TBR Thursday 365…

Episode 365

Reading-wise, this year has got off to a terrible start – I just haven’t been in the mood, for some obscure reason. So I haven’t finished a book this week, but fortunately I also haven’t received any. The TBR is staying balanced on 170!

(Yeah, I’ve used that gif before, but it’s too good to only use once!) Anyway here are a few more I should get to soon…


The Life of Crime by Martin Edwards

Courtesy of HarperCollins. An unsolicited one, and a giant tome. To be honest, much though I enjoyed Martin Edwards’ much shorter delve into the history of mystery writing, I’m not sure I’m interested enough to read over 600 pages on the subject. But I’ll dip in and see – I suspect this may be a book more intended for dipping than reading straight through anyway. I’ll soon find out!

The Blurb says: In the first major history of crime fiction in fifty years, The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators traces the evolution of the genre from the eighteenth century to the present, offering brand-new perspective on the world’s most popular form of fiction.

Author Martin Edwards is a multi-award-winning crime novelist, the President of the Detection Club, archivist of the Crime Writers’ Association and series consultant to the British Library’s highly successful series of crime classics, and therefore uniquely qualified to write this book. He has been a widely respected genre commentator for more than thirty years, winning the CWA Diamond Dagger for making a significant contribution to crime writing in 2020, when he also compiled and published Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club and the novel Mortmain Hall. His critically acclaimed The Golden Age of Murder (Collins Crime Club, 2015) was a landmark study of Detective Fiction between the wars.

The Life of Crime is the result of a lifetime of reading and enjoying all types of crime fiction, old and new, from around the world. In what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus, Martin Edwards has thrown himself undaunted into the breadth and complexity of the genre to write an authoritative – and readable – study of its development and evolution. With crime fiction being read more widely read than ever around the world, and with individual authors increasingly the subject of extensive academic study, his expert distillation of more than two centuries of extraordinary books and authors – from the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann to the novels of Patricia Cornwell – into one coherent history is an extraordinary feat and makes for compelling reading.

* * * * *


Edith and Kim by Charlotte Philby

Courtesy of HarperCollins. Another unsolicited one, but one I would have picked for myself even if I hadn’t been sent a copy. I’m intrigued by the fact that it’s written by Charlotte, granddaughter of probably the most famous British traitor of the last century, Kim Philby. Whether that will give her any additional insight is a rather moot point as far as I’m concerned, since Philby ran off to his masters in the USSR in 1963 and died in 1988. But we’ll see!

The Blurb says: To betray, you must first belong…

In June 1934, Kim Philby met his Soviet handler, the spy Arnold Deutsch. The woman who introduced them was called Edith Tudor-Hart. She changed the course of 20th century history.

Then she was written out of it.

Drawing on the Secret Intelligence Files on Edith Tudor-Hart, along with the private archive letters of Kim Philby, this finely worked, evocative and beautifully tense novel – by the granddaughter of Kim Philby – tells the story of the woman behind the Third Man.

* * * * *

Historical Crime

The Bookseller of Inverness by SG MacLean

Courtesy of Quercus via NetGalley. I’ve had a mixed reaction to MacLean’s books – her Seeker series didn’t really work for me, but I did enjoy one of her Alexander Seaton books. This one is set in the aftermath of Culloden, which gives it the advantage that I will be familiar with the historical background, and the disadvantage that I’m bored with the Scottish obsession with the Jacobites. So it could go either way! Fingers crossed…

The Blurb says: After Culloden, Iain MacGillivray was left for dead on Drumossie Moor. Wounded, his face brutally slashed, he survived only by pretending to be dead as the Redcoats patrolled the corpses of his Jacobite comrades.

Six years later, with the clan chiefs routed and the Highlands subsumed into the British state, Iain lives a quiet life, working as a bookseller in Inverness. One day, after helping several of his regular customers, he notices a stranger lurking in the upper gallery of his shop, poring over his collection. But the man refuses to say what he’s searching for and only leaves when Iain closes for the night.

