TBR Thursday 125…

Episode 125…

It’s been a rollercoaster week for the old TBR this week! For a brief moment, it actually topped the dreaded 200 mark reaching 201, but a heroic effort on my part to read like billy-oh for days on end means it’s back down to a much more psychologically acceptable 197½ – phew! Admittedly outstanding review copies have increased 1 to 36, and I have about six unwritten reviews, but still… I reckon I deserve a reward…

Aaaah! Imagine what my reward will be once I’ve read these ones too…


Courtesy of NetGalley and one of my 20 Books of Summer, this is a companion piece to all the lovely British Library Crime Classics. Sounds great, and I can feel another challenge coming on…

The Blurb says: This book tells the story of crime fiction published during the first half of the twentieth century. The diversity of this much-loved genre is breathtaking, and so much greater than many critics have suggested. To illustrate this, the leading expert on classic crime discusses one hundred books ranging from The Hound of the Baskervilles to Strangers on a Train which highlight the entertaining plots, the literary achievements, and the social significance of vintage crime fiction. This book serves as a companion to the acclaimed British Library Crime Classics series but it tells a very diverse story. It presents the development of crime fiction-from Sherlock Holmes to the end of the golden age-in an accessible, informative and engaging style.

Readers who enjoy classic crime will make fascinating discoveries and learn about forgotten gems as well as bestselling authors. Even the most widely read connoisseurs will find books (and trivia) with which they are unfamiliar-as well as unexpected choices to debate. Classic crime is a richly varied and deeply pleasurable genre that is enjoying a world-wide renaissance as dozens of neglected novels and stories are resurrected for modern readers to enjoy. The overriding aim of this book is to provide a launch point that enables readers to embark on their own voyages of discovery.

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From the Scottish Fiction section of my Classics Club list. In truth I had never heard of this book or author until I started looking for Scottish classics, so it will be a leap into the dark…

The Blurb says: A ‘gowk storm’ is an untimely fall of snow in early Spring – a fitting symbol for the anguished story that unfolds. Nearly a hundred years ago, three girls were born to a minister and his wife in a remote Highland manse; the rigid patriarchal structure of the times is set against their approaching womanhood and growing awareness of life beyond the safety of home.

After the disposal by marriage of the eldest, the sisters’ lives reach a new level of intensity. Emmy, the middle sister, finds to her horror that she is falling in love with her best friend’s fiancée. The unfortunate couple become estranged and a tragic outcome seems inevitable in the brooding symbolism of this disturbing story.

The Gowk Storm, published in 1933, was one of many award-winning books written by Nancy Brysson Morrison.

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Courtesy of Amazon Vine UK. Also one of my 20 Books, plus I’m hoping it might work for my Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge too. I thoroughly enjoyed his last book, Rules of Civility, though this one sounds very different…

The Blurb says: On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.

But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.

While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.

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Crime on Audio

I’m loving revisiting some old favourites on audio, in the company of some wonderful narrators. This is another read by Hugh Fraser, whose voice is up there in my list of Top 3 Most Gorgeous Voices in the History of the Universe. (Simon Shepherd and Derek Jacobi, in case you were wondering.)

The Blurb says: A dentist lies murdered at his Harley Street practice…

The dentist was found with a blackened hole below his right temple. A pistol lay on the floor near his outflung right hand. Later, one of his patients was found dead from a lethal dose of local anaesthetic. A clear case of murder and suicide. But why would a dentist commit a crime in the middle of a busy day of appointments?

A shoe buckle holds the key to the mystery. Now – in the words of the rhyme – can Poirot pick up the sticks and lay them straight?

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

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

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34 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 125…

  1. I hope you were having a piece of chocolate while you were posting that ‘photo, FictionFan. You really do deserve a reward for that heroic reading! The Story of Classic Crime really looks fascinating, and I’m looking forward to your thoughts on that when you get there.

    • Ah, Clooney is almost as good as chocolate… 😉 I’m really looking forward to the Classic Crime book – I can feel all kinds of list-making opportunities coming on – oh dear, and another TBR boost probably!

