What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Sunday 9th August 2023, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. On Sunday 9th August, the Classics Club will post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 30th September, 2023.

I have just 7 books left on my list, so I’ve repeated the list twice (minus the 7th book for second repeat).

  1. 8, 15 The Riddle of the Third Mile by Colin Dexter
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  3. 10, 17 Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford
  4. 11, 18 Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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  6. 13, 20 Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
  7. 14 Orlando by Virginia Woolf

I really don’t mind which book is chosen!



Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert, first published in 1950, was his fourth Inspector Hazelrigg novel. It’s the first one I’ve read, although I have read two of his other books. There is an excellent introduction by Martin Edwards, which gives details of Gilbert’s career as a a solicitor and as a mystery writer. He wrote 30 novels and 185 short stories, as well as work for radio, television and stage.

As the title tells you Smallbone is dead. He was one of the trustees of the Ichabod Stokes Trust together with Abel Horniman, the senior partner of a London law firm, Horniman, Birley and Craine. After the recent death of Abel, whilst looking for the deeds relating to the Trust, Marcus Smallbone’s body was discovered in the Trust’s deed box, a large, hermetically sealed box.

Inspector Hazelrigg runs the police investigation. It’s obviously an inside job and with the help of Henry Bohun, a newcomer to the firm, the police investigate each of the suspects until by process of elimination the culprit is identified. Of course it’s not that straight forward, as each person’s motive, opportunity and alibi is considered and there are a number of red herrings that did baffle me a little. There is rather too much detail about the finances of the firm for my liking, but apart from that the book moves along swiftly.

The setting in the solicitors’ office after the end of the Second World War is well done and reflects the differences between the male professionals and the female admin staff with their intrigues, rivalries and flirtations. I think Bohun is the most interesting character, although they are all individually distinguishable. Bohun is not just new to the firm, but also a newly qualified solicitor. He has para-insomnia and never gets a full night’s sleep, averaging about ninety minutes a night. It doesn’t make him feel tired, but means he has lots of time to help Inspector Hazelrigg and still carry out his job, as well as doing a good deal of reading, walking the streets and even working as a night watchman. It’s written with a light touch and a sense of humour and I enjoyed it very much.

Now, I’d like to read more of Gilbert’s work, maybe starting with some of his short stories as Bohun appeared in nine short stories and also in a six-part radio thriller and Hazelrigg featured in nineteen short stories as well as in six novels.

Michael Gilbert

Michael Gilbert (1912-2006) wrote thrillers, police procedurals and espionage novels that rank among the highest and most varied achievements of British crime writing in the second half of the twentieth century. A founding member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Gilbert was for many years partner in a London law firm and drew on his knowledge of the law in writing his most acclaimed novel. For more information about Michael Gilbert see this article by Martin Edwards.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 5145 KB
Print Length: 236 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0755119193
Publisher: British Library Publishing (22 Jan. 2023)
Source: I bought it


It’s time again for Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.


This month the chain begins with – 免费SHADOWSOCKS - tongxinmao.com:打开SS客户端, 扫描屏幕上的二维码添加服务器 美国-DO-洛杉矶 每天0点和12点更换密码和重启服务. 香港-Softlayer 每天0点和12点更换密码和重启服务. 日本-Linode-东京 每天0点和12点更换密码和重启服务. 上一篇:c++ builder 2021 安装破解 下一篇: by Jenny Odell, a an author and a book I’ve never come across before, nor have I heard of the attention economy. From the title it sounds like a self-help book, and the cover, although very colourful, doesn’t give me many clues, except to suggest it’s about flowers or gardening. However one of the reviews is more helpful – it ‘is a self-help guide for re-learning how to look at the world. The book braids threads of ancient philosophy together with contemporary visual and technological culture, and weaves an original route to re-wilding the mind.’

It doesn’t immediately appeal to me, not like the first book in my chain, another ‘How To‘ book, but definitely not a self-help guide:

It is How To Stop Time, a novel by Matt Haig, which caught my imagination right from the start. It’s about Tom who has a condition is called ‘anageria’, in which, whilst he is actually ageing very slowly, he doesn’t appear to be getting any older. He was born in 1581 when people suspected his mother of witchcraft. Tom tells his life story in flashbacks, switching back and forth in time between the present day and the past.