The next morning Iain opens up shop and finds the stranger dead, his throat cut, and the murder weapon laid out in front of him – a sword with a white cockade on its hilt, the emblem of the Jacobites. With no sign of the killer, Iain wonders whether the stranger discovered what he was looking for – and whether he paid for it with his life. He soon finds himself embroiled in a web of deceit and a series of old scores to be settled in the ashes of war.

* * * * *

Dalziel and Pascoe on Audio

Good Morning, Midnight by Reginald Hill read by Shaun Dooley 

Continuing my re-read of my favourite police procedural series via audio, this is the 21st book. While I’ve been irritated by the constant changing of the narrator in the later books, I did quite enjoy Shaun Dooley’s rather understated narration of the last book, once I got used to it. 

The Blurb says: Like father like son. But heredity seems to have gone a gene too far when Pal Maciver’s suicide in a locked room exactly mirrors that of his father ten years earlier.

In each case accusing fingers point towards Pal’s stepmother, the beautiful enigmatic Kay Kafka. But she turns out to have a formidable champion, Mid-Yorkshire’s own super-heavyweight, Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel. DCI Peter Pascoe, nominally in charge of the investigation, finds he is constantly body-checked by his superior as he tries to disentangle the complex relationships of the Maciver family.

At first these inquiries seem local and domestic. What really happened between Pal and his stepmother? And how has key witness and exotic hooker Dolores, Our Lady of Pain, contrived to disappear from the face of Mid-Yorkshire?

Gradually, however, it becomes clear that the fall-out from Pal’s suicide spreads far beyond Yorkshire. To London, to America. Even to Iraq. But the emotional epicentre is firmly placed in mid-Yorkshire where Pascoe comes to learn that for some people the heart too is a locked room, and in there it is always midnight.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

45 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 365…

  1. I’ve had weeks like that, too, FictionFan, where something or other got in the way of reading. But, hey, at least you didn’t get inundated with new TBR additions! At any rate, I hope you’ll like the MacLean. I’ve read a few of her books, and I think she is very good at creating atmosphere and giving a sense of time and place to her work. And Martin Edwards is very good; I have faith that that one will be informative and interesting. Top it off with a Reginald Hill and I think you have some very good reading ahead of you…

    Liked by 1 person

    • My reading always tend to have little dips so I never mind so long as it doesn’t go on too long! I’d like to like MacLean – seems as if I should – so I have high hopes of this one. I’m sure the Martin Edwards book will be great, but I don’t know whether I’m interested enough in the subject for such a massive tome. We’ll see, though – I might get hooked!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not quite as big as the 800-page one they also sent me, also by Edwards, on the art of writing crime novels! Edited by him, I should say – I think that on has multiple contributors. He’s been a busy chap these last few years! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Having enjoyed ITV’s recent A Spy Among Friends series I think the Edith and Kim title would most likely appeal. Still, I’m sorry you’ve lost a bit of your reading mojo, that’s horrible when it hits you.

    I’m finding from the WP Reader that there’s been a general but distinct falling off of posts and interactions from several bloggers I follow, and I wonder if book nerds are generally depressed by world events that they’re unable to affect – wars, pandemics, gaslighting politicians, environmental crises – and that it’s all getting us down bit by bit. I know it does that to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t see it, but I read the book it’s based on a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it – it was that book, in fact, that sparked my interest in Philby.

      There’s a definite link between my reading and world and political events, partly if, as you say, I find they’re depressing me, and partly also just if I find them interesting. Last week part of my problem was watching hours of the US Congress trying to elect a Speaker! It restored my faith that we’re not actually the most dysfunctional democracy in the world… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Bookseller of Inverness by SG MacLean sounds quite intriguing. I do hope it lives up to that!
    Glad you’re holding steady! That’s tough with so many books pouring into the publishing world as the emails from publishers keep informing me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so – I feel I should like SG MacLean, so I’m hoping this is the one that finally wins me over!
      Ha, funnily enough I’ve received far fewer books from publishers over the last few months. Don’t know if they’re saving money, or if it’s just that our postal services keep going on strike! But at least it means my TBR isn’t sky-rocketing for once!


