TBR Thursday 256…

Episode 256

All you people who’ve been worried about my shrinking TBR can breathe a sigh of relief this week – it’s gone up 2 to 198! Still below the magic 200, though, and of course it wasn’t my fault. I tried to stop the postman delivering the box of books, but he insisted, so what could I do?? I’m sure I’ll be back on track soon…

Here are a few more that will be tripping my way soon…


The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed several of Summerscale’s earlier books, loving her mix of true events and social commentary. This one sounds like a great way to kick off spooky season too…

The Blurb says: London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, an ordinary young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos. In Alma Fielding’s modest home, china flies off the shelves, eggs fly through the air; stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a terrapin materialises on her lap. Nandor Fodor – a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research – reads of the case, and hastens to the scene of the haunting. But when Fodor starts his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems. By unravelling Alma’s peculiar history, he finds a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss – and the foreshadowing of a nation’s worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed. With rigour, daring and insight, the award-winning pioneer of non-fiction writing Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor’s enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.

* * * * *

American Classic

The American by Henry James

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. One from my Classics Club list. I’ve only read a few of James’ ghostly novellas before, and am not at all convinced his style won’t drive me insane in a full-length book. But we book bloggers must sometimes suffer for our art, so I shall gird up my loins (do women have loins? I should have paid more attention in anatomy classes. I know men have them… and pigs…) and face him bravely!  

The Blurb says: During a trip to Europe, Christopher Newman, a wealthy American businessman, asks the charming Claire de Cintre to be his wife. To his dismay, he receives an icy reception from the heads of her family, who find Newman to be a vulgar example of the American privileged class. Brilliantly combining elements of comedy, tragedy, romance and melodrama, this tale of thwarted desire vividly contrasts nineteenth-century American and European manners. Oxford’s edition of The American, which was first published in 1877, is the only one that uses James’ revised 1907 text.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

Inspector French and the Mystery on Southampton Water by Freeman Wills Crofts

Courtesy of HarperCollins. To celebrate the publishing centenary of Freeman Wills Crofts, HarperCollins are reissuing three of his books and I was thrilled to receive a surprise box containing them all! I’ve only read one of the Inspector French books before, The 12:30 from Croydon, and loved it, and have been meaning to read more, so here’s the first. Couldn’t wait, so I’ve started it already…

The Blurb says: The Joymount Rapid Hardening Cement Manufacturing Company on the Solent is in serious financial trouble. Its rival, Chayle on the Isle of Wight, has a secret new manufacturing process and is underselling them. Having failed to crack the secret legitimately, two employees hatch a plot to break in and steal it. But the scheme does not go according to plan, resulting in damage and death, and Inspector French is brought in to solve one of the most dramatic and labyrinthine cases of his entire career. 

* * * * *

Dalziel & Pascoe on Audio

Child’s Play by Reginald Hill read by Colin Buchanan

I enjoyed Colin Buchanan as narrator of these books more than I was expecting in Exit Lines (review soon), so decided to go for the audiobook again for the next one in my slow re-read of this great series… 

The Blurb says: Geraldine Lomas’s son went missing in Italy during World War Two, but the eccentric old lady never accepted his death.

Now she is dead, leaving the Lomas beer fortune to be divided between an animal rights organization, a fascist front and a services benevolent fund. As disgruntled relatives gather by the graveside, the funeral is interrupted by a middle-aged man in an Italian suit, who falls to his knees crying, ‘Mama!’

Andy Dalziel is preoccupied with the illegal book one of his sergeants is running on who is to be appointed as the new chief Constable. But when a dead Italian turns up in the police car park, Peter Pascoe and his bloated superior are plunged into an investigation that makes internal police politics look like child’s play…

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

38 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 256…

  1. A varied selection this week, I might look for the Summerscale book, as I’ve enjoyed her in the past. I don’t envy you with Henry James though, as I have so far had to DNF two of his full length novels, and have a feeling he and I are not destined to get along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • After a run of heavyweight history I’m looking forward to the Summerscale as a bit of a contrast. Ha, I’m almost certain I’m going to struggle with Henry James, but I’ve tied my own hands by taking a review copy of it, so now I’ll feel obliged to read it all the way through! Maybe he’ll surprise me…


