TBR Thursday 358…

Episode 358

A huge drop in the TBR this week – down 4 to 163! I’m getting seriously worried now. I just can’t imagine where all the books are disappearing to…

Here are a few more that should fly off the shelf soon…

Vintage Crime

Final Acts edited by Martin Edwards

Courtesy of the British Library. The porpy’s beginning to look in need of a little break, so I’m detouring briefly away from horror to another of the BL’s anthologies of vintage crime. Theatrical settings are always fun because they’re so… theatrical!

The Blurb says: Behind the stage lights and word-perfect soliloquies, sinister secrets are lurking in the wings. The mysteries in this collection reveal the dark side to theatre and performing arts: a world of backstage dealings, where unscrupulous actors risk everything to land a starring role, costumed figures lead to mistaken identities, and on-stage deaths begin to look a little too convincing. . .

This expertly curated thespian anthology features fourteen stories from giants of the classic crime genre such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Julian Symons and Ngaio Marsh, as well as firm favourites from the British Library Crime Classics series: Anthony Wynne, Christianna Brand, Bernard J. Farmer and many more.

Mysteries abound when a player’s fate hangs on a single performance, and opening night may very well be their last.

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Historical Fiction

Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom

The very last book in my Spanish Civil War challenge! I read this years ago and didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Sansom’s other novels, which I put down to my lack of knowledge regarding the SCW. So this is a kind of test – will all my reading on the subject now enable me to appreciate this one more? We shall see!

The Blurb says: 1940: The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett: a traumatized veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of old school friend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game – and surrounded by memories.

Meanwhile Sandy’s girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own – to find her former lover Bernie Piper, a passionate Communist in the International Brigades, who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

* * * * *

Thriller

The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

Courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley. I’ve had a rather mixed reaction to Erin Kelly in the past, but when she’s good, she’s very, very good. So fingers crossed for this one…

The Blurb says: Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.

The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.

But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.

* * * * *

Wodehouse on Audio

Something Fresh by PG Wodehouse read by Jonathan Cecil

So far I’ve been sticking to the Jeeves and Wooster books in my audiobook listens to Wodehouse, but it’s time to try something fresh! I haven’t read all the Blandings books before but I’ve dipped in and out of them, and while I miss Bertie, they still have the unmistakeable Wodehouse charm. This is the first in the series, happily all narrated by the wonderful Jonathan Cecil, who has become THE voice of Wodehouse for me…

The Blurb says: ‘Without at least one impostor on the premises, Blandings Castle is never itself’

Welcome to the world of the delightfully dotty Lord Emsworth, his bone-headed younger son and his long-suffering secretary.

Having returned home with a valuable Egyptian amulet, Lord Emsworth finds his home contains not one but two imposters intent on taking it off his hands. But with no real sense of how the amulet came to be in his pocket in the first place, things get a lot more complicated very quickly…

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 358…

  1. I definitely suspect feline interference, FictionFan! I’ll bet there are dozens of books hidden away and that will mysteriously appear one by one, just when you’re thinking you’re keeping up with your TBR… At any rate, you have a great-looking collection here. With Martin Edwards editing, that BL collection should be good. And I’ve been wanting to read The Skeleton Key; so I’ll be interested in what you think of that. And a C.J. Sansom, too! That plus that Wodehouse should keep you happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m just worried the postie is saving up parcels thinking they must be for Christmas! 😉 Yes, it looks like an entertaining bunch this week – fingers crossed they all turn out to be as good as they sound! The porpy’s relieved to be getting a little break anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I’m getting worried about the falling TBR now – I’m in serious danger of meeting some targets this year!! 😱 They do look like quite a fun bunch this week – fingers crossed!

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  2. A very impressive drop in your TBR there! I finally put all my books into a home library cataloguing app over the weekend, and apparently I have exactly 200 on my physical TBR – but that’s not counting ebooks, of which it is probably best not to speak, and I have a small stack waiting at the library for me as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    • My TBR is almost entirely ebooks. For some reason I always give paper books priority – there’s a bit of me that thinks they’re ‘proper’ books that deserve respect and attention, while their Kindle cousins can be ignored and neglected. (There are times when I’m sure I need therapy! 😉 ) So I probably only have about a dozen paper books waiting at the moment. My real problem now is my wishlist – by not buying as many books I’ve just pushed the problem back a step!

