TBR Thursday 295 – The People’s Choice…

Episode 295

(A reminder of The People’s Choice plan. Once a month, I shall list the four oldest books on the TBR, then the next four, and so on, and each time you will select the one you think I should read, either because you’ve read and enjoyed it, or because you think the blurb looks good. And I will read the one you pick within three months! If I begin to fall behind, I’ll have a gap till I catch up again. In the event of a tie, I’ll have the casting vote.)

* * * * *

OK, People, time for the next batch of four, a varied bunch this time, and we’re now moving into 2017. I’m still catching up after my recent hiatus, so this won’t be the usual three months ahead pick – the winner will be a November read, if I can fit it in! I bought Mrs Hudson and the Spirit’s Curse after enjoying another book in the series, Mrs Hudson and the Malabar RoseI’ve enjoyed the later books in Val McDermid’s Karen Pirie series and have been slowly backtracking to the earlier ones – The Distant Echo is the first in the series (and I think I may actually have read it before, from the blurb, but I’m not sure). I won The Mandibles in a giveaway and am deeply ashamed that I’ve still not got around to reading it! And I can’t remember now why I acquired Gorky Park – I suspect I just thought it sounded great. While some of these appeal more than others now, all of them still sound good so you really can’t pick a wrong’un…

I’m intrigued to see which one you pick…

Holmes pastiche

Mrs Hudson and the Spirit’s Curse by Martin Davies

Added 6th January 2017. 807 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.93 average rating. 324 pages.

The Blurb says: What if Baker Street’s most gifted resident wasn’t called Sherlock Holmes?

An evil stalks London, blown in from the tropics. Stories of cursed giant rats and malign spirits haunt the garrets of Limehouse. A group of merchants are, one by one, dying: murdered, somehow. The elementary choice to investigate these mysterious deaths is, of course, Holmes and Dr Watson. Yet instead of deduction, it will be the unique gifts of their housekeeper, Mrs Hudson and her orphaned assistant Flotsam that will be needed to solve the case. Can she do it all under the nose of Sherlock himself?

From the coal fire at Baker Street to the smog of Whitechapel and the jungles of Sumatra, from snake bites in grand hotels to midnight carriage chases at the docks, it’s time for Mrs Hudson to step out of the shadows. Playfully breaking with convention, Martin Davies brings a fresh twist to classic Victorian mystery.

* * * * *

Crime

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid

Added 1st March 2017. 15,412 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.97 average. 496 pages.

The Blurb says: It was a winter morning in 1978, that the body of a young barmaid was discovered in the snow banks of a Scottish cemetery. The only suspects in her brutal murder were the four young men who found her: Alex Gilbey and his three best friends. With no evidence but her blood on their hands, no one was ever charged.

Twenty five years later, the Cold Case file on Rosie Duff has been reopened. For Alex and his friends, the investigation has also opened old wounds, haunting memories-and new fears. For a stranger has emerged from the shadows with his own ideas about justice. And revenge.

When two of Alex’s friends die under suspicious circumstances, Alex knows that he and his innocent family are the next targets. And there’s only way to save them: return to the cold-blooded past and uncover the startling truth about the murder. For there lies the identity of an avenging killer…

* * * * *

Fiction

The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver

Added 29th March 2017. 9,085 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.68 average. 515 pages. 

The Blurb says: In this eerily prophetic novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, a once-wealthy family faces the prospect of ruin. This apocalypse is financial – the dollar is in meltdown, America’s national debt far beyond repayment.

It is 2029. The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies, but now their inheritance is turned to ash. Each family member must contend with disappointment, but also — as the effects of the downturn start to hit — the challenge of sheer survival.

Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can’t buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household. As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that’s unrecognizable.

Perhaps only Florence’s oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets…

* * * * *

Crime

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Added 6th July 2017. 70,606 ratings on Goodreads, with a 4.04 average. 433 pages.

The Blurb says: It begins with a triple murder in a Moscow amusement center: three corpses found frozen in the snow, faces and fingers missing. Chief homicide investigator Arkady Renko is brilliant, sensitive, honest, and cynical about everything except his profession. To identify the victims and uncover the truth, he must battle the KGB, FBI, and the New York City police as he pursues a rich, ruthless, and well-connected American fur dealer. Meanwhile, Renko is falling in love with a beautiful, headstrong dissident for whom he may risk everything.

