TBR Thursday 346…

Episode 346

A big drop in the TBR this week – down 3 to 172! I might even get below the magic 170 soon, if I don’t fall at the last hurdle…

Here are a few more I should run into soon…

Crime

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer

My Looking Forward posts have made me thoroughly ashamed of all the books lingering on my TBR that I acquired because I’d enjoyed the author before. So I’m going to try my hardest to fit some of them into my reading schedule, starting with this one from Belinda Bauer, which I acquired in 2015!

The Blurb says: Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery.

Only Steven’s Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it’s too late. And if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son, he’ll do it.

So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer . . .

* * * * *

Maigret on Audio

The Misty Harbour by Georges Simenon read by Gareth Armstrong

The last three for the #20(Audio)BooksOfSummer challenge. Having unexpectedly raced through the longest book left on my list over last weekend, it’s now looking possible that I might actually finish the challenge on time! First up, another admirably short Maigret, read as usual by the excellent Gareth Armstrong…

The Blurb says: A new translation of Georges Simenon’s gripping tale of lost identity. A man picked up for wandering in obvious distress among the cars and buses on the Grands Boulevards. Questioned in French, he remains mute… A madman?

In Maigret’s office, he is searched. His suit is new, his underwear is new, his shoes are new. All identifying labels have been removed. No identification papers. No wallet. Five crisp thousand-franc bills have been slipped into one of his pockets.

Answers lead Maigret to a small harbour town, whose quiet citizens conceal a poisonous malice.

* * * * *

Greene on Audio

The Quiet American by Graham Greene read by Simon Cadell

One I haven’t read before from Graham Greene. It was the narrator as much as the book that made me choose this one as an audiobook – I have fond memories of the late Simon Cadell as an actor. The blurb sounds interesting too, though, and I’m intrigued to find out what it is that makes it “controversial”…

The Blurb says: “I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused,” Graham Greene’s narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous “Quiet American” of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle’s well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler’s motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler’s beautiful Vietnamese mistress.

Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. 

* * * * *

Christie on Audio

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie read by Hugh Fraser

What better incentive to get to the end of the challenge than a Christie/Fraser/Tommy and Tuppence mystery! There are aspects of creepiness in this one that shiver my spine whenever I think of them…

The Blurb says: While visiting Tommy’s Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about “your poor child” and “something behind the fireplace”.

When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization leads her on a dangerous adventure involving a missing tombstone, diamond smuggling and a horrible discovery of what Mrs. Lancaster was talking about.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

37 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 346…

  1. Nothing to be ashamed about. Your TBR sounds quite small to me really. It’s not readers’ fault that there are too many interesting sounding books being published, as well as the books of the past before we were aware of them, old enough to read them or even before we were born……since I see you’re trying some older titles on audio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If only I was as in control of my wishlist as my TBR! 😉 Yes, I’m really enjoying revisiting some of the classics on audio – lots of really great actors narrating them these days. And somehow vintage crime works well in that format too.

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  2. Well done on that steep drop to the TBR, FictionFan! A wee drap and some chocolate for you! As for your choices, I really do hope you’ll enjoy Blacklands. I thought it was beautifully atmospheric, and built up a really effective picture of a working-class family, among other things. You’ll of course have your own opinion, but I liked it. And with Christie and Maigret, well, you’re in good hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, it’s so good that chocolate works both for celebrating and for cheering up! 😉 I read the third book in the Blacklands trilogy (backwards, as usual) and thoroughly enjoyed it, and have always meant to go back to the beginning and read them all. I even own them all! So I have high hopes! And I feel Christie and Simenon are just rewards for my poor ears after this long summer of listening… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I seem to be racing through the books at the moment – must be turbocharged! My ears deserve a treat after all this frantic listening so Maigret and Christie are just rewards… 😀

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  3. I loved Blacklands and Belinda Bauer’s second book, Darkside – but that was more than ten years ago and for some reason I’ve never read any of her other books since then. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! By the Pricking of My Thumbs is a Christie I haven’t read yet. I’m working through the Tommy and Tuppences in order and still have N or M? to read before this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I read the third one first (backwards as usual) and have had Blacklands and Darkside on my TBR ever since. I’ve read lots of her more recent books though, and have loved some, and not loved others! I love By the Pricking of My Thumbs. As a later one, the plot is a bit messier than when she was at her very best, but there’s a deliciously spooky atmosphere to it! I hope you enjoy N or M? T&T are always fun!

