Saturday, June 29, 2013

Maeve Binchy's Treasury

Published in 2011 this book is a compilation of short stories taken from This Year It Will Be Different (1997) and The Return Journey (2007) - forty three short stories in all. Christmas is the central theme in the first half of this compilation while the stories in the second half revolve around travel and or holidays. Maeve Binchy writes about families and relationships and the stories are set in Ireland, England, Europe, USA and Australia. These stories of love and loss, reconciliation and hope, understanding and self realisation are universal. Being a collection of forty-three unrelated short stories this is a book that can be dipped into by the reader to be enjoyed from time to time rather than the reader needing to read all the stories at one time.

Maeve Binchy died on 30 July 2012.

For information about Maeve Binchy and her life and books -

Obituary: The Guardian

Obituary: New York Times

Obituary: BBC

Obituary: Irish Times


Obituary: The Independent

Obituary: The Huffington Post

Obituary: The Telegraph

Report of funeral: Huffington Post

A search on the internet will provide many more articles.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Appeal denied

Since 1980 Australian author, Peter Corris' has written 39 novels and collections of stories about his Sydney based PI, Cliff Hardy. Appeal denied was published in 2007 and is no. 31. This is a good series to read when you just want to pick up a good book to read, something not too heavy.

After Cliff's appeals for the return of his PI licence have been refused he is faced with deciding what he will do next, but when his 'live-out lover', Lily Truscott, was murdered his focus is directed at finding her killer. Lily was a journalist and it appears that she was murdered as the result of a story she was writing involving police corruption in the Northern Crimes Unit. Lily's computer has been expertly wiped but the discovery of stories, written partly in code on a usb, provide initial clues to investigate. Finding who to trust is the first challenge, particularly within the local police, as Cliff learns of earlier deaths and a policeman is subsequently killed. Calling on assistance from close friends, Cliff and a journalist endeavour to discover the extent of corruption in the police force as well as who killed Lily.

This fast paced book set in Sydney suburbs continues recording the life of Cliff Hardy former PI, by this time down on his luck, living in a dilapidated home, dependant on drink but still determined to find justice for the woman he loved and other families affected by police corruption.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Faceless killers

This first book in the Kurt Wallander series set in Sweden and written by Henning Mankell was originally published in Sweden in 1991 (English translation 1997). Chapter one sets the scene - a savage attack, resulting in murder, on an elderly man and his wife in their farm house. The only clue is provided by the dying words of the wife 'foreign'. A neighbour on an adjoining farm found the victims when he awoke in the middle of the night to the feeble cries from the wounded woman but he did not see or hear anything relating to the actual attack. Inspector Wallander and his team face the painstaking task of discovering the perpetrators of the crime and the motive for such a vicious attack. The only clue, foreign' only complicates the issue as the police attempt to prevent possible attacks on foreigners by a section of the community. Immigration policy in Sweden is a major theme explored throughout the book. The book also focuses on Kurt Wallander's personal problems including issues with family members, his health and the health of his respected colleague, Rydberg. This is a gripping thriller with many twists and turns as Wallander and his team endeavour to solve this brutal crime.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The library of unrequited love

First published in French in 2010 with the English translation published in 2013, The library of unrequited love by Sophie Divry consists of a 92 page monologue issued by a librarian who, before opening hours, discovers a patron who has slept overnight in the library. The patron is told that he has to wait the two hours until opening time before he can leave and in the meantime the librarian provides him with a cup of coffee along with her views of libraries, books, library users, library staff, library bureaucrats, the Dewey Decimal Classification System, French culture, the Arts interspersed with her comments about a young researcher, Martin, who she wishes would notice her.

The only voice we hear throughout the book is that of the librarian and although it is obvious that at times the patron interjects we only hear her responses to his reactions. This amusing book is written as one paragraph and should be read in one sitting to be fully appreciated. Anyone who works in libraries or uses libraries should enjoy this short tale.