52 Books in 52 Weeks : 15/52 A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale

This was the previous month’s book group book. It follows the turbulent life of a parish priest in rural Cornwall through the eyes of his family and some of his parishioners who are inextricably linked because of him and the decisions he makes.

I was a little uncertain when I started to read it because it starts with the last moments of a paraplegic man called Lenny. I kept on going because I knew I had to try and finish it for book group and it got better. I did enjoy reading it once I was about a quarter of the way through so it was worth finishing. The story kept moving across the decades and was told by different people so it was a good ploy to keep the story going.

I thought I’d include a bonus picture of Penny Paws.

52 Books in 52 Weeks : 14/52 The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Georgia, a single mother to her daughter Dakota, is the owner of Walker and Daughter a New York yarn shop. Every Friday night, several women get together to knit together: Anita, Georgia’s mentor and backer; Peri, a student with designs on making designer handbags; Darwin, a student whose thesis is about knitting; Lucie, a film-maker who has a definite plan for her near future; KC, a book editor who can’t knit. Circumstances starts to draw the women closer together, in particular, when Dakota’s father comes back onto the scene and wants to participate in her life.

It was a slow read for me because I was busy with a ton of other things but once I got into it, it went along quicker. I found the book in one of those free to take bookshelves and although I enjoyed it, I was a little glad I hadn’t actually bought it myself. I can understand why it was a bestseller but I actually preferred Barbara Bretton’s knitting mysteries.

Tamyra says it is a ‘good yarn’. Ha ha!

52 Books in 52 Weeks: 13/52 The Blue Train by Agatha Christie

I’m slowing down on the reading front. As we are already in Week 15 of the year, I’ve slipped behind so I’d better get reading again!

The Blue Train is a Hercule Poirot story. He boards the Blue Train which is carrying an American heiress, Ruth Kettering, down to the French Riviera to meet her lover, the Comte. Also on the train is Ruth’s soon-to-be ex-husband and when she is found murdered and the famous jewel her father recently gave her as a gift is also missing, Poirot soon gets involved in the investigation assisted by another passenger, Katherine Grey, a plain woman who inherits a fortune from her elderly charge and is on her way to visit her sister in the Riviera.

I really enjoy reading Agatha Christie novels and this one was no exception. I hadn’t read a lot of her Belgian detective series before but it was good.

I thought you’d enjoy seeing Tabby again. I do kind of miss her. She is such a lovebug and I took this photo from the kitchen window of her being startled by a blackbird who had obviously felt aggrieved that she was drinking their water.

52 Books in 52 Weeks : 12/52 A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

I was ever so pleased when our book group said that they would read this book ๐Ÿ™‚ Louise and I were looking at in Waterstones when she and Bob were over in December and I’ve been wondering about reading it for a while so it was great to have an excuse.

An autobiographical story, James Bowen was a recovering drug addict living in London and busking to survive when he finds a bundle of ginger fur in a door way in his building. An animal lover, he soon starts to take pity on the cat and takes him in. It soon becomes clear that the cat who he christens Bob and he have a very special bond and Bob gives him a reason to move forward and get well again.

It is a very different book from any that I generally read and I did read it very quickly. If I wasn’t a cat lover, I might have formed a very different opinion of the book as the prose was simple but I enjoyed the story.

Oh and I had to make cat cakes for book group.

You see, I’m not the only crazy cat lady.

I even made ginger cats.

52 Books in 52 Weeks : 11/52 Pretty Dead Things by Barbara Nadel

I think I’m just making it a habit – this novel is set before the two that I read before (perhaps I’m a novel time traveller?). Cetin Ikmen is called in to find a missing woman married to one of Instanbul’s movers and shakers. The missing woman, Emine Asku, is known to be promiscuous and her husband is concerned that her latest lover has harmed her.

The police are fairly convinced that she is now deceased so they start to put together the pieces to track down a murderer linked to the heady days in the 70s when Turkey was on the hippy trail to the East. To make things more complicated, they find quite an old and unidentified skeleton of a woman eerily placed in a plant pot at the Kamondo Stairs.

I did enjoy this novel again but not as much as the ones I’d read previously. I am glad to have read it and am looking forward to another.

This is when I put a brass camel in the cat bed to see what Tamyra would do. She doesn’t look all that impressed, does she?

52 Books in 52 Weeks: 10/52 A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber

My friend’s mother sent this book for me and I did smile when I opened it up and saw the sock pattern in the front cover. This is the second in the Blossom Street yarn store series, the first of which I’d read and enjoyed several years ago courtesy of Jeanne and Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

It is a little while since Lydia opened her yarn store business and she is getting serious with her long-term partner Brad, the UPS man, and she is taking sign-ups for a new knitting class for learning how to make socks. She has three women sign up: Bethanne, an unhappy and unwilling divorcee; Elise, a retired librarian in the midst of a legal battle for a retirement condo; and Courtney, an uncertain teenager sent to live with her grandmother whilst her father worked overseas.

I enjoyed reading this cozy story of friends and it was clear that they would become friends from the beginning but it was nice to see how it would unfold. I quite enjoyed this second story and really must take a look at the 2 circs method although I am quite attached to the DPNs!

We have to be on the lookout for Tamyra’s water stealing antics. She is about to pounce!

