TBR Thursday 218…

Episode 218

Spookily, the TBR has dropped by two this week, to 213. I feel as if I’ve read very little so I can only assume they’ve been scared off the list somehow…

(My cats love this gif so much!)

Here are a few more I’ll be busting soon – hope they haven’t been ghost-written!

Scottish Crime

Blood City by Douglas Skelton

This is the first book in a quartet. I read and loved the fourth book a few years ago (I know, illogical, which proves I’m not Vulcan) and have been meaning to read the earlier books ever since. This has been on my TBR since 2016…

The Blurb says: Meet Davie McCall – not your average henchman. Abused and tormented by his father for fifteen years, there is a darkness in him searching for a way out. Under the wing of Glasgow’s Godfather, Joe ‘the Tailor’ Klein, he flourishes. Joe the Tailor may be a killer, but there are some lines he won’t cross, and Davie agrees with his strict moral code. He doesn’t like drugs. He won’t condone foul language. He abhors violence against women. When the Tailor refuses to be part of Glasgow’s new drug trade, the hits start rolling. It’s every man for himself as the entire criminal underworld turns on itself, and Davie is well and truly caught up in the action. But a young reporter makes him wonder if he can leave his life of crime behind and Davie must learn the hard way that you cannot change. Blood City is a novel set in Glasgow’s underworld at a time when it was undergoing a seismic shift. A tale of violence, corruption and betrayal, loyalties will be tested and friendships torn apart.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime Shorts

The Measure of Malice edited by Martin Edwards

Another anthology of vintage short detective stories from the wonderful British Library Crime Classics series. These may be a little less to my taste than usual, since mysteries that hinge on physical clues don’t usually work as well for me as those that depend on motive. But my lower expectations leave me hoping to be surprised!

The Blurb says: The detective’s role is simple: to catch the culprit. Yet behind each casual observation lies a learned mind, trained on finding the key to the mystery. Crimes, whatever their form, are often best solved through deliberations of logic – preferably amid complicated gadgetry and a pile of hefty scientific volumes.

The detectives in this collection are masters of scientific deduction, whether they are identifying the perpetrator from a single scrap of fabric, or picking out the poison from a sinister line-up. Containing stories by R. Austin Freeman, J. J. Connington and the master of logical reasoning, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Measure of Malice collects tales of rational thinking to prove the power of the human brain over villainous deeds.

* * * * *

Scottish Classic

The House with the Green Shutters by George Douglas Brown

From my Classics Club list. I think this sounds dismal and the words “postmodern alienation” send an apprehensive shiver down my spine. But my brother tells me it’s good, so I’ll either enjoy the book or I’ll enjoy bashing him over the head with it. Win-win!

The Blurb says: The most famous Scottish novel of the early 20th century, The House with the Green Shutters has remained a landmark on the literary scene ever since it was first published in 1901. Determined to overthrow the sentimental “kailyard” stereotypes of the day, George Douglas Brown exposed the bitter pettiness of commercial greed and small-town Scottish life as he himself had come to know it. More than this, however, his novel lays bare the seductive and crippling presence of patriarchal authority in Scottish culture at large, symbolized by the terrible struggle between old John Gourlay and his weak but imaginative son. Illuminated by lightning flashes of descriptive brilliance, Brown’s prose evokes melodrama, Greek tragedy, and postmodern alienation in a unique and unforgettably powerful reading experience. Introduced by Cairns Craig.

* * * * *

Historical Crime

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

Courtesy of Quercus via NetGalley. The latest entry in Griffiths’ so far excellent Stephens and Mephisto series, set in Brighton. Up till now it’s been set in the 1950s, but this one seems to be taking us into the ’60s… 

The Blurb says: DCI Edgar Stephens, Detective Sergeants Emma Holmes and Bob Willis, and of course magician Max Mephisto, are facing a brave new world: the 1960s. Max is a huge TV star in the USA, and life in Brighton has settled down for the three police officers.

The funeral of Diablo, actor and wartime comrade to Edgar and Max, throws the gang back together. A more surprising face to see is Ruby, Edgar ex-fiance, now the star of her own TV show. At the funeral Ruby asks Emma’s advice about someone who is stalking her. Emma is flattered and promises to investigate.

Then Ruby goes missing and the race to find her involves not only the old comrades but sundry new characters from the often bewildering world of the sixties music scene…

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

42 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 218…

  1. Have you seen lights flickering in your home, or heard doors unexpectedly closing/opening, or felt cold gusts of wind? Perhaps the spirits have whisked away some of your TBR entries, FictionFan. You know, animals can often sense these things, so perhaps your feline overlords can tell you… 😉 Your new entries all look very good. I’ve been wanting to read more Skelton, and of course, Griffiths simply doesn’t disappoint (well, at least not me). And the others look great, too. Nice to have some good stuff to look forward to…

    • *Gulps* All of the above! I thought it was just to do with the howling winds of winter, but… what’s that creaking noise from upstairs… 😱🎃 T&T are useless in these situations – ghost hunting would seriously disrupt their sleeping patterns! I can’t believe it’s three years since I added the Skelton to my TBR – another one that fell into the black hole. I’m looking forward to the Griffiths – I’ve been really enjoying this series so far. 😀

  2. What on earth is post-modern alienation? I was considering the House with the Green Shutters until I saw that phrase on the blurb. For the sake of your brother’s head, I hope you get on a bit better with it than you are anticipating.

