Monday, 31 August 2020

Read in August


Mrs Hudson and the Samarkand Conspiracy
by Martin Davies (2020)

Book 4 of 4 in the Mrs Hudson series

Read on Kindle. 

"It's summer in London, and things are quiet. But while Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson chafe at their inactivity, a train carrying a vital secret is entering a tunnel in an obscure region of the Balkans – never to be seen again. --- The nation is in danger, and if a diplomatic scandal of disastrous proportions is to be avoided, Sherlock Holmes’ brilliance may not be enough… Mrs Hudson and Flottie, her assistant, will once again turn detective." 

I have written about the three previous Mrs Hudson Mysteries before (2016). In general, I'm not usually very impressed with sequels to famous classics written by later authors. But I've come to quite enjoy Martin Davies' version of Sherlock Holmes, in which he lets the housekeeper Mrs Hudson and her kitchen maid Flottie (short for Flotsam) kind of mirror the roles of Holmes and Watson, adding an "upstairs/downstairs" aspect to the Baker Street household. I also think the mysteries as such in each book are presented much in the spirit of the original Sherlock Holmes. So I was happy to find a fourth book in the series published now.

PS. Checking the Amazon page before writing this review, I notice that the first book, Mrs Hudson and the Spirits' Curse, can currently be downloaded for free, in case anyone wants to check it out!

Doughnuts and Deception
by Agatha Frost

Book 3 of 22 [!] in the Peridale Café Mystery series

Read on Kindle

This was a book I downloaded for free. It was advertised as "A light, cozy mystery read with a cat-loving and cafe-owning amateur female sleuth, in a small English village setting with quirky characters." In my opinion, that description is in itself highly deceptive (cf the title). Or tell me, please - would you, from that title and summary, expect this book to be about systematic murder of homeless people?! Even with the 'sleuth' herself being the owner of a cozy bakery and café, the rest of the setting in this book really does not fit into the "cozy" category at all, in my opinion... (Even if I suppose it does also keep its promise to contain "No cliffhanger, swearing, gore or graphic scenes!")

At the same time though, I have to confess that the unexpected theme of the vulnerability of poor and homeless people was also what made the book a lot more interesting than I had expected from a "cozy" freebie belonging to a long series of similar pastry-related titles. 

As for the author: From the lack of details to be found about her, I suspect it's a pseudonym which may even represent a team of writers rather than a single author. (A "beta team" of five names is mentioned on the introduction pages in this book - I'm not entirely sure what that means.)



The Nidderdale Murders
by J.R. Ellis

Book 5 of 5 in the Yorkshire Murder Mystery series
Audible narration by Michael Page, 9 hours

Read on Kindle + Audible

This is the fifth book in a murder mystery series set in Yorkshire, and with the landscape itself very much woven into the storytelling in each of the books. I'm not sure if the village of Niddergill exists, by that name, but Nidderdale does: "Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with beautiful scenery & moorland countryside." For those who want to really get into the Yorkshire atmosphere, I also recommend the audio books, read with the proper dialect! (Available at a bargain price if you also buy the Kindle version.)

In this book, the setting involves the hunting of grouse on the moors, landowners making money from it, hunters paying to take part, and other people protesting against it. Then a man is shot dead outside the Dog and Gun inn in the village of Niddersgill. "There's a witness who saw everything, and the gunman's on the run; the case should be open-and-shut for DCI Jim Oldroyd. But the murderer had no motive --- and, what's more, no trace of him can be found..."

Besides using authentic backgrounds, J.R. Ellis * also does a good job with creating his plots in the tradition of "classic" British mystery novels. Unlike Agatha Frost (above), he also seems to be a genuine person with an actual (Yorkshire) background. *(Link to Goodreads introduction page.)


Friday, 28 August 2020

Yes, I Know!

Yes, I know! These are pretty much the same views as last week (and many times before). The river is still as still as a mirror, and my camera just can't resist that!

 "Skywatch & Reflection Friday"
(Borås City)

The dahlias are out - as they should be, this time of year. My mum used to grow them in her garden(s),  and for our family birthday celebrations in late August (mine, and my dad's - the same day), there were always dahlias on the table. Seeing these in the park today brought back memories.


SkyWatch Friday

 Weekend Reflections

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Walk a Mile in My Shoes


 Water reflection in the river, last weekend (Borås city)


I find it a blessing to have some river views and the city centre within walking distance from where I live - this summer more than ever, since I'm now trying to avoid taking the bus. From where I live to the city centre it is probably around 1,5 km, or one English mile; and that (+ back) is a distance I'm usually able to walk.

