Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley

The joy that overcame me when ‘A Red Herring Without Mustard’, the latest Flavia De Luce novel, arrived on the door mat was quite something. I have been following Flavia’s adventures since I received an early proof of ‘The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’ and then ‘The Weeds That Strings The Hangmans Bag’ and each has been a pure pleasure to read. Then my joy wavered slightly as I had that worry of ‘oh no, will this be as good as the previous two?’ and so I held of reading… for a whole day when I could wait no longer. How chuffed am I then that ‘A Red Herring Without Mustard’ might just be my favourite of the Flavia novels, and also one of the most enjoyable reads for me of the year so far.

The only problem with writing any book thoughts on a mystery is that you really don’t want to give too much away and this is the issue I am facing writing about ‘A Red Herring Without Mustard’ because so far of the Flavia De Luce mysteries I think this is the most twisty and complex. It is still set in the 1950’s fictional English town of Bishop’s Lacey where the De Luce’s reside in the grand house of Buckshaw and it is indeed in the grounds of Buckshaw where a brutal attack is carried out on a gypsy who Flavia has given permission to camp in. Palings is a slightly spooky wooded part of the estate which of course gives great atmosphere to the opening of the book and makes it all the more thrilling.

Naturally the police involved, in particular Inspector Hewitt, don’t want Flavia to be. This is much to Flavia’s fury and indeed indignation as she has solved a few crimes for them for in the past. So naturally she starts trying to investigate herself. What turns up is not just the mystery of the gypsy but a murder mystery from Bishop Lacey’s past and one that isn’t as forgotten as Flavia initially believes. If that wasn’t enough as Flavia uncovers more secrets new light starts to shine on the very death of Flavia’s mother Harriet, all started off by her whimsical visit to the gypsy in question at the village fete.

Some people might say that these are cosy crime novels and yet I think in every one of Alan Bradley’s novels so far there is a real darkness, along with a certain camp, that make them so addictive. I also think his choice of Flavia as an unusual child protagonist with her character and observations are precocious, hilarious and blunt all in one, are spot on. You are thrilled and entertained in equal measure. In only a few pages, when discussing her sisters Daphne and Feely, you know you are in the mind of Flavia and the fun begins.

“Oh there you are, you odious little prawn. We’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
 It was Ophelia, the older of my two sisters. Feely was seventeen, and ranked herself right up there with the Blessed Virgin Mary, although the chief difference between then, I’m willing to bet, is that the BVM doesn’t spend twenty-three hours a day peering at herself in a looking glass while picking away at her face with a pair of tweezers.
 With Feely, it was always best to employ the rapid retort: “How dare you call me a prawn, you stupid sausage? Fathers told you more than once it’s disrespectful.”

I loved ‘A Red Herring Without Mustard’. Not only for its plot which is the perfect mystery with thrills and spills, and lots of red herrings, also because I got to spend more time with Flavia, more time with her family and more time with some of the bonkers characters living in the village. If you want a mystery that is entertaining, well written (and really makes you feel you are living in the world it creates) and will have you guessing then you can’t go wrong with this. 10/10

Have any of you read the Flavia de Luce books? If you haven’t then drop what you are doing and read them from the start straight away. They will bring you hours of entertainment I can almost guarantee. Which are your favourite series of novels, be they crime or not, and why? Any novels where you simply read them to spend time in the protagonists company?

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14 Comments

Filed under Alan Bradley, Books of 2011, Flavia de Luce, Orion Publishing, Review

March’s Incomings…

March has been a bumper month for books arriving at Savidge Reads new HQ and initially I wasn’t sure I should share them in case you were all appalled and disgusted. But… then I though well lots arrived for my birthday, lots arrived as get well parcels and I bought (and in some cases exchanged) quite a few of them and also March has proved a proof-tastic month with lots of books not out until the summer suddenly arriving. What I am going to do is simply list the books this month, marking out the proofs as I go. I haven’t included the books that I got for the Orange longlist as I did a separate post on those, nor have I listed the ones I have read and reviewed. So let’s start with the paperback and middle sized hardbacks/trades…

  • Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen by Marilyn Chin (Penguin)
  • The Once Was A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbours Baby by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
  • True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies (Canongate)
  • Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa (Vintage)
  • Ruby’s Spoon by Anna Lawrence Pietroni (Vintage)
  • Advice for Strays by Justine Kilkerr (Vintage)
  • Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (Atlantic Books)
  • Naming The Bones by Louise Welsh (Canongate)
  • My Last Duchess by Daisy Goodwin (Headline)
  • These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf (Mira)
  • The Godless Boys by Naomi Wood (Picador) – review coming very soon
  • There But For The… by Ali Smith (Penguin) – proof copy for summer
  • Irma Voth by Miriam Toews (Faber) – proof copy for summer
  • Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien (Faber)
  • Anatomy of Disappearance by Hisham Matar (Penguin)
  • The Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester (Oxford University Press)
  • The Possessed by Elif Batuman (Granta)
  • The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club by Lauren Liebenberg (Virago)

Blimey, now onto the big hardback books, which consist of over half that aren’t out till June/July which makes me feel a bit better…

  • Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick (Granta)
  • To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal (Abacus) – proof copy for summer
  • The History of History by Ida Hattemer-Higgins (Faber)
  • The Devils Mask by Christopher Wakling (Faber) – proof copy for summer
  • The Possessions of Doctor Forrest by Richard T. Kelly (Faber) – proof copy for summer
  • On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry (Faber) – proof copy for summer
  • My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira (Penguin)
  • What The Do In The Dark by Amanda Coe (Virago) – proof copy for summer
  • The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock (Canongate)
  • The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg (Faber) – proof copy for summer
  • Lasting Damage by Sophie Hannah (Hodder)

Finally, I have succumbed to buying books again, and its all the fault of the local book exchange, the new charity shop, and my occasional second hand book hunts with Paul Magrs. I either bought these books or exchanged them, I shall give reasons why I got them…

  • Fraud by Anita Brookner – a read in the lead up to International Anita Brookner Day.
  • The Last Temptation & The Torment of Others by Val McDermid – because I have a new favourite crime writer and want to read them all during my hospital visits. They are the perfect recovery read.
  • The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier – a rare Daphne find as I have almost all of them.
  • The Sign of the Cross by Colm Toibin – I love Toibin and this is non-fiction and travelogue which will be interesting.
  • The Penguin Book of Modern Women’s Short Stories edited by Susan Hill – It’s a collection of lots of lady authors by one of my favourite lady authors, perfect pre-Womans Word Literary Festival reading.
  • Dancing Backwards by Salley Vickers – I want to read all her books this is her latest novel.
  • Talking Heads by Alan Bennett – I have wanted to read this for years and years
  • Rude Britannia by Tim Fountain – sounded hilarious and rather like something Mary Roach would do.
  • One Extra Large Medium by Helen Slavin – I am quite obsessed by mediums and all things spooky and it was short.
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – been told by everyone and everyone I should read this and is the first World Book Night book I have found.
  • Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – you have all said I must read this and so I now shall, its also playing a part in ‘Reading With Authors’ more on that soon.

There I am looted out. If you have read any of these or anything by the authors (especially with the first two lots of books as I know very little about most of them) then do let me know. I best get off here and get reading hadn’t I?

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Filed under Book Spree, Book Thoughts

The London Train – Tessa Hadley

I am going to do something today that I really tend not to do. Mind you when I asked you all for your feedback on Savidge Reads moving forward (and do feel free to fill in the form if you haven’t already) you pretty much all said you wanted me to do it and so I therefore hold you all responsible for what is coming. A negative review! I sort of find myself wanting to apologise for doing it before I have even begun, but hopefully (and I am sorry to the author who probably took months and months to write it and the publisher who kindly sent it) I will give valid reasons why and not just simply, which would be rather lazy, to slag it off. In fact really the person to blame for my dislike of ‘The London Train’ by Tessa Hadley is me… for finishing the thing frankly.

I think in all honesty I should have stopped reading Tessa Hadley’s at about page 70 of the ‘The London Train’ but what kept me going was hope and a little bit of faith in the blurb that it was ‘a vivid and absorbing account of the impulses and accidents that can change our lives’ and what kept me going, again from the blurb, that ‘connecting both stories is the London train, and a chance meeting that will have immediate and far reaching consequences for Paul and Cora’ those being our two protagonists. In fact it was the promise of Cora’s tale, in the second of what is really two novellas co-joined by the slimmest (and we are talking really slim) of moments that seems to be the longest one of the very few moments that any of the London trains get a mention, that kept me going as Paul’s story was not only boring me silly but becoming more and more ridiculous as it went on.

