Whoever is reading, I wish you a merry Christmas, happy new year and the very best for 2008!
Thanks to all the delightfully generous authors who participated in the recent "Books for Christmas" series. Thanks to all who have supported this site in whatever shape or form, during 2007. Finally, personally, thanks to all who have supported me and my family in 2007 with messages of kindness.
Oscar and I will be off soon for a proper Welsh Christmas. For some it involves this:
And you can read more about that here.
Aren't they brave?
Or are they simply bloody mad?
Was this pre- or post- Christmas lunch?
But, for Oscar and I, a traditional Welsh family Christmas is more likely to involve this:
And his Christmas turkey lunch will need to be cut up into small pieces before being placed in a stainless steel bowl with lots of gravy. (Before I even get a look in on mine...)
And we will see lots of family, friends and neighbours.
And no doubt, I will forget something...
That's par for the course.
There might be some TV watching involved, especially the Dr Who special. Not for Kylie you understand; it's that male form in the name of David Tennant that grabs my attention every time. That Tate woman (I think you can watch the whole of the impending Christmas show by keeping up with the endless, ad nauseam BBC trailers for her gig...) suggested Tennant's tour de force was about to come to an end in 2008, but it's all stuff and nonsense, so he says.
I think Tennant is a lovely, generous man. And as you can see, kids love him.
The Welsh have taken this Scot into their hearts.
I saw him interviewed on Parky during 2007 and loved his sense of humour.
For someone in the public eye, that man remains grounded, as could also be seen in his exploration into his roots in the BBC TV series "Who do you think you are?" which took him to Ireland. A brilliant programme. Anyone unsure of the history of Ireland and Northern Ireland would do well to watch it.
Anyway, this year Dr Who has a story set on the Titanic and the Titanic's demise is a subject that has always fascinated me. Like others, I don't think it was just the iceberg. I can't help but feel foul play was involved somewhere. Even then, companies had an image to maintain. Did they have to take that route? Did they have to go that fast?
But I digress.
Amazon doesn't have the cover picture yet, but you can see it here:
courtesy of Roger's plog.
This novel is first and foremost original and unusual in that it's summer in St Petersburg.
Anything I've come across before that is set in Russia always has snow. Loads of it. Makes it easier to see the blood.
But, in A Vengeful Longing we have summer and poisonings.
It all sounds claustrophobic to me.
And Roger will have a good story to tell, I'm sure.
But before then, I must finish K O Dahl's The Fourth Man, as I'm on the last chapters.
It's good, but I had my suspicions and I simply had to peep at the ending before getting there.
I will say no more for now, but I will say a lot more in January.
And there will be no spoilers.
2007 has been a bumper year for crime fiction. Some think that originality is a hard thing to find, but if you look for it you will find it. In the latter part of 2007 I have read a few novels that I am yet to post about. All are entertaining and original in their own ways:
- Bernard Knight's The Noble Outlaw grabbed my attention and made me realise that crime fiction set pre-World War II (my usual cut off-point) can enthrall. (Knight's series has a medieval setting, in case you haven't guessed from the title.) And oh, he does love to explore the food of the times. Even Nigella Express's forays into the canned and bottled world seem inviting after Knight's introduction to medieval feasts. Thank you, but I'll take a rain check, Prof Knight.
- Zoe Sharp's Second Shot took me into the world of the UK private eye and the "protection" economy. An easy fast-paced read, crossing the Atlantic to Boston and its surrounds, this novel can grip your insides in more ways than one. Should I win the lottery in the UK, I now have some idea of the risk management tactics I would need to employ.
- Matt Rees's The Bethlehem Murders took me to a place I'd only seen in the news, when it comes to living in the now. I have a good and dear friend who is Muslim, so it came as no surprise when I read the story of Omar Yussef and read his situation of plight. Yussef is the crux of consciousness and justice in a world that denies its recognition. You can't help but love him and want more of him, for his values. And there is more to come...
- I hope that J. F. Englert's A Dog about Town puts to rest the cynicism that gathers over the crime fiction novels that involve mammals other than the human species as protagonists. Here, Randolph, a chocolate Labrador-Retriever is a professor-type representing our furry, four-legged friends. He's sentient and highly intelligent. His master is cast astray emotionally by the loss of his partner, Randolph's original owner. But then, there is a mystery and much humour. And what lovely humour.
More of these in the new year that is 2008.
And if you're so struggling this festive season that you've read to here and have even left a comment, all I can say is "Remember your family, each and every one of them, however far removed". Make contact with them. It's Christmas. Don't wait for another family funeral to exchange words.
We all have a blessing in life and can find it if we open our eyes. And remember that's "in life" not "post life". Make every minute count.
Me and the gorgey boy will now be away until that slovenly period that is post-Christmas and pre-New Year, gorging on turkey meat and other things, and this year thinking of our spiritual side for the first time in ages. It's hard to lose those you love most in life; it's hard to lose both your parents in the same year.
We shall remember my parents on this occasion. It cannot be otherwise.
Have a good Christmas everyone and all the best for 2008!
See you in the new year, if not before...
My very best to you,