A wonderfully textured, vivid look behind the Iron Curtain, Gorky Park is a tense, atmospheric, and memorable crime story.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

VOTE NOW!

(Click on title and then remember to also click on Vote, or your vote won’t count!)

* * * * *

48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 295 – The People’s Choice…

    • I’ve only read one of her books so far – The Motion of the Body Through Space – and loved it, but her blurbs always make each book sound very different, not just in content but in style. I have a couple on the TBR so I’m intrigued to see if they work for me…

      Like

  1. You’ve got some good choices there, FictionFan. If I’m being honest, I was torn between Gorky Park and The Distant Echo. In the end, I voted for Gorky Park because: a) I think the Arkady Renko series is suspenseful, and the Renko character is well developed, and; b) it’s a very influential series, and I’m interested in your view of the first entry. It wasn’t easy, though, because McDermid tells a fine story. Decisions, decisions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a feeling I’ve read the McDermid before, not realising it was the beginning of a new series at the time. Gorky Park sounds good from the blurb, and it’s a title that seems to get mentioned quite often, so I’ll be happy if either of these two win!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve really enjoyed the Karen Pirie series – some of McDermid’s best work, I think – so I’ll be quite happy if The Distant Echo wins. Gorky Park does sound good too, though…

      Like

    • They are all longer this time, but I think they’ll all be quicker reads – it’s heavyweight lit-fic that really slows me down. I’ve really enjoyed the Karen Pirie series so far even if I am reading them backwards, so I’ll be quite happy if A Distant Echo wins… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mrs Hudson and the Spirit’s Curse by Martin Davies because I moved to London and I’m passing through Baker Street tube station every day. Maybe not the best way to pick a book, but this is the one I would read from these 4. :))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I think that’s a great way to choose a book! When I lived in London I used to occasionally join one of those literary walks – you know, places that featured in Dickens and so on. 😀

      Like

  3. A hard choice between Gorky Park and The Distant Echo. I read and liked both. I went for Gorky Park. Although it has been a long long time since I read it, I enjoyed the last book I read in the series. And at this point, those two are ahead. As usual, I will be interested in what you think of any of these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those two definitely seem to be the lead contenders this week, and they do both sound good, so I’m glad to hear you confirm that! I’ll be quite happy if Gorky Park wins – it’s in the lead at the moment… 😀

      Like

  4. The funny thing is, I read A Distant Echo years ago, but didn’t register it as a Karen Pirie mystery, her role must have been fairly minor, as I don’t remember her at all, or maybe I was just more interested in Alex and his pals. It was a good story though, so I would vote for it anyway, even if it turns out you’ve read it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D’you know, Alyson, I think that’s probably what happened to me too! I joined the Karen Pirie series about book 3 and bought the others so I could catch up sometime, but looking at the blurb of A Distant Echo I’m sure I’ve read it. And like you, I’m sure I enjoyed it, so I’d be quite happy if it wins for a re-read…!

      Like

  5. I was torn between Mrs. Hudson and Distant Echo, but finally voted for the former. Both sound outstanding, though, and as you said, you really can’t go wrong with any of your choices. Looking forward to reading your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do all sound good this week, and I’d be quite happy if Mrs Hudson wins – I enjoyed another book in the series a few years ago and always meant to read more. But it’s trailing at the moment, I fear…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid The Mandibles is still lagging. I’m surprised, actually – I thought she was probably the most popular of the authors, so I thought it might win handsomely! Still, I’ll get to it sometime…

      Like

  6. I haven’t read any of these books. Although crime generally isn’t catching my attention at the moment, I’ve voted for Gorky Park, for selfish reasons, as I’ve heard of it for years and would like to get your take on whether I should pick it up one day or not. I hope for your sake it is a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be happy to read it for that reason too – it seems to be one of those books that gets mentioned often. In fact, I was quite surprised to discover it’s a fairly recent book – I kinda though it was a classic. It’s in the lead at the moment…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I see that my pick of Mrs. Hudson’s book isn’t a popular one, but I’m interested to see how these books fare! I like the idea of Sherlock Holmes and Watson not being the most clever tenants of that household – Mrs. Hudson no doubt sees and hears much that others don’t notice!

    Liked by 1 person

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.