Witchcraft is the link to the next book. 免费节点每天更新v2ray, historical fiction by Beth Underdown, based on the life of the 1640s witchfinder Matthew Hopkins and his sister, Alice. As well as a good story it is a fascinating look at life in England during the Civil War, set in 1645, a time of great change and conflict in politics, religion and philosophical ideas, coinciding with a growth in the belief in witchcraft.


My next book is the one I’ve just finished, Thin Air: a Ghost Story by Michelle Paver. It’s also about siblings, brothers Kit and Stephen, who set out to conquer Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas in 1935. It’s an eerie story, full of unease, dread and horror. It is fiction but based on expeditions by real mountaineers who had climbed in the Himalayas and/or attempted the summit of Kangchenjuga. The mountain is the 3rd highest mountain on earth.

Reading Thin Air reminded me I haven’t read Cairngorm John: a Life in Mountain Rescue by John Allen. Allen was a Team Leader in the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team. ‘Cairngorm John’ was his call sign when in contact with Search and Rescue helicopters. I bought this book after we’d had a holiday in the Cairngorms. My husband has read it and said it is fabulous, not a word he uses lightly, or very often.

And this leads me on to yet another mountain in John Grisham’s novel, Gray Mountain.

Gray Mountain by John Grisham – this book is just as much a campaign against injustice and the misuse of power, about the good little guys against the big bad guys as his earlier books are. In this case it’s the big coal companies that come under the microscope, companies that are  ruining the environment by strip-mining in the Appalachian mountains.The main characters are Donovan Gray and Samantha Kofer, lawyers, who are taking on cases against the coal companies.  


And then I was reminded of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and his hike along the Appalachian Trail, the longest continuous footpath in the world. I was fascinated by the whole book – Bryson’s observations about the people he met, the difficulties of walking with a huge backpack, and his relationship with his friend Katz, who struggled to keep up with him. I know what that feels like, hiking with people fitter than you and seeing them march off in front of you, waiting for you to catch up and then setting off again – I felt sorry for Katz.

The books in my chain are linked by titles – ‘How to …’, witchcraft, siblings, and mountains, from the Himalayas to the Cairngorms to the Appalachians.

Next month (5 September 2023), the chain begins with Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel, Rodham.



Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I bought 永久免费ss节点二维码 by William Shaw this week. It’s a book I’ve been looking out for, ever since I read about Shaw’s books on Café ss节点分享 blog. So when I saw it was a limited time deal on Kindle at 99p I knew I had to buy it. It looks really good and it’s gone to the top of my books to read next pile.

It begins:

There were two reasons why William South did not want to be on the murder team.

The first was it was October. The migrating birds had begun arriving on the coast.

The second was that, although nobody knew, he was a murderer himself.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

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These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
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The book blurb:

Sergeant William South has always avoided investigating murder. A passionate birdwatcher and quiet man, he has few relationships and prefers it that way.

But when his only friend is found brutally beaten, South’s detachment is tested. Not only is he bereft – it seems that there’s a connection between the suspect and himself.

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Moving from the storm-lashed, bird-wheeling skies of the Kent Coast to the wordless war of the Troubles, The Birdwatcher is a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within.


I like those opening lines – letting the reader know straight away that South is a murderer and also a policeman. And he is the birdwatcher of the title. Immediately I wanted to know more.

Have read this book? Does it appeal to you?


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog. This week’s topic is a freebie and I decided to write about – Books I’ve Read But Not Reviewed.

These are all books I read before I began blogging in 2007. I’ve linked them to their pages on the Fantastic Fiction website.

