The forecast may be grim and we may not be heading off to the Costas. Don’t despair. There are plenty of bumper books to help you find a summer escape.
For an old-fashioned mystery : ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex.
They say the sea keeps its secrets…
Captivating Cornwall, remote and mysterious, it keeps its secrets close. Emma Stonex takes inspiration from real events of 1900 and updates
1972. How have three lighthouse keepers vanished from a lighthouse miles from the shore? Doors are locked from the inside and all clocks have stopped. Time itself paused with the disappearance of the men. The logs speak of a ferocious storm, yet the weather had been calm for the past week.
Twenty years later and the women left behind are still struggling to move on. Divided by grief and a tragedy that should have united them, they decide to speak their versions of the truth to a writer. Will the truth finally be uncovered?
A compelling mystery that is also a love story. A perfect holiday read.
A life examined: The Boy on The Shed – Paul Hollis.
Paul Hollis has led one hell of a life. Born into a catholic family , who lived in a largely protestant town, just outside Belfast. His talent apparent from a young age and it propelled him into Newcastle United’s first team aged just 16. Naturally, being a wizarding winger and Northern Irish, comparisons to George Best followed In essence, this is a footballing story set against a backdrop of love, death, leaving home and growing up an outsider.
His dealings with Newcastle United as a player and his subsequent career as a physio, earned him the acquaintance of Newcastle legends including Keegan, Dalglish, Gullit, Gascoigne and Shearer. He even became a member of Shearer’s backroom staff.
Whilst his footballing days may have ended in disappointment, he pulled himself up, gaining a masters degree and qualifying as a barrister.
It has been quite a journey for the Boy on the Shed. This is an excellent biography that should grace the bookshelves of football fans an non-fans alike.
To capture a spy: Box 88 by Charles Cumming.
1989. The end of the Cold War. Lachlan Kite is recruited and sent to France. His mission is to investigate an Iranian businessman who is implicated in the Lockerbie bombing.
The truth is more terrifying than anyone predicted. Years later, MI5 learn of Box 88’s existence – the shadowy organisation that embroiled Kite, putting him firmly in their crosshairs. The Iranians get hold of him first; brutally torturing him in a bid to find out happened in France.
How far would you go to protect your present from our past? Charles Cumming is at the top of his game and this is a superbly crafted spy thriller.
A Life in Food: Hungry by Grace Dent
Any recipe book that extols the virtues of chips and gravy, fruit and nut bars and frazzles deserves some special culinary writing award.
Grace Dent is one of our wittiest writers – on food and more. This is an account of growing up in 1980s’s Britain explained through the lens of what we ate; Angel Delight, Findus Crispy Pancakes to name but two. She explains what food meant to her and her working-class family and how her palette developed through exposure to posh restaurants, sophisticated foods and of course, her appearance on Masterchef.
Funny, tender and touching, her account of a family Christmas meal with Wham’s Last Christmas blaring in the background and raising expectations as to what a Christmas dinner table should look like:
“there is no scene in that video where George explains to Pepsi and Shirley that there’s no room at the six-person dinner table, so they’ll be eating their turkey on a pull out wallpapering bench, sitting on deckchairs”
A warm-hearted, treacle- sponge comfort read of a book that serves up ‘food for thought’ on the role food plays for us all and how what we eat is so dependent on social class and family.
Modern Classic- The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
The recent BBC adaptation introduced Nancy Mitford’s most enduring novel to a new generation.
Finding Mr Right has always been hard! Set in the snobby upper class inter-war years. Fanny, our narrator takes us on a beautifully observed comic journey of manners and match-making., encapsulating the tedium of waiting to grow-up and have adventures.
Both Fanny and Linda, her magnetically beautiful cousin dream of escaping the clutches of Uncle Matthew and their dull countryside existence. Will love prove to be what they always dreamed of? Linda kisses plenty of frogs on the way before finding her one true love. Fanny has a slightly less dramatic path.
There’s a host of memorable characters which include Uncle Matthew ( a slightly more nuanced character than Dominic West’s portrayal suggested) and Linda herself; headstrong, amusing and not as irritating as she could be in a less-gifted writers hands. A glorious, witty romp of a read.
A read from Reigate Writer: Loaded Niki Mackay.
This gangland thriller from Reigate’s Queen of Crime is based on the true story of a string of unsolved murders from the 1960’s.
Faith Diamond comes from a tough background. Life is all about surviva. When a series of prostitutes are found murdered, the evidence points to Marshall Valla, a man connected to Faith’s own family, who themselves are involved in the underworld.
Faith is forced to consider that her family may be involved in something more evil than she ever envisaged.
Who can you trust when you doubt those closest to you?