I spent a good part of the year in this area of the world without having to leave Windy Poplars Farm. This has to be one of the most wonderful things about reading. It is very doubtful that I will ever get to visit these countries, but I feel I know something about them from books.
I discovered the wonderful Inspector Singh mysteries by Shamini Flint. Singh's home is Singapore but he travels around solving crimes, mainly because his bosses want him out of their hair. He investigates in Mumbai, Cambodia, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, China, and London. He's happy when he gets to stay home. We hear often how his trademark white sneakers don't get dirty on Singapore's clean streets. Here is a list of the seven books written so far, in order of publication.
I read the third and fourth books in the Vish Puri series, The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, and The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall, and so loved them.The author brings the sights and food and humanity of Delhi alive to the reader. I found an article on pollution there which was written by the author’s wife, journalist Anu Anand. You may read it here. She also wrote a blog piece about moving the family back to England because of this problem. It is here.There hasn’t been a new Vish Puri for three years, and I hope the series will continue.
I also read the second in Vaseem Khan's delightful Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series called The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown. Mumbai is the city featured in this series, and the author makes me feel as if I am there. A third book is on the way soon.
I read a new mystery called Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness - book 1 in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series by David Casarett, and really liked it.
I read The Merry Misogynist - book 6 in the Dr. Siri Paiboun series by Colin Cotterill, a book I had put off because I didn’t like the title and what it meant. It was very good, but I can read these books only with spaces of time in between. I so like Dr. Paiboun and his wife, and the stories are excellent, but they are a bit … I don’t even know the adjective. Not dark, not heavy, but for me they are a bit intense.
I was happy, happy that the prolific Alexander McCall Smith published number 17 (!!) in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Botswana called Precious and Grace. I hope he never stops. These books are food for my soul. I love them beyond words.
I went to Maine, and caught up on the Gray Whale Inn series by Karen McInerney, reading books 4, 5, and 6; Berried to the Hilt, Brush with Death, and Death Runs Adrift. The 7th comes out next month. I adore the characters, the settings, and the stories in this series.
I was thrilled to see that two of my longtime favorite writers' books were available on kindle: D. E. Stevenson and Elizabeth Cadell. I read three by each author and remembered why I love their work so much. Interesting, kindly people, terrific settings, and just plain good stories. They never disappoint and I feel a contented happiness when I’m within their books.
I spent the early part of the year finishing up my reading of Jane Langton’s series with former cop, now professor Homer Kelly and his wife Mary, also a professor. The reader learns a great deal about various locales, writers, and art.
I did some reading in the Bobby Owens series by E.R. Punshon whose books are quiet, interesting Golden Age mysteries. I read the first Miss Seeton book by Heron Carvic, and two books in the Alan Grant series by Josephine Tey. I plan to continue with all three of these series.
I also read some excellent nonfiction this year. The best, the most wonderful was Kick: The True Story of JFK's sister and the Heir to Chatsworth by Paula Byrne. I can't say enough good things about it. Such sadness in that family. Another good book was Elle & Coach by Stefany Shaheen (with Mark Dagostino). This is a story about a young girl with diabetes who is helped enormously by a yellow Labrador retriever. I was amazed by Coach. I very much enjoyed Deep in the Green by Anne Raver, a collection of gardening/life essays. There were a few other nonfiction books as well, but these were my favorites.
My reading year was full of sweet, old-fashioned fiction, wonderful mysteries, and some terrific non-fiction. My hope for next year is to read more print books, and try to write about my reading here, even if just little monthly book notes.