Current Reading: Rhys Bowen, Lissa Evans

I hope you’re having a pleasant Summer, enjoying the green, beautiful world and also getting some reading done. Here’s my reading of late.

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen. Historical Mystery. The setting is early World War II and Paris has been taken but England not bombed nor invaded. Among the aristocracy, life can go on as usual, with the exception of sons off to war and soldiers in the home front, setting up barracks in grand houses in the country. From the author’s website, this blurb:

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

I liked this quite a lot, Bowen is very good at crafting characters the reader can relate to. The romance aspect is done with a light touch, and the background is well displayed.

Their Finest by Lisa Evans. Fiction. Set during World War II, and the reason I read it on the heels of the previous book, this is straight fiction. During the blitz, the Ministry of Information wants a stirring, heroic film made about the Dresden rescue. It’s to be based on a “true” story of two sisters who stole their father’s fishing smack and took it to France to bring back soldiers. The book describes the making of the movie through the eyes of three major characters: a screen writer, an actor, and a costumer. A little slow at first, it gained enough momentum that I carried through and liked it, especially from mid-point on. It was made into a film in 2016.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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20 Responses to Current Reading: Rhys Bowen, Lissa Evans

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    Their Finest was a very good movie too. I am reading…nothing. One of those pick up and put down weeks. Very little concentration so I need to find something simple but compelling.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    We watched THEIR FINEST, then I went back and read the book, much as I’ve done all my life, starting with OLD YELLER and BEN-HUR: A Tale of The Christ as a child. I remember getting the latter in school from Scholastic.

    But I digress. I liked the movie of their finest too. I haven’t read any of Bowen’s books in years, though they always sound like something that will interest me.

    What am I reading? I borrowed and quickly went through the amusing pictures in CRAP AT MY PARENTS’ HOUSE by Joel Dovev after reading about it online. It was worth the half hour or so it took, but that’s about it. I did read and very much enjoy Lorrie Moore’s 400 page collection of her pieces from the last two decades in SEE WHAT CAN BE DONE: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary. Besides reviews of books and (occasionally) movies, there are longer pieces on authors and television shows like THE WIRE and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Worth reading. I also read and enjoyed BRIEF CASES, the second collection by Jim Butcher of tales of Harry Dresden and others in his world. The books are too long, a fifty page story is just right.

    I’m nearly done with Edward D. Hoch’s collection of his Sherlock Holmes stories, which I am finding no more than readable. You know how sometimes a mistaken usage can take you out of a story, especially if it is set in a specific historical period? Well, virtually every story so far (I have two to go) has Watson referring to someone’s “pants” rather than “trousers,” which would just never happen. The stories themselves are not a patch on his later Dr. Sam Hawthorne tales, but of course they are readable.

    One thing I read books like the Moore collection for is to discover new (to me) authors. One I wasn’t familiar with was Elizabeth McCracken, and I am reading her THUNDERSTRUCK and Other Stories. Good so far, but no “wow” moment.
    I started Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND but put it aside to read Megan Abbott’s GIVE ME YOUR HAND first. Otherwise, I’m pretty much caught up with library books, though I have a couple more short story collections downloaded from the library,

    • I’m afraid none of your reading sound very interesting to me right now. I thought about that Hoch, but he just didn’t seem like a good fit with the character, so I decided to skip it. Yes, things like pants instead of trousers bother me. In the Bowen, she said cookie instead of biscuit in a couple of places and it jarred.

      I had five library books here but have finished four of them and will take them back. One was that Roz Chast book on New York which, for a westerner not familiar with NY wasn’t of a lot of interest or even particularly funny. Not that I expected much.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Deborah Crombie lived in Britain for many years, so she generally gets it right in her books, I only remember catching one error (chips instead of crisps) in the half dozen or so of her books I’ve read. Another mistake I’ve read (can’t remember if the Hoch had it, but it was in some British-set book by an American author) was they say pavement where we say sidewalk.

        Yes, the Chast is probably for native New Yorkers. Sorry about that.

  3. I’ve been in a mystery mood lately. I’m reading a Perry Mason novel from 1954 and just finished a Mike Shayne paperback from 1964. Books keep pouring in from AMAZON. Books I don’t even remember Pre-Ordering are showing up!

