TBR Thursday 275…

Episode 275

Oh, no, no, no, no! Last time my TBR was at 197 and I swore a private oath (well, I swore, anyway) that it wouldn’t get any higher. But… well, see, it’s not really my fault! Somebody foolishly scheduled a huge factual, a huge fiction and a huge crime novel all to reach the top of my reading list at the same time. So I’ve been reading and reading and reading but not actually finishing any books. Yet new ones keep arriving. Up two to 199… but no way am I going back over 200! This is where I make my stand!

Here are a few more I’ll get to… sometime…

Vintage Crime

Murder’s a Swine by Nap Lombard

Courtesy of the British Library. Another author I’d never heard of much less read, but I’ve seen a couple of very positive reviews of this one since the BL republished it last month…

The Blurb says: “I should imagine this was murder, too, because it would be very difficult to build yourself into a heap of sandbags and then die…”

In the blackout conditions of a wintry London night, amateur sleuth Agnes Kinghof and a young air-raid warden have stumbled upon a corpse stowed in the walls of their street’s bomb shelter. As the police begin their investigation, the night is interrupted once again when Agnes’s upstairs neighbour Mrs Sibley is terrorised by the sight of a grisly pig s head at her fourth-floor window.

With the discovery of more sinister threats mysteriously signed ‘Pig-sticker’, Agnes and her husband Andrew – unable to resist a good mystery – begin their investigation to deduce the identity of a villain living amongst the tenants of their block of flats.

A witty and lighthearted mystery full of intriguing period detail, this rare gem of Golden Age crime returns to print for the first time since its publication in 1943.

* * * * *

Fiction

A Lonely Man by Chris Power

Courtesy of Faber & Faber via NetGalley. In my bid to read more new fiction this year, this is another I picked purely on the basis of the blurb. Early reviews are a bit disappointing, but we’ll see…

The Blurb says: Robert is a struggling writer living in Berlin with his wife and two young daughters. In a bookshop one night, he meets Patrick, an enigmatic stranger with a sensational story to tell: a ghostwriter for a Russian oligarch recently found hanged, who is now being followed. But is he really in danger? Patrick’s life strikes Robert as a fabrication, but a magnetic one that begins to obsess him. He decides to use Patrick, and his story.

An elegant and atmospheric twist on the cat-and-mouse narrative, A Lonely Man is a novel of shadows, of the search for identity and the elastic nature of truth. As his association with Patrick hurtles towards tragedy, Robert must decide: are actual events the only things that give a story life, and are some stories too dangerous to tell?

* * * * *

Dalziel and Pascoe

Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill

Continuing my slow re-read of my favourite contemporary crime series of all time. This is the 11th book and Hill is at his peak by this stage. I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions of the last few, but for some reason Colin Buchanan seemed to stop after book 10 and Brian Glover took over for the next couple, unfortunately getting quite poor reviews for his narration. So I’ve decided to go back to paper for this one…

The Blurb says: When Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel witnesses a bizarre murder across the street from his own back garden, he is quite sure he knows who the culprit is. After all, he’s seen him with his own eyes. But what exactly does he see? And is he mistaken? Peter Pascoe certainly thinks so.

To make matters worse, he’s being pestered by an anonymous letter-writer who is planning suicide and has chosen to confide in Dalziel. The local Mystery Plays should provide a welcome distraction as Dalziel’s been cast as God. Unfortunately, the other lead is a local builder who also happens to be the chief suspect in some recent disappearances that might actually be murders…

* * * * *

Fiction on Audio

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

I loved Harris’ The Observations when I read it a year or two ago, and when I reviewed it several people strongly recommended this one. Anna Bentinck is the narrator – I haven’t listened to her before but she gets a lot of praise… 

The Blurb says: As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, nearly four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame she maintains he deserved.

Back in 1888, the young, art-loving, Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter she befriends the Gillespie family and soon becomes a fixture in all of their lives. But when tragedy strikes – leading to a notorious criminal trial – the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disorientate into mystery and deception.