Credit where credit is due, I have no question that Tessa Hadley knows how to write and from the start she had me gripped. As ‘The London Train’ opens we meet Paul who by the time he gets ‘to the Home, the undertakers had removed his mother’s body.’ This had me full of intrigue and questions such as what did she die of, what was their relationship like, why was she in a home? All very promising and it continued to be, before she was soon buried and Paul’s ex wife was phoning him to tell him their daughter Pia had gone missing. Again I was intrigued and wondering all sorts such as were daughter and father estranged, why did his first marriage end, where on earth could Pia be, will this be a mystery? Yet when Paul finds her it’s the start of a ludicrous storyline, read no further if you don’t want any PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD until I say they have finished.

What followed was the most clichéd tale of Paul finding his daughter pregnant living a council (though apparently it was rebuilt, as if) high rise with her lover and his sister, not that there was any room, and after much secret visiting he suddenly moves in with them all after a row with his current wife Elise, leaving her and her kids behind and having some kind of jolly jaunt living a carefree poor hand to mouth existence aka middle class twaddle as the poorer people in London do not live like that. I was angry, what had started off as such a great book filled with promise had turned into something that simply made me peeved. But hey it’s certainly a reaction isn’t it?

END OF PLOT SPOILERS

This is where Tessa Hadley lost me and yet I continued in the hope that Cora’s promising storyline, a forlorn librarian leaving London for Cardiff and to the house she has inherited where she hears her estranged husband has gone missing, sounded really promising. But sadly, and fear not I am not going to spoil any plots of go on about why, this again started interestingly enough before swiftly alienating me as much as the first novella did. Again threads of storyline got picked up and thrown away, characters remained one dimensional, self-obsessed, a bit smug and all in all dislikeable. I know some dislikeable characters can be brilliant in novels, not these ones though. In fact I really shouldn’t have read to the end of Cora’s story because it made me even more annoyed with its triteness.

Naturally I wouldn’t want to put anyone off reading ‘The London Train’ if it’s a book they really think they want to give a whirl, its certainly won over the judges of this years Orange Prize it just completely lost me. The writing was good, but sometimes that’s not enough, it doesn’t matter what revelations come at the end of a book or that there could be some promise just around the corner if an author alienates and looses its reader then it doesn’t really reach its target, and sadly it missed me by a mile or several of train line. 3.5/10

This book was kindly sent by the publisher.

Like I said there is clearly an audience for this book as before The Orange Longlist 2011 was announced (and reading the whole list from cover to cover as a challenge to myself was the main reason I persevered to the last line with this book) people were saying this would be on the list, and I have seen some rave reviews here and there, plus it got long listed by the judges as I mentioned so they must have all liked it in some way. The fact it got long listed and ‘Mr Chartwell’ didn’t is rather a travesty in my personal, and I happily admit often wrong, opinion. Is it my fault for persevering? Should I have just given up on it and moved on? Why do we have an ingrained gene to finish a book we start? Has anyone else read this or another Tessa Hadley and what did you think?

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Filed under Jonathan Cape Publishers, Orange Prize, Random House Publishing, Review, Tessa Hadley

I’m Back… If Briefly…

I thought you would like a little update and so I wanted to say ‘hello, I am back’ but sadly its not for long as I have another two operations to go before things even start to get back to getting back to normal and other procedures and things start. Plus there are several appointments in and out of doctors and specialist consultants in the offing. Around all that I will be able to comment and get to have a wander around other book blogs and the like. I will of course pop a note on the top of the homepage when I go in for any length of time again (the next of which is the 7th of April) though did it stop you from noticing the posts below it out of interest? It does feel a little like my hospital bed is always waiting for my return at the moment…

I do have a big thanks to say to you all before for all your Birthday wishes. All your support, and in some cases cards/parcels, which I have seen and received since I came out the hospital has meant the world to me and I am really thankful just so you know. I didn’t have the best birthday it has to be said, for one I was unconscious for most of it (and not of my own causing which might have made it more bearable), two I then had to have an emergency procedure when I woke up without any sedation – ouch, thirdly I had a really weird reaction (both physically and emotionally) to everything fourthly, and most traumatically, I haven’t had any birthday cake as I haven’t been allowed on solids since, until today actually. You might think all that put me in the bad mood that could cause the negative review coming later today, not the case as I read the book before I went in! With all of that all your positivity and well wishes have done me the world of good.

