First, the roses. These are the first roses of the summer, picked on Sunday morning. The pink ones are Eglantine & the red, The Squire. My roses are looking beautiful this year, covered in buds so I’m hoping to be able to pick lots of them for the house & to take to work so I have something lovely to look at & to smell when it all gets too much. Of course, ten minutes after I put the flowers on the kitchen bench, Lucky was nibbling away at them. Why does she do this? I often wake up to find that she’s very delicately flipped a rose out of the vase or jug & has nibbled all around the edges.
The books are a few new books & preorders I wanted to mention. I thought of Monica Baldwin the other day when a friend said that she once lent a copy of The Letters of Rachel Henning & it was never returned. This reminded me that I once lent a copy of Monica Baldwin’s memoir, I Leap Over The Wall, & never saw it again. So, I was pleased to discover that it’s being reprinted in January. I’m not sure I like the cover though… Anyway, Monica was the daughter of Stanley Baldwin, & entered a convent when she was 21 in 1914. Twenty-eight years later, she leaves, & this is the story of her life in the convent & what she experiences when she leaves.
Charlotte Riddell is an author I’ve read about rather than read. I’ve been reading her Weird Stories this week, reprinted by Victorian Secrets, & another of her novels, A Struggle for Fame, is being reprinted this month by Tramp Press, a new Irish publisher. This is the first in their Recovered Voices series & I can’t wait to read it.
The Ghost and Mrs Muir is one of my favourite movies – I watched it again last weekend – & Vintage have reprinted the novel by R A Dick as part of their Movie Classics series which also includes Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington & Show Boat by Edna Ferber.
Persephone in the UK & Sourcebooks in the US have both been reprinting D E Stevenson in recent years. It’s a shame that they began by reprinting the same titles (the Miss Buncle series) but Sourcebooks have kept their reprint list going with The Four Graces, The Young Clementina &, in January, The Listening Valley. I listened to this on audio a couple of years ago but will probably need a copy for rereading in the future. I also feel compelled to buy copies of authors like Stevenson & Angela Thirkell when they’re reprinted in case they go out of print again, which they probably will.
The British Library Crime Classics series has been very successful in alerting fans of Christie, Sayers & Allingham to other Golden Age mystery writers we’d never heard of. It doesn’t hurt that the covers are just gorgeous, often based on railway posters of the period. Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon (brother of Eleanor) (great review by Desperate Reader here) & A Scream in Soho by John G Brandon have just been published & The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude & Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston will be published in January. I enjoyed The Santa Klaus Murder & Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay & I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.
I’ve also preordered Mark Bostridge’s new book, Vera Brittain and the First World War : the story of Testament of Youth. Published to coincide with the new film, I’m hoping it’s not just a rehash of his 1995 biography of Vera. I know I’ll feel compelled to see this new movie version of Testament of Youth but I don’t imagine it will be as affecting as the TV series with Cheryl Campbell.
You can watch the trailer here but it looks too pretty, too clean. I feel a reread of the book & rewatch of the series coming on.
Finally, two books by favourite authors on favourite subjects published next year. The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards published in May & The Lives of Richard III by Chris Skidmore published in August. A history of mystery fiction by one of my favourite contemporary crime writers (who has written Introductions for many of the British Library series) is unmissable & a new biography of Richard III incorporating all the new information since the discovery of his remains in Leicester is a very exciting prospect. I really enjoyed Skidmore’s book on Bosworth so I’m looking forward to this one. Two books that will definitely not find their way to the ever-increasing tbr shelves. I will read them as soon as they hit the doormat. Absolutely, I promise.