It all starts with the suicide of William Goldacre, devastating to those left behind. Why did he do it, nobody really knows or if they do they’re not saying.
A couple of years later we have a murder (or do we) in Cambridge, bestselling feminist writer Clare Abbott. Her personal assistant is Caroline Goldacre, William’s mother.
Barbara Havers is desperate to redeem herself, and she is convinced there is a connection. She badgers Lynley into getting her on the case, which he does.
This is a novel of deeply hidden secrets, distorted truths, sexual complications, madness and much more.
Some of it is a bit convoluted and could maybe have been shortened. Interesting murder weapon.
As usual with Elizabeth George it is well written, the characters come to life in the reading of it and their interaction adds to the story.
Reserve A Banquet of Consequences
Martin Toppy is the son of a famous Traveller and the father of my unborn child. He’s seventeen, I’m thirty-three. I was his teacher. I’d have killed myself by now if I was brave enough. I don’t think it would hurt the baby. His little heart would stop with mine. He wouldn’t feel himself leaving one world of darkness for another, his spirit untangling itself from me.
Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. Her husband doesn’t take her news too well. She doesn’t want to tell her father yet because he’s a good man and this could break him. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming – larger by the day – while the past won’t let her go. What she did to Breedie Flynn all those years ago still haunts her.It’s a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life.
“John Harper lies awake at night in an isolated hut on an Indonesian island, listening to the rain on the roof and believing his life may be in danger. But he is less afraid of what is going to happen than of something he’s already done.In a local town, he meets Rita, a woman with her own troubled history. They begin an affair – but can he allow himself to get involved when he knows this might put her at risk? Moving between Europe during the cold war, California and the Civil Rights struggle, and Indonesia during the massacres of 1965 and the decades of military dictatorship that follow, Black Water is an epic novel that explores some of the darkest events of recent world history through the story of one troubled man.”
Last year’s Waterstones Book of the Year, Baileys Prize long-listed, Costa Novel Prize shortlister, the honours this book has gathered go on and on… finally out in paperback, isn’t it time you caught up with it?
“When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge. On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both. The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.”
Released on 20th April: reserve it in advance.
Yet another brilliant Norwich-based author! Sara Taylor’s debut novel, The Shore was longlisted for last year’s Bailey’s prize & garnered comparisons to Margaret Atwood. Her follow-up novel is being received equally warmly:
“I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong…
As Ma and Alex make their way from Virginia to California, each new state prompts stories and secrets of a life before Alex. Together they put to rest unsettled scores, heal old wounds, and search out lost friends. But Alex can’t forget the life they’ve left behind.
This is an extraordinary story of a life; an exploration of identity and a study of the relationship between a mother and her child.”
“In the morning, they gave Reacher a medal. And in the afternoon, they sent him back to school.Night School takes Reacher back to his army days, but this time he’s not in uniform. With trusted sergeant Frances Neagley at his side, he must carry the fate of the world on his shoulders, in a wired, fiendishly clever new adventure that will make the cold sweat trickle down your spine…”
“Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things…”
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things. One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
A wonderfully powerful novel that centres on a teenage girl and her relationship with alcohol. The girl’s wider relationships with her family, her experiences of sex and her feelings of bereavement make for a truly moving, funny and heart-breaking book. Highly recommended.
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t? Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five-year-old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.
Marie is turning 69 this year, but there are no signs of her slowing down – she has a new male lodger (very into conspiracy theories), an intractable iPhone to wrestle with, and a trip to India to plan! As usual the year brings plenty of challenges as well as opportunities. Marie is burgled, which sends the street into uproar. Ex-husband David is still around and getting rather too close for comfort. Marie’s cat Pouncer is starting to look rather peaky (her conspiracy-theorist lodger is convinced someone is poisoning him), and probably worst of all, it seems her grandson Gene is getting too old to want to hang out with his granny any more. Maybe learning to graffiti and speak street slang will help win him back?
Alice Rose is a foundling, discovered on the Yorkshire moors above Haworth as a baby. Adopted but then later rejected again by a horrid step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking – the scent of cinnamon and citrus and the feel of butter and flour between her fingers – brings a comforting sense of home. So it seems natural that when she finally decides to return to Haworth, Alice turns to baking again, taking over a run-down little teashop and working to set up an afternoon tea emporium. Luckily she soon makes friends – including a Grecian god-like neighbour – who help her both set up home and try to solve the mystery of who she is. There are one or two last twists in the dark fairytale of Alice’s life to come – but can she find her happily ever after?