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‘absorbing second mystery . . . stunning resolution.’ [Stage Fright]

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It’s over!

51bR+fAUJXL._AA160_In my Christmas Eve daze – up to my elbows in red cabbage and stuffing – I must have forgotten to press ‘publish’ after I wrote this post. It was actually written on the 24th December!

‘Today my book-buying moratorium is over. It’s been three months – and I have pretty much stuck with it. I did buy a book last week, a work of popular science, The 4% Universe by Richard Panek – but not for pleasure. I wanted to read it as research for my next novel, and there wasn’t a copy in the London Library or my local library. I also downloaded a children’s story, A Bundle of Trouble by my old friend, Judith Dunger, after she mentioned it in her Christmas letter. So now I have owned up to everything – and I think I have done just fine over all.

Once I got used to the idea of the moratorium, it wasn’t so difficult. I think it will have a longer effect on my book-buying habits. Although I’m not going to deny myself the pleasure of buying books, I’ll be more selective in future. I will buy books by my favourite authors and will now and then take a chance on a new writer – I just won’t do it as much – and I’ll use the library more. This is in part because the impact on my TBR pile has been pretty negligible, if I am honest. A year’s moratorium might have been more like it. I still have an awful lot of lovely books waiting for me – and will no doubt accumulate more as Christmas presents. So I haven’t entirely achieved what I set out to do in that respect. It’s a work in progress and I’ll go on chipping away over the next year.

To celebrate my achievement, I treated myself to a book – an e-book, actually, as I have had more success in whittling down superfluous e-books. After some thought, I chose Rennie Airth’s new John Madden novel, The Reckoning. And, do you know, it felt terribly extravagant. I almost didn’t want to: almost, but not quite!

Happy Christmas!’