by Mark Billingham

Recommended and lent to me by Pay Ranson, who has read several of the series of books featuring DI Tom Thorne.

This is an intelligent and well-written detective thriller, with a somewhat far-fetched but nevertheless engaging plot.  One of the characters, Alison Willetts, has locked-in syndrome, and her ‘speech’ punctuates the story. (Her role in identifying the killer is also highly relevant.)

I was reading this at the time a new baby granddaughter arrived, and had to put the book down for 24 hours, so unwilling was I to read about murder and torture while revelling in a new life.

Never keen to read any genre, but especially thrillers, back to back, I will probably wait a while before reading another novel in this series.


The Mayor of Casterbridge

by Thomas Hardy

Not sure that I have much to say about this book.  I enjoyed reading it more than I expected to, but – as with all the Hardy novels I have read – I don’t feel any urge to read it again or to mark it as one of my best-loved books.

What stays with me more than anything are the descriptions of the back streets and villages, the landscape and the harsh lives of ordinary country people.  I do feel that this is Hardy’s strength – and it comes from personal experience and detailed observation.