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  3. I still haven’t read Winter in Madrid, despite loving the rest of CJ Sansom’s books. I know very little about the Spanish Civil War so I’ll be interested to hear whether you think your new knowledge makes it more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t enjoy it much at all first time round, but I am finding that I’m enjoying SCW novels more in general now that I kind of know what all the acronyms stand for, and which side was which! So I’m hoping that was the problem with the Sansom and it’ll be a great read this time… 🤞

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    • Yes, you really must! When I rule the world, it’ll be compulsory for everyone to read Wodehouse six times a year. Then everyone will be so happy even our politicians won’t be able to depress us… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • I was unwell about the time you posted this blog. I’m not really a Wodehouse reader (sorry 😉) but for a few days while I was blobbing out, I viewed lots of Jeeves and Wooster episodes – such a brilliant relaxation and distraction.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Was that the Hugh Laurie ones? I think they’re brilliant! Not twisting your arm, but have you tried any of the Jonathan Cecil audiobook narrations? He’s so good, and I think maybe brings out the humour in the way the TV adaptations do.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry series. It was just what I needed! You’re right, from a quick sampling, I do find that Jonathan Cecil has the right voice and tone for me for these stories. I’ll remember they are available for those moments I’d appreciate a bit of uplift. I’m quite hard to please with humour, having the right person interpret and present is probably a better pathway to my enjoyment.

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            • Humour always work better for me as a visual or auditory experience rather than on the page. It’s like horror in that respect – written horror rarely scares me, but horror movies often do!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I would check the cat’s lair to see if your TBR pile is being squirreled (my apologies to kitty) away there. The Skeleton Key intrigues me. I’d be tempted to say that it sounds over the top until I think about the things people are willing to believe here—right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I got an Erin Kelly book a decade ago and I honestly can’t remember if I ever read it or not! The Skeleton Key sounds good, though, so I’ll be interested to see what you think.

    As much as I love the Shardlake novels, I’m not tempted by Winter in Madrid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really enjoyed Erin Kelly’s first couple of books and then there were a couple that were a bit meh, so I have high hopes for this but also a bit of anxiety! It does sound good though…

      I’m intrigued to see if Winter in Madrid works for me now – I wasn’t keen on it first time round. I always prefer his Shardlake novels – apparently there’s a new one due next year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’m getting worried now – I’m in serious danger of meeting some targets this year! 😱 Haha, when my little Tuppence was a kitty she used to run up my mother’s embossed wallpaper! Not to mention me having to get out the ladder to fish her down from the top of the curtains… 🙀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I know I had a copy of Winter in Madrid to read at one time but I’m not sure if I still have it. I might have given it away after reading his alternative history novel Dominion and not liking it. I much preferred his Tudor stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t keen on Dominion either, mainly because I felt he took too many liberties with the characters of real people. I don’t remember having that problem with Winter in Madrid first time round, but I know I didn’t hugely enjoy it – I think probably because I didn’t understand the historical setting. So now that I know more about the period, I’ll see if that makes a difference. Like you, I really much prefer the Shardlake books, though.

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  7. I have to tell you that I requested The Skeleton Key from Netgalley but DNFed it early on, I couldn’t get on with the writing style and it just wasn’t like her previous books (all of which I’ve enjoyed). But I hope you do like it!

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    • Oh no! I was already getting a bit worried when someone told me it’s over 500 pages – it’s extremely rare for a crime book to need that length. Oh well, I’ll give it a go anyway – it’s all subjective, so maybe I’ll love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The time to start worrying about the TBR is when it falls below 200…😱 The BL collection looks lovely as usual; I was sure I’d read the Sansom, but when I looked through it recently, it didn’t look familiar at all. I think I was confusing it with another book with Madrid in the title. Enjoy your Blandings sojourn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I hate having a huge TBR! I don’t mind having millions of books on my wishlist, but for most of my life I read books as soon as I acquired them and it’s only since I started blogging that I seem to have lost control! The BL book should be good – I do like theatrical settings for mysteries. The Sansom could really go either way, but I’m hopeful all my new-found knowledge will help. And Blandings will provide a welcome ray of sunshine in these dark November days! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha – I had a cat who actually did that, and dropped the books onto my record player! Well done on getting the TBR down. Mine is gradually diminishing: will I have lost the Pile In Front by the end of the month??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, they’re such pests, aren’t they? I had one that used to run up the curtains and then couldn’t work out how to get down, so I’d have to get out the ladder to rescue her! I’m getting worried about the shrinking TBR – will I run out of books completely?? 😱

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get the feeling you won’t run out completely! Same cat used to climb on the doors and then wail to be rescued. Current incumbents, well, one of them, could get on the doors very easily but chooses not to (phew).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, they keep us entertained certainly! I had one that used to run up trees, but fortunately he could always figure out how to get back down eventually. My current one still has a tendency to fall in the bath while I’m in it, which is not fun!!!

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  10. There’s that Ngaio Marsh again! This anthology sounds the most appealing to me because I used to be something of a drama geek in high school. And backstage is always a place for drama, just as much as front of stage!

    Liked by 1 person

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