Clouds of witness

First read in 2010, reread in 2014.

After solving the mystery of Whose Body Lord Peter Wimsey holidays in the wilds of Corsica, but, tiring of the rustic and wanting a bit of luxury he heads to Paris where he gets the shocking news that his brother, the Duke of Denver, has been arrested for murder. And the victim was Denis Cathcart, his sister’s fiancée. Wimsey heads for home straight away, and together with Inspector Parker he begins to investigate what actually happened.

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The King’s Speech

The wireless changed a great many things. Before, all that was required of a monarch was that he look the part, and not fall off his horse. After the king would invade his people’s homes and have to court them with his speech. So King George V of Britain believes, and tells his son. “Bertie” may not be expected to take the throne, but as a member of the royal family he must do his part for duty and the country. And so he is given the job of delivering the closing speech of the Empire exhibit. His older brother, David[1] has performed admirably, as has the king. But Albert has a speech impediment, a stammer. Which of course leads to the feared “dead air”. He visits all sorts of doctors in an attempt to find someone who may be able to help, but it is only when his wife stumbles across Lionel Logue, an Australian actor that he begins to make some progress.

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Linknotes:

  1. the future Edward VIII

Singled out

Full title: Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War
ISBN: 9780670915644

The term “lost generation” is often used to refer to the generation who came of age in World War I, a term commonly used to refer to those who died in the war, especially those of the upper-class. These, the “flower of youth” were the young men aged in the early twenties in the war. The loss of these men had a huge knock on effect in Britain. In this book Nicholson looks at the women of that lost generation and how their lives were forced to change from their expected path to marriage and motherhood.

These were the so-called “surplus women” the two million or so who would never marry, would never have children, and who were, in many eyes, a problem to be dealt with.

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The god of the hive

Book 10 in the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

I really wish that I had gone back and reread the previous book in this series before starting this. The language of bees is the ninth in the series, but it was the first that I read, I then went back and reread from the start, skipping this because it was checked out of the library and I haven’t gotten around to buying them all yet. But I should have waited, because this starts off right where language left off, so it took me a while to catch up on exactly what was going on.

Holmes & Russell are separated; both wanted by the police and there is also an arrest warrant out for Holmes’ son Damien. And then there is the fact that Mycroft Holmes himself was questioned by Scotland Yard. Unthinkable!

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The Separation

ISBN: 9780575081154
See also: Grumpy Old Bookman ; Singling out the duplications ; Guardian Review ; Excessive Candour ; Sandstorm Reviews

Jack and Joe are identical twins. Medal winners in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, their lives diverge down different paths. One joins the RAF and flies bombing runs during World War II, the other is a pacifist and a conscientious objector.

But it is hard to describe the plot of this novel with a brief paragraph; it is about the choices people make, about the different possibilities that are out there, and about how there is no such thing as being totally right or wrong in war. It is an alternate history, starting with the present-day investigations of historian Stuart Gratton, who lives in a world where Churchill and Hitler stepped down from power after a deal negotiated by Rudolph Hess, and saw the emergence of a far different world order.

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Birds Without Wings

ISBN: 0099478986

I’m not really sure where to start with this review, because this book covers so much. It is set in a small village in Anatolia, in the finally few years of the Ottoman Empire, just before the forced separation of Turks from Greeks, and Muslims from Christian. There are a multitude of characters, sometimes they tell their own stories in first person narration, other times a third person narrator details their lives as they intertwine and grow apart.

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