It was one of my book clubs last week and as ever there was much talk of books, much talk of what we had been up to and families and other news, and then a rather less amount of talking about the book. It made me think of the first book club I joined – here’s what I wrote about them a while ago:
When I was living in Oldham we had a really excellent library almost at the end of the road and I used to visit very regularly. They had a marvellous section of books, new authors, old favourites, a wide range of non-fiction. They started a book club and that was the first I went to, and what a great bunch of people, and what enjoyable meetings we had.
I’m the sort of reader who when I find a writer I like I have to read all of their books; that’s where i came across the Lindsey Davis’ Falco novels and worked my way through all the ones published at that time. I reread ‘Silver Pigs’ with my current book club last year and was a little disappointed I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but unfortunately, instead of amusing me, Falco irritated me. It was in the library that I first ‘met’ Nevada Barr, who I reread last year; her stories are about a park ranger in the US national parks. Each novel is set in a different place so they are interesting for their descriptions as well as the story. I caught up on the latest novels, but felt as if she was running out of steam with Anna her main character. The descriptions were still fabulous, but the stories thin, and Anna began to be a less believable than in the early novels. Ian Rankin was another library favourite, before he became as well known and popular as he is now, I was telling everyone what a great writer he is!
The other writer I really enjoyed – and like Rankin, before she became as well-known as she is now, was Val McDermid. I read a series of her books set in Manchester, where I’d lived for many, many years; i engaged with the main character, I enjoyed the settings (of course, as I knew them so well) and really enjoyed the books. I regret to say I can’t now remember whether they were the Lindsay Gordan series or the Kate Brannigan series, I just remember it was a woman as the main character. I wasn’t able to buy many books then so relied on the library for all my reading. I came across one of her Dr Tony Hill books, and although it was as ever so well written, it was so disturbing, that unusually I stopped reading it, and it put me off McDermid.
A week or so ago I came across ‘A Place of Execution’ by McDermid, and thought really I ought not to be put off by something I read over twenty years ago, maybe I should try again. I knew nothing about the book but bought it. It’s set in Derbyshire in the 1960’s at the time of the infamous ‘Moors Murders’ and is about a young girl who goes missing from the tiny village where she lives. I’m enjoying it and it’s interesting to read as a writer as my next project is to finish my 1950’s novel. It’s also made me realise I need to read more of her novels!