Another pretty enjoyable month for reading. I got through a total of seven book, three crime, three general fiction and one non-fiction. It was an unusual month in that a majority, four, of the books were in audio form, while one was an ebook. The audiobooks were:
The Dance of the Seagull is the fifteenth Montalbano mystery by Andrea Camilleri. In this one his younger colleague Fazio goes missing. The investigation leads Montalbano into the usual dark underworld of Sicily – the mafia, smuggling and brutal murders. This novel was one that was used as the basis for an episode in the recent TV series, though slightly changed.
Red Wolf is one of Swedish writer Liza Marklund’s series featuring journalist Annika Bengtzon. This time she is back up in her northern hometown. The suspicious murder of a local journalist leads Annika into a dangerous investigation of political and police cover-ups of radical student activities from the 1960s.
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth is another in the delightful series by Alexander McCall Smith, featuring part time philosophical investigator Isabel Dalhousie. The quest for the real parents of a visiting Australian academic who was adopted in childhood forms the core of the novel. Though of course this is just a loose thread that allows Isabel to meditate on the deeper meanings of ordinary existence.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the debut novel of American writer Carson McCullers. The actions take place mainly in a mill town in the deep south in the 1930s. The central character is a deaf-mute, John Singer whose gentle and safe presence allows the other main characters to open up and express their inner dreams and concerns. A marvellous and sensitive account of the marginalisation that many suffered in the 1930s.
The two novels that involved turning the pages of a physical book were:
Complicity is an early novel by the sorely missed Ian Banks. A very dark and at times disturbing tale. In part the novel is about a series of brutal and sadistic revenge attacks on the richest and most powerful in society who are most complicit in the exploitation of the poor. The other interlocked strand is about the personal mess of a life of journalist Cameron Colley. Alas for poor Cameron he becomes ensnared in the machinations of the sadistic killer. A very good novel, but only for those with a strong stomach.
Blossom is a provocative book by Scottish journalist and commentator Lesley Riddoch. The book is an examination of the ails of present day Scotland, and an exploration of how this can be changed. What Scotland needs to flourish as she nicely puts it. She does this by a series of case studies which look at how local groups have tried, sometimes successfully, to overcome decades if not centuries of neglect and marginalisation. Lesley’s prescription for Scotland to blossom is for the country to become a bit more feminine, more democratic, more participatory and more open. Well worth a read.
Los Buenos Suicidas/ The Good Suicides is the second novel by Spanish writer Antonio Hill. This was the novel I read in ebook form. I downloaded the Spanish language version free to my computer and then transferred it to my ipad for convenient reading. Like the first, this second novel by Antonio Hill again features Inspector Hector Delgado and his team in the Barcelona city police. This time the main mystery is a series of suspicious suicides by employees from the same cosmetic company. What if anything, links these suicides? The other strand in this novel is a surprising link with the previous novel, The Summer of Dead Toys. In that novel Hector’s wife, Ruth, mysteriously disappears without trace. Here her disappearance is investigated, unofficially, by one of the team, Leire Castro, who is on maternity leave. Will either of the mysteries get solved? Very good novel and I hope this series continues.