    • Absolutely! Perfect gift material, I agree – and a great opportunity for making more lists! I’m interested to see what The Gowk Storm is like – considering it’s listed as a ‘classic’ it’s surprisingly obscure. Let’s hope it’s a hidden gem…

    • It’s so long since I read the Christie I can’t actually remember whodunit so that always adds to the fun. I love the look of The Story of Classic Crime though I suspect it may play havoc with my teetering TBR… 😀

  2. Oh, I want to read The Gowk Storm, not just because of the awesome new word I just learned. I’d be much obliged if you could please tell me about all the forgotten classics mentioned in The Story of Classic Crime; then I could skip it and go straight to those forgotten books.

    • Haha – I must admit Gowk is a new word to me too in that context. I think of gowk as meaning idiot or fool, as in “Ye daft wee gowk, be careful whit yer dae-ing!” Maybe it’s a Highland thing… 😉 But that’s cheating!! However, I can definitely see a lot of list-making and challenge-setting potential in it, so you might be lucky… 😀

  3. I have not read or listened to any of these, though my pick of the lot would be “The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books.” I haven’t read a lot of crime fiction from the first part of the 20th century.

    • I’ve read the Agatha Christie before, but ages ago so I don’t remember the details. The Story of Classic Crime looks great! I haven’t read a huge amount of older crime either, though I’ve been getting more into it over the last year or two. So this one will be a good guide of what authors to look out for, I hope.

  4. I hadn’t heard of The Gowk Storm either, but I’m intrigued now. I hope it’s good! The Classic Crime book sounds great – but probably very bad for the TBR. 🙂

    • I hope so too – I’ve been kinda horrified at how hard it seems to be to find great Scottish classics without going back to Walter Scott! I’m hoping I’ve read at least some of the 100 Classic Crime novels or my TBR may reach crisis levels… 😉

  5. Once again, the Christie sounds fascinating! I’ve been reading some of hers that somehow I missed earlier, and I’m having the most FUN! She really pieces together a good read and keeps you guessing right up until the end.

    • Have you? Isn’t she great? I find her books totally relaxing because you know you’re in for a great mystery and there’ll be no horrible bits to avoid. I’m loving listening to the audio versions too – they seem to work perfectly for audio somehow… 😀

  6. “Gowk” in “The.Gowk-storm” does have the meaning of idiot – it’s the storm that catches you out. A great book. “The Breakers” is another good one, and I seem to remember reading her biography of Mary, Queen of Scots.
    The Classic Crime sounds good, and of course the Christie……….

    • Haha! I expected you’d have read her! Well, I hope I do enjoy it because so far the Scottish classics are leaving me somewaht underwhelmed…

      Yes, I’m on a golden age kick at the moment – entertaining and don’t require vast amount of brain energy…

  7. It’s so eternally lovely to know I can resist you entirely this week (the Towles I’m afraid irritated me dreadfully and never got reviewed anyway as irritation won only an early ‘I shan’t be reviewing this’ to the Galley. Mind you, as I was interesting but not quite enough so for Rules of Civility it may well be one of those which has us going in opposite directions. And, talking of the SAME direction, I have almost now managed the first draft of American Pastoral – partly responsible (I am blaming Roth) for the staggering number of reviews I am behind – one I kept thinking about. So much to say, so hard to do its complex, challenging reading experience, justice. Will do the linky thing though. I really should have scrawled in a notebook as I went along………

    • Oh dear – I wasn’t overly tempted by the Towles, I must admit, but it seemed to fit into my Russian theme so I went for it. But I’m still not convinced I’ll get on any better with it than you did – we’ll see! Glad to see the AP review finally made it – it’s odd how some reviews become so hard to write! I’ve been writing a review of A People’s Tragedy for weeks now…

    • I’m very proud! If I always read at that rate, I’d get through my TBR in no time! (And my eyes would fall out…)

      Nor me, but at least you’ve got a good excuse! I’m finding it kinda sad that I’m struggling to find Scottish classics.

  8. What do I have to read to win that award too? (Please don’t say Moby Dick). I think I want to read A Gentleman in Moscow, with or without the award. Congratulations on getting to 197 and a half, the half sounds important 🙂

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