Sunday, 16 December 2012

Three little books

Cornish Killing by Chrissie Loveday (Easy Reads Intrigue #2)

Emma travels to Cornwall to stay with a friend who has just inherited a clifftop cottage. But Charlie is nowhere to be found, and her car has been found burned out with an unidentifiable body inside it. Emma cannot believe Charlie is dead, and sets out to find what happened to her, with the help of dishy local policeman Sam.

This was an enjoyable mystery with lots going on, although I found the baddies were rather clearly signposted, and there were perhaps not enough surprises and twists in the plot. The characters were very likeable and it certainly kept me turning the pages.

I hope that with the return to old-style Pocket Novels, there will still be a place for this kind of crime story which I very much enjoy.

The Ghost of Christmas Past by Sally Quilford

I got this for Kindle when Sally was offering all her 'Midchester' books for free one weekend. This one's set in Victorian times. One December a man's body is found in the snow, and two children are chased across an icy pond and fall in. The vicar's daughter Elizabeth is trying to find out who the dead man is, who killed him, and who put her brother in danger on that icy pond. She's also fighting her own feelings for the town's newcomer, doctor Liam Doubleday, who seems to be caught up in everything that's going on.

This novella has a distinctly Dickensian feel to it, both because of its setting and its wonderful cast of larger-than-life characters. There's the busybody elderly sisters, the grumpy titled lady, the creepy man who's trying to get Elizabeth to marry him...

As always with Sally's novels this one twists and turns and keeps you guessing right to the end, when all the plot elements are neatly sewn up. Very enjoyable read.

How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords by Vivien Hampshire

Vivien's name will be well known to readers of Writers' Forum. I have a go at the Evening Standard crossword on my train journeys home from London and needed a bit of help. This book takes you through the main types of clues and shows you how to solve them, with lots of examples. A great little book for crossword lovers.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

My son, studying A level Chemistry, borrowed this from his school library, then I read it after him.  The sub title is 'and other true tales from the Periodic Table'. It's a lively romp through the periodic table, telling the stories of how elements were discovered and named, and the stories of the characters who found them.

There are all sorts of fascinating facts in here- and the science covered is much more than just chemistry. I thoroughly enjoyed it though can't pretend to have understood every word. If you like reading about science I'd recommend this one.

Incidently the disappearing spoon of the title is one made from gallium. It looks just like aluminium, but melts at just over room temperature, so the minute you stir your tea with it it'll disappear.