Monday, 28 November 2016

Praying by Mary Oliver

Advent Quietness: Making The House Ready For The Lord by Mary Oliver

Dear Lord

I have swept and I have washed but

still nothing is as shining as it should be for you.

Under the sink, for example, is an uproar of mice.

It is the season of their many children.

What shall I do?

And under the eaves and through the walls

the squirrels have gnawed their ragged entrances but it is the season

when they need shelter, so what shall I do?

And the raccoon limps into the kitchen and

opens the cupboard

while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;

what shall I do?

Beautiful is the new snow falling in the yard and

the fox who is staring boldly up the path, to the door.

And still I believe you will come, Lord:  you will, when I speak to the fox

the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose


that really I am speaking to you whenever I say

as I do all morning and afternoon:  Come in, Come in.

The Coniston Case (Lake District Mystery Series) by Rebecca Tope

Hardback:  "I won't care if I never see another red rose," Simmy muttered to herself, while carefully arranging a bouquet comprising ten of the things.  It was her eleventh Valentine's tribute of the day, and the sense of being swamped was becoming unbearable.  "And still another day and a half to go," she sighed.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and Persimmon 'Simmy' Brown's flower shop near Lake Windermere is doing good business.  But when Simmy receives a string of anonymous delivery orders, each one causing their recipient great distress, she begins to suspect that the messages they contain mask a sinister intent.  When one of the recipients disappears, it would seem that her worst fears have been confirmed.

As if that is not enough, Simmy's friend Kathy turns up, on the trail of her wayward daughter Joanna, who she fears has grown unhealthily close to one of her university tutors.  When Kathy attempts to reason with her daughter, she finds that Joanna's older lover may be even more menacing than she had imagined.

With both Kathy and Joanna in peril, Simmy and her friends find themselves caught up in a web of deception, blackmail and murder.  It seems that Simmy Brown faces her most puzzling, and perhaps her most dangerous, case yet.

The Coniston Case (2014) is the third book in the page-turning and well-paced Lake District Mystery series.

About the author:  Rebecca Tope, a British crime novelist and journalist, lives on a smallholding in Herefordshire, where she plants trees and watches wild birds, but manages to travel the world and enjoy civilisation from time to time as well.  Most of her varied experiences and activities find their way into her books, sooner or later.  In 1992, she founded Praxis books, a small British press.

She is the author of three murder mystery series, featuring the fictional characters of Den Cooper, a Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, a former nurse, now an undertaker, Thea Osborne, a house sitter in the Cotswolds, and Persimmon Brown, a florist in the Lake District.  Her books are set in real English villages.  She uses a kind of "anti research", avoiding discussion with any of the villagers, but does walk along the footpaths and visits most of the village pubs.

She is currently working on a biography of Sabine Baring-Gould.  Tope is also ghost writer of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.

Rating:  5/5

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Whistler by John Grisham

Hardback:  "This is a long story that will take some time to unfold.  It involves a ton of money, corruption that is astonishing, and some really nasty guys who wouldn't think twice about putting a bullet or two between my eyes, yours, my client's, anyone who asks too many questions."

We expect our judges to be honest and wise.  Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system.  We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe?  It is rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct.  She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct.  After nine years with the board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

She never expected to be in the firing line.  Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida's one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting.  That is until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

Myers is representing a whistle blower who knows of a judge involved in organised crime.  Along with her gangster associates this judge has facilitated the building of a casino on an Indian reservation.  At least two people who opposed the scheme are dead.

Since the casino was built, the judge has made several fortunes off undeclared winnings.  She owns property around the world, hires private jets to take her where she wishes, and her secret vaults are overflowing with rare books, art and jewels.

No one has had a clue what she has been doing - until now.

Under Florida law, those who help the state recover illegally acquired assets stand to gain a large percentage of them.  Myers and his whistle blower friend could make millions.

But first they need Lacy to start an investigation.  Is she ready to pit herself against the most corrupt judge in American history, a judge whose associates think nothing of murder?

The Whistler (2016) is John Grisham's electrifying novel of the year, a high-stakes thrill ride through the darkest corners of the Sunshine State.

About the author:  John Grisham is the author of twenty-nine novels, one work of non-fiction, a collection of stories and six novels for young readers.  His works are translated into forty-two languages.  He lives in Virginia.

Rating:  6/5

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Depth Of One's Nature

Notes On A Killing: Love, Lies, and Murder in a Small New Hampshire Town (True Crime) by Kevin Flynn and Rebeca Lavoie

Paperback:  Their friendship would kill her.

Weaver and fiber artist Edith "Pen" Meyer knew her friend Sandy Merritt's relationship with a married man was wrong.  She had even urged Sandy to take out a restraining order against Kenneth Carpenter.   Which was why her call to Sandy on 23 February 23 2005, seemed to come from out of the blue.  During it, she told Sandy to drop the restraining order and get back together with Ken.

Pen was never seen again.

One man stood to gain from Pen's disappearance:  Ken Carpenter.

But evidence was bleak:  no blood, no DNA, no body.

Until detectives found notes hidden beneath a leather chair that turned out to be a playbook for murder.

Notes on a Killing (2013) is a harrowing true story filled with heartbreak, betrayal and humanity.

