forward a bit more. I’m not sure if it’s this crazy political climate we’re in, but I’m enjoying stories featuring background political machinations, and Bound features those in spades. Book #9, Marked, is coming in June of 2018 in mass market (which is nice to see a series stay in the smaller size and not make the jump to a pricey hardcover).

            Speaking of books moving to pricey hardcover…Caro Peacock’s ‘Liberty Lane’ series switched publishers to Severn House between book #3 and #4. This was good news, as there had been a two year break in the series and Severn House likely kept the series going. The bad news in Severn House titles are inconsistently scheduled and their hardcovers are extremely pricey.  Please know that we do the same mental math that you do when your favorite series moves to hardcover, especially now that hardcovers have got more expensive again. The trouble with Severn House is that it’s not always just a question of waiting for the trade paperback or mass market, so sometimes you bite the bullet and pay the money. In Friends in High Places (in store, new and used trade paperback), Peacock had Liberty Lane finally resolving matters with her gentleman friend. Fool’s Gold (available to order, hardcover) begins with the couple on their honeymoon, but Peacock contrives to ship the husband out of the country (and away from the action) so as not to get in Lane’s crime solving way.

            I have a nice stack of books waiting for me at the store including Tasha Alexander’s Death in St. Petersburg (Lady Emily #12, hardcover $36.99) and Will Thomas’ Old Scores (Barker & Llewelyn #9, hardcover $36.99) and by the time I arrive The Book of Dust (hardcover) by Philip Pullman will have arrived. The question in regards to the Pullman is whether I should re-read the His Dark Materials trilogy again before I read The Book of Dust. Pullman is not calling it a prequel or a sequel but rather an ‘equel’ set in the same world. I found the original series completely captivating and heartrending when I read them almost 20 years ago, so I suspect a reread is in order.

            I have a shortlist of titles to consider for my 2017 Book of the Year, not to mention any of the above titles that could sneak their way into consideration. Any guesses on what any Bumsted’s might choose?