  1. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – Did Grace kill her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper/lover Nancy Montgomery? I couldn’t decide all the way through the book. I’ve enjoyed all of her books that I’ve read so far – this is one of my favourites.
  2. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes – this is based on the true story of Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji, a solicitor from Birmingham. I’ve since read a few more of his books.
  3. The Conjuror’s Bird by Martin Davies about an extinct bird from Capt Cook’s second voyage, described on Davies’ website as a ‘novel of two narratives – one of the present day and one of the late 18th Century. As the two stories intertwine, the novel unfolds layer after layer of mystery and suspense.’
  4. 免费分享ss节点的网址 by Susan Hill – the first book in the Simon Serrailler series. I’ve read seven books in the series – and then decided I’d have enough of them and haven’t read the later books.
  5. The Apothecary’s House by Adrian Mathews – set in Amsterdam about the history of the piece of looted Nazi art, a painting with a disturbing wartime provenance. Archivist, Ruth Braams at the Rijks Museum, enters a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates its secret symbolism.
  6. Dissolution by C J Sansom – the first in his Tudor murder mystery series featuring Matthew Shardlake. This is set in 1537 – Shardlake investigates the death of a Commissioner during the dissolution of the monasteries. I’ve read all of his subsequent Shardlake books.
  7. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields – the story of Daisy Goodwill, from her birth on a kitchen floor in Manitoba, Canada, to her death in a Florida nursing home nearly ninety years later.
  8. A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve – at an inn in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, seven former schoolmates gather for a wedding. It’s an astonishing weekend of revelation and recrimination, forgiveness and redemption. At one time I loved Anita Shreve’s but went off the more recent ones.
  9. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – The discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive.
  10. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – this is the first in the Maisie Dobbs series. In 1929 Maisie set herself up as a private investigator, having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in the Great War. I’ve read a few more of the series since I read this one.


Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times. This week I’ve been looking at my Daphne du Maurier books. It was my mother who suggested I read Rebecca years ago. I loved it and read as many of her books that I could get my hands on. And over the years I’ve collected this pile of her books and also read her biography by Margaret Forster.


I’m only going to write about one of these books today – 免费shadowsock二维码, a novel about du Maurier’s great-great-grandmother Mary Anne Clarke, a blend of fact and fiction.

I have a Penguin paperback (the second book from the top) that was published in 1962. This was the copy I read in my teens. And I also have a hardback copy published by Heron Books in 1971 (the second book from the bottom) that I bought a few years ago – it’s in much better condition than my old paperback with its brown, fragile pages.

Mary Anne (1776 – 1852) was born in poverty and became the mistress of the Duke of York, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army during the Napoleonic wars. Actually, as I last read it many years ago I don’t remember the details, just that I really enjoyed it. Looking at it today, I see that at the beginning it looks back at the people who were close to her and what they remembered about her as they came to their deaths.

I love the opening paragraphs:

Years later, when she had gone and was no longer part of their lives, the thing they remembered about her was her smile. Colouring and features were indistinct, hazy in memory. The eyes surely were blue – but they could have been green or grey. And the hair knotted in Grecian fashion or piled high on top of the head in curls, might have been chestnut or light brown. The nose was anything but Grecian – that was a certainty for it pointed to heaven; and the actual shape of the mouth had never seemed important – not at the time, or now.

The essence of what had been was in the smile. …

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They all died. First her brother, Charles Thompson, followed by William Dowler, ‘faithful to her for 25 years’, a witness at the trial of the Duke of York, then the Duke of York himself, and finally Joseph Clarke her ‘drunken sot’ of a husband.

Mary Anne outlived them all:

But the owner of the smile had the laugh on them, right to the end. She was not a ghost, nor a memory, nor a figment of the imagination seen in a dream long vanished, breaking the hearts of those who had loved her unwisely and too well. At seventy-six, she sat at the window of her house in Boulogne, looking across the Channel to the England that had forgotten all about her. Her favourite daughter was dead, and the second lived in London, and the grandchildren she had nursed as babies were ashamed of her and never wrote. The son she adored had his own life to lead. The men and women she had known had passed into oblivion.

The dreams were all hers. (page 18)

I’d really like to read this book again!


A labyrinth of clues. A mystery novel hiding a deadly secret. A killer with a fiendish plot: a brilliantly intricate and original thriller from the bestselling author of Magpie Murders

Random House Cornerstone| 20 August 2023| 400 pages| Review copy| 5*

Moonflower Murders is a follow up novel to 免费节点二维码分享. It has the same format – that of a book within the book. Although I don’t think you have to read Magpie Murders first as this stands well on its own merits, I think it would help to know the background and some of the characters if you do.