    • I have a couple of Shayne paperbacks in the TBR shelf, but never seem to get to them.

      The beauty of not buying much, and pre-ordering even less (I have 2 things on preorder right now, a Louise Penny and one by Martin Edwrads, Gallows Court) is that things don’t “pour in.” I have five library books here, four of them read and ready to return, one not started.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      George, Jackie asked me to pre-order three books for her yesterday, Several of her series are either ebooks only, or at least way cheaper as ebooks. As mentioned before, she is having problems holding mass market paperbacks open (hardbacks are not a problem), so prefers reading on the Kindle.

  4. tracybham says:

    Recently I read Night Rounds by Helene Tursten, set in Sweden, and The Woman Who Married a Bear by John Straley set in Alaska. Just finished A Study in Scarlet, my first Sherlock Holmes book, a couple of days ago, and I am now reading Queenpin by Megan Abbott.

    Hoping to get a copy of In Farleigh Field at the book sale in September. If not then I will look around for a copy.

    • I read that Straley years ago, but don’t remember being very impressed. Not familiar with the Tursten. You need to read the Holmes short stories, not novels!

      Your library should have plenty of copies of Farleigh Field.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    QUEENPIN is still in development and Megan met with a very famous actress who is interested in doing it. I am sworn to secrecy but I will tell you if it happens. They met ten years ago when she was interested in playing the younger woman and guess what, now the older.

  6. Evan Lewis says:

    I’m finishing up THE WOMAN WHO DIED A LOT, last of the Thursday Nexts, and it’s every bit as insane as the earlier books. Also reading a snappy investigation into the disappearance of the Roanoke colony. Next up: another journey through SHOGUN.

  7. Jerry House says:

    Graphic novels led the way for me this week. Volumes Four through Seven of Ed Burbaker and Sean Phillips’ CRIMINAL and Volumes One and Two of Jeff Lemire’s BLACK HAMMER. I have already mentioned ho impressed I am with CRIMINAL. BLACK HAMMER concerns a group of super-heroes isolated in farmland environs with no way to escape; I’ll be interested to see where this series goes.

    Also, one novel (Lester del Rey’s SIEGE PERILOUS, a.k.a. THE MAN WITHOUT A PLANET — one of six books ghosted by Paul W. Fairman from del Rey’s outline), one unclassifiable (Alan Dunn’s prose/cartoon mashup IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON EARTH? My FFB this week), one anthology (Groff Conklin’s 12 GREAT CLASSICS OF SCIENCE FICTION; I’ve now read all of the Conklin SF anthologies), and one collection (Eric Frank Russell’s FAR STARS, with stories from above average to very good).

    Kitty picked up Shondra Rhime’s THE YEAR OF YES on CD from the library, so we both listened to it over a few days while driving around and doing errands. The extremely padded book had a few good points.

    I finally was able to go back to John Connolly’s HE, a biographic novel about Laurel and Hardy. I should finish today. It’s very good.

    Coming up…who knows?

    Take it easy, my friend, but take it.

    • I saw a lot of that on your blog, Jerry. You’re reading some interesting stuff, including the Manga. I have some Conklin anthologies still unread, but with time I’ll get through them. They seem to take me forever. That Connelly may sound good to many, but since I can’t stand Laurel & Hardy, it’s not for me!

      Still very hot here. Another day at/over 90; each one setting a record for consecutive days.

  8. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    I finished Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand and enjoyed it very much. Reread The Night Lamp, one of my favorite Jack Vance novels. Now halfway thru She’s Leaving Home by William Shaw. The first of 4 police procedurals set in late 60’s London. I read his stand alone The Birdwatcher last year and liked it a lot. I like John Connolly a lot but couldn’t get into He. It was written in an annoying third person perspective which I didn’t like.

    • I still haven’t read the Abbott. Let me know how you like that Shaw. I just finished BROKEN ICE, the 2nd in Matt Goldman’s Nils Shapiro series. You said in a comment you liked it and so did I, quite a bit. I hope he’s working on a third book. I often don’t like it when authors play around with POV.

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