It’s a long time since my last blog and I’m sorry for my unexplained absence. There’ve been a number of reasons. My lovely mother-in-law died in April. She was 97 and had had a wonderfully interesting and fulfilling life. She was a GP, qualifying before the war when few women went into medicine. She is sorely missed. And then I’ve been busy finishing a draft of a novel at the same time as I was getting ready to hand over my work as membership secretary of the CWA to my successor, Linda Stratmann at the end of May. That will, I hope, free up more time to blog – I aim to get back to once a week – but for a while there was a lot to do, packing up files, bringing Linda up to speed and generally trying to leave everything in good order. So, what have I been reading in the meantime? I’ll take me a while to catch up, but one thing I’ve been doing is reading and in some cases re-reading with much pleasure the crime novels of Magdalen Nabb, set in Florence and featuring the highly sympathetic Marshall Guarnaccia. I read the early ones in the 1980s and then rather lost touch. She wasn’t a very prolific writer. There are fourteen spanning 27 years and I think they are in some respects a little uneven in terms of plotting, though the skill with which she conjures up the atmosphere of Florence remains constant. She’s an elegant and classy writer. The best ones for me are the first one, DEATH OF AN ENGLISHMAN, THE MARSHALL AND THE MAD WOMAN, THE INNOCENT, SOME BITTER TASTE, and THE MARSHALL’S OWN CASE. The only one that I didn’t really like was THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE, based on a notorious series of real-life murders. Sadly there won’t be any more as she died in 2007. Soho Press have been reprinting them in attractive paperbacks and I do recommend them.