The People’s Choice 3…
The TBR is sitting at a dangerous 98, so only room to add one this week. But yet again my journeys around the blogosphere have resulted in a list of almost irresistible temptations. So, after your success in choosing Ethan Frome, I need your help once again in deciding which one to choose. (To know how your other choice, The Phantom Tollbooth, rated – tune in tomorrow!)
Here’s my shortlist – and they all look great! So which is it to be? The winner will be announced next Thursday…
With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:
The Blurb – James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation’s corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield’s inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.
booksandbuttons says: “…good reading right to the end of the book. So, a “tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president” receives a thumbs up from this reviewer.“
The Blurb – Set in a small town in Switzerland, The Pledge centers around the murder of a young girl and the detective who promises the victim’s mother he will find the perpetrator. After deciding the wrong man has been arrested for the crime, the detective lays a trap for the real killer—with all the patience of a master fisherman. But cruel turns of plot conspire to make him pay dearly for his pledge. Here Friedrich Dürrenmatt conveys his brilliant ear for dialogue and a devastating sense of timing and suspense.
The Game’s Afoot says “I cannot but recommend this novella not only to all crime fiction readers but to everyone in general. A small gem in my view. Given its length, it will only take but a few hours of your precious time, but it’s worth it. It took me two or three sittings even if I’m not a fast reader. It is paradoxical to write a detective novel, to announce the requiem for the detective novels, but the answer can be found reading this remarkable story. A masterpiece.”
The Blurb – The Confabulist weaves together the life, loves and murder of the world’s greatest magician, Harry Houdini, with the story of the man who killed him (twice): Martin Strauss, an everyday man whose fate was tied to the magician’s in unforeseen ways. A cast of memorable characters spins around Houdini’s celebrity-driven life, as they did in his time: from the Romanov family soon to be assassinated, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the powerful heads of Scotland Yard, and the Spiritualists who would use whoever they could to establish their religion.
realizinggrace says: “Houdini’s story takes us all over the world, into secrets gatherings and behind the curtain of some of the most famous magic tricks. It isn’t until further into the novel that the clues of Martin’s life begin to come together to reveal an entirely different secret. I was spellbound.”
The Blurb – Gathering the finest adventures among private and police detectives from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries-including a wide range of overlooked gems-Michael Sims showcases the writers who ever since have inspired the field of detective fiction. From luminaries Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Bret Harte, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle to the forgotten author who helped inspire Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue to a surprising range of talented female authors and detectives, The Dead Witness offers mystery surprises from every direction.
Past Offences says: “Sims has done an excellent job as curator – often these whistle-stop tours of early detective fiction are dominated by British and American authors, but The Dead Witness is more cosmopolitan, bringing in stories from Canada, Australia and France. The staples are here – Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, C. Auguste Dupin – but they are outweighed by rarities.”
The Blurb – When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won’t stop. Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back. But far more disquieting than that, John’s nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can’t be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer…
Novel Heights says: “The location is a really interesting choice, the isolation, small population and the harsh and varied environment give the book the feel of a ‘Nordic noir’. The bleak and gloomy weather and surroundings matching the dark tone of Callum’s past and the situation that he finds himself in. Seeing the setting through Callum’s eyes, as an outsider, is the perfect way to introduce an unusual location, and all I know about the Faroe Islands I found out from this story.”
NB All blurbs are taken from Goodreads or Amazon.
Tough choice, isn’t it? So…over to you! Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner…
Hope you pick a good one! 😉