When I was a child the best present I could receive was a book. I like surprises so at Christmas when gifts were arranged around the tree I’d never go and feel them, trying to make out what was hidden by the wrapping paper. I wouldn’t even look to see if I could glimpse a present for me! The best thing was when dad gave out the presents as we all sat in our dressing gowns and he would pass something to me and I would know it was a book… that was the best thing!
I feel a little as if it’s Christmas now – I have three new books waiting to be read and another should be arriving before too long!
Ann Cleeves – Ann is now a very popular author and deservedly so; many people have come to read her books through first seeing them dramatised as the TV series ‘Vera’ and ‘Shetland’. I began to read her books in the 90’s when she was writing the Inspector Ramsey stories, and when she started publishing her stories about Jimmy Perez, the detective working in the Shetland Isles, I began to read them too. I was put off her stories about Vera, the eccentric north-eastern Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, by the TV series, but when I actually read them I was hooked!
Now she has published her latest and last book in the Shetland series… ‘Wild Fire’; I have it but I haven’t yet started to read it! I haven’t read any reviews or anything about it, so I am in suspense – and just hope it doesn’t end in tragedy…
Michael Ridpath – I visited Iceland in 2012 and fell in love with it, and again in 2014 and loved it more! I can’t exactly remember when I first began to read novels set there but it was about the time that I first visited. I particularly liked Icelandic crime stories – it is my favourite genre and I believe Icelandic writers are among the best…. Arnaldur Indriðason, Árni Þórarinsson, Ragnar Jónasson, Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir… and then English author Michael Ridpath who writes about a detective called Magnus Jonson. His latest book is The Wanderer; I am sure it will have an unusual and intriguing premise and I hope it will continue the thread of Magnus’s own mystery about his family.
Bob Woodward – I was as intrigued and as appalled as everyone else by the Watergate scandal, and I have similar feelings now at what is happening in the White House now. It is quite unusual for me to read a political book (although I have read a lot of political history from the more distant past) but I couldn’t resist ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’… No doubt I will share my thoughts on it here when I have read it!
C. J. Sansom – I can’t think of a single one of my reading friends who has not read enjoyed the Shardlake mysteries. We speculate endlessly who would play the part of Sansom’s Tudor hero if the stories were ever made into a film or TV series. The latest in his series is Tombland is due to be published in October. I haven’t read any of the previews or anything about it as I want it to be a complete surprise!
It’s surprising with these books queuing up, plus the two for my reading groups, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, and The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles, that I’m having time to write, but yes I am! I am making slower than I hoped but steady progress on my 1950’s novel, and with the National Novel Writing Month looming I am planning my next Radwinter story!