Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fall Books for Me Thus Far

In less than five hours it will be October. I cherish September and hate to see it go. With our travels, September passed much more quickly than we wanted it to.

Yesterday I meandered among my piles of library books and my own books still to be read.
I decided to read a book I vowed I would read this past summer, the second volume in Elizabeth George's Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley series, Payment in Blood, which is set in Scotland. (The novel was first  published in the U.S. in 1989.)
I have read a few more recently published novels in the series a few years ago, but I decided last year that I would start at the beginning, with the first volume, The Great Deliverance. I thought the strong characterizations of Lynley and Barbara Havers were superb and unusual for most crime fiction series. The fireworks (and I mean sparks and flames) within their developing working relationship were so eye-opening and revealing about both of them, so much so that I was in awe.

I imagine that many of you saw the BBC television versions of the novels in this series many years ago. I may have seen one at the most. I missed most of the excitement surrounding this series, during the years I was working long hours and read only about six books a year, aside from the dozens of tomes I read for the research for my books, which was office reading. Ken and I typically read about 30 minutes before bed, and then a few additional hours on the weekend. It makes me wonder now, stupefied, at how much I missed--it really does. But recompense was the satisfaction I had writing works of history.


  1. Sometimes it's hard to fit in the reading-for-pleasure. But it's wonderful that you can go back and fill some gaps, years later!

    1. I think I realized after being so absorbed by more recent books in the series that it would be worthwhile to go back to the very beginning. And so it has proved to be.

  2. I loved the early books in the Lynley and Havers series. And read some of them twice. She writes so well, and as you say, such wonderful characters. It is well worth going back and reading those early books. Elizabeth George probably writes just as well now, but her books are too long for me.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      Yes, the second half of George's oeuvre do seem very long, but the ones I've read are good. I still have a long way to go to before I can really say anything definitive about the series overall.
      This second in the series, The Final Payment, is a long book, notwithstanding. I'm only on page 50 so far. Mostly because we're in peak foliage now and I'm trying to do so many things outdoors while preparing for winter indoors. It will come. But at this time, to spend even an hour reading a book seems empty and frivolous. In a few weeks' time the explosive colors will have vanished, and I can settle in to reading for hours once again. I do hope you have a good, relaxing holiday weekend, and I sure as hell hope you don't have to work Monday!

    2. Tracy,
      Oh, gosh! I meant to write the title I'm reading as Payment in Blood. I was drinking a glass of wine--woops.

    3. I envy you your fall foliage, Judith. We don't get much of that here in southern California, and it is getting warmer again. We often have a very warm October.

      I liked both the mystery plot and the story of the personal lives of the recurring characters in the Lynley and Havers series. I will be interested in how you like them after you have read more.

    4. Hi Tracy,
      According to the tourists from the West who we come across here, the trip east is worth the trouble. Yet the foliage, and the weather most of all, varies from year to year. This year we are experiencing only a few hours of sunshine during our peak foliage, as we have been swamped by rainy days and cloudy, drizzly days. The colors still stand out. But not in neon lights as happens on days with brilliant sunlight. The highlight of the year, at least for me.
      This second novel of the series, Payment in Blood, is very interesting--a murder in a large Scottish estate, which a theater troupe from London has leased for a week, to iron out the problems in a very important play to be staged in London. Numerous characters, with many complicated inter-relationships. I realized this afternoon that I almost need to make a map of these to fully enjoy the tale. If I didn't enjoy Barbara Havers as much as I do, and if I didn't thrive on the writing, which is excellent, I wouldn't bother. But it is great, so I will do that to enhance the experience.
      Enjoy your Sunday!