Category Archives: Taylor Andrew

A March Retrospective

A summary of the books I read in March, with links to reviews:

A Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair – 3/5
Nowhere near as entertaining or cleverly conceived/wrought as the previous book in the series, The Act of Roger Murgatroyd. Disappointing.  (My mum enjoyed it, though!)

Ella Minnow Pea by Matt Dunn – 4/5
A clever & enjoyable fable set on an island where an overzealous council bans more and more letters from daily usage as a historic monument begins to decay. If you enjoy word puzzles, this is a really fun read, but more importantly, it’s a good story, too!

BOOK OF THE MONTH:
War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen – 4/5

In this sharply witty tale, Gloria looks back on life with her sister during the war, and discovers why certain memories are more reluctant to re-surface than others. I was relieved that the ‘twist’ (evident that it would be coming from early on in the story) was slightly different than I had imagined.  I like the fact that Jensen explores different styles in her writing, this being quite different to The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (equally enjoyed, and in retrospect does have some overlap of theme despite the dramatic difference in characters), My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time (a vivid historical romp, but with a schmaltzy ending), Egg Dancing (reminded me very much of Fay Weldon – actually, War Crimes could be said to have echoes of Weldon, also) and The Rapture (not as good as I had hoped).

The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Peju – 3.5/5
An accident involving a bookseller’s van knocking down a young child whose mother has not collected her from school provides the framework for this introspective and philosophical novel about two drifting souls searching for either meaning or escape.  Very French, very existential, quietly intriguing but lacking engagement on an emotional level.

Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway – 3.5/5
An encyclopedic look at Verity Bell’s life, naive and touching; very cleverly constructed.

The American Boy by Andrew Taylor – unrated
Read up to about the halfway point & was neither hating nor loving it, but realised I had no great desire to continue reading it.  So I stopped.

The Judgement of Strangers by Andrew Taylor

DATE FINISHED: October 9th, 2011             

RATED: *** 

SYNOPSIS:  When widowed vicar David Bycroft re-marries, his daughter returns home after finishing her exams, and they take in the son of a family friend for a couple of months. The anticipated familial harmony, however, is interrupted by a busybody parishioner, a missing cat, two young and mysterious new locals, and David’s wife’s research into local historical mad priest, Francis Youlgreave.

THOUGHTS:  The second part of the Roth trilogy, this volume is told from the perspective of the minor character from Part 1 who most piqued my interest: David Bycroft. Read more of this post

The Four Last Things by Andrew Taylor

DATE FINISHED: October 8th, 2011             

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  The young daughter of a vicar and a policeman is snatched from the garden of her child minder. Will the police be able to catch up with the child-snatcher before it is too late?  As Sally (the mother) is called out to various locations to identify various body parts dressed in her daughter’s clothing, time appears to be of the essence…

THOUGHTS:  This trilogy was first released as 3 separate stand-alone novels which interconnect to tell a fuller story/history behind the motives of a murderer. Read more of this post