Right I had better head to the doctors shortly (afterwards I am meeting up with a friend who is also a lovely blogger and is coming up especially to see me, which has really cheered me up no end and of course I will report back about) I look forward to catching up with you all on your blogs, in comments here or by email etc over the next few days. Thanks again!

19 Comments

Filed under Simon's Bookish Bits

The Birth of Love – Joanna Kavenna

Isn’t it funny how the title of a book can put your off it a little? I have to admit that when I saw that Joanna Kavenna, an author I had prior heard very little about, was on the Orange long list with her second novel ‘The Birth of Love’ its very title made me think ‘hmmm, maybe that one will be tricky’. Its not that I am squeamish about birth, in fact I have been a complete addict of ‘One Born Every Minute’, and find pregnancy rather fascinating. In fact whenever relatives (have I said I am soon to be an uncle of sorts?) and friends get pregnant I have endless questions and want to know all the ins and outs of it all. The title just sounded a little saccharine and so it was therefore one of the first books that I thought I should tackle as it would be a bit of a difficult read for me, oh how wrong I turned out to be.

It is four initially disparate stories which make up ‘The Birth of Love’. We first have the story, in forms of letters to a Dr Wilson, of the incarceration of Herr S in a Viennese asylum in the 1800’s. This is a man wracked with guilt over the amount of women he believes he has murdered and the never ending dreams and visions of blood that he is the subject to. Secondly is the tale of Brigid whose second child, she is what is now deemed as a mature mother, is overdue and we join her as her mother arrives and so it seems do her contractions. Thirdly is the narrative of Michael, and author whose works on a doctor from the 1800’s has just been published and on the day of release learns his mother is ill with dementia. Fourthly, and finally, we have the unnamed Prisoner 730004 in the year 2153 who has been captured after leaving the ‘safety’ (which we soon learn are confines) of Darwin C and has escaped to an island where the ‘Magna Mater’ Birgitta is rumoured to have given birth, a quite impossible act in the times of egg and sperm harvesting and offspring farming.

You might think that merely from its title this is a book solely about birth; in fact it’s also about the bonds of motherhood. Michael has a very distant and angry relationship with his mother and the news of her illness seems to completely pass him by, Brigid’s relationship with her overbearing mother leaves her to think about her future mothering of her own children, Prisoner 730004 feels she has lost something by being denied the right to be a mother and Herr S feels he has stolen mothers from there children.

It is a real cacophony of tales and one which could have seemed too far fetched and with too much scope yet Kavenna pulls these four strands together and creates four worlds which are all very real and tangible despite their vast differences. Whilst reading this, and I don’t think its because one of the strands is rather like ‘The Handmaids Tale’, I often found myself thinking of Margaret Atwood’s writing. You constantly feel that Kavenna has you following the exact path she wants you to, observing things and similarities as you go along, almost as if she is connecting with her reader as she writes. This is a quality you don’t find often in books and certainly not ones with so much scope which ask the reader to ‘hold on, it will all come together’ yet you never question that they won’t.

My only small issue with the book was that whilst I liked the way it’s written, and Kavenna’s style of phrase and prose in short bursts with breaks between paragraphs, in the case of Michael’s narrative it seemed to distant me from him some what and on occasion his being an author almost preached as to how clever authors are. I am sure that wasn’t the intention, but something in his sections lost the flow of the novel as a whole for me a little now and again. This however is a small blip in a novel that I found rather exciting to read.

If you haven’t read ‘The Birth of Love’ yet or have been debating reading it then I would say delve in. It’s a fascinating book about child birth, motherhood and has a great humour just as it has a great darkness. It’s interesting that it’s a book that reflects the past, the now and the future as I think in time this could become a modern classic from an author that is certainly one to watch. 8/10

This book was kindly sent by the publishers.

