Books of the month: September 2017

Pick of the month

I admit I am a fangirl and possibly not as objective as I ought to be but I loved the 8th instalment of Sulari Gentill’s historical crime series featuring Rowland Sinclair and his chums. Not only does A DANGEROUS LANGUAGE have more of all the things I love about the series – great characters, lots of humour, fact and fiction woven together seamlessly – but it’s extra political and the historical figures are ones I have learned about myself. My only gripe is that it will be a whole year before the next instalment, though I am in the process of re-reading all the previous books which are being released in audio format. Delicious.

The rest, in reading order 

I didn’t realise it at the time but I visited lots of countries virtually last month: New Zealand, Germany, Thailand, the USA twice (California and Louisiana), England, Iceland, Sweden, Australia and a fictional island in the Caribbean (near-ish to Guadalupe). Almost as good as travelling for real 🙂

  • Simon Wyatt’s THE STUDENT BODY (a debut police procedural I featured as part of the blog tour for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Awards which celebrate excellence in New Zealand crime writing)
  • Elisabeth Herrmann’s THE CLEANER (a German book that depicsts how the country’s divided past is still catching up with some people)
  • David Casarett’s MURDER AT THE HOUSE OF ROOSTER HAPPINESS (a cosy mystery featuring a nurse ethicist working in a Thai hospital)
  • Michael Connelly’s THE BLACK ICE (I’ve been trying to like Connelly’s Harry Bosch series for a while now but can’t seem to get into it (I know, I know…it’s my fault), this one had sat un-listened to for 5 years on my Audible queue – I did make it all the way through but the case was about drug dealers – my least favourite topic in crime fiction)
  • Ruth Dugdall’s HUMBER BOY B (a suspense novel about a child who killed a child and how he – and others – try to come to terms with that when he is released from prison some years later)
  • Ragnar Jonasson’s SNOWBLIND (an old-fashioned style whodunit, with a bit of what-was-IT-in-the-first-place thrown in for good measure, all set in a cold and isolated part of the world)
  • Ellen Byron’s PLANTATION SHUDDERS (a cosy mystery in which guests at a Louisiana B&B are murdered at a rate that can’t be good for business)
  • Karin Alvtegen‘s SHAME (a Swedish standalone novel in which two unrelated women fail spectacularly to cope with their respective secrets)
  • Robert Thorogood‘s A MEDITATION ON MURDER (a tie-in to the TV series Death in Paradise which had almost but not quite all the elements of the fun show)

Other bits and pieces


Progress on bookish goals

aww2017-badgeAustralian Women Writers Challenge: Read & Review 25 books 

12 down (not counting the two DNFs), 13 to go. Unlikey to achieve this one

image borrowed and edited from 8 times in Crimes of the Century

4 down, 4 to go. Was looking good for this one but the host of this meme is taking a break and I haven’t been motivated to read the classics on my own.

mount-tbr-2017Read 36 books owned prior to the start of the year and/or reduce the TBR to less than 100 (from 131)


I have only read 20 books that I owned before January 1. I’ve gotten rid of a few more via culling or deciding not to finish but my total TBR still stands at 126.

It doesn’t help that I went on a book shop binge this month – something I haven’t done for ages. Psychologically I know that retail therapy isn’t helping me in the long term but the short term high is pretty good. All but one of these authors is new to me and my haul includes a crime novel written by a female Italian author, something I’ve been keen to find for ages.

Image sourced from

Buy no physical or eBooks from stores outside Australia (Audio books are my exception)

So far so good. I hope my efforts are appreciated by local retailers. The above haul cost me $155.96 at a nearby bricks & mortar store whereas a comparison shopping site tells me I could have saved nearly $50 if I’d used a combination of online sellers from overseas.

USAFictionChallengeButtonRead at least 10 books eligible for my virtual tour of the US via its fiction (each one set in a different state and by a new-to-me author).

Have read three eligible books for the whole of 2017. Unlikely to read 7 more during the final quarter but I suppose stranger things have happened.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

What about you? How is your reading going for the year? Anything from September that you want to shout about? 

This entry was posted in books of the month, David Casarett, Elisabeth Herrmann, Ellen Byron, Karin Alvtegen, Michael Connelly, Ragnar Jonasson, Robert Thorogood, Ruth Dugdall, Simon Wyatt, Sulari Gentill (Aus). Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Books of the month: September 2017

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Sometimes the psychological high of bookshop-haunting is worth having extra books around, Bernadette. And I think you got some great ones (must admit, I’m not familiar with all of the authors). I applaud you for trying to vary your reading by country/culture. I think that’s the best way to get a sense of what’s happening in the genre all over the world. And you did read some really appealing books this month (there are now three or four that have found their way on my wish list somehow…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy D. says:

    Well, there are upsides and downsides to not working — loss of income, lots of time on your hands vs. lots of time on your hands to shop at bookstores and read. And we get to benefit from the book reviews.
    For your U.S. tour, Attica Locke’s new book “Bluebird, Bluebird,” would make a good one for Texas.
    It’s a very close look at racism in East Texas. The sense of place is amazing as are the characters. I wish I knew some of them.
    Now I’m in a post-good-book slump, watching a dvd series from Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.
    I read some relaxing books requiring no thinking and giving me a lot of laughs by dog-lover David Rosenfelt. The fiction is “Collared,” a fun read, and the nonfiction is “Dogtripping,” the story of dog rescue by him and his spouse, Debbie Meyers, and their trip cross-country with 25 dogs, 11 people and 3 RV’s. Any dog lover would love this book and his self-deprecating humor. I’m buying a copy to have.
    And Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime,” is just excellent about his childhood under apartheid South Africa. It’s dedicated to his brilliant mother who could always outwit him and protect him under hard circumstances.
    I have some good reads ahead of me, including Sarah Ward’s and Margot Kinberg’s book and Emma Viskic’s book, but I need new glasses, a problem I haven’t dealt with yet. Print just seems to be shrinking these days. I’ll end up like my father reading with a magnifying glass.
    Anyway, will be looking forward to your reviews of the above treasure trove of new books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alas I have already visited Texas on my virtual trip around the US, but I will look for that book anyway Kathy as it does sound good.

      Glad you have had some good books to keep you company – we don’t see Trevor Noah’s show over here (at least I don’t have whatever subscription you would need) but I have seen odd bits and pieces online – I’m sure his story is an interesting one.

      Good luck with the eyes – I’ve worn glasses or contact lenses to see distance since I was a teenager but am now starting to need magnifying glasses for reading. The only good thing about eBooks is that you can increase the type size – but I still don’t like them much.


  3. kathy d. says:

    I have worn glasses (bifocals) since my late 20s. However, after tripping while wearing bifocals a few years ago, I took them off. And I only need glasses for reading books and some subtitles. I don’t drive so that’s not an issue. Also, I need them for using the computer.
    But I have a stack of books that I want to read but the print is too small. I have to get new glasses.
    I went to one eye doctor but she didn’t prescribe new glasses correctly. So I have to go to see another one who will, hopefully, understand and figure out what I need.


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