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review 2018-01-12 23:44
Murder in the Bud
Murder in the bud - Phyllis Bottome

"Has Ronnie any right to live - like that?" Hilda demanded fiercely.

"No - not like that," Dr. Silla agreed, "but even his having no 'right' is his own business. He might at any time see his mistake, and alter his way of living. We are at the mercy of our opinion of ourselves - or sometimes be events- or sometimes by others. Criminals are less final than their punishments."

 

I had been looking forward to this book. Phyllis Bottome was the author that allegedly inspired a young Ian Fleming to take up writing, and her book The Lifeline (1946) allegedly gave rise to the character of James Bond. Murder in the Bud is an earlier (1936) work by her, and I was intrigued to find out what her writing was like. Even if there were no discernible similarities or links to Fleming's work.

 

What I found was that Bottome's Murder in the Bud did not make for great reading. It may have been very daring in its time for talking about women having affairs and having sex outside of marriage, but too much of the book dwelt on the psychological explanations that were really far-fetched.

 

However much the psycho-babble may have annoyed me, it was nowhere near as far-fetched as the plot - this book is out of print and I assume that very few readers will rush out to procure a copy, so I have not added spoiler tags (if you are going to read on, you have been warned):

 

Hilda, our MC, is jilted by Ronnie, her ex-lover. Ronnie is a cad, but he is also her family's lodger, and following the break with Hilda, he now is in pursuit of her little sister, Annie (she's about 18 or 19). Upset by all of this, Hilda decides to kill Ronnie.

 
I would have thought this was a bit unreasonable. Surely, Hilda could have just turned him out of the house, but she's afraid of fessing up to her parents about the affair because she thinks it would tarnish her reputation, and that of her family etc.
I have no idea why she makes such a fuss about telling her parents because she tells literally everyone else she meets - even perfect strangers.
 
Anyway, this is all a bit ridiculous, right? The next thing Hilda, a typist, does is to pretend to be one of her clients, a Czech neuroscientist/psychiatrist who is giving a guest lecture in London. Hilda omits to send of a letter declining an invitation to a medical lab and visits the lab herself, dressed as her client Dr. Silla. While she is shown around the lab by a young scientist (who quickly develops a crush on her), Hilda steals two tubes of toxic bacteria.
 
At this point in the book, I was still not convinced that Ronnie, the ex, deserved all this. And there is no thought about her committing several crimes instead of just tossing him out...
 
What made me laugh very hard was when I looked up what she stole - her means of killing Ronnie was not some ordinary poison or something sophisticated that could not be traced back to her. No, it was a Shiga culture.
Yup - she planned to kill him with dysentery. 
 
I don't need to explain how ridiculous this idea is - and that she may have harmed or killed the rest of her family at the same time as it would have been contagious...but there was something hilarious about the idea of killing the shitbag with ... well....erm....yeah.
 
It never happens, tho. The Czech neuroscientist/psychiatrist/mindreader talks her out of it. She also talks the ex-lover out of being a douchebag.
 
The end.
 
This was such a weird book. 
It was as fascinating as it was ... just hilariously bad.
 
So, while there were no links to Fleming's work in this book, I can see how Fleming may have been inspired to roll with his own ridiculous plots.
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text 2018-01-08 00:36
Excited to start this...
Murder in the bud - Phyllis Bottome

When Hilda Fenchurch heard the familiar jarring whiz of the electric bell, she lifted her heavy-lidded eyes sullenly from her typewriter, and stared fiercely at the glass partition between her and the outer doorway, saying to herself, "If this is another of them, I'll go mad!"

Ah, you may think this is just another 1930s murder mystery that I have picked up...and you may be half right about that. 

 

The thing is, I have no idea if this is a murder mystery as such. The title might hint at this, but I really don't know. In fact, I know very little about this book - and judging by the first chapter it might actually be more of a romance (tho with some liberal social criticism thrown in - yes, I already like her style) than a story of suspense and murder.

 

What I do know, however, is what makes me excited to have started this book tonight: Murder in the Bud was written by the writer who allegedly taught Ian Fleming to write. 

 

Yes, we can argue whether she should be credited with or even applauded for that, but she is the author of a book called The Life Line which is alleged to be the template for Fleming's Bond novels.

 

Obviously, this book I have just started is not The Life Line. There is a very good reason for that - all of Bottome's books are out of print and I am not spending hundreds of £ on one of the few copies that are still available. It would be interesting to read, for sure, but all I want to know at this point is what her writing style was like. (And then maybe look into how one could view a copy at a library...).

 

So here we have it. I'm excited.

 

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review 2018-01-05 16:54
Paddington Helps Out - Michael Bond,Peggy Fortnum

For more review, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

 

A very nice continuation of the Paddington stories. I love that this collection is themed as Paddington tries to help the Brown family and all the mayhem that ensues from building a magazine rack to going to do laundry. Humorous stories that will make the reader fall in love with Paddington all over again.

 

The stories in this collection are just a fun and entertaining as the first two books in the series. I greatly enjoyed it.

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review 2018-01-01 01:18
Great Read
An Exotic Heir (Merry Men #1) - Meredith Bond

An Exotic Heir by Meredith Bond is a fabulous historical romance.  Ms. Bond has provided us with a smooth read with her well-written book.  Cassandra and Julian's story has plenty of twists and turns, drama, humor and spice.  I enjoyed reading An Exotic Heir and look forward to reading more from Meredith Bond soon.  An Exotic Heir is book 1 of the Merry Men Quartet Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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text 2017-12-27 21:12
Reading progress update: I've read 18%.
Die Odyssee (Asterix #26) - Albert Uderzo,René Goscinny

Hahahaha.

 

This story in the series features a secret agent called "Nullnullsix" (i.e. 0-0-6), and he looks remarkably familiar!

 

 

Yeah, reading the German version... Our spy got his number because he failed the druid exams six times. The examiners gave him a sympathy pass when he presented himself for the 7th time. LoL. 

 

This is an early A&O comic. The early ones are still the best. 

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