So I am now a quarter of the way through The Orange Longlist 2011 (though of course these posts being scheduled I am possibly much further on that that now – I hope so) and they are all proving to be incredibly varied reads. It is making me think just how many books I miss out on each year, which then makes my head hurt, and shows just why prizes should be followed, we may not agree with the winner or the shortlists but how great is it that such an array of writing can be highlighted to us? Has anyone else read ‘The Birth of Love’? What about Kavenna’s debut novel ‘Inglorious’, which also won ‘The Orange Award for New Writers’? Have any of you read the any of the other Orange long listed books? Is anyone oranged out yet? Sorry if you are… just another 15 to go but fear not there are some non Orange book thoughts coming after tomorrow!

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Filed under Faber & Faber, Joanna Kavenna, Orange Prize, Review

Repeat It Today With Tears – Anne Peile

I wasn’t too sure how I would deal with reading ‘Repeat It Today With Tears’ by Anne Peile when I found out that the main plot of the story would be incest. Something about the very idea of it made me feel rather uncomfortable before even opening the first page. It’s odd I had this reaction because I am the first to say that I do think that reading shouldn’t always be a comfortable experience and so bearing that in mind I opened the pages and started it. I am glad that I risked the subject matter because, whilst uncomfortable, Anne Peile’s debut novel is very accomplished and holds much promise for her future works.

Susanna, the main protagonist of ‘Repeat It Today With Tears’, is a rather quiet and subdued young woman. Growing up with an overbearing mother, rebellious sister who her grandmother much prefers over Susanna and lets her know as much, the one thing missing from her life is her father who we learn left when Susanna was very young. What starts off as general inquisitiveness soon becomes an obsession that leads to a rather dark opening of the book from the first line. “The first time I kissed my father on the mouth it was the Easter holiday.” From the very start we know we are in rather unchartered territory and from here on Anne Peile takes us on a rather a dark journey of Susanna from that point, whilst also taking us through her past.

I am sure many people will be put off the book, as I admit I was a little, from the subject this book brings up. Yet I have to say Anne Peile writes fantastically and really gets into the mindset of her leading character. In many ways it makes the story all the darker that a girl who you start of thinking is rather innocent and lost becomes more and more deceitful and manipulative as the book goes on, for her father has no clue that the woman he is having an affair with, behind his wife Olive’s back, is his own flesh and blood. You know from the very start of the book this is dark territory and as the book goes on things get worse and worse.

Despite its generally dark tone there is, interestingly enough, also great humour in this book. The people that Susanna meets once she starts to work in 1970’s Chelsea are a mixed bunch of ‘free loving’ spirits, and the women in her home territory of Clapham and the gossip and foul mouthed tittle-tattle they come out with is hilarious. It nicely adds a sense of place and atmosphere in the book, whilst breaking up the darkness with some light and often saucy blunt relief.

‘Here it comes.’ The bench women were nodding at a younger woman who was entering, pulling her wash behind her in a basket on wheels. Her heels tapped on the mosaic and her newly dressed hair was swept back and lacquered into curls. She eyed the seated women critically for a moment and then said to one, ‘Blimey, close your legs, girl, your meats smelling.’
 The other women guffawed and the superintendent clicked her tongue in disapproval.
 Alison said, ‘They’re such dirty old bags in here, they make me sick. Come on, lets go and tap the phone instead while the wash is doing.’

‘Repeat It Today With Tears’ is a dark and tightly woven ‘coming of age’ tale with a huge twist and one that could lose it some of the audience that I think it deserves. It’s also a very hard book to write about because its short and not knowing what’s coming makes the pay off all the greater. It’s not always comfortable, it gets pretty bleak, and yet it’s written in such a way that you find yourself turning the pages, often despite yourself, up until the final word. It’s a very accomplished debut novel, with one of the best first narrative voices I have read for some time – even if she is a bit bonkers and rather unreliable, that I would recommend people give a try… just brace yourself a little first. 8.5/10

This book was kindly sent by the publisher.

The Orange long list is proving most fruitful (do you see what I did there) in pushing forward books that I would not necessarily have rushed to read. It’s also making me ask a lot of questions about my own reading habits and attitudes. Have you ever been put off by a book because of its subject matter, and if so which one? Has anyone else given ‘Repeat It Today With Tears’ a go, what did you think? Anyone now tempted on reading it at some point?

