Posted by: billpurdue | January 21, 2011

All new stuff 1

This week we’ve a variety of new and forthcoming releases from the history of the “local” to fiction set in wartime London. With one exception I’ve tried to avoid all those being promoted on the Amazon most popular pre- orders and in bookshop displays, but it will depend which websites you look at and which bookshops you frequent.

I’ll begin with two titles brand new this month. Clive Cussler has been a sure fire bestselling author for many years and his new novel Lost Empire [M Joseph £18.99 9780718156169] shows that he hasn’t lost his touch. The action starts with scuba diving in Tanzania where divers find a relic much sought after by an ultra right wing Mexican group.  The divers are chased by the ruthless pursuers to Indonesia via Zanzibar and Madagascar.

Cussler declares on his website that he feels more like an entertainer than a writer and that if the readers feel they’ve got their money’s worth, then Cussler’s job is done. Modesty indeed.

Next we go to London in the Blitz of 1940, where Frankie Bard, an American radio reporter is sheltering in the underground tunnels during the bombing. She broadcasts the news of the bombings, but two listeners on the other side of the Atlantic are particularly interested in the news she provides: a postmistress from Cape Cod and Emma, whose husband is working in London. Then Frankie discovers a letter which has implications for all three women. The Postmistress is by Sarah Blake [Penguin  978-0141046617  £7.99] and came out on 6th January.

A complete change now: Eva Petulengro is a Romany astrologer. Her new book The Girl in the Painted Caravan: memories of a Romany childhood [Pan £6.99 978-0330519991] describes her childhood  – no schooling, no doctor when you were ill, just herbal medicine. It’s a book about a lifestyle that is now a thing of the past in this country; the colourful characters in her family and the increasing hostility towards travelling people. It’s out on 18th February .

Crime stories from Italy appear to be fashionable at the moment, if the new BBC series called “Zen” is anything to go by. Out at the beginning of February is The Rome Prophecy [Sphere £6.99 9780751543018] by Jon Trace, who also writes as Michael Morley. It features former priest Tom Shaman who investgates the case of a beautiful young woman found on the street in Rome covered in blood. Is Jon Trace a name to watch in the future?

The “local” or the pub round the corner doesn’t seem to have much of place in publications on social history – at least I can’t remember seeing a book that looks at all aspects of the history of pubs. So perhaps it’s a good time for a new book on this common feature of the urban and rural landscape and now getting less common every week it seems. The Local: a history of the English Pub [The History Press £12.99 9780752459394] by Paul Jennings is out at the end of January. It covers all aspects of pub life and, according to the synopsis “is a must-read for every self-respecting pub-goer, from landlady to lager-lout”

Finally, this is the exception I mentioned earlier. It’s one of Amazon’s most popular pre-order titles and I’m not surprised. Henning Mankell has resurrected, or rather brought out of retirement Kurt Wallander to investigate the case of the disappearance of a retired naval officer. He isn’t officially involved, but has a personal interest in the case as his daughter is engaged to the son of the missing man. The question is: when this reaches the small screen, which actor will get the chance to play Kurt Wallander one more time – Kenneth Brannagh, Krister Henriksson, or Rolf Lassgård? The final Wallander book is out at the end of March; The Troubled Man [Harvill Secker £17.99 978-1846553714]

Next time – more new stuff!

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