And I’m back! Thank you all for your patience with our abbreviated newsletter last month. My to-read list grows ever taller, but I’m happy to say I’ve made something of a dent in it.
First up was Plum Sykes Party Girls Die in Pearls (in store in trade paperback), the first book I read after my daughter Penelope was born. I needed something light but smart and witty and it fit the bill beautifully. I’ve said this before in this space, I really like books where there’s a romantic element but it isn’t something that drives the plot. Ursula Flowerbutton is like my beloved Flora Poste of Cold Comfort Farm and I can’t wait to read more about her adventures at Oxford. You’ll hear it here first when the next one is scheduled.
I had been looking forward to Darcie Wilde’s A Purely Private Matter (in store in trade paperback) and it didn’t disappoint. It was a worthy sequel to A Useful Woman (in store in trade paperback), although it did end with a continuing romantic loose end which I find a little tedious. No third book scheduled, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
Julie McElwain’s A Murder in Time (in store) finally came out in trade paperback so I will continue to wholeheartedly recommend that title as well as the sequel, A Twist in Time (available to order), available so far in hardcover. Both books are lovely and long, which makes them perfect summer reads. Don’t let the time travel element put you off, while it’s a central plot point it’s not at all sci fi like.
David Morrell’s ‘Thomas De Quincey Mystery’ series gets better and better with book #3, Ruler of the Night (available to order), an excellent addition. This is not a light series, there is violence, but it’s so interesting. Thomas De Quincey has many flaws, but Morell paints him with such humanity and compassion, not to mention his brilliant and devoted daughter Emily. This is a series to have at the ready on a dark and gloomy weekend. The first two books, Murder as a Fine Art (in store) and Inspector of the Dead (available to order) are available in trade paperback while Ruler of the Night is still just in hardcover (the trade paperback is coming in November).
Every member of the Bumsted family has their strengths in the store and mine is tidying the used shelves (so you’ll have noticed if you’ve been in the last few weeks how tidy they are!). One of the reasons I love that task is that I always find a new series or two while I’m moving books around as it encourages me to look at titles I don’t normally notice. Last time I visited I picked up the first book in Sujata Massey’s ‘Rei Shimura’ series. Sometimes books from the 90s can feel dated because of the transition to technology (it seems odd not to have a smart phone, for example), but because The Salaryman’s Wife (available to order in mass market) is set in Japan, I was distracted enough by the setting not to notice. Rei is a stubborn and independent young woman trying to make her way in Japan, where her Japanase American parentage makes her not sufficiently Japanese for many people. I’m on book #4, The Floating Girl (available in store in used mass market), and I’m learning a ton about Japanese culture. There are 11 books in the series. Massey has a new series launching in January featuring Perveen Mistry, a young female lawyer in 1920s Bombay. The first book is called The Widows of Malabar Hill and I’ve already got my copy reserved!
Speaking of books I’ve reserved, I’m also looking forward to Anna Lee Huber’s (of the ‘Lady Darby Mystery’ series) new series featuring Verity Kent called This Side of Murder, set in post WWI England coming in trade paperback in September. Then in October in hardcover is Death in St. Petersburg, book #12 in Tasha Alexander’s ‘Lady Emily’ series. Also in October, although I sense this may be my Boxing Day read, is the new book in the ‘His Dark Materials’ universe, Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.