The TBR has stayed steady for the week at 165 – could this be the start of the downward trend that I’m sure must be just about to begin?? Hmm… depends how many years of my life I’m willing to devote to decrypting Faulkner, the man who makes Alphabetti Spaghetti look like well-crafted prose…
Here are a few books with normal sentences that make sense that I very much hope to get to soon…
Courtesy of NetGalley and my favourite factual publisher Yale University Press. This looks like a more in-depth academic book than I assumed when I requested it, and is yet another brick, but it should be interesting certainly, and hopefully enjoyable…
The Blurb says: Murder by poison alarmed, enthralled, and in many ways encapsulated the Victorian age. Linda Stratmann’s dark and splendid social history reveals the nineteenth century as a gruesome battleground where poisoners went head-to-head with authorities who strove to detect poisons, control their availability, and bring the guilty to justice. She corrects many misconceptions about particular poisons and documents how the evolution of issues such as marital rights and the legal protection of children impacted poisonings. Combining archival research with a chemist’s expertise and a novelist’s eye, Stratmann charts the era’s inexorable rise of poison cases both gruesome and sad.
* * * * *
Courtesy of NetGalley again. I haven’t read anything by Yann Martel before, so time to try. I can’t in truth say the blurb convinces me I’ll like this one too much and it seems to be getting pretty mixed reviews, but we’ll see…
The Blurb says: In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that—if he can find it—would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe’s earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure.
Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest.
Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
The High Mountains of Portugal—part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable—offers an exploration of love and loss.
* * * * *
On the subject of poisoners, a true crime book from the pen of Victoria Blake, who regularly visits the blog under her more casual moniker of Vicky Blake. Looks most intriguing, and it’s actually physically a lovely little book…
The Blurb says: Florence Maybrick was a 19-year-old Alabama belle when she married cotton-broker James Maybrick in 1881. She was convicted of his murder in 1889 after arsenic was found in his corpse. However, it was never established whether she administered the poison, or whether Maybrick himself, a hypochondriac who used arsenic and other tonics, took the fatal dose. Her death sentence was commuted to imprisonment and she served 15 years before her reprieve in 1903. This ‘bloody history’ tells the compelling tale of a ruined marriage and its infidelities, examining the murder, trial and controversy through Home Office files held at the National Archives and features new photographs of Mrs. Maybrick. It concludes with a bizarre twist: James Maybrick became a Jack the Ripper suspect in 1992.
* * * * *
NetGalley again – historical crime set in Regency London. I have no idea what to expect from this one, to be honest, never having come across the author before. I took a punt on it purely because I like the cover and the blurb. I’m pleased to see it’s getting very positive reviews though…
The Blurb says: On a cold February night in Regency London, a dark curtain falls on the Sans Pareil Theatre following the death of April Clare, a promising young actress, whose body is found in mysterious circumstances. Detective Stephen Lavender and his dependable deputy, Constable Woods, quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. As successive mysteries unfold, they soon realise that it is not only the actors from the Sans Pareil who are playing a part.
With the Napoleonic War looming dangerously across the Channel, this is a time of suspicion and treachery. Following the clues from the seedy back streets of Covent Garden up through the echelons of society, Lavender and Woods begin to fear that the case is much bigger than they’d dared imagine—and worse, that they are at risk of becoming mere players in a master criminal’s shadowy drama. It will take all of Lavender’s skill and wit, and help from the beautiful Magdalena, to bring the mystery of the Sans Pareil Theatre to a dramatic conclusion in the final act.
* * * * *
NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.
* * * * *
So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?