Due to the great Agatha Christie reread, 50 down 33 to go, I haven’t been posting my thoughts on any books up here recently, although I have been adding my reviews on Library Thing – god I love that website and I have been accused of infecting others with my enthusiasm. Anyway I thought I would post some thoughts on some random books I have read recently, so here goes.
I have to write about this book because it is probably my favourite Christie novel, and is the perfect Poirot as he investigates a murder in retrospect. Sixteen years ago Amyas Crane was poisoned by his wife – but in her last letter, from prison, to her daughter Caroline Crane protested her innocence. Now her daughter, Carla wants to find out what really happened. The five little pigs of the title are the five main witnesses to the crime, any of whom could have really killed Amyas. The plot twists and turns and is full of information and disinformation. I am not going to tell you who dunnit, because that would spoil this for you, but the plot explores the good and terrible aspects of love and how time and emotion distort memory. Perfection.
Alexander McCall Smith seems to be one of those authors you either love or hate. Personally I love the deceptive simplicity of his writing and Precious Ramotswe is an endearing character whose wise optimism and stoicism is a philosophy more of us should follow. She is perceptive – when she hears of a woman imprisoned for killing her husband, who beat and abused her, Mma Ramotswe acknowledges that her first marriage could have ended the same way – and engaging, her kettle seems to be permanently on the boil ready for a nice cup of redbush tea.
I love the Artemis Fowl series of novels, Arty, the teenage criminal mastermind, and his sidekick and bodyguard, Butler, are the perfect team. One of the things I have really enjoyed about these books is the development in Artemis’s character as he grows up and becomes a much more likeable character. This is something explored in this book, as Artemis goes back in time to battle his 10 year old self, and discovers what a maddening little know-it-all he was. Artemis needs to stop his younger self selling the last of a species of lemur to a group of mad extinctionists in order to save his mother’s life. He travels back in time with Holly and meets up with old, new friend, Mulch Diggins. This book has come in for some criticism for not being as funny or as good as some of the previous in the series, which I think is a little unfair. I think that Colfer is aging Artemis with his readers, just as J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter. This book is much darker than the first ones in the series as Artemis really seems to have an understanding of the consequences of his actions, whereas in the first books he was determined to save his father no matter what – now he is determined to save his mother but understands just what this may cost.
I’m now off to read the first in the Twilight series of books. Depending on who you talk to these are either rubbish or better than Harry Potter. But are they as good as Philip Pullman I ask?