52 Books in 52 Weeks: 9/52 River of the Dead by Barbara Nadel

Although this is the story that precedes Death by Design, I didn’t feel at all like I’d missed anything by reading them in the wrong order. A violent criminal, Yusuf Kaya, escapes from prison by faking a heart attack. He is an extremely dangerous man with a far-reaching drugs empire and Ikmen and his second-in-command, Suleyman are in pursuit of him in order to put him back into prison again. The search takes Suleyman into the dangerous and mysterious Eastern border of Turkey to the town of Mardin. Suleyman discovers a strange Eastern mysticism and religious spirit with casts a spell over the novel. Ikmen manages the investigation from Istanbul with the added strife of his good-for-nothing druggie son turning up like the prodigal son at his apartment.

Again, another exciting crime novel. Well written and really interesting as it alternates between the action in Instanbul and the action in the mystic East.

Who knows what goes through Tamyra’s mind? She turned her head just as I got the camera out!

52 Books in 52 Weeks : 8/52 Death by Design by Barbara Nadel

I picked this up in our mobile library not having come across a Turkish detective series before.

Inspector Cetin ฤฐkmen arrives at a factory manufacturing fakes when a boy they are trying to take into custody blows himself up. Amongst the ruins of the factory are found a map of the London Underground and evidence that the web of crime extends beyond the manufacture of fake goods. Inspector ฤฐkmen is asked by his superiors and British police to go undercover to flush out the fundamentalists who they think may be thinking of trying to launch an attack in London. Having assumed a new identity and lied to his estranged wife and his children about his mission, he sets off on a terrifying journey made by many illegal immigrants to the UK to undertake his undercover role.

I couldn’t put this one down and I’m looking forward to starting the second one I picked up.

I met a grumpy little tortie on my travels recently. She was a bit coy about a stroke, rolling around as if she wanted a cuddle and shying away with a frown when I approached.

52 Books in 52 Weeks : 7/52 The Marmalade Shore by Richard Comus Tammar

I can’t remember why this was on my Amazon wish list but I have a feeling I saw it reviewed somewhere and thought it sounded like fun.

Orange, a young, handsome ginger cat, is distressed when his Monkey goes abroad on a trip to Egypt and the young feline soon takes up with his Uncle Bryan (another ginger cat) on a trip to Monte Carlo. Bryan is an inveterate gambler and is serious trouble with the people he owes money to who have sent a big black and white cat, Spoon, to recover the debt or kill Bryan if he can’t. Orange is told that it is Bryan’s intention to drive to Monte Carlo where a buyer is waiting to buy the car (didn’t you know cat’s drove tiny motors and the only reason we don’t see them is mind power which I hasten to add is incredibly strong with ginger cats?) and this will cover all of Bryan’s debts. It soon becomes clear to Orange that Bryan is not as sincere as he seems and this lays open a host of events which include a mad high priestess who is keen to trap Orange because of his ginger powers, a mad cat goddess and various other ridiculous characters.

This made quite a refreshing change from some of the disappointing books I’ve read of late as I was going to bed earlier to try and get more read. It was ridiculous in places but then how many books have cats driving and fancy mice? I enjoyed it but realise it might not be to everyone’s taste.

I was hoping to meet a ginger cat that I thought might look like Orange and I could only come up with this handsome chap.

52 Books in 52 Weeks: 6/52 The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I’ve never read any of the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels so I came to The House of Silk with a fairly open mind as I didn’t have anything to compare Horowitz’s story with. Quite often when someone writes a sequel or addition to a well-loved series, it comes as a disappointment as there is something about the style or the substance that isn’t quite right. I have enjoyed the BBC TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch which has been on of late (Sherlock with and iPhone!) I decided to think of it as an detective story as quite often I’d been put off Sherlock Holmes because I thought it was a bit fuddy or old-fashioned and it was so often on television – ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ was not a phrase that filled me with joy (slight spoiler – Sherlock does not say that at all in The House of Silk – yay). I like Anthony Horowitz as he has written some of good TV series (Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders) and I heard him speak about childhood at a conference once which did cause me to create a mental note to read him one day. I was heartily glad when my book group decided to choose The House of Silk ๐Ÿ™‚

Dr Watson is staying with Holmes whilst his wife is attending to a sick friend’s son when one morning the pair are called upon by Mr Edmund Carstairs who had had made a very lucrative deal to sell some artwork to a wealthy American collector only to have them destroyed by a gang of Irish robbers en route. Carstairs together with the collector hire a detective to track down and apprehend the Flat Cap Gang as they were known which ended in a bloody battle where one of the gang leaders was killed and the other seemingly having gotten away. It is when Carstairs is back in England, he starts to notice that a man with a flat cap is hanging around outside his house and he fears that the man is one of the gang leaders, O’Sullivan, come to get his revenge. Holmes’ curiosity is piqued and he gets his gang of ‘Irregulars’ into action to track down and find O’Sullivan but on the night that Holmes, Watson and Carstairs go to confront O’Sullivan, it is found the man is already dead and one of the Irregulars runs off muttering something about money to be made from the matter. Carstairs is satisfied the case is closed but Holmes does not share this opinion and delves deeper into the matter which is increasingly implicated with the secretive and dangerous House of Silk.

I won’t go on but I loved it. I’m glad our book group chose it as our February book ๐Ÿ™‚ I may now be tempted to read more Sherlock Holmes.

Lovely cuddly Clint again ๐Ÿ™‚