Featuring a memorable cast of characters, infused with atmosphere and period detail, and shot through with wicked humour, Gillespie and I is a tour de force from one of the emerging names of British fiction.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

51 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 275…

    • I like the blurb of A Lonely Man so I’m hoping it lives up to it! So far I’m thoroughly enjoying Gillespie and I though, as usual with audiobooks, it’ll take me ages to get through it… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well for me, Dalziel and Pascoe is a given, you might convince me on Murder’s a Swine and I’m very uncertain about A Lonely Man. I listened to Gillespie and I after reading The Observations and I’ll be be very interested to read your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, no, FictionFan! It’s another plot to build up your TBR! You can hardly be blamed, can you, for how long a book is, and it’s simply not fair that those two books arrived at the same time!

    Anyway, I’m studiously ignoring A Lonely Man, because I am trying to keep my own TBR under control *sneaks a peek at the blurb.**Surreptitiously adds the title to the wish list*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I’m the victim here! Sometimes I think the whole world is against me! #BookBlogParanoia

      Haha, it does sound good, doesn’t it? I hope it lives up to its blurb – we’ll soon find out! 😀

      Like

  3. You can’t go wrong with Dalziel and Pascoe!
    I am tempted by Murder’s a Swine. But I am also cautious about it. A lighthearted romp can sometimes go horribly wrong. I hope this one has a good balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed – always sure of a good read with Hill! Yes, I wasn’t too sure either about Murder’s a Swine from the blurb, but the good reviews I’ve seen of it have made me more hopeful – fingers crossed!

      Like

  4. Oooh, are you starting to take bets on whether you’ll go above 200 again? 😁 I like the sound of Gillespie and I very much, but there are so many books I want to read at the moment. And I still haven’t finished the 22 hours of Crime and Punishment (sigh) although, I’m getting there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Noooooooooo!!!! I shall read twenty hours a day for the next week to avoid that!! 😱 I wish I was quicker at audiobooks – Gillespie and I is nearly twenty hours long too so it’ll take me weeks, but I’m really enjoying it so far. I think after that I’ll go for a short one though!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, I get scared every time I see the postman coming to the door! I did finally manage to finish a book yesterday though so I might be safe… maybe…

      So far Gillespie and I is good but as usual with audiobooks it’ll take me ages to get through it – surprise, surprise, it’s long… 🤪

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll be very interested in your thoughts on Gillespie and I, especially as an audiobook. It caused a lot of controversy when I read it as a book club choice. Take heart on all those doorstoppers you’re ploughing through too. They may be damming the flow for now but think what they’ll do for your page count on your Goodreads stats for the year 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • It always takes me ages to listen to audiobooks so I’m still at the beginning of Gillespie and I, but so far it’s going well – the narrator is good at all the women’s voices. It’s long, though! Hahaha, yes, I try to cheer myself up with the page number stats but somehow my mind doesn’t accept that – it simply looks at the overall books number and calls me a failure! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a strange thing to say, but I can’t recall many mysteries that take place during the world wars. They always seem to happen right before, or right after, but I would love to read more, recently published novels that take place during a war, but are just a straight mystery-do you know what i mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t think of any recently published ones, but I’ve read quite a few vintage ones set during WW2 recently. ECR Lorac especially has several set either in London during the blackout or out in rural communities during the war – she really uses those settings well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hm yes I probably should have mentioned that-it seems like modern writers aren’t attempting to set any mysteries during WWI or WWII, but perhaps that’s just too much of a challenge? Different time period and a complicated plot?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I prefer to read the ones written at the time anyway, since then you know that what they’re telling you about how life was then is authentic. Too often contemporary writers make their historical characters out to have modern attitudes.

          Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always good fun re-reading a book I know I love, so the Dalziel & Pascoe will be fun, and I’m hoping A Lonely Man will live up to its intriguing blurb. Good to know you enjoyed Gillespie – I’ve just started it and it’s going well so far, but audiobooks always take me an age to get through so it will be a while before I can judge it properly. Haha, I positively refuse to go over 200 again! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never heard of any of these, ‘A Lonely Man’ looks different..
    But now I am concerned. My tbr is at over 400.. It’s a problem. The reviews on here are just too good. 😆😳
    Thank you for sharing this post and good luck with your tbr!

    Liked by 1 person

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