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  4. I read Blacklands years ago and had to look back at my review to remember what I thought. Evidently it was a winner for me, so hopefully it will be for you, too! I’ve considered the Graham Greene, so will be curious to see what you think.

    That poor dog! 😱 At least it tried! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well… I’ve been looking back at both my blog and yours and see now that I have lied to you on more than one occasion!! Turns out right after I read Blacklands I read Blood Harvest by Sharon Bolton. Several times I’ve told you The Pact is the only book of hers I’ve read! In my defense, it was 11 years ago and my copy listed her as SJ Bolton rather than Sharon. No telling what else I’ve lied about!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aha! Yes, she’s changed her name a couple of times and it is confusing – SJ Bolton, Sharon Bolton and sometimes Sharon J Bolton! I have Blood Harvest on my TBR, I think – I’ve read most of her recent novels but have still to backtrack to her earlier ones. Her Lacey Flint series is great – just sayin’… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • I read the third in the Blacklands series years ago (backwards as usual!) and thoroughly enjoyed it, and have had the first two on my TBR ever since. So my hopes are high! I’m intriued as to why the Greene is considered “controversial”…
      Hahaha, I had a poodle, Sandy, when I was a kid, and his best friend was Kai, a big collie who lived along the road. One day exactly that happened – they raced along, Kai jumped a hedge, Sandy tried to follow and landed on top of the hedge. The look on his face as he slowly sank down… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh, that poor pup — face-planting in that hedgerow!! The Christie definitely intrigues me (and I don’t recall reading that one, either!). Blacklands sounds very dark, sp I’d have to know upfront that nothing awful happens to that young’un before embarking on reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I know! It reminds me of my childhood poodle racing after his best friend, the big collie from down the road. My poor little dog was always being led into this kind of predicament! 😉 I love the Christie – there’s a lovely spooky atmosphere to it! All I can tell you about Blacklands is that it’s the first book in a trilogy and the boy seems to still be alive in book 3…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed Blacklands and went on to read two more books by this author (I’m waving a patriotic flag here because the author is from Wales).

    Well done on keeping the TBR under control. Wish I could exercise the same restraint

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know Belinda Bauer was Welsh! Or if I did, I’d forgotten it. I’ve read a lot of her more recent books and usually enjoyed them (one or two really didn’t work for me) but I’ve never got around to reading her earlier stuff. I’m looking forward to it!
      Ha, my TBR may be under control but I can’t say the same for my wishlist… 😉

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  7. I’m sorry. I can give you no other comment other than I really enjoyed watching that dog hit the bushes over and over and over and…..Can you tell my brain is in overload? I’m planning a large literary event that’s going to be held outdoors for the first time, and the logistics are driving me a little batty. So I’m going to go back to watching the dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, poor little dog! I wonder if he knows people all the world are laughing at him! 😉 Hmm, that sounds like a lot of work, but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end! I’m trying to imagine having weather reliable enough for an outdoor book event – here, every book would need its own little umbrella…

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to hear! I hope so – I do like Simon Cadell’s voice but that’s not always a guarantee. If the audiobook doesn’t work for me, I’ll revert to a Kindle copy…

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  8. Congratulations on your progress with the audiobook challenge! Blacklands sounds quite black, but also human. I’m ready to be enticed by The Quiet American too. A good selection of engagingly bleak books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m stunned that it looks like I’ll make it through the challenge on time! I’m desperate to get back to paper books though! 😂 All four of these sound good to me this week – fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen that film. If I enjoy the book I’ll look out for it! I should be starting the book today so I’ll soon know! The Christie is great – not her best plot but a wonderfully spooky atmosphere! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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