Books 2010

Books 2009

« Women reading: June | Main | Feeling, not thinking »

Wednesday, 03 June 2009


I too am fond of Leon, and I agree with Natalie T. about some unevenness. I would also put in a strong recommendation for the books by the late Michael Dibdin featuring the anti-heroic Aurelio Zen.

I, too, really like Donna Leon--and Venice is almost as good as Florence in many ways. Donna Leon's works can be uneven, but at her best she's certainly one of the best mystery writers today.

My thanks to Rose City Reader - any fan of Powell is a welcome visitor here - come often, comment often - and I'll come visit Rose City.

Mr Cornflower has set himself a writing challenge, I think! If you do read Michael Gilbert, Smallbone Deceased is an elegant murder in a legal (solicitors, not court room) setting, which I'm confident Mrs C would enjoy - if she could bear the references to English legal practice rather than the doubtless superior practices north of the border.

In a sense Italian thriller writers are making it easy for themselves by the setting - you get ready-mixed atmospherics (beauty and cruelty, dark mysterious corruption) for free. But I can't complain if it gives us Donna Leon - Michael Gilbert I don't know but will certainly try. But I do wonder if the real test wouldn't be to set a compelling crime thriller in Dorking or Stevenage, with the police protagonist no maverick but an averagely competent plodder with an orderly domestic life.

Sorry -- I meant to leave a link to the post on Rose City Reader about Dance:

Oooohhhh . . . an Italian mystery! Sounds great.

I found your blog while looking through old "Scene of the Blog" posts on Kittling Books. I had to visit because A Dance to the Music of Time is one of my all-time favorites.

Your blog is terrific, so i am pleased to have found it.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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