(In a "normal" summer - with no corona to worry about - I may sometimes be a bit more adventurous, if I can also take the bus part of the way.,,)

Many short walks eventually add up to quite a few miles anyway, though - and in the long run (as I found out the other day), enough to wear out a pair of favourite shoes:

Hole in the sole...

So my next walk went to a shoe shop, to try and find a similar kind of footwear. I feared that might be hard, but I was lucky: Not only did the first shop I tried have a shoe of the kind I wanted, in my size, of good quality (I think) and comfortable. It also happened to be on sale (25% off). And as I was the only customer in the shop at the time, no queuing or otherwise feeling crowded involved... So all in all a smooth shoe-shopping experience!


Between the city and where I live, mysterious signs, maps and green markings have kept popping up lately:

These are all to do with plans for the future, to create a 5 km long park area all the way through the city, by connecting existing parks and other green areas with some new additions. I guess it will take years yet before it's all realized, but I like the idea. (On the map, I live in the vicinity of 5, and the city park is at 8/9.)

 Weekend Reflections

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Squirrel Nutkin

A phrase I read the other day stuck in my mind: 

"If you think of every day as an adventure, life gets a lot more interesting."

After a very long summer of "staycation", and going no further than my own two legs will take me, I confess it's a bit of a challenge to keep up that attitude. But I still find the camera a helpful tool!

Yesterday was another hot day, and as I did not get out until noon, I decided that a turn around the old cemetery, seeking shadow under the big old trees, would once again have to be far enough. Not much of an adventure, perhaps - but I brought the camera anyway, and was rewarded for doing so. The adventure of the day turned out to be playing hide and seek with a squirrel (with me as paparazzi).

Look at me! I can climb a BIG tree...

And I'm quite an acrobat, aren't I?

And I can run very fast! (Bet you can't catch me, I'll just be a blurr...)

Ha! What did I just tell you?!

Phew. It's hot... I need to rest for a while. (Is that paparazzi still following me??)

Here we go again. Hmm, I think I need to find a snack of some kind...


 Still keeping an eye on YOU, though... Even if you're standing way over there...

Now which way shall I choose??

Okay... I'll pose for you nicely one last time. But then I'm off, and you won't be able to follow this time! (he said, and then set off at full racer speed, escaped through a fence, and disappeared out of sight)


A teaser like that, I think he must be related to Squirrel Nutkin.
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter (Project Gutenberg)

Our World Tuesday

Monday, 17 August 2020

Rose Garden


♫ I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine, there's got to be a little rain sometimes
When you take you got to give so live and let live or let go
I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden ♫  (*)

I'd actually love a little rain along with all the sunshine right now! However, it looks like we have another few hot days ahead... The roses in the park seem to be enjoying it, though. (Photos from a walk into the city on Saturday, before noon.)



Ice cream before lunch. The world is upside down! :)
("Lejonet & Björnen" = The Lion and the Bear. Trademark.)


 (*) Rose Garden - The song sung by Lynn Anderson back in the early 1970s came into my head while looking at the photos... (Video from YouTube)

Through My Lens

Friday, 14 August 2020

Skywatch Friday



We're still having hot and sunny weather. The advantage of August is that the sun now sets earlier than it did back in June*, which may give an hour or so on the balcony in the late evening - with pleasant temperature and still enough light to read. (On a sunny summer afternoon it's way too hot to be out there - or even keep the door open.) With 18 balconies on the building,  a picnic table on the lawn beneath, and a football (soccer) ground nearby,  it can rarely be called "quiet time", though...

*At Midsummer, sunset was around 22:10 pm
*In Mid August, it is around 20:50

 SkyWatch Friday




Monday, 10 August 2020

Keep Cool / Our World Tuesday


We got thrown into another heat wave this weekend, with temperatures around 30°C. The news reports have kept showing beaches along the coasts with people definitely not keeping proper 'corona' distance. Myself, I haven't been near a beach all summer this year; and the last few days I have been no further than to the old cemetery nearby - < 5 min walk, and the closest place to home that offers a bit of shadow and peace and quiet under huge old trees, a chance to stretch my legs a little without getting too overheated and overtired - and perhaps even some inspiration for the camera to zoom in on whatever happens to be spotlighted along the way.

Our World Tuesday

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