  4. Edith and Kim does sound interesting. I know absolutely nothing about the traitor, the groomer, or the liaison. Oooh, that has a nice ring for a title, don’t you think? The Traitor, the Groomer, and the Liaison. Much better than Edith and Kim, 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, my TBR is safe for a while! Still, The Bookseller and the audiobook have captured my attention, and I’ll be eager to read your thoughts about them. Still giggling over that meme!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I love that gif – it’ll appear again someday! 😀 I know I’ll like the Hill, and The Bookseller does sound good – fingers crossed it wins me over! She’s an author I feel I should like more than I do!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I enjoyed An April Shroud so much that all of Dalziel and Pascoe will eventually be added to my TBR, but I think book 21 is probably still quite a way away! I hadn’t heard of the Philby book before, but the subject matter is interesting, so I look forward to hearing what you make of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed An April Shroud! Now that you’re officially a Hill fan, you have so many delights to look forward to! 😀 I saw Edith and Kim pop up on a couple of blogs, but more as previews – I don’t think I’ve seen any actual reviews. So I’m hoping it’ll be as good as it sounds!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely interested in Edith and Kim, I don’t know much about the details of the Philly case, and also Shona Maclean’s book as I’ve read and enjoyed the four Alexander Seaton books for their setting and characters. (The Hill, of course, goes without saying!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read a book about Philby a few years ago so I have a rough idea of his career although the details escape me now. So I’m hoping Edith and Kim will be as interesting as it sounds. I don’t know why I only read one of the Alexander Seaton books. I think I got diverted towards the Seeker series, which really didn’t work for me, and took her off my must-read list. I’m hoping this one might put her back on!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m just hoping the Martin Edwards book doesn’t result in massive additions to my TBR, as these histories of genres tend to! I’m hoping the MacLean will finally win me over – she’s an author I feel I ought to like.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmm, my start to the New Year has been exactly the same! I haven’t finished a single book and can’t seem to get moving.
    But on a brighter note, you’ve failed to tempt me this week, although I must get onto the Dalziel and Pascoe books.

    Liked by 1 person

        • I’m beginning to get into a nocturnal rhythm now, though I kind of wish I’d slept through Nadal’s match last night! 😭 And then Emma’s this morning! 😭😂 Are you going to get to attend any of the matches this year?

          Liked by 1 person

            • We seem to be having more flu than Covid this year, and the health service is on strike, so it’s all going really well! Dear me, who’d have thought Andy would be the only survivor of my heroes by the end of the first week! That means another dawn viewing tomorrow morning… 💤

              Liked by 1 person

            • Such a short turnaround for Andy Murray between games after that extremely late finish. I’ve probably told you before about going to the Open years ago and staying until the end of a game that finished very, very late. There were very few people left in the crowd by the end. I can’t remember who was playing but I can remember the feeling of falling asleep and being jolted awake again in my seat.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I can’t even imagine staying at a sporting event that late – there must have been snores around the stadium! I thought that Andy’s late finish was ridiculous. It was nearly evening here by the time it ended… of the next day! And at Andy’s age he simply didn’t have enough recovery time. However, it was great to see him playing well and competitively again. Not sure who I’m supporting now. Tsitsipas, maybe.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry about that! 😉 I’ve had a mixed reaction to SG MacLean so far, but more because of the subjects than her writing, which is consistently good. I’m hoping this one will turn me onto a proper fan!


  9. Wow, that 600 page book from Martin Edwards looks …big. I’m very impressed with his output, but I must say, the publisher calling this his ‘magnum opus’ seems a bit bold. Talk about pressure! It will be interesting to see how long you can sustain reading that, or if it is one you just revisit from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

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