I didn’t read as much as I expected to this month, especially considering I had the first week off work, but I did read three new authors (well, new to me at least). I also decided that I should try to work my way through the big pile of half finished books that sits by my bed. These aren’t books that I stopped reading because I didn’t like them, but rather because I got distracted by something else and never got back to them. Well, that didn’t happen either. Oh well, there’s always next month.
The Wild Island by Antonia Fraser
This slim mystery novel is set on a island in a loch near Inverness. Jemima Shore, TV personality, turns up for a week away from it all on what she thinks will be an island paradise, only to find herself embroiled in a case of murder with roots going back to the times of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Although the book was written in the 1970s, the underlying discourse around Scottish nationalism is still relevant today. Although I enjoyed the story I’m glad it was only a slim volume. The main character wasn’t particularly likeable and was hard to relate to and, as the story evolved, there seemed less and less point in her being there. She didn’t seem to have a role and the story would have worked just as well without her.
In Search of Harry Potter by Steve Vander Ark
I picked this up in a charity shop and got engrossed straight away. I always like to know where books are set and what places have provided inspiration for the author, so this was the perfect kind of book for me. It helps that I’m a Harry Potter fan as well. All the Harry Potter books have been turned into films, but this isn’t a book about film locations. Instead it’s a painstaking search for the actual places in the books and is as much about this search as it is about the places themselves. As many locations in the books are figments of J K Rowling’s imagination, the author acknowledges that his search is really a search for the non-existent, but he perseveres anyway. Using ‘evidence’ from the books (which can be contradictory), excerpts from interviews with J K Rowling and any other source he can find he embarks on a trip round the UK to find the Ministry of Magic, the Dursleys’ house, Diagon Alley and so on. It’s a humorous read and kept me engaged to the end.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
A travel journalist gets her first big chance at a press trip on a luxury yacht travelling through the Norwegian Fjords. Already shaken up from a burglary at her flat just before the trip and suffering from a lack of sleep she struggles to be taken seriously when strange things begin happening on the yacht. She hears a splash during the night and is worried the woman in the cabin next door has been murdered and thrown overboard, especially after finding blood. The cabin was supposed to be empty and no-one else, including the Head of Security, believe the woman even existed, let alone has disappeared. Then her own disappearance is reported, followed by evidence that she has committed suicide. If you want to know what really happened you’ll just have to read the book. It’s good and well worth it.
What did you read last month? Share in the comments below.