Category Archives: Gray John MacLachlan

After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold

DATE FINISHED: June 14th, 2012 

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Margaret is recently married to a good man who – so far – has been understanding of her reluctance to fulfil her wifely duties. Margaret discovers a long-forgotten childhood journal and she suddenly realises that a whole chunk of her childhood memories are missing. The journal takes her back to a delightful summer where she was entertained by the young Rev James Jameson, a friend and colleague of her father’s at Oxford. How could those pleasant days have led to such unpleasant adult nightmares? Margaret is determined to dig out the truth…

THOUGHTS:  Arnold has based this novel, categorically, upon the relationship between Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), and his child-muse Alice Liddell. Read more of this post

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Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre

DATE FINISHED: January, 2012 (catch-up post)             

RATED: *** 

SYNOPSIS:  Showman & psychic Gabriel Lafayette submits himself to tests under controlled conditions, to prove his ‘powers’. A student at the university is convinced he can prove Lafayette a fraud, but why is he so determined? Following his involvement with the project, sceptic Jack Parlabane narrates from beyond the grave as he tries to figure out if & what is the greater scheme afoot.

THOUGHTS:   Although (potentially) fraudulent mediums are a subject which interests me, I felt that rather heavy weather was made of what should have been an entertaining storyline.   Read more of this post

Still She Haunts Me by Katie Roiphe

DATE FINISHED: March 31st, 2011

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS: When Charles Dodgson meets the Liddell family he is quickly enchanted by one of their daughters Alice – future muse for the classic ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  It’s a historical fact that after many photographs and years of friendship, Dodgson’s contact with the Liddells was brought abruptly to an end, and the pages of Dodgson’s personal diary from this period were removed.  Roiphe offers an interpretation of what might have happened…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

DATE FINISHED: March 30th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: Two stage magicians of the 19th century spend a lifetime competing against each other professionally & feuding with each other unprofessionally.  Through the journals of the two magicians, various secrets are revealed…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

White Stone Day by John MacLachlan Gray

DATE FINISHED: March 15th, 2011

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS: In Oxford, a young reverend finds amusement in entertaining his colleagues daughters with riddles, stories and photography. In London, a literally down at heel journalist finds himself investigating a séance only to receive an unexpected message from his deceased brother, followed by finding himself falsely imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. These disparate & seemingly unconnected storylines intertwine into a compelling period mystery.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

DATE FINISHED: March 13th, 2011

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS: Jack Maggs arrives in London seeking out Henry Phipps, a gentleman who it turns out has recently departed his last known address. Maggs bides his time in the role of footman next door until he can meet his quarry; but in the employ of Percy Buckle, Maggs’ secret past as a transported convict is quickly discovered when a dinner guest practices his parlour trick of mesmerism.

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post

Affinity by Sarah Waters

DATE FINISHED: March 11th, 2011

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS: A visitor to a women’s prison finds herself drawn to one of the inmates, Selina, whose crime is listed as fraud and assault. Selina is a medium, whose trade before imprisonment was ‘dark circles’ in the homes of wealthy ladies. At first cautiously, a strong relationship is forged between the two women, but imagination and manipulation are equally strong powers at play…

THOUGHTS: Read more of this post