Susan Ryeland, the main character, has retired as a publisher and is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend, Andreas. Their hotel is in debt, they’re in danger of going bankrupt and she is missing her literary life in London. So, when Lawrence and Pauline Trehearn, the owners of an hotel, Branlow Hall in Suffolk visit her and ask if she would investigate the disappearance of their daughter Cecily from their hotel for a fee, she decides to go – and at the same time visit London.

Before she had disappeared Cecily had read Alan Conway’s murder mystery, Atticus Pund Takes the Case, based on a murder that happened at Brownlow Hall eight years earlier. At that time, the evidence against Stefan, the general maintenance man was overwhelming and he was convicted. Cecily was convinced that there was something in the novel that proved Stefan wasn’t responsible for the crime. Unfortunately she hadn’t told anyone what had convinced her. The Trehearnes had read the book, but they couldn’t see any connection, although there are similarities – the characters are clearly based on the people at Brownlow Hall, with the same or similar names.

Susan had published Conway’s books, but thought that if he had indeed discovered that an innocent man was in prison he would have gone straight to the police and not turned it into a novel. But investigating Cecily’s disappearance, she re-reads his book and examines the evidence relating to the murder of eight years ago.

Moonflower Murders combines elements of vintage-style golden age crime novels with word-play, cryptic clues and anagrams. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to work it all out. it – Anthony Horowitz’s style of writing suits me – so easy to read, I whizzed through it, no doubt missing all the intricacies and clues along the way. But it is such an enjoyable way to read – no need to puzzle about the structure, or who is who as the characters all come across as individual people. Of course it’s not a straightforward mystery and along the way I was easily distracted by the red herrings. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to work it all out.

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WWW Wednesday is run by 永久免费ss节点二维码.

The Three Ws are:

 What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
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The book descriptions are from Amazon.

Currently reading:

After much deliberation and starting several books from my 20 Books of Summer list I decided to read Thin Air: a Ghost Story by Michelle Paver.

Kangchenjunga. Third highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to tackle the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe.

As mountain sickness and the horrors of extreme altitude set in, the past refuses to stay buried. And sometimes, the truth won’t set you free. . .

Recently Finished: 

I finished reading 免费节点每天更新v2ray yesterday and am still mulling it over. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I liked the structure, with the length of the chapters decreasing as the story progressed.


It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.


At the moment I think it could be Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert. I wrote about the opening paragraph and included a quotation from page 55 in My Friday post. Ot it could be 支持批量检测SS/SSR账号延迟和TCP/UDP可用性的客户端 ...:底部左边青框为服务器操作按钮,功能分别是手动添加 / 从二维码添加 / 从json格式配置文本添加 / 从SS/SSR链接添加 / 激活服务器 / 编辑服务器 / 删除服务器 / 检测服务器。底部右边蓝框为客户端相关配置和信息按钮,分别是配置 / 帮助 / 关于 / 退出(关闭客户端)by W J Burley. But it might be a different book that takes my fancy when the time comes.

The girl was young, with auburn hair arranged on the pillow. Wycliffe could almost believe she was asleep – that is, until he saw her face. She had been strangled, and someone had brutally smashed her face – but after death, not before… She lay in a seedy hotel room down by the docks, but her luggage, her clothes and her make-up all suggested she had more class than her surroundings.

Superintendent Wycliffe was officially on holiday, but the case fascinated him. Who was the girl? Why was she lying naked in a shabby hotel room? What was she doing with a thousand pounds hidden underneath some clothing? And, above all, why had someone mutilated her after she was dead?

As Wycliffe begins to investigate, he finds there are too many suspects, too many motives – and too many lies . . .

What do you think – which one would you read next?


I’m taking part in 免费shadowsock二维码, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. You simply list twenty books (there are also ten and fifteen book options) and read them during the summer months, ending on 1 September.

So far I have read 6 of the books I originally listed. After I began reading 免费分享ss节点的网址 by Eleanor Catton, which was not on my original list, I realised that as it has 853 pages there was no way I could read the rest of the books on my list before 1 September. So, I have revised my list – and I make no apologies for the fact that I have chosen books that are short rather than long. Well, The Luminaries is nearly as long as three 300 page length books!

