Friday, 13 March 2020

Read in 2020 - 7, 8, 9

# 7: Lost Lives (Emily Swanson Thrillers # 1)
by Malcolm Richards

A book I found for free on Kindle some years ago but got round to reading only now, this was a truly gripping story, reminding me of my # 2 read of this year in terms of suspense.

The story: A young woman moves to London and finds out things about the former tenants of her apartment that leave her very concerned about the well-being of one of them.

She begins to investigate, constantly hindered by her own troubles; a terrible event in her own not-so-distant past is hinted at, the reason for her having moved to the big city, plus a history of ongoing mental health issues.

But Emily does not give up and even manages to make a friend who eventually will save her life when it comes to the big confrontation at the end of the book, after the two have uncovered the truth behind the unexplained death or disappearances of patients at institutions for mental illnesses.

Well written, well edited and a page-turner - maybe I will even download the next installment in this series, although reading this kind of thriller has a tendency to leave me sad. The author's homepage is here

# 8: Beating about the Bush (Agatha Raisin Mystery # 30)
by M. C. Beaton

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that my Mum and I love the Agatha Raisin series. And after I was rather disappointed with my previous Agatha-read (my 26th read of 2019), this one was back to true form, and I enjoyed it very much.

My Mum ordered it for us but gave it to me first - now she can read it, and therefore I won't tell you too much about it, only that Agatha reveals a soft spot for donkeys, finds a new romantic interest (who I suspected to be involved in the criminal activites she investigates in this book) and gets very angry at her old friend Charles Fraith. She also fears losing her best detective, becomes a celebrity for a short while, and solves two murders at the same time.

Some bits are so well written and funny that I would like to quote more, but here's just one of my favourites, describing Roy Silver's arrival at Agatha's:
Roy Silver arrived in Lilac Lane early that evening, erupting out of his small car in a blur of dusky-pink corduroy and breathless excitement.
You've got to love M.C. Beaton for that! 
Sadly, she died last year, and there is only one book left in the series that my Mum and I have not read yet.

# 9: Anatolische Küche
by M. Ömür Akkor

You know how I need to read non-fiction between fiction to keep a (more or less) balanced mind, and this was a good one, in that it mixed facts with fiction.

A book about Turkish cooking from a specific region (Anatolia) and a specific era (the Seljuk empire), the story of a young dervish who is sent to work at the Sultan's palace kitchen and meets the love of his life is intervowen with the author's modern-day visits of the town and lake, researching ancient recipes.

The author is a popular Turkish gourmet chef, known from TV and several books. 
How did I come about this book, you may ask? Well, Ludwigsburg has a large Turkish population; last but not least, the other flats in my house are all owned by Turkish families. Some years ago (I guess around 2013/14), my Mum and I were invited to a cooking event with Ömür Akkor at a nearby Turkish school. It was fun, and we got to try all the dishes the chef prepared in front of us. I remember how I couldn't get over how generous Mr. Akkor was with the olive oil! He seemed to be pouring liberal amounts over anything, and it all turned out very tasty.
At this event, his latest book was on offer, and my Mum bought a copy; Mr. Akkor signed it for her, writing "Bon Appetit" and drawing a spoon and fork above his autograph.

So far, I have not cooked anything from the book, and most likely never will, as the recipes seem to be meant for large groups of people and involve the kind of baking and roasting you best have an open fire or stone oven for. But I liked the story and found the information about a civilation from 700 years ago very interesting.

I have just found out that it is also available in English.


  1. All very interesting. I bought a Malcolm Richards book which is called Next to Disappear and I hope is the same as your Lost Lives...We'll see. thank you for the recommendations!

    1. You are welcome, Kristi; I hope you will find the story as gripping as I did.

  2. You've reviewed three quite interesting books. Although "Lost Lives" sounds good I don't think it is one for me. I find some of the stories about past mental institutions to be very sad as you mentioned.

    However "Beating Around the Bush" sounds like one I would enjoy. I'm not familiar with that series of books but I think I would like them. How sad the author has recently died. I may look up those books on my Kindle.

    I've never been too interested in Turkish cooking but the book does sound interesting. How fun that you and your Mom got to meet the author and even taste his cooking! It is wonderful that you and your Mom can do things like that together.

    Enjoy your weekend. I hope you and O.K. have great weather and some wonderful hikes!

    1. Thank you, Bonnie! The forecast for this weekend is very walk-friendly; no rain and a mix of clouds and sun, and rather mild on Sunday.
      I think you would enjoy the Agatha Raisin books. Although it is possible to read them as standalone stories, I recommend to start with The Quiche of Death.

  3. Dear librarian, thank you for these reviews. Now I have book recommendations to look forward to read for. Keeping up with the books of Agatha will be definitely something that I'll love to do. Maybe my love for mystery, thrillers will be given justice. only time will tell. Have a great weekend, wishing you good health and happiness.

    1. Hello Andrea, you are new to my blog, aren't you? Welcome, and thank you for reading and commenting! I'll pop over to your blog in a minute.
      The Agatha books make for fun reading. Not all of them are equally good, but most of them I really enjoyed.