TBR Thursday 103…

Episode 103…

I seem to be operating on a one in, one out, basis at the moment, since for the fourth week in a row, the TBR has remained static on 181, and the number of outstanding review copies stays the same at 38. And I’m still “reading” Moby-Dick! (i.e. It looks at me accusingly every time I open the Kindle, and occasionally I read a few pages hoping something will happen, only to find he’s still sneering at artists or boring on about how fish aren’t like dogs – seriously! An amazing revelation – guess there’s no more point in me throwing sticks into the river and shouting “fetch” then…)

Here are a few that may help to restore my joie de vivre. I’m trying to clear some of the NetGalley books that have been hanging around for too long, so some of these are ones where my enthusiasm wore off a bit after requesting them. But hopefully it will revive once I start reading…


dead-wakeHaving thoroughly enjoyed Larson’s earlier The Devil in the White City, I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages…

The Blurb says: On 1st May 1915, the luxury ocean liner Lusitania sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool. Her passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone and its submarines were bringing terror to the Atlantic.

But the Lusitania’s captain, William Thomas Turner, had faith in the gentlemanly terms of warfare that had, for a century, kept civilian ships safe from attack. He also knew that his ship was the fastest then in service and could outrun any threat. Germany was, however, intent on changing the rules, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. For this would be the ill-fated Lusitania’s final crossing . . .

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murder-of-a-ladyCourtesy of NetGalley. These British Library re-issues of forgotten classics have been a mixed bag – some great, some showing why they were forgotten. But they’re all interesting as an insight into how the genre has developed over the years…

The Blurb says:  Duchlan Castle is a gloomy, forbidding place in the Scottish Highlands. Late one night the body of Mary Gregor, sister of the laird of Duchlan, is found in the castle. She has been stabbed to death in her bedroom – but the room is locked from within and the windows are barred. The only tiny clue to the culprit is a silver fish’s scale, left on the floor next to Mary’s body. Inspector Dundas is dispatched to Duchlan to investigate the case. The Gregor family and their servants are quick – perhaps too quick – to explain that Mary was a kind and charitable woman. Dundas uncovers a more complex truth, and the cruel character of the dead woman continues to pervade the house after her death. Soon further deaths, equally impossible, occur, and the atmosphere grows ever darker. Superstitious locals believe that fish creatures from the nearby waters are responsible; but luckily for Inspector Dundas, the gifted amateur sleuth Eustace Hailey is on the scene, and unravels a more logical solution to this most fiendish of plots...

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the-presidents-hatCourtesy of NetGalley. This could be a lot of fun, or it could be unbearably twee. Time will tell…

The Blurb says: Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.

Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind.

After a few moments’ soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow … different.

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the-eskimo-solutionCourtesy of NetGalley. I’ve had a mixed reaction to the Garnier novellas I’ve read to date, so I’m approaching this with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension…

The Blurb says: A crime writer uses the modest advance on his latest novel to rent a house on the Normandy coast.

There should be little to distract him from his work besides walks on the windswept beach, but as he begins to tell the tale of forty-something Louis – who, after dispatching his own mother, goes on to relieve others of their burdensome elderly relations – events in his own life begin to overlap with the work of his imagination.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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

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42 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 103…

  1. The President’s Hat is already on my tbr, courtesy of a review in the blogosphere. Twee? Perhaps, but I’m fine with twee. It was a good review as I recall, by a down-to-earth reviewer. I hope you echo her sentiments when you come to pen your own thoughts.

    (Meanwhile, I’m toying with copying your tbr thursday concept next year. I’m thinking: maybe it might shame me into not buying so many more books when I have so many patiently waiting to be picked up and read…)

    • Yes, I can be fine with twee too so long as it doesn’t get too sickly sweet – depends on my mood. It was other rave reviews that tempted me to get it too – if I didn’t read reviews it’d be much easier to control my TBR! 😉

      (Ha! Please do, but I should warn you that my TBR has doubled since I started doing it! But it does concentrate my mind and make me plan my reading a bit better… sometimes!)

