Six Degrees of Separation – From Reid to…

Chain links…

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best. The idea is to start with the book that Kate gives us and then create a chain of six books, each suggested by the one before. This month’s starting book is…

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Haven’t read this one but here’s what the blurb tells us…

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Doesn’t appeal to me, I’m afraid, despite the many glowing reviews I’ve read of it. However, it made me think of…

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. Hamish Wolfe is a prisoner, convicted of the murders of three young women. Maggie Rose is a defence barrister and author of several books regarding possible miscarriages of justice, some of which have resulted in the convicted men being released. Hamish and his little group of supporters on the outside are keen to get Maggie to take on his case. A deliciously twisted thriller from the pen of one of the best of the current crop of writers.

The anti-hero of this one is in prison, as is the hero of the next one…

Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert. It’s 1943, and the British officers held in a prisoner-of-war camp in north Italy take their duty to escape seriously, so the camp is riddled with tunnels. The biggest and most hopeful of these is under Hut C, elaborately hidden under a trapdoor that takes several men to open. So when a body turns up in the tunnel the question is not only how did he die but also how did he get into the tunnel? One of the best of the British Library Crime Classics, this has a good mystery plot but the real interest is the unique setting.

Another book set in Italy is…

That Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina. When a PI tracks Tommaso down in London to give him the news that he has been left a large legacy, Tommaso tells him he doesn’t want it and pleads that his whereabouts should not be revealed. To make the PI understand why his anonymity is so important to him, Tommaso agrees to tell him the story of why he left Italy – the story of his last summer in Puglia. That was the summer, long ago when Tommaso was young, that he met and fell in love with Anna. An excellent début with a great sense of place.

Ostuni, Puglia

The next is another début from an author worth watching…

Goblin by Ever Dundas. Goblin is an old lady now, working as a Reader in an Edinburgh library. But when the newspapers report that a strange pile of objects have been unearthed – bones, bits of a doll, a shrew head and a camera – she is thrust back into memories of her early life as a street urchin in wartime London. The camera still works and when the police develop the pictures they determine they could only have been taken by a child. A strange book, dark in places and with some truly disturbing aspects, but because of the beautifully drawn central character it has a warmth and humanity that helps the reader to get through the tougher parts.

Goblin won the Saltire Society Literary Award for First Book of the Year (2017). The next one was shortlisted for the Saltire History Book of the Year in 2015 (and should have won!)

John Knox by Jane Dawson. In Scotland, John Knox is thought of as a misogynistic, hellfire-and-damnation preaching, old killjoy, who is responsible for the fairly joyless version of Protestantism that has blighted our country for hundreds of years. Well, that’s how I think of him anyway! Father of the Scottish Reformation, he is notorious for being the author of ‘The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women’. In this great biography, Jane Dawson sets out, not so much to overturn this impression of Knox, but to show that there was more to him than this.

Knox haranguing Mary Queen of Scots by Robert Inerarity Herdman

John Knox liked to think of himself (modestly) as “God’s Watchman”. Which made me think of…

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The time is just after the Supreme Court decision that led to desegregation of schools in the South, when the NAACP were fighting for equality for blacks and the whites were resisting. Jean Louise is shocked to discover that her father, Atticus, and lover, Hank, are part of that white resistance. This is the book Harper Lee wanted to write, until her editor persuaded her to go off in the different direction which led to To Kill a Mockingbird. A pity – I’d have liked to see this one given the polish and care it deserved.

Harper Lee

* * * * *

So Reid to Lee, via Daisy, prison, Italy, débuts, the Saltire Prize and watchmen!

Hope you enjoyed the journey. 😀

28 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – From Reid to…

  1. I’m thoroughly impressed, FictionFan! You used title names, settings, situations, history, and more to link these books – well done! I think you’re right about …Watchman. It could have been more than it was with better TLC. And you’ve reminded me I’d like to read that biography of Knox. People who are that influential are often more than they seem on the surface, so it’d be interesting to find out a little more about him. In any case, this is an excellent set of links!

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    • Thanks, Margot – glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I feel Watchman is one of the great missed opportunities. It’s still very good in its current form but it could have been a real classic. It’s a while since I read the Knox biography now, but I was very impressed by it, both in terms of the research and the writing – very readable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your links! I was trying to find a Daisy link too but forgot about Daisy in Chains! What a shame I could have made a daisy chain too. 🙂

    Note to self: I WILL read Go Set a Watchman this year!

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    • Ha – I was going to try to do all flowers but couldn’t find any others I’d reviewed. I really did enjoy Go Set a Watchman so much more than I expected to when I read it last year, so I hope you find time to get to it… 😀

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  3. That’s a great chain! Daisy Jones & The Six didn’t appeal to me either at first, but I tried it and liked it more than I’d expected to. I loved Daisy in Chains and nearly linked to that one myself, but went in a different direction instead.

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    • Thank you! 😀 I’m so busy trying to get my horrendous TBR down I’m being extra choosy about new releases at the moment, so I’m afraid Daisy Jones just didn’t make the cut. But Sharon Bolton always does! 😀

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  4. Nice one! Daisy Jones doesn’t appeal to me either, although it is hard to believe that a gazillion bloggers (or something like that) can be wrong. I haven’t heard of Goblin before, but I love the sound of it! And nice to see Michael Gilbert making an appearance, I probably need to read this one as well. 🙂

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    • Hmm… Death In Captivity and Go Set a Watchman? Goblin is a strange one – quite unique, I’d say, and mostly very well written. It also has some quite disturbing images that have stayed with me too, but they weren’t gratuitous – I’m intrigued to see what she does in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I think I mentioned it in my review but, just to be on the safe side, some of the disturbing images relate to animals. I’m not trying to put you off, though – I do think it’s very much worth reading if it sounds like something you’d fancy.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice linking! I’ve read and enjoyed Daisy in Chains, Death in Captivity and Goblin and have Go Set a Watchman as a TBR. I do like the idea of reading about John Knox, but realistically I’m unlikely to get there …

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    • I think you’ll appreciate Go Set a Watchman. I’m still angry that her publishers persuaded her to go a different route instead of helping her to polish it up. Not that I regret having To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can’t help wondering if she’d have gone on to write more if they hadn’t left her kind of second-guessing her own instincts. It’s a while since I read the John Knox, but my memory is that it was a particularly readable bio and not excessively over-detailed as some of them are…

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  6. I’m enjoying the variety in these Daisy Chains 🙂 I’m very tempted by That Summer in Puglia and Goblin. And this will be the year for Watchman and its companions.

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    • It always amazes me what different directions we all take! I loved That Summer in Puglia which was surprising since I wouldn’t necessarily have thought it was my kind of thing. So well written and she really brought the setting to life. Goblin is much darker in places and has left me with some disturbing images, but is also very well written and rather unique. I’m intrigued to see what both authors come up with next…

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    • Ha – I struggled with some of the links this month so had to go on a real search through the less frequented alleyways of the blog… 😀 The Vescina is very good – I’m intrigued to see what she brings us next…

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Michael Gilbert books have been one of the highlights of the British Library Crime Classics series for me so far so I hope you manage to fit them in. Goblin is a strange book, and quite dark and disturbing in places, but very original and well written, and the John Knox biography is excellent. Good choices! 😀

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