  2. I was quite worried about that TBR, FictionFan! Good to know your postie’s helping make sure you’re all right… I’ll be interested in what you think of the Crofts (and lucky you to get three of them!). I think he wrote some solid mysteries, so you’re in (I think) for some good reading experiences. And you can’t go far wrong with a Reginald Hill, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The postie is clearly in the pay of the conspiracy! Just finished the first of the Crofts and thought it was really great! I’m seriously tempted to go straight to the next one now, but I shall resist – I do have a spreadsheet schedule to stick to after all… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll be interested to read more of The Haunting – spooky doesn’t really appeal to me (I don’t spook easily) but the psychological elements sound more intriguing. I might need to be convinced about the others.
    I was quite mesmerised by the tripping, especially by the reactions of those seated and especially those on the right…

    Liked by 1 person

    • What?? The porpy will be devastated – he’ll have to work extra hard this year to try to change your mind! I always enjoy Summerscale, though to a varying degree depending on how interested I am in the social issues she chooses to investigate – this one sounds like it should be good!
      Haha, I think that model’s amazing – she just pulls herself up and stomps on without losing an ounce of coolness!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whew! We can all breathe a sigh of relief about that TBR list. I didn’t know what to think! But I am relieved.

    Inspector French and the Mystery on Southampton Water and of course the Dalziel & Pascoe are top on the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure I say this every time, but just remember the first in the Hill series isn’t as good as the later ones – it takes to about book 3 before he really gets into the swing! After that I suspect you’d love them… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, my, that poor model! Looks like something I could do, only I’d have landed in somebody’s lap (or worse, on the floor!) You’ve got some interesting selections here, FF, and I’m glad your TBR isn’t shrinking too much. The Haunting sounds especially good — and you’re right, it’s time for creepy novels to come front and center!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I know, she’s great! The way she just recovers herself and stomps on without missing a beat! 😀 Lockdown temporarily eased and a sudden flurry of books arrived, but the way things are going I suspect everything will shut down again soon. 😦 The Haunting does sound good – the porpy and I are discussing what other spooky books we should read this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I struggled to get past that gif at the top in order to move on to your post!! I have a similar (more lengthy) clip at YouTube that I go watch any time I need a good laugh. All in good fun, too, since I could no more strut across a stage in heels without falling myself.

    Okay…. the books. While I don’t think I’d want to read it myself, that first one sounds perfect for the coming weeks!! I look forward to seeing how badly it scares Porpy!! 🙀😱😰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, that model is wonderful – the way she just recovers and marches on. Super cool! Why do we love seeing other people falling over so much…? 😈😂

      The porpy is stirring restlessly in his box now – I think spooky season is beginning! Wait till he sees the other books I have planned for him – he’ll be shaking like a little blancmange… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t read any Henry James (though I had the very surreal experience of going to see an opera based on Turn of the Screw when I was a teenager), so I will be interested to hear what you make of The American.

    And I am a sucker for books set in or near Southampton – books normally just stop off here briefly en route for a cruise, which I always think is a shame because there’s so much interesting history here – so I will almost certainly be picking up the Inspector French novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I saw photos from that opera when I was searching for images to review The Turn of the Screw – it does seem like an odd idea, but I could imagine it working! His style is so convoluted though – not sure if I can take a full-length novel’s worth of it…

      The Southampton book was great! Just finished it and *spoiler alert* it’ll be getting the full five stars. It all happens in and around Southampton and Cowes. So go for it, I say! 😀


  8. I received The Haunting of Alma Fielding from NetGalley too. It sounds perfect for this time of year, doesn’t it? I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with the Henry James book. I’ve only read two of his shorter ones (The Turn of the Screw and The Europeans) and although I found things to enjoy, I don’t think he’s ever going to be a favourite author!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does – it also sounds terrifying! She’s so good at examining the social causes behind events too – looking forward to it! Yes, I’ve only read a few of James’ horror novellas and although I enjoyed them overall, his style drove me a bit crazy. Not sure how I’ll get on with a longer book!


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