    • Me too – I love the covers so much, plus they’re usually the perfect length for anything between an evening and a weekend read. I’ve had to be really stern with myself to stop acquiring them all! I am determined to get on top of the TBR – so many books on it that I really want to read and never get to because of adding more…

  2. To be honest I’d read any of these if they were on my TBR – which they are not – but the one that interests me the most is the Erik Larson’s book about Lusitania – sounds fascinating. I’m with you on the Pascal Garnier, I really like the concept of these novellas but some are much more palatable than others. By the way I think I’m the WINNER this week 😏

    • I’m really looking forward to the Larson book – I loved his one about the Chicago World Fair and I don’t know much about the Lusitania. I read too many of the Garniers all at once, I think, and they all began to feel the same, but it’s been a while now since I last read one so I’m hoping it’ll feel fresh. Hahaha! Thank you – I needed an incentive to get out of my reading slump… 😉

  3. If you ask me, FictionFan, I think Tommy and Tuppence are colluding to make sure you don’t actually reduce your TBR. I can’t see where you’re to blame at all. As to what’s popped up on your TBR this time, the Garnier is especially interesting to me. He really did fantastic noir, I think. And that Wynne has gotten me interested, too. I’ll be keen to know what you think of them.

    • I think you’re right! Certainly the number of my books that end up with chewed corners suggests they have a grudge! I’ve enjoyed most of the Garniers I’ve read but read them too close together I think, so that they began to feel a bit repeptitive. But it’s been a few months since I last read one, so I’m hoping that won’t happen with this one. The Wynne should be fun – Scottish setting!

      • Well, that sounds like evidence to me, FictionFan! I thought it might be T&T. And I agree; it’s best to portion out Garnier. I’d say that probably goes for a lot of authors, now I think of it.

        • I’ll get my own back though – catnip toys! *twirls moustache*

          Yes, I try not to read an author’s books too close together usually, so hopefully the gap means I’ll enjoy this Garnier more.

  4. None of these really appeals to me, although I did once read a factual book about the Lusitania. I think you should sink Moby-Dick!

    • Haha! I think Moby-Dick will have died of old age before I get to the bit where he appears – if he ever does! The Lusitania book should be good – I really enjoyed his book about the World Fair. But it’s not the most thrilling week ever, I agree.

  5. None of these are on my TBR, but they all sounds interesting, especially the one from Larson. I don’t typically go for nonfiction, but I just might have to give this one a try. The Murder of a Lady sounds suspiciously like an Agatha Christie work, but I suppose a corpse found behind locked doors is a traditional who-done-it (or rather, how was it done?).

    • I’m really looking forward to the Larson one – I thoroughly enjoyed his last one about the Chicago World Fair. And he writes so well it doesn’t feel heavy the way some non-fiction can. Yes, all these British Library books are from that period, and while lots of them are good, they don’t half show just how great Agatha Christie was by comparison. But this one has a Scottish setting, so it might be fun…

  6. Dead Wake was my first Erik Larson, and I loved it. I liked it better than Devil in the White City. But I like stories of the sea, even true ones that end in horrifying disasters.

    • I really enjoyed The Devil in the White City, but thought the serial murderer side of it was a bit unnecessary, so the fact that this one looks more focused means it appeals even more. And oddly, I don’t know much about the Lusitania – and I feel I really should!

  7. I love your comments on Moby Dick. I read it as a teenager and don’t remember it being so dull – but maybe I just skipped all of the boring bits, as teens are supposed to do.

    • To be fair to it, grudgingly, when it actually concentrates on the story it’s good – but oh! all those bits where he bores on about whale classifications! He needed a good editor… 😉

  8. Erik Larson keeps coming up recently it seems. Always with very good reviews. I’ve read another by Laurain – which was also about a man keeping something that didn’t belong to him – and it was ok. Nothing terrible but yes, rather twee. I’m going to guess that you probably won’t love it 🙂

    • I’ve only read one of Larson’s but it was excellent, so hopefully this one will be too. He’s great at storytelling, so that it feels more novelistic than heavyweight factual. Haha! Oh, dear – my twee-radar must have been switched off the day I picked the Laurain! I’ll need to try to switch it off again before I read it… 😉

    • I’m enjoying these British Library re-releases – even the less good ones are quite fun for seeing how styles have changed over the years. I have my fingers crossed for this one! 😀

    • These British Library re-releases are good fun – even when they’re not the best, they’re still interesting for seeing how styles have changed. The Laurain has certainly had excellent reviews, so fingers crossed! 🙂

  9. Leave Moby Dick if you hate it that much: life’s too short. I’ve heard good things of The President’s Hat. My TBR is keeping relatively stable at the moment but Christmas and birthday are coming so I’ve got to keep it down!

    • Haha! I’m going on the basis that if suffering is good for the soul I’m going to be pretty much perfect if/when I finish it! 😉 Yes, The President’s Hat has had great reviews, so fingers crossed! I know – I’m trying desperately to get my list down a bit before Santa arrives – it took me till about August to finish last year’s Christmas books! 😉

    • They would be my top picks of this lot too, especially Dead Wake which I’m certain I’ll enjoy – always a nice feeling! And these British Library classics are the perfect length for a quick read over a weekend – should be fun!

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