TBR Thursday 65…

Episode 65


Well, the TBR now stands at 151 which is down 2 on last week – still well over a year’s worth though. Unless I can find a way to read one book with each eye simutaneously, while listening to an audiobook… hmm! Might be worth a try…

Here are a few that are rising slowly to the top of the pile…



the murder of king james iCourtesy of Yale University Press in a gorgeous brick-sized hardback. Have I mentioned that I love YUP? Many of the best bios and histories I’ve read in the last couple of years have come to me via them. Will the authors be able to convince me to forgive them for not naming their book The Murder of King James VI and I? We shall see…

The Blurb says A year after the death of James I in 1625, a sensational pamphlet accused the Duke of Buckingham of murdering the king. It was an allegation that would haunt English politics for nearly forty years. In this exhaustively researched new book, two leading scholars of the era, Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell, uncover the untold story of how a secret history of courtly poisoning shaped and reflected the political conflicts that would eventually plunge the British Isles into civil war and revolution. Illuminating many hitherto obscure aspects of early modern political culture, this eagerly anticipated work is both a fascinating story of political intrigue and a major exploration of the forces that destroyed the Stuart monarchy.

 * * * * *



the girl who wasn't thereCourtesy of NetGalley. I was very impressed by Ferdinand von Schirach’s earlier novel, The Collini Case, so I have high hopes for this one…

The Blurb says Sebastian von Eschburg, scion of a wealthy, self-destructive family, survived his disastrous childhood to become a celebrated if controversial artist. He casts a provocative shadow over the Berlin scene; his disturbing photographs and installations show that truth and reality are two distinct things.

When Sebastian is accused of murdering a young woman and the police investigation takes a sinister turn, seasoned lawyer Konrad Biegler agrees to represent him – and hopes to help himself in the process. But Biegler soon learns that nothing about the case, or the suspect, is what it appears. The new thriller from the acclaimed author of The Collini Case, The Girl Who Wasn’t There is dark, ingenious and irresistibly gripping.

* * * * *



thirteen guestsNetGalley again. The covers alone are enough to make me want to own all of these British Library Crime Classics. But since I ran out of space a long time ago, I’m grateful that Poisoned Pen Press bring out Kindle editions. Bit worried about the dog stabbing though…

The Blurb says On a fine autumn weekend, Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house, Bragley Court. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist, and a mystery novelist. The unlucky thirteenth is John Foss, injured at the local train station and brought to the house to recuperate – but John is nursing a secret of his own.

Soon events take a sinister turn when a painting is mutilated, a dog stabbed, and a man strangled. Death strikes more than one of the house guests, and the police are called. Detective Inspector Kendall’s skills are tested to the utmost as he tries to uncover the hidden past of everyone at Bragley Court.

This country-house mystery is a forgotten classic of 1930s crime fiction by one of the most undeservedly neglected of golden age detective novelists.

* * * * *



horrorology coverAnd NetGalley again! I loved Stephen Jones’ previous anthology Fearie Tales and some of the authors I most enjoyed in it appear again in this – Angela Slatter, Michael Marshall Smith et al. Just the thing for the run up to Hallowe’en and I’m sure one or two of these stories will make it onto Tuesday Terror!

The Blurb saysIn the Library of the Damned, hidden away amongst that vast depository of ancient wisdom, there exists a certain bookcase where the most decadent, the most blasphemous of tomes sit upon a dusty shelf. And amongst those titles – that should never be named – there is one volume that is the most terrible, the most hideous of them all.That book is the Lexicon of Fear. But, long ago, some of its pages were ripped from the binding and spirited away by a lowly student of the ancient science of Horrorology, who was determined the secrets contained therein would one day be shared with the world.

And now that day has come. These are the words that comprise the very language of horror itself, and the tales they tell are not for the fainthearted. But be warned: once you have read them, there is no turning back. Soon, you too will know the true meanings of fear . . .”  Oooh! Don’t tell the porpentine!

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

74 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 65…

  1. Netgalley is a real threat to TBRs everywhere, FictionFan! It ought to come with a warning label! Your book choices look really interesting; I’m especially intrigued by the von Schirach. I found The Collini Case a compelling read in its way. And the real-life story of King James VI (I) fascinates me, too. Lots for you to like there, methinks.