    • My brother assures me the words postmodern alienation never entered his head while he was reading it, so maybe it’ll be safe! But maybe he’s just saying that because he’s scared now. 😉 We’ll see, but it does sound kinda grim…

  3. I’m leaning toward the Griffiths book. I’ve read several of her Ruth Galloway novels and found them quite interesting. I’ll be glad to read your review of this one when you finish reading it. Oh, and Congrats on the drop in your TBR!

    • I’ve been really enjoying this new series of hers, although I suppose it’s not so new now – this is the fifth, I think! I liked the early Ruth Galloway ones too but the present tense always annoys me, so this one, which is written in past tense, works much better for me. Haha – thank you! My willpower is on a roll… 😉

  4. The House with the Green Shutters does sound rather heavy work. Just as well you have the crime books to give you some light relief. We’ll all be looking forward to hearing you expound on post modern alienation and the particular characteristics of scottish patriarchal authority ….

    • Hahaha! Well I’m feeling more post-modern with every passing month, and that blurb has definitely left me feeling alienated, so maybe I’m in the perfect frame of mind for the book… 😉

    • I enjoyed the early Ruth Galloway books but the present tense is a pet hate of mine so that was always an issue. Happily the Mephisto books are past tense and I love the post-war Brighton setting, so I’ve actually preferred this series… 😀

  5. Should I feel bad that I’ve never heard of “the most famous Scottish novel of the early 20th century”? I very much enjoy the idea of your cats watching gifs though!

  6. As much as I love Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series, I really do need to get started on Stephens and Mephisto. I have the first waiting in my Kindle. I’m actually behind on the Galloway books, lacking two to be up to date. There’s just not enough time!

    • I got fed up with the Ruth books after a while, mostly because present tense always grates on me. The Stephens and Mephisto ones are past tense, so I’m able to enjoy them wholeheartedly. She’s incredibly prolific though – hard to keep up with her output!

    • I considered looking up postmodern alienation to find out what it means but decided I’d probably rather not know. 😉 I shall see if I can tempt you, but I’m a bit dubious about some of these myself.

  7. Like many others commenting here, I also enjoy the Stephens and Mephisto series. They keep you turning the pages with the well written interesting settings & imaginative mysteries. I must check the availability of this latest one at the library. I’ve also been meaning to start on this author’s other series, but I’m a bit daunted because I like to read in book order & it’s already a long series 🙂
    I have a bit of a problem with gangland or mobster style books – the plots sound interesting but then I find the grimness of it all rather off putting (especially if I’m already feeling a bit jaded with the real world!).

    • I enjoyed her Ruth Galloway series for a while but eventually I felt it kind of ran out of steam, so I’m really glad she’s also doing the Stephens and Mephisto series now. This one comes out some time this month, I think. She’s incredibly prolific, though – she’s been producing standalones too for the last couple of years. Hard to keep up with her!
      I don’t usually like books about gangland either, but the fourth in the quartet was very different – it was about how gangs are really dying out in Glasgow (true), especially as organised crime moves onto the dark web. It’s kinda about how people who used to be gangsters are going to deal with the realities of modern life. An intriguing take, and very well written, so I decided it might be well worth reading the whole quartet…

  8. The Elly Griffiths book sounds pretty interesting. I have another one by her, The Stranger Diaries, on my list and was hoping to get round to it in November. Glad to see that your TBR list is going down and you are getting through books! It seems like the opposite is happening to me and I can never keep up!

    • I loved The Stranger Diaries! Beautifully modern Gothic and perfect for these dark evenings! She’s so prolific though it’s really hard to keep up with her output. I’m on a real mission to get my TBR down at least a bit, but somehow books keep sneaking onto it when I’m not looking… 😉

    • I’m on a real mission to get it down to under 200 by the end of the year so I’m trying not to acquire books. But I still get the occasional unsolicited batch from the lovely publishers so it’s not fully in my control… 😱

    • Ha! She’s such a prolific writer it’s really hard to keep up with all her output! Two series plus standalones is pretty impressive – good luck with catching up… 😉

    • I’ve loved this new series of Elly Griffiths so far – she does the post-war world of Brighton theatres so well. I’m not sure how I feel about her moving it forward to the ’60s but I have my fingers crossed! Haha – I was thinking of looking postmodern alienation up to find out what it is, but then I decided I’d probably be happier not knowing… 😉

  9. FF, I have been recommended Elly Griffiths’ historical Brighton series, so I will be very interested to hear your thoughts on Now You See Them. 🙂 Although I would have to read them in order… maybe that means I am a Vulcan?! 😛

  10. The crime short fiction anthology is once again my top pick out of this selection, I love reading your reviews of them. It’s funny I’ve never thought closely about physical clues vs. motive, so I think I need to pay more attention to that going forward. Your reviews always make me analyze mysteries deeper which I really appreciate 🙂

    • Well, thank you! 😀 I’ve got more and more into crime short stories recently thanks to the BL, and it’s made me much more aware of what kinds of things I like or don’t. Loads of people love the physical clues ones, but I always much prefer the ones that revolve around characters’ motives…

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.