About the authors:  As a radio and TV journalist, Kevin Flynn has won more than fifty broadcast awards, including an Emmy, four Edward R Murrow awards, and three New Hampshire Magazine's Best TV Reporter awards.  Currently, Flynn writes for several magazines and works as communications director for the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.

Rebecca Lavoie is the producer of "Word of Mouth," a daily magazine program produced by New Hampshire Public Radio.  A sought-after voice among many New Hampshire publications, Lavoie has written for New Hampshire Magazine and the Concord Monitor, as well as Newsweek and Playboy magazines.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Son by Jo Nesbø

Paperback:  SONNY'S ON THE RUN

Sonny is a model prisoner. He listens to the confessions of other inmates, and absolves them of their sins.


But then one prisoner's confession changes everything. He knows something about Sonny's disgraced father.


He needs to break out of prison and make those responsible pay for their crimes.


Son (2014) is an excellent stand-alone novel, where Nesbø "paints an intricate, disturbing picture of rampant corruption within prison and the police service in Norway."  It is translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.

About the author:  Jo Nesbø played football for Norway's premier league team Molde, but his dream of playing professionally for Spurs was dashed when he tore cruciate ligaments in his knee at the age of eighteen.  After three years' military service he attended business school and formed the band Di derre (Them There).  Their second album topped the charts in Norway, but he continued working as a financial analyst, crunching numbers during the day and gigging at night.  When commissioned by a publisher to write a memoir about life on the road with his band, he instead came up with the plot for his first Harry Hole crime novel, The Bat (2012).  He is regarded as one of the world's leading crime writers, with The Leopard (2011), Phantom (2012), Police (2013) and The Son (2014) all topping the UK bestseller charts, and his novels are published in 48 languages.

About the translator:  Charlotte Barslund was born in Denmark and has lived in the UK since 1984.  Barslund is a translator of classic and contemporary Scandinavian plays and novels.  Her translation of Calling Out For You by Karin Fossum was nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger award, while her translation of I Curse The River Of Time by Per Petterson was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction award.  She has also translated novels by Peter Adolphsen, Carsten Jensen, Sissel-Jo Gazan, Thomas Enger, and Mikkel Birkegaard.

Rating:  6/5

Friday, 4 November 2016

Li Ka Shing by Kanyin Publications

Paperback:  In the new century, the success of entrepreneurs will depend on technology and knowledge, not how much money you have.

Li Ka-shing was voted one of the world's most influential business leaders by Time, the most powerful financial figure in Hong Kong by Capital magazine, and Asia's richest person by Forbes (as of November 2015).

Young and old, they know the name "Li Ka-shing".  The old know him as the King of Plastic Flowers, while the young and younger know him as the real estate mogul, the Chinese multi-billionaire.

From the hardships in his early life to the humble beginning of his plastic factory, today, Li's diversified business touches virtually every aspect of Hong Kong life and stretches from one end of the globe to the other.

He owns the world's largest private operator of container terminals, Hutchison Port, with ports from the UK to Panama;  the largest health and beauty retailer, A S Watson, which has stores from China to Europe;  telecom interests spanning Europe and Australia.  Husky Energy, his Canadian oil and gas company, has operations stretching from the Atlantic to Asia.

Li's rag-to-riches journey is unquestionably an inspiring story that underscores that one can succeed in life - as long as he is willing to learn, grab knowledge, put in 200% effort and most importantly, be true, honest, and have integrity.

His successful journey has been documented in films and countless books, and mentioned in numerous dramas and movies.  He is a legend.

Despite his wealth, he has cultivated a reputation for leading a no-frills lifestyle, and is known to wear simple black dress shoes and a modest Seiko watch.  He is as prudent and frugal as the way when he first started his entrepreneurial journey.

In Li Ka Shing (2016), you will discover that what he has accomplished stems from who he is.  All his achievements are the results of his attitude towards life.  His experiences, the accounts of his dealings with people, especially the poor, and his fortitude in the face of adversities will inspire and challenge you to want to rise above yourself.

Definition of BREXIT

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

When The Music's Over (The DCI Banks Novel Series) by Peter Robinson

Hardback:  A baffling murder on a remote country lane puts Alan Banks and his team to the test in the detective's most intense and gripping case yet - from an author hailed by Louise Penny as "a writer at the top of his game".

In a remote countryside lane in North Yorkshire, the body of a young girl is found, bruised and beaten, having apparently been thrown from a moving vehicle.

While DI Annie Cabbott investigates the circumstances in which a 14-year-old could possibly fall victim to such a crime, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is faced with a similar task - but the case Banks must investigate is as cold as they come.

Fifty years ago Linda Palmer was attacked by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet no investigation ever took place.  Now Caxton stands accused at the centre of a historical abuse investigation and it is Banks' first task as superintendent to find out the truth.

While Annie struggles with a controversial case threatening to cause uproar in the local community, Banks must piece together decades-old evidence, and as each steps closer to uncovering the truth, they will unearth secrets much darker than they ever could have guessed.

When The Music's Over (2016) is the twenty-third book in the suspenseful, powerful and top-notch police procedural DCI Banks Novel series from one of the foremost suspense writers at work today.

The next and twenty-fourth book in the outstanding series - Sleeping In The Ground - will be out on 13 July 2017.

About the author:  Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada.  He has also written two collections of short stories and three standalone novels, the most recent of which is Number One bestseller Before The Poison (2011).  The critically acclaimed crime novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the USA, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.

Rating:  5/5