Thursday, October 30, 2014

Clerical Errors, Secular Lies by Trefor Stockwell

Bringing the church into disrepute is the charge made against William the vicar of this quiet Welsh village. Not the child abuse claims so prevalent today but one of immoral behaviour on several counts with several women. A serial womaniser as it were. The behaviour had been going on for years and it was mainly due to his charismatic personality that William had got away with this.

On taking over the duties of the parish, William felt that he was all powerful and that he could walk over everyone in this place. He turned the first meeting of the wardens upside down and made an enemy for life. Peter Knight was not going to get over the insult of not being elected uncontested as Church Warden  and he was not going to let it go easily either. He was the guiding force behind the downfall of William but William helped himself immensely with his devil may care attitude towards all.

When the case comes up, journalists flock to this village to get the scurrilous details of the affair - the who and what, when and where. One journalist however wants to seek out the truth and he is also keen to see that justice is meted out if the good vicar is guilty. Most of the people around think that William will get away with it due to lack of hard evidence but like a who dun it, the story ends in a climax totally unexpected!

This was a good story, building up an unlikeable character with strong and weak characters surrounding him. A community totally split into two and even after the verdict split in two groups forever.

The book was sent to me from Netgalley via Troubador Publishing. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane

Everything about this book was so "English". St Crispin's school set in Lindenshaw sounds idyllic. From the setting to its teachers it sounds ideal but of course nothing is ideal. Cracks are there and the breakdown happens when during an interview for headteacher one of the applicants gets brutally murdered in the school premises itself.

The governing body of the school has faced great odds in getting together applicants for this post. Their first attempt failed miserably and now on their second, they are all faced with an unpalatable fact that one of their body is a murderer.

Local boy Inspector Robin Bright is not really happy to be assigned the case. His school years at St Crispins are marked by nightmares still by the treatment meted out by his class mates. He was marked out as being gay very early on in life and they made sure his years at school was a misery.  Meeting Adam one of the teachers puts all Robin's resolve aside. You cannot fraternize with a witness or rather a suspect in a murder but Robin is irresistibly drawn towards the handsome Adam who makes no doubt that the feelings are mutual. 

When the second murder victim turns up, Robin has to put all personal feelings aside to start dealing with the nitty gritty of a desperate murderer who is also very clever. 

A very pleasant read. Apart from the murder the gay romance added such a different touch. Sensitively handled as well.

The book came to me from Netgalley courtesy of Riptide Publishing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you reading?

Just a few books came in!

This was from Open Library.


All from Netgalley


Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

The Marriage Game

Elizabeth I in all her glory. 

October is almost at an end. So soon.

Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar

Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel

This is going to be a tough book for me to review. I liked it so much that I think I may start gushing!

Set in 1905 with its particular background of the Bell family and the Bloomsbury group looming in the background the story is one set amongst intellectuals and artists of the day. These people were very different from the average Joe of the time and this set them apart. Their thinking and way of life was radical. In the book there is no indication of how the world thought of them, because the book is set only amongst characters of their own world so that they were all very much alike.

The Bell family comprised Virginia and Vanessa both unmarried and taking their spinsterhood very seriously. It hung about them like a cloak which had to be got rid of at all costs and in this they were very traditional for their time! the brothers Adrian and Thoby are the younger set. Virginia's first novel has been turned down and Vanessa has still to sell a single painting. They move from their family home to Bloomsbury and this is where the story starts.

Told in a series of diary form interspersed with letters to and fro from various other characters the story though involving a number of people centre around Vanessa and Virginia. The sisters are close and Virginia is almost in love with Vanessa. She is at turns psychotic and normal and does not want Vanessa to have a life or love of her own. When Vanessa does find a partner in Clive, Virginia insidiously seduces Clive, not because she is in love with him but because she does not want Vanessa to find fulfillment in anyone else other than herself.  Leave alone a husband, even a friend is not left alone. Virginia has to run interference at some stage and Vanessa just lets her be.  I found that very difficult to accept - the blind acceptance of Vanessa of the infidelity of her husband not just with Virginia but with a former mistress and how he blandly talks about it with his wife. Morals of the day I suppose in their circle.

This was an extraordinary book. History at its best with a family which was renowned. I found it extra interesting with the addition of Leonard Woolf as he was a civil servant for the British in both Kandy and Jaffna. He did yeoman service whilst in my country and also wrote a book "The Village in the Jungle" which was a text when I did my O'levels years ago! his snippets from Sri Lanka to the Bells was nostalgic.