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Filed under Anne Peile, Orange Prize, Review, Serpent's Tail

The Troubled Man – Henning Mankell

I decided that I would break one of my habits of a lifetime when I received, a few weeks early, a copy of ‘The Troubled Man’ by Henning Mankell … I read a series out of order. I am sure that everyone is well aware that ‘The Troubled Man’ is in fact the final Kurt Wallander case, a detective series which has taken the reading world by storm. I am not really a huge Wallander buff, in fact apart from having read the first Wallander novel ‘Faceless Killers’ (which I thought was very good) and seeing both the Swedish and UK adaptations I guess I am a Wallander novice so I was aware that going from the first of his cases to the last might not work. Yet after reading ‘Great House’ by Nicole Krauss I needed something that would be just as page turning and readable but maybe less involved. Little did I know that reading ‘The Troubled Man’ would have me deeply engrossed from the start, despite my initial ‘eek’ moment when I realised the book would have a lot of submarines in it. I don’t tend to do well with books based on boats or at sea it has to be said.

When you start reading ‘The Troubled Man’ you can almost instantly tell from its style and delivery that this is going to be the last of the Kurt Wallander novels. Not because the ending of it all is given away from the start, and fear not I shall not give anything away here either, but because Wallander seems incredibly reflective and nostalgic about his past and indeed his future. Initially this concerned me slightly. This wasn’t going to be a case of an author spinning out the final instalment using as many words and random tangents as possible was it? Not really, is the answer. What Mankell uses this for is to show us just where our protagonist is in his head and why he takes on a case that really doesn’t fall under his jurisdiction, though I could be wrong as I don’t know the ins and outs of Sweden’s legal system or its police procedures.

When Hakan von Enke suddenly vanishes on an April morning it is most out of character. However it is not a case which Wallander or his team are given and yet he gets himself embroiled in it all. This isn’t for professional reasons; in fact it’s all rather personal as his daughter Linda (now a police officer like her father) has met the man of her life, who happens to be Hakan von Enke’s son. This could seem rather intangible but having read ‘Faceless Killers’ and in the glimpses of back story we get we soon learn his and Linda’s relationship has not always been good. Here is a father who desperately wants to keep that relationship and help, and possibly protect his daughter.

As the mystery develops not only does Hakan’s wife Louise go missing, but a political secret starts to come to light from the past as well as some more personal family secrets the von Enke’s have been hiding. In fact these secrets from the past, which all evolves around the Cold War and Sweden’s part in it (based around submarines as Hakan von Enke was in the navy as a commander) becomes an additional strand to the novel and one that interested me far more than I would have expected it to.

I did think that ‘The Troubled Man’ could have done with a fair bit of editing. It seemed to go on with various sub-plots of crimes that Wallander sort of starts investigating, and then leaves in favour of this more personal case, seemed like padding. I also thought the characters slightly weaker, well lots of them vanished in fairness, in this novel. Wallander seemed fully built, if a bit solemn and self pitying (but then as the book goes on we see why), as did his daughter Linda, everyone else was a little more two dimensional, but maybe that is where me not having read all the series and previously followed all of the characters to this final dénouement comes into play. This is both a positive and a negative as it has made me want to go back and start again, but also disappointed me somewhat as I tend to think the best series are the ones you can pick up at any point. Even if normally I tend to read them in order.

Regardless of how good this book is or isn’t, and I did find myself hooked apart from the odd ten pages or so every so often, people will be buying ‘The Troubled Man’ in their droves. It’s not the thriller that I was expecting, in fact it’s darker and rather more depressing, than I had imagined but it is a solid crime novel. 7.5/10

This book was kindly sent by the publishers.

Will you be one of the many Wallander fans that will be devouring this novel instantly, if you haven’t already of course? Is there anyone out there who hasn’t read a Wallander novel yet, will you start at the end or the very beginning? Is anyoe not bothered about Wallander (you might find this review by The Guardian very funny, I sniggered)? I do feel like Wallander a little now, as I have the start of his story and the end of it, do I turn to the middle sections and discover more?

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Filed under Harvill Secker Books, Henning Mankell, Review