Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Annam Jewel by Patricia Wentworth #DeanStreetDecember23

Title: The Annam Jewel
Author: Patricia Wentworth
Publication: Dean Street Press, paperback, originally published in 1925
Genre: Mystery
Setting: England
Description: Several years previously, James Waring partnered with two other unscrupulous men to steal the Annam Jewel from its shrine in a holy place in Asia. He did not survive for long but managed to tell part of his story and give the jewel to his brother, Henry.

Friday, December 29, 2023

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson - set in an underground library in Bethnal Green

Title: The Little Wartime Library
Author: Kate Thompson
Publication: Hachette, audiobook, 2023
Narrator: Sarah Durham
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: WWII London
Description: When a bomb destroyed the Bethnal Green Library on the first night of the Blitz in 1940, thousands of books were lost.  However, there was a half-completed Tube station nearby and, over the next year, it was transformed into an underground shelter, built over the boarded-up subway tracks, complete with a small library for East Enders needing distraction from war worries.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Spell the Month in Books – December 2023 and RIP K.M. Peyton

From books I have read this year:

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross (2023). Iris is alone after her brother goes to war and her mother dies (orphan alert!). The journalism career – and rivalry with handsome but annoying Roman Kitt – that meant so much to her now seems meaningless, but she uses what she’s learned to get a job as a war correspondent so she can find her missing brother. My review.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

Title: Murder on the Christmas Express
Author: Alexandra Benedict
Publication: Poisoned Pen Press, paperback, 2023
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Present-day Britain
Description: London detective Roz Parker has taken early retirement from her stressful job so she can move to Scotland and improve her relationship with her adult daughter, who is expecting a child and has gone into labor six weeks early. Roz’s colleagues all chipped in to buy her a ticket for the December 23rd sleeper train from Euston Station.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Spam Tomorrow by Verily Anderson #DeanStreetDecember23

Title: Spam Tomorrow
Author: Verily Anderson (1915-2010)
Publication: Dean Street Press/Furrowed Middlebrow, 
paperback, originally published in 1956
Genre: Memoir
Setting: WWII England

Description: Verily grew up in a slightly eccentric family in southern England, one of five children of a well-born vicar. His skill as a breeder of fox terriers paid for boarding school and other necessities for a large family not covered by a clergyman’s salary.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

My November 2023 Reads

Although I sometimes think I have overdosed on World War II historical fiction, I am always fascinated by evacuation stories, and last month I listened to the audiobook of Beyond That, the Sea, in which a girl is sent from London during the Blitz to Massachusetts where I live. Although the heroine is eleven when the book begins, this is definitely a novel for adults. Not only was this my favorite book in October, I kept on thinking about it long after I had finished and I recommend it to you too.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum #Ozathon24

Title: The Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
Illustrator: W.W. Denslow
Publication: Reilly & Lee Co., hardcover, originally published in 1900
Genre: Juvenile fantasy/series
Description: Dorothy is a little girl who lives in Kansas, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. When a cyclone hits, Dorothy and her dog Toto don’t move quickly enough to the cellar: the house is sucked into the center of the cyclone and they are transported to a country of marvelous beauty and color, quite different from the gray prairie she knows.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Babbacombe's by Susan Scarlett aka Noel Streatfeild #DeanStreetDecember23

Title: Babbacombe’s
Author: Susan Scarlett
Publication: Dean Street Press, paperback, 2022 (originally published in 1941)
Genre: Fiction
Setting: London
Description: On her last day of school, Beth Carson hears her headmistress saying the school will be the poorer without her, and she knows she will miss it but steadies her shoulders to enter the adult world. A job awaits her at Babbacombe’s, the highly-regarded department store where her father has worked for years.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Six Degrees of Separation – from Kitchen Confidential to The House on East 88th Street

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (2000). Before (and during) his book and television career, he was the chef at Brasserie Les Halles, which I went to several times, although never caught a glimpse of him (I didn’t mind; the steak and frites were good). When the book was a huge bestseller, everyone in NYC warned each other not to read it or we’d be afraid to ever eat out again.