Crammed together: Nine Books

My to-be-reviewed pile for 2022 is long and toppling over. Before I forget all about the books, here are just a couple of lines about nine of them.

So in no particular order:

Death of a Hollow Man (1987): I had enjoyed Caroline Graham’s The Killings at Badger’s Drift, the first in her Inspector Barnaby’s series. So when I got her second book which had a theatrical setting, I was very excited. Unfortunately, the book turned out to be predictable. An unpleasant man gets killed by another…. I might still read the third in the series though.

First Line: “You can’t cut your throat without any blood.”


What Alice Forgot (2009): I had heard a lot about the author Liane Moriarity. This book begins well when a young woman falls down in her gym and suffers a head-injury which erases years of her life. Now she finds herself alienated from her sister and divorcing her husband while she remembers only loving them. This could have been a much better book had the editing been tighter. The same things being repeated endlessly tested my patience and I could only complete it by clenching my teeth.

First Line: She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summery fragrance of salt and coconut.


To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King (1995): Supposedly a murder-mystery, this is more about the mystery of a man called Brother Erasmus who is neither as intriguing nor as interesting as the author would want us to believe.

First Line: The fog lay close over San Francisco the morning the homeless gathered in the park to cremate Theophilus.


The Loop by Nicholas Holloway (2019): A man brings a woman to his house, hears a noise and goes down to investigate, is stuck on the head and loses consciousness. When he regains consciousness, he has a corpse on his hands. This has a twist at the end of almost every chapter and it held my interest but there was also too much of violence. Still, I am looking forward to the sequel which has the character who interested me the most.

Opening Lines: Tipp. Tipp. Tipp… Drroplets of scarlet pattered into a porcelain sink, fading to pink as blood intermingled with the steady trickle of water.


The Lost Village by Camilla Sten (2019): This translated work, which is about a film-maker making a documentary about a village in Sweden where all people disappeared one day leaving behind only a lynched corpse and a new-born was turning out to be a perfect Halloween read till we neared the end. When a decade old mystery can be resolved merely by opening the first drawer and picking up the top-most file and when the murderous person in the end is totally unbelievable, you know you have wasted your time. In fact, it’d have been better had the author gone for the super-natural to explain the incidents.

First Line: When I first set out to write The Lost Village, I wanted to write a book just for me – a book I would enjoy writing.


Play to the End (2004): Author Robert Goddard had been on my reading radar for long but this was definitely not the book to begin reading him. A slowly-fading actor is contected by his about-to-take-a-divorce wife about a man who has been stalking her. She is about to marry a mister Money-bags. Since our hero is still in love with her and wants her back, Mr. Money-Bags turns out to be truly evil. Have always hated this trope which I find utterly juvenile.

First Line: What I felt as I got off the train this afternoon wasn’t what I’d expected to feel.


Skeleton in the Grass by Robert Barnard (1988): Another book which was going great till the author turns his ire towards the characters he had presented so charmingly in the beginning. A young governess slowly uncovers the shallowness of a family she had idealised initially even as war-clouds gather over England. The ridicule the characters are subjected to towards the end left a bitter taste in my mouth. Apparently, in England you can’t be forgiven if you abuse Winston Churchill!

First Line: A sudden chill breeze from the river caught Sarah as she leant through her bedroom window.


Ruling Passion by Reginald Hill (1973): The third in the D&P series didn’t impress me as much as the first two. Perhaps it was just the tragic fact of Ellie and Pascoe’s friends dying right at the beginning that put a dampener on my mood. It was just too brutal and the book never quite recovered from that. I thought it was too cruel of the author. But now that I have got it out of my system, I think I can move on to the fourth book.

First Line: Well hell, Peter Pascoe!


Death in the Sun by Stephen Coulter (1968): Ed Murray, gun-runner, gold-smuggler, drug carrier is actually helping the Tibetan rebels against China. In Nepal he falls in love with Estelle Spenser, a woman with a past. Nothing special about the book except that the Pan paperbook reminded me of many such books that we would read in college and borrow from shops selling general groceries. Now such shops and books have both disappeared leaving behind only memories…

First Line: You know how it is at Dum-Dum when they roll up the gangway and the crows are croaking out there in the heat like the lost souls of your enemies who have flown in to wait for you.

Publication Details: 1968. London: Pan, 1970.

Alternate Title: A Stranger Called the Blues

Pages: 173


I end this post with a song that runs throughout the last book:


8 thoughts on “Crammed together: Nine Books

  1. I have to admit, Neeru, I like Caroline Graham’s series a lot; just from personal bias, I hope you’ll read another and that you’ll like it better. It’s good to see a Reginald Hill in your list; that’s another series I like very much and sometimes recommend. I wish you’d had more real winners and fewer that you didn’t like so well, but I think that’s the way it goes sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t have much to write about these books, Margot so I put them all together. I like Hill a lot and will continue to read him. Also hope that the third book of Graham is better than this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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