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Do you remember my Reading Week – the one I could not have this year?

Well, it seems that I must have it, after all – in fact, quite a bit longer than a week, whether I want it or not. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love the chance to read, read, and read some more – and a longish vacation is something I haven’t taken in… oh, something more than a decade, I’d think. Still, I’d have vastly preferred to do without the trouble and hospitalisation that caused this one particular vacation…

Ah well, it’s all reasonably right now, and I’m convalescing, and reading for leisure while things mend themselves and go back to working order. I’m reading Henry Treece, Sabatini, Mary Stewart, Diane Setterfield (although I can’t say I especially loved The Thirteenth Tale) and, for the last couple of days, Josephine Tey.

I’ve long been a Tey fan for several reasons, and love Hitchcock’s Young and Innocent (as I love all of his early work) – so I can’t imagine why it took me so long to get around to reading A Shilling for Candles. It’s a solid, suspenseful whodunnit – with a varied and interesting cast of characters, a fine observation of human nature and social mores. The writing is very good, and DI Alan Grant is an interesting character, complex, self-doubting in an almost Hornblowerish way, and equipped with a dry self-deprecating humour.

Nice enough that I may soon go ahead and read The Singing Sands as well.

If you care to join me, both novels – together with the wonderful and very, very highly recommended The Daughter of Time, and a few other novels and plays – can be found here, at the Project Gutenberg Australia.

Also, should you be curious about Tey herself – who also was Elizabeth MacKintosh at home, and Gordon Daviot around a stage – here is a website dedicated to her and her works, where you can also watch a few screen adaptations.

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