The Prose Practice Returns; Help Aunty Alice…

So after a three year hiatus I have decided to bring back The Prose Practice, a place where readers can bring their ills, concerns and questions to which I try and be helpful and you all end up being much, much more helpful. Oddly this has nothing to do with me having been sick as a pig (where does that phrase come from?) for a week, it just seemed timely. When this occasional series was in force back in 2010/11 we tried to help many a reader with very important questions like; which books are best for book groups, is there another ‘One Day’ and most importantly (and my favourite yet)… Where are all the novels about lonely men in cardigans?


In short this is a place for any queries about books you might have, from an awkward relative (nothing to do with this post honest) you want to buy for? Any books with a specific recommendation you are having horrors hunting down? Anything really.

What inspired me with this post is that my lovely aunty Alice, who I never call aunty for varying reasons, randomly asked me about some bookish advice. Actually she didn’t ask in person, she’s become all technological and so asked me on Facebook – how modern! Now Alice likes a book, like most of the Savidge’s though not to the extent of myself and my mother perhaps, but she would like some specific recommendations. Very specific…

Hello bookworm, recommendations please. Am thinking thriller type gripping page turner, nothing too violent with proper good plot twists. Can you help?

Now, as it happens I could do with your help on this one as all I could think of to recommend was the oh-so-obvious but oh-so-brilliant Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and anything by Sophie Hannah. All my other recommendations would have had too much gore or too much ‘full on’ murder. I think Alice doesn’t mind a murder, just wants one that has happened or doesn’t happen in the view of the readers eyes. I wanted to recommend Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, but I haven’t actually read it, just heard lots of marvellous stuff about it.

So, go on… What book or books would you recommend for Aunty Alice, and also possibly for me?

P.S If you have a bothersome bookish conundrum do email me and maybe we can answer it.


Filed under The Prose Practise

14 responses to “The Prose Practice Returns; Help Aunty Alice…

  1. Apple Tree Yard is good but I’d really recommend Alex Marwood’s Wicked Girls as its fantastic, a proper page turner. The Jane Casey books are good too as are Jo Nesbo. Hope that helps?! X

  2. How about Stephen King’s The Shining. I was scared to death when the topiary moved.

  3. How about a DI Stratton book by Laura Wilson? I’ve read An Empty Death and A Capital Crime and enjoyed both. I thought the goryness was very tame. But then, I love an occasional Val McDermid, so maybe I’m not the best judge. 😉

  4. You know I am short on knowledge when it comes to this type of book, however, The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing is quite suspenseful. As you and I once discussed it isn’t a whodunit so much as a will he caught dunit.

    Also, I can’t believe I forgot about the lonely male cardigan post from 2010. It is an idea I am going to keep thinking about. I especially wonder if I would like a male cardi novel as much as I like female cardi novels.

  5. One of my favourite kind of book recommendations, thank you for giving me the opportunity to pontificate!
    Apple Tree Yard is a bit raunchy, so depends how steamy your auntie likes it? Jo Nesbo is rather full-on murder. I also vote for Alex Marwood’s Wicked Girls, Nicci French usually has reliably tense thrillers, I’ve also really enjoyed the Alison Bruce novels (DC Goodhew, set in Cambridge) and if you want a really unusual psychological one: Sebastian Fitzek’s ‘Therapy’ is really intriguing. Finally, one book I read recently which was more ‘how on earth can he get away with this’ and very well written was Phil Hogan’s ‘A Pleasure and a Calling’, about a sneaky estate agent.
    Of course, you will say I’m just plugging something I am part of, but I contribute as a reviewer regularly to and I find there is a great variety of books there, as all of us reviewers have such different tastes.

  6. lizzysiddal

    I second the Fitzek recommendation.
    Also suggest aunty tries out Peter May’s Hebridean trilogy starting with the Blackhouse as well as his latest standalone, Entry Island.

  7. lizzysiddal

    …. And Hermann Koch’s The Dinner. The crime is very nasty but only takes up 3-4 pages (if that).

  8. MK

    Anything by Tana French. For something older, The Pursued by CS Forester was an excellent psychological thriller.

  9. Rei Shimura mysteries by Sujata Massey. These are wonderful non-gory mysteries about a Japanese/Caucasian art buyer in Tokyo, Japan. She is inquisitive, gutsy and gets involved in art related adventures with some romance on the side. I learned so much about Japanese art, food and culture.

  10. Ruthiella

    I would recommend Alys, Always by Harriet Lane. It isn’t exactly a thriller, but it is a page turner and twisty/pschological. No violence, no sex…so good for those who are a bit squemish.
    Also, becasue I just can’t recommend them often enough: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters or The Observations by Jane Harris. Two great historical novels with a bit of mystery that I found totally engrossing.

  11. Jenny

    I can second a lot of those recommendations. Fingersmith, Apple Tree Yard and Gone Girl. But also SJ Watson’s Before You Go To Sleep.

  12. I read The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah last year and can recommend it.

  13. There have been some wonderful suggestions so far so I won’t bother repeating them, but one addition I have is Louise Millar. She’s more on the psychological thriller side, rather than straight up murder.

  14. Rei Shimura mysteries by Sujata Massey. Non-gory adventures of an art antiques expert in Japan. Rei is American with a Japanese father and Caucasian mother. Flower arranging, kimonos, food, pearl diving, Japanese culture and relationships are just some of the topics. Ten books so far. Also romance with a tall, handsome Scot!

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