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IMG_0207What’s it all about?

I described this in an earlier post as an academic-investigating-the-life-of-a-long-dead-poet novel, which is exactly what it is. Murray Watson is taking a sabbatical to explore the life of the poet Archie Lunan who drowned at a young age leaving behind a slim volume of poetry and an air of unfulfilled promise. Murray wants to write the book that will bring Lunan back to prominence once more (and establish his own reputation in the process, of course).

Why did I want to read this?

I’ve been working my way slowly through Louise Welsh’s back catalogue and she is rapidly becoming one of my favourite modern authors. I just really like her books 🙂

What did I think of it?

I am an absolute sucker for stories about academics doing research on anything (see my review of the John Langan collection recently where my favourite story was about that very thing, though in the context of a horror tale), and when coupled with being set in Glasgow (virtually my home town though I went to the other University) this was a no brainer for me.

It helps that it’s a really strong story with a mystery element as well as lots of personal stuff about Murray’s family background and collegiate rivalry and a climax set on a fairly remote island, all adding up to a very enjoyable read. I really liked Murray, flawed though he is, and the other key characters were just as fascinating and true to life. And there was enough sense of Archie Lunan to find him believable as a real person overtaken by his own legend, but avoids the trap of representing too much of his work so you don’t get caught up in whether it’s actually any good or not.

I’m looking forward to reading the other books by Louise Welsh that I already have in the stacks. The Bullet Trick and Tamburlaine Must Die are the only ones left, and I think I will then have caught up, annoyingly. Recommended.

AftertheArmisticeBallCat48294_fFinally getting around to reviews after another (and not yet finished) busy period at work, and of course all the excitement of the UK General Election (which is still distracting me from other things – as a civil servant I am keen to know who my next set of bosses is going to be….)

All this means that I’m not reading as much as I should – I often go through these patches driven sometimes by not being able to find something that I’m interested on reading just at that particular point, but more often (as now) just not finding the time to read regularly.

So, After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson is a detective novel in the classic style, set in 1920s Scotland and is huge fun. In terms of plot, there’s a bit of a scandal brewing amongst Dandy (short for Dandelion) Gilver’s social set when some valuable diamonds are stolen after the eponymous ball. Asked by her friend Daisy to do a bit of sleuthing she gets pulled into something much darker when Cara Duffy, the youngest daughter of the diamonds’ owner dies in a fire in a remote cottage, and it becomes clear that this might not have been an accident.

Which is about all that can be said without giving away too much of the plot. It’s well-written, pacy, has a nice sense of location and time and an attractive heroine who is easy to identify. This was my first read-a-thon book and so benefitted from being read in one sitting, and I enjoyed it so much I’ve already bought the second in the series.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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