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The mystery of the Battenberg cake

The Mystery of Three Quarters Book Cover The Mystery of Three Quarters
Hercule Poirot (New)
Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie,
Poirot, detective, suspense, mystery
HarperCollins
August 20, 2018
400

The world's most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot - the legendary star of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket--returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930's London. Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him -- a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy... Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

The opening chapters of this book are so vivid that in my ind’s eye I see it happening.

I see David Suchet bustling and hear him deliver the words. I see his very special walk – such a distinctive gait – and take off his hat and coat.

It is perhaps because i have seen Suchet’s TV performance portrayal so often that he comes to mind, but still my imagination visualises him throughout the story as the character of Hercule Poirot. The mannerisms he used are mentioned in the story and sonthe echoes remain.

I cannot say the same of the chapters ‘written’ by the detective. He slips back into the background even though he is half the book.

I found the story very entertaining – better in my mind than the original stories even though they are intended to ‘copy’ her style. More amusing and more accessible. I still didn’t get the answer though – as just in the original Christie books there are masses of red herrings to mislead you!

Oh and the Windowpane cake is really a Battenberg so a very well known recipe, so little chance of it being stolen.

I suspect that without David Suchet the story would not have been so appealing but as he is one of my favourite actors…

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Waiting for your sister

The Second Sister Book Cover The Second Sister
Claire Kendal
Adult, Psychological Thriller, Romance
Harper
April 20, 2017
400

The chilling new psychological thriller by Claire Kendal, author of the bestselling novel, THE BOOK OF YOU, which was selected for Richard and Judy in 2015. Perfect for fans of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and DISCLAIMER. It is ten years since Ella's sister Miranda disappeared without trace, leaving her young baby behind. Chilling new evidence links Miranda to the horrifying Jason Thorne, now in prison for murdering several women. Is it possible that Miranda knew him? At thirty, Miranda's age when she vanished, Ella looks uncannily like the sister she idolized. What holds Ella together is her love for her sister's child and her work as a self-defence expert helping victims. Haunted by the possibility that Thorne took Miranda, and driven by her nephew's longing to know about his mother, Ella will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth - no matter how dangerous...

Twins in thought but not deed, and not age either but in looks, one sister vanishes and the other searches for her.

As she searches she uncovers some rather sinister people and has some rather chilling encounters.

I started this book and read it with interest but not compulsion until the prison scenes. These were detailed with such a chilling description of the prisoner that I really needed to know what he knew and what he had done.

If that air of suspense had been drawn throughout the book I would have ranked it higher but some of the writing was a little pedestrian and over detailed. Personally, I would have edited out half of the front art of the book and extended the last part. But other readers may disagree.

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How do you see the world?

The Rules of Seeing Book Cover The Rules of Seeing
Joe Heap
psychology
HarperCollins
April 2019

Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time.

Jillian Safinova, Nova to her friends, can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And she can even tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.

But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.

When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.

As Kate comes into focus, her past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they each learn to see the world in a different … and open their eyes to the lives they could have been living all along?

I had an interesting conversation with someone at the weekend who has a rare condition whereby he cannot visualise. When he shuts his eyes, he can’t bring up a picture of a tree or a colour, or anything, his mind is black.

Thinking back over reading this book I can ‘see’ that life is difficult for him, and imagine if you had this condition, AND, were blind from birth?

I learnt so many things from this story. And found it very difficult to write a review. I learnt about sight and what it must be like to lose your sight after birth and to be blind from birth. [Macular Degeneration must be really hard.] And yet, is it harder to learn to see after being blind? There are so many complexities of sight and vision.

This book also has a love story. A love of two people coming together at a difficult time for both of them, of how they survive together and their experiences.

This is a book that engages the reader on many levels – the critical mind that thinks about sight and vision and dimensions; the literary mind that reads and understands and celebrates the writing style; and the emotional mind that taps into the characters and their emotions and experiences as expressed by the author.

I really recommend this story and author.

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You’d swear too….

Why Mummy Swears Book Cover Why Mummy Swears
The struggles of an exasperated Mum
Gill Sims
Biography & Autobiography, humour, literature
HarperCollins
June 18, 2018
352

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane. It's every parents' nightmare - the start of the school holidays - and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning... After being dragged to join the school's PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father's surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn't cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

I giggled, giggled, and giggled some more. So many episodes rang true – if exaggerated – and I could guess that they were based on actual events, not just for her, but for us as well.

I too tried to feed my first child organic, home cooked mush – and he rejected it in favour of jars. I even tried to hide my own food in the jars but he spotted the difference.. my lovingly cooked food – many hours spent following recipes – didn’t fool him one bit. Jars from factories were preferred.

And the cost of school holidays racked up a significant amount with pony camps, adventuring in Wales, and so on for us too.

I am left wondering what could have been in her app ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ that made her so much money – I suspect a lot of people would really like one to exist! (reality check – it doesn’t exist, I know, I looked for it!)

 

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Not as good?

Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshoop Book Cover Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshoop
Lonely Hearts Bookshop
Annie Darling
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
HarperCollins
March 19, 2018
400

'Sweet, funny and lovely!' Marian Keyes A romantic treat, perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan! You can go crazy searching for the one... Nina is addicted to bad boys, the wilder, the better. Despite her friends' misgivings, she firmly believes that true love only takes one form: wild, full of passion and fire and punctuated by tempestuous arguments. She won't settle for anything less. But years of swiping right has uncovered nothing but losers and flings, and Nina is no closer to finding her One True Love than she ever was. And when a man from her past walks into the shop Nina knows she has nothing to fear: the geekiest boy in her school has become a boring suit with no chance of making her heart go pitter patter. Which just shows how little Nina knows about her heart...

This is the next in the series for the bookshop, and it is planned for there to be a story for all the main characters.

However, in my opinion, the first book worked, but this one didn’t.

Partly, I suppose, because we knew some of the story from book one, but also, I didn’t find it a compelling read. I shan’t read the next ones in the series.

 

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