  1. The Deep by Alma Katsu
  2. How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister
  3. The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson
  4. Maigret’s Holiday by Georges Simenon
  5. Deadheads by Reginald Hill
  6. Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz – finished – review to follow
  7. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  8. The Power House by John Buchan
  9. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
  10. Bilgewater by Jane Gardam
  11. How to Kill a Cat by W J Burley
  12. Thin Air by Michelle Paver
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  15. The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe
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  17. [ 功夫] SSR节点分享、免费订阅整理 - 我,魔术师:2021-3-29 · 给笔记本上个水冷?很酷的样子。能不能实现非侵入式?2021-3-29 09:59:04 永远不要忘记,创造时的快乐 2021-12-15 21:18:19 其实昨天就开始搬数据了,结果一不小心把数据库给删了。 又折腾一遍。好在是轻车熟路了。2021-12-15 10:52:18
  18. A Moment of Silence by Anna Dean
  19. rman 脚本 - 关系型数据库 - 亿速云:2021-6-12 · 请使用微信扫描上方二维码 使用帮助 请求超时! 请点击重新获取二维码 首页 > 数据库 > 关系型数据库 ... 阅读: 296 作者: 佯炳 栏目: 关系型数据库 run {sql 'alter session set nls_date_format="yyyy-mm-dd hh34:mi:ss"'; set until time = '2021-08-05 01:59 } ...
  20. 免费分享ss节点的网址

There is always the possibility that I’ll swap some books later on … I am constantly bombarded by books yelling at me to read them.

Six in Six: 2023

I’m pleased to see that Jo at The Book Jotter  is running this meme again this year to summarise six months of reading, sorting the books into six categories – you can choose from the ones Jo suggests or come up with your own. I think it’s a good way at looking back over the last six months’ reading.

This year I haven’t been reading as much as in previous years and up to the end of June the total was standing at 36 books. Several books could fit into the same categories, so to avoid duplication, for my last category I’ve chosen Jo’s category of ‘Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year‘ and added the books by those authors that I want to read.

Here are my six categories (with links to my reviews, except for the category of Six Authors I Read Last Year, which I’ve linked to Amazon UK):


  1. 长期免费更新ssr节点 by Michael Gilbert
  2. 永久免费ss节点二维码 by Susie Steiner
  3. The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox
  4. Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
  5. An Air That Kills by Andrew Taylor
  6. The Guardians by John Grisham

Six Authors New to me

  1. Sword by Bogdan Teodorescu
  2. The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
  3. Queen Lucia by E F Benson
  4. Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin
  5. Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  6. Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Six books from the past that drew me back there

  1. 免费shadowsock二维码 by Joan Hickson
  2. Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements
  3. The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
  4. The Deep by Alma Katsu
  5. Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan
  6. The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd

Six  Books I R永久免费ss节点二维码

  1. ss免费节点 每日更新 by Andrew Hunter Murray
  2. Writing Wild by Kathryn Aalto
  3. ss免费节点 每日更新 by Ann Patchett
  4. Looking Good Dead by Peter James
  5. The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson
  6. The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor

Six Physical Books I Read

  1. 免费节点二维码分享 by Charles Dickens
  2. Happy Old Me by Hunter Davies
  3. A Killing Kindness by Reginald Hill
  4. The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley
  5. Yesterday’s Papers by Martin Edwards
  6. Deadheads by Reginald Hill

Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year and their books I want to read

  1. Jo Spain – With Our Blessing – the 1st Inspector Tom Reynolds mystery, because I’ve read the 4th book, but not the first three.
  2. Jane Harper – The Dry – the 1st Aaron Falk novel. I’ve already read the 2nd, Force of Nature.
  3. Lisa Jewell – Invisible Girl – her new novel to be published 6 August.
  4. S G Maclean – The House of Lamentations – the final Damian Seeker novel – I’ve read the first four.
  5. Lucinda Riley – The Storm SisterThe Seven Sisters Book 2. I’ve read the first one.
  6. Claire Douglas – 免费节点二维码分享 – her new thriller to be published 6 August.

How is your reading going this year? Do let me know if you take part in Six in Six too.