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text 2017-08-01 18:50

... minus the book festival, but anyway.  Book town writ large.


So there I was, nicely pacing myself (read: trying hard at least not to enter every single book store I was passing) --




... but then this happened, and my self-control was toast:

I left the store with, among other things, the better part of Michael Jecks's Knights Templar series (to the extent I haven't already read it, that is, obviously) and a few other books in addition.


"Chalky," the murder victim chalk outline figure lying so conveniently at the bottom of the True Crime section, was taken about town by a local artist, incidentally (I'd have paid anything for postcards of these images, but there weren't any, so I had to content myself with taking photos of photos):


Oh, and just in case you're wondering, like pretty much every self-respecting town in the Welsh borderland Hay-on-Wye does have a castle, too, and true to form it did get razed (or nearly, anyway) a couple of times in the various Welsh-English wars and in the English Civil War ... but who needs a castle when you have book stores?!  (It's intended to be made another book-related fixture of the town, though, so that should be interesting.)


Last but not least and for the sake of visual context: This is what you drive through on your way to booktown central.





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review 2016-10-30 05:50
Book Review: Careless People
Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby - Sarah Churchwell

Book: Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby


Author: Sarah Churchwell


Genre: Non-Fiction/Literary Criticism/F.Scott Fitzgerald/Biography


Summary: “May one offer in exhibit the year 1922!” exclaimed F. Scott Fitzgerald. “That was the peak of the younger generation, for though the Jazz Age continued, it became less and less an affair of youth.” A hinge point for the carefree American born out of the devastation of the First World War, 1922 was also a year that altered the direction of Fitzgerald’s own life - and the year in which he chose to set his masterwork, The Great Gatsby. The autumn of 1922 found the young novelist at the height of his fame, just twenty-six years old and publishing his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for the nation’s pleasure-hungry youth, Fitzgerald made his home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York - a city dizzyingly defiant of Prohibition, bursting with the nation’s expanding economy and growing ambitions. Those final incredible months of 1922 were full of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drinking and partying and quarreling at a frantic pace, all against the backdrop of financial crises, literary milestones, car crashes, and media scandals in the Jazz Age metropolis. That same autumn, a horrific crime engulfed the city and commanded the nation’s attention: a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, compounded by a preposterous police investigation and an array of celebrity-hungry suspects. Proclaimed the “crime of the decade”, the Hall-Mills murder case was never definitively resolved and has been almost wholly forgotten today. Yet the enormous impact of this bizarre crime reverberates through The Great Gatsby - a novel that Fitzgerald began planning in the autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year. Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a thrilling double narrative that reconstructs the farcical inquiry into a gruesome crime, as well as a passionate, scrupulous search for the roots of America’s best-loved novel. Overturning much of the received wisdom of the period, Careless People blends biography and history with lost newspaper accounts, letters, and newly discovered materials. With great wit and insight, acclaimed scholar of American literature Sarah Churchwell constructs a different framework for the novel we know so well, revealing new ways of thinking about the moment and the world that defined Scott Fitzgerald’s most consummate work. Most important, Churchwell offers fresh perspectives on the infamous relationship of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, providing for the first time a detailed account of their life at the end of 1922, when the couple’s legendary existence began to splinter, even as Fitzgerald’s marvelous novel began to emerge. Interweaving the biographical story of the Fitzgeralds with the unfolding investigation into the Hall-Mills case, Careless People is a thrilling combination of literary history and murder mystery, a mesmerizing journey into the dark heart of Jazz Age America. - The Penguin Press, 2013.


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review 2016-01-21 00:00
Murder, Mayhem And Mama
Murder, Mayhem And Mama - Christie Craig This is the first Christie Craig book I've read, but it won't be the last! I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much! I hadn't expected to, to be honest, as the first chapter came across a bit too masculine for my tastes...more of a rugged private eye type thriller, but I hung in there and was hooked before I had reached chapter 2.

Cali is a school teacher and gets herself involved with the wrong man while her mind is busy trying to deal with her mum's cancer and then her death. When the toe-rag she's involved with tries to hurt her, she calls the police and in comes the sexy but troubled Brit Lowell. I won't add any spoilers, but the chemistry between these two is smoking, almost as much as her departed but not ready to pass over mother, who hangs around to protect her daughter. Gripping plot and fantastic characters. Will definitely be buying more from this author.
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review 2015-09-23 00:00
Murder and Mayhem
Murder and Mayhem - Rhys Ford,Greg Tremb... Murder and Mayhem - Rhys Ford,Greg Tremblay
description - Narrator: Greg Tremblay

BR with Momo

Definitely good start of the series. Of course I loved Greg narrating this story.

The mystery had me guessing the whole damn book. Did.not.see.that.coming.


I don't know about the ex-con Rook hitting it off with the cop Dante?? I didn't really feel it.

“Why are you doing this? Now, I mean?”
“Because Dante needs me to be… better than who I am. Who I was.”

I loved the secundary characters, though!! Rook's grandfather Archie, Dante's uncle Manny and Rook's nephew Alex.
Hope to read more of them in the sequels.

We'll see.
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review 2015-08-23 00:00
Murder and Mayhem
Murder and Mayhem - Rhys Ford *** 3,5 audio stars ***

Audio edition. Narrator Greg Tremblay.

Overall: 3,5 
Performance: 5
Story: 3,5

A good start of a new series. I liked it, but it didn't rock my world. That being said, I also rated Dirty Kiss - Cole McGinnis #1 3 stars when I first listen to it too. That (audio) series is one of my all time favorite (audio) series. I'm interested to know where this series leads.
Narration by my favorite Greg Tremblay was as great as always. I think I enjoyed the story more due to the narration.
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