    • My name is FictionFan and I am an addict! I reckon we have to get a NetGalley Survivors’ support group going – complete with interventions. Yes, I’m looking forward to the von Schirach myself, and the James VI book should be interesting, though it looks like a pretty hefty tome – I’m hoping not too geared towards the academic for my simple mind. Still it should take my mind off the horrors of Horrorology…

  2. A super selection here, FF – I’d read them all! Thirteen Guests is very good, I liked that one a lot. And I love a bit of regal murdering, so the James I one would be on my list, too. How will you ever choose? You need another set of eyes and probably an extra ear, too 😉

  3. Well…………I found The Collini Case a fascinating read…..and your murder of James 1st (sorry, and Vith – so that makes him James V11th, right? also looks interesting. I had no idea about that one. It was never mentioned in my history. I think we did odd bits……..I can certainly remember the French Revolution which must have been on the agenda at O level (taught in very emotive terms, – use of the word ‘mob’ for example, whereas when I did it as a special topic in a module on history which I did in the first year of a combined arts degree, before jumping ship into Eng Lit on its own for the next two year, the French Revo was taught by a Marxist, and was much more interesting and suitable to my proclivities. Mob? Mob??? The People, please! Anyway, I can’t remember old James at all. There was a kind of cough and splutter after Kate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench disappeared from the scene – oh, sorry, Elizabeth 1st, and I do remember a lot about Queen Anne’s furniture, not to mention all those Young and Old Pretenders. Perhaps i was asleep? Anyway, a murder most royal as a precursor to King Charles’ spaniel hiding up an oak tree in Worcester in order to avoid getting beheaded sounds most interesting…………………….

    Do you think I have a future as a writer of a slightly ODD take on history??

    • I had no idea he was reputed to have been murdered, but James is famous for witchcraft (persecuting not participating) tobacco (you could say he did the first government health warnings) and the Bible (endorsing the translation of it, not writing it)! That’s as much as I know. Oh but I’m not prepared to give up on the mob – that would ruin A Tale of Two Cities! Funnily enough I’ve never really got to grips with Charles and the spaniels, although I did read a history of the Civil War last year. My historical knowledge kinda stops at James VI and then starts again round about Napoleon…

      I do! *nods so emphatically her head falls off*

  4. PS – thanks for the heads-up on what you are reading – Tim Flannery. I had a book of his from Vine, 4 years ago, so the author and topic leapt out at me – I found that an utterly splendid and absorbing read, so have now requested it. We shall see. It’s out of region at the moment, but I recently got something else granted which was OOR, so am keeping fingers crossed

    • It’s very good once he gets under way. A bit abrasive at first and constantly banging on about his previous book and how influential he’s been in the whole climate change debate, but he tones it down a bit after that and gets to the interesting stuff. I should finish it today, but the review might take a while – I have 3 factuals reviews pending now and don’t like to overload the blog with them all at once.

  5. I have an ancient, crumbling copy of Thirteen Guests and a few more of Farjeon’s and all your other picks .look interesting. I knew about the “murder “of James VI – the UFO of its time! Horrorology sounds just the thing for October, the only time in the year that I like a bit of horror.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Farjeon, but it looks good! The James VI one looks good too – if big! From the blurb I’m thinking the ‘murder’ is just a hook to look at the wider political situation – fingers crossed. And the horror one looks great – Stephen Jones seems to be The Man at the moment as far as horror collections go… and he doesn’t go for gorefests, more fantasy/horror usually. 🙂

  6. So many temptations – Our local Waterstones had a whole display of the British Crime Classics Library but I managed to leave them all in the shop (for now) I also like the sound of The Girl Who Wasn’t There. So pleased you’ve managed such a huge reduction on your TBR this week 😉

    • You did??? I’m stunned and amazed – well done! 😉 Yes, I think they look great and the couple I’ve read – short story collections – have been really good. Haha! You’re so mean… hope yours went up! 😛

  7. The James VI & I grabs my attention – many years ago I did History A Level on the Stuarts (only from this James onwards) and didn’t remember any suggestion that he was murdered. At the time I bought a biography of James by David Harris Willson – King James VI & I, which I had to get off the shelves this afternoon when I read your post. And sure enough there it is – James was ill and Buckingham was suspected of giving James a white powder that made him very ill – much worse than before. Apparently he died a horrible death in filth and misery. And I hadn’t remembered – well it was a very long time ago when I took the A Level and I never read all the Willson book anyway – I hope your book is more readable. I’m tempted to look it up, so I’m looking forward to your review – it does look as though it goes beyond James’s reign if it covers “the forces that destroyed the Stuart monarchy.”