This book came to me courtesy of Edelweiss. Thank you so much for this one!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Fragrance Shed by a Violet by Lin Wilder

The title is a quote from Mark Twain which I knew about only after I finished the book. It is very apt for this story.

Dr Lindsey McCall is beautiful, brainy, the apple of her father's eye but unfortunately the smote in her sister's and not the most loved by her mother who feels that she is overlooked in the general hierarchy in the family. You know from the beginning that the family is divided and this is going to be the crux of the problem despite accolades from everywhere else.

Lindsey is at the moment incarcerated in jail for complicity in murdering her mother with a drug which is undergoing trials as yet. Lindsey is also not very loud in her defense, she has refused to see friends since her time in jail and has cut off connections with all. 

Fortunately for Lindsey though she seems to have given up on her own defense, there seems to be a myriad others who haven't. Kate Townsend Pulitzer winning journalist and Rich Jansen the criminal defense attorney and presently in charge of the Prisons along with Campbell and a host of others in Texas take charge of the case and in a series of escalating discoveries find out very quickly who the actual culprit is.

Very cleverly told, fascinating what family will and wont do to support and destroy one another, a family story with a touch of romance as well which was a lovely touch. 

I couldn't put this book down and had to finish it in one go!

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for my honest opinion through the publisher Smith Publicity. Thank you. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas


This author handles a topic which is very much one for the current times. To be at the top, to win at all costs and the path to get there.

Taking a look at current Australia, it handles all the topics that an Australian today faces - the cross cultural mix which makes up the country, their migration and the feelings of white supremacy, old idiosyncrasies in families and the competitive world of world sports.

Danny is born to a middle class family. Also a mixed race family - a Greek mother and a white European father. For Danny his mother though so supportive of his ideals is sometimes someone he is ashamed of.  This was sad but realistic. Danny is moving in a world of white young men who are so sure of their identity and position that they seem unshakeable. Having won a scholarship to a prestigious school (the family would never be able to afford the fees otherwise) Danny knows immediately that he is not "one of the chosen few".  However Danny has come there to win. 

His love of the water, his feelings of being one with the water, almost as if the water loves, supports and caresses him (the book is very sensual in this aspect), makes the reader realize very early on that this is the feeling that will carry Danny through and make him win. The water gives him the confidence that no one can. Once in the water, he is another person. One who will win at any cost.

In Barracuda at times the language is just over the top, there is so much swearing and crude sex but I guess that adds to the tone of the book. You also wonder whether the author is critical of the competitive spirit which overwhelms one in the world of Australian sport? Whether this is a world wide phenomenon I don't know. 

The story of the life of Danny centred around swimming, around winning and then losing, the characters that surround Danny during his epic rise and fall are the story.

This will not be a book for everyone but it is an eyeopener all right.

I received this book from Blogging for Books. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

While we're far apart by Lynn Austin

While We're Far Apart

Stories set in WWII are especially emotional. Tinged with the sorrow of separation, invariably death and misery follow. When there are Jews involved it becomes even more complicated. You see how the actions of a single man effected millions of lives. You also see how people (some of them) did nothing to stop the carnage and others in a small but myriad ways helped individual people and in this way, nations survived.

We have two distinct families - one a Christian family. Recently having lost their mother in a tragic car crash, the father does not seem to be able to live in the same environment and despite having the care of two very young children, he enlists to fight. In the same building we have an older Jewish man. He lost his wife in the same accident, and now finds that with Germany invading Europe, his only son who went to Hungary to enroll in Jewish religious school is now missing with his wife and young daughter. Both survivors in this building fear the worst. One the war and the other the unknown because news of the Jewish incarceration was slow to reach the world. By the time it did, it was far too late for many.

On the sidelines we have a naive young woman Penny. She has always been in love with Eddie and volunteers her services to look after the children whilst Eddie is away. She is an extremely protected young woman with no self esteem at all and seems such a wrong choice. Eddie however gratefully accepts her offer not knowing that she is in love with him and hoping that this would give her an opportunity to win his heart over. The children do not like her taking care of them but the option of going to live with an unwilling grandmother is not one they want to accept so its no choice for them at all.

How all of them survive the two years of not knowing what the future will hold, the uncertainty of life and how they have to survive for their own sakes if nothing else is this story.

Very descriptive of Jewish rituals and the meaning of them (that was interesting) and the ties that bind families together was told very well. It took a while to actually get into the book but I am glad I persisted.

This was a free download from Amazon.