Reviews

Invisible’s got an excellent, tense plot, shifting between the two main characters, with a good number of surprises along the way. Poulson always has great, strong women characters, with real lives and feelings . . .  I liked the fact that the depictions of violence and injury were realistic without being over-detailed or gloating . . . It was a pleasure to find a book that did the excitement, the jeopardy and the thrills without putting off this reader . . .  a very good read for anyone.’

- CLOTHES IN BOOKS

Be afraid . . .

Posted on Oct 30, 2020 in Strangers, Taichi Yamada, The New Abject | 6 Comments

It’s nearly Halloween so now seems a good time to review an absolutely cracking ghost story, Strangers (1987), by Japanese writer, Taichi Tamada. It is a novella and can easily be read in a couple of hours. The narrator, a middle-aged scriptwriter, divorced, disillusioned, takes a sentimental journey to the Toyko suburb where he grew […]

A masterclass in suspense

Recently rereading one of my favourite M. R. James’s stories, ‘Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook,’ I realised all over again what a master James is. The story is a lesson in suspense, but there is also so much to enjoy in the tone of the writing and the characterisation. Dennistoun is a middle-aged don, rather fussy, sceptical, […]

Scary stories

I’ve recently written a horror story for an anthology, The New Abject, that will be published by Comma Press on 29th October and it has set me thinking about my favourite scary stories. It is the measure of a good one that it lingers in the mind for years after you have read it. I […]

Surrealism has caught up with us

Posted on Sep 23, 2020 in Buñuel, Inez Holden, Magritte, Max Ernst | 9 Comments

Last week I was reading Inez Holden’s diary of the Blitz, It was Different at the Time, published in 1943. This is from the entry of a day after a night of particularly heavy bombardment: ‘One morning I walked back through the park, and saw the highest branches of a tree draped with . . . […]

A journey into the past

In the later 1940s after the illness of their daughter Sarah, Barbara Hepworth and her husband, the artist Ben Nicholson, became friends with Norman Capener, the surgeon who had treated their child at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter. He invited her to witness a variety of surgical procedures and Hepworth produced a series […]

Loving Endeavour, but what next?

Some time ago, I mentioned that I had finished the Inspector Morse DVDs and had embarked on the follow-up, Lewis. Well, I’ve finished those too and now I have started the prequel, Endeavour. I think it is actually the best of the lot. Shaun Evans is perfect as the young Morse, gauche, too clever for […]

How does she do it?

In my last post, I wrote about the pleasure of getting my reading mojo back when I embarked on Martin Edwards’s new novel, Mortmain Hall. I loved the book, romped through it, thoroughly enjoying it, but the relief was only temporary and  when I’d finished it, I was back in my state of reading apathy. […]

Losing my reading mojo

A couple of evenings ago I found myself roaming around the house, looking for something to read. Nothing tempted me. I would pick up a book, flick through it, put it down again. It is not as if there isn’t plenty of choice for goodness sake. I have lots of books that I haven’t read […]

Why I don’t want to be in a Ngaio Marsh

Why I don’t want to be in a Ngaio Marsh

I have finished my Ngaio Marsh binge. I have not read all of them – nor do I intend to – but I have read a lot, around twenty. And a couple of things stand out. One is that by the end of my marathon read, I had a pretty good idea who the culprit […]

Writing a locked room mystery

I love a locked room mystery, so when the call came for contributions to an anthology of stories featuring impossible crimes, I jumped at the chance to write one of my own. My story, ‘The House by the Thames,’ is by way of being a tribute to the master of locked room mysteries, John Dickson […]