    The other books look good too – maybe not the horror one, though.

    • I can’t even remember if we covered the Stuarts at school at all, but I’m sure I’ve never heard the suggestion that he was murdered before – though given the times it doesn’t altogether surprise me! Interesting. Yes, the book is a huge brick so I’m very much hoping it’s well written and not too academic for my poor tired brain. Should be starting it tomorrow, so I’ll soon know… but given the size don’t expect a review until November!

      Ha! The horror one looks brilliant! 😉 Actually if it’s anything like his last anthology he won’t have gone for gorefests and outright horror – the last one had a definite fairy tale feel to a lot of the stories and this one has a lot of the same authors…

  8. Thirteen Guests sounds most intriguing! (Except for the stabbed dog, of course. I find it hard to read about hurt animals!). Horrorology sounds interesting, too, but I’d probably have to read it in the daytime hours, far before bedtime!! With lots of chocolate and Dallas by my side!

    • I’m looking forward to Thirteen Guests – these Crime Classics are proving to be great fun and becoming very popular… which I feel probably says something about the state of modern crime fiction. The Horrorology one should be great – and not too horrific, I’m hoping. His last anthology was brilliant – lots of kind of twisted fairy tales and things like that – and this one has a lot of the same authors. From the blurb, this one looks like it might have a Lovecraft theme maybe… 🙂

    • Oh, that’s a pity! When I was putting this post together I was thinking that I felt I’d seen a couple of less than glowing reviews for this one, but couldn’t remember where. Oh well, at least it’s fairly short! 😉

  9. If you manage to do that…you just must make a video. I’d love to see someone using each eye independently. And why not each ear, too?

    But I thought you hated dogs? The Blue Guitar!!!

    The horror one definitely. That looks as spicy as something can get. Especially me on the front. That’s a bonus.

    • *laughs* But I’d need more hands too if I was to hold two books and a camera!

      Hated dogs?!? What on earth gave you that idea? I love them *whispers* maybe even more than cats, but you must never tell T&T! Yes! But I’m a third of the way through it and the only guitar to appear so far is one in a painting… I’ve just been reading something on a forum about being able to set youtube vids to autoplay as background music on wordpress posts… I may experiment… a little burst of guitar on the background to that review might be fun. Hmm… now where will I find a youtube vid of guitar music… *ponders*

      It looks brill doesn’t it? *laughs* And that picture is definitely you, in one of your more c&a moments…

      • Oh, that’s true. Just set the camera up as a stationary shot, or something. That’d work.

        Well, you once told me how messy and slobbery they were compared to cats. I’m highly surprised I must say, the sudden. *laughs* Sad excuse for a title then. Well….Tommy Emmanuel is good…and…me, of course!

        You think that’s c&A?

        • Send Nick…

          They are! Messy, slobbery and lovely… not unlike men really. But Tuppence won’t let me have a dog… *cries*

          It works! It works!!! Oooh, can I… may I… can I… pretty please, can I…?? Only if the book’s a 4 or 5-star though – I wouldn’t honour a rubbish book with your music… Say no, if you’d rather I didn’t though – I’m tough, I can take it! *brave little face* (Of course, maybe it’s like the fonts and only works on my computer… *laughs*)

          *laughs* You should know by now I’m not picky…

          • I shall send him right over in a minute.

            The men you know are messy, slobbery, and lovely? *makes horrid face* Goodness. They’re better over here, don’t you know. At least they don’t slobber! Look at you insulting your own kind! #Scotsman

            You absolutely can, of course! I’d be honored. But I might blush. It’d be so coooool! (*laughs* Nah, it’ll work. And I’ll let you know if it doesn’t.)

            That’s why I’m astounded you don’t like Brock Lesnar. I thought girls liked strong guys.

            • *prepares for her close-up*

              *laughs lots* Well, OK, not all of them – definitely some though! But I bet there are plenty of slobbery Americans out there too, you know, you know… #Colonials

              Woohoo! Just hope the book’s good enough – I’ve spent so much time playing with the blog and watching Enchanted I haven’t actually read much of it yet! (*laughs* I’ve tried it out temporarily on an old post, so you must try it, please, and tell me if it works at your end, and then I’ll take it off again… https://fictionfanblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/wednesday-witterings-3/ )

              Yes, but there’s a happy medium! Strong guys with nicely toned bodies who look fit and healthy – not ginormous, steroid-pumped, over-muscled freaks! (No offence meant, Mr Lesnar, should you happen to pop by… and if you are offended, he started it!)

            • *laughing* You just hash-tagged! Nice. *fist thingy* There are definitely plenty of slobbery Americans. I can vouch for this. Maybe 90% of the Americans are slobbery. *shudders* I’m moving.

              It does work brilliantly! How cool and tech savvy you’re becoming! That ring theme is so spooky. Now I’m really looking forward to the post. I do hope the book turns out well. You could always rip it, though.

              *laughing lots* I’m sure you just hurt Mr. Lesnar to the bone, don’t you know. But I suppose you do have a point. He probably takes lots of steroids, poor chap. I don’t take steroids, you should know.

            • *laughs* The things that make you happy! Well, if you find a country where no men are slobbery, please let me know – I shall consider moving there myself!

              Yay!!! And the book was good! Hopefully Wednesday, if I get the review written in time. *smiles bigger than bigly* It is spooky – I love that the music stands up on its own without the video too. That whole LOTR thing is really fabulous just to listen to.

              I should jolly well hope not, sir!! You don’t need them anyway – you are as pretty as a picture (of Rafa or Andy, say) already. I would swoon but it’s become so commonplace recently… it must be catching. So I shall *faint* instead…

            • Why would you want to move there? You’re best avoiding such a place. They’re bound to be warriors and such.

              Oh goody! I’m so looking forward to it, the sudden. Is it? Love hearing that! It’s amazing what bunch of guitars can do, I think. The guitar is just amazing.

              Maybe…I’m not as beefy as BL though!! *laughs* You’ve been swooning a lot recently?

            • But I like warriors! They wear such nice skirts…

              Still haven’t written the dadblame review – I seem to be running at the last minute all the time right now! But still hoping for tomorrow! It is, but I think most of the credit for amazingness has to go to the player. *laughs* Even with a thousand of the best guitars in the world, most of us would only be able to produce a hideously loud noise!

              But why on earth would you want to be? It’s ugly and unnatural! Yeuch! No, no more than usual.

            • Well, I definitely understand if you can’t get the review up quick enough. Writing posts can be hard to accomplish at times! *laughs* Oh, I could teach you a real easy chord and you’d be playing in no time.

              But he can body slam The Big Show! He’s a wrestler that weighs around 450 lbs. Now you’re just confusing me!

            • Phew! It’s written! Just need to draft it now… *wipes sweat from brow* I love your confidence! Clearly you’ve never spoken to my recorder teacher…

              But… but… why is that admirable?? Men are so odd! Am I?

            • Ha! I don’t believe that for a moment! Why, you told me yourself you’ve still not mastered Three Blind Mice!

              No, quite frankly! And it’s never been one of my ambitions – unless it was a large chocolate cake, of course. *chuckles* Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t!

            • I’ve never ever played that, it’s true! Yeah, guitar is probably a bit harder, I’m thinking.

              Imagine a cake weighing that much! I say, no one would need to make you b-day cakes ever again. My goodness. *laughs* You did!

            • You should! It’s a masterpiece of musical composition! And the lyrics – drama, excitement, tragedy – it has it all! In fact I could review the poem and you could provide the music… *giggles*

              But I’d have to eat it really quickly so it didn’t get stale… *bursts*

    • So far The Murder is a bit more academic than I’d prefer, but still readable and interesting. But I’ve only read the first few chapters, so we’ll see! Horrorology is a great tile, isn’t it? Sadly, so far, it’s the best thing about the book…

  10. I’m quite glad that NetGalley doesn’t have much that appeals to me. But hey, the TBR is two down! I do NOT want to count my ebooks in my TBR, no thank you very much. Dog stabbing? Nope! But I bet you enjoy all of these – have fun with them!

    • I try to limit myself to books I’d have wanted to read anyway, but it’s toooo tempting! I love it, but it does mean I always seem to be racing to review things, rather than deciding what takes my fancy at a particular moment – so good and bad. Haha! I’m too frightened to add in all the stuff on my Kindle – it’s like the hidden 9/10ths of the iceberg! Yeah, I’m hoping the dog stabbing doesn’t destroy the book for me…

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