Asking for the Moon by Reginald Hill

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(Holiday reading so my comments are a bit minimal)

Four stories from various points in Dalziel and Pascoe’s careers. Worth reading just for Hill’s introduction to _One Small Step_ which includes Pascoe complaining that he’s supposed to be a whizzkid graduate but that Hill has taken twenty years to write him up from sergeant to chief inspector.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 16th May 2002.

Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson

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[my comments are taken from a mailing list discussion and may contain spoliers!]

I’m not going to manage to finish the book before going off on my holidays on Friday so I’m going to wade in with what I think so far and catch up when I get back. (By which time I’ll have to catch up on the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency discussion too)

I started reading this book and after a couple of chapters had to check the cover to check that the title was indeed “Small Death in _Lisbon_” as I was in 1941 Berlin and not much enjoying it. For once the back cover blurb helped me and let me know that what was happening would link up with things in Lisbon. In the course of this I totally forgot about the prologue.

I’m really not enjoying the Nazi side of the story which is a pity because I’m really liking the present day Lisbon side of the story. The fact that the present day story is first person helps too, I find it so much more readable than the older side of the story. I’d like to see something showing me that these two stories are connected to get me into the earlier story but on page 200 or so it feels like reading two completely separate books.

I’m looking forward to finding the connections and am kind of trusting the book as a “Gold Dagger” winner to deliver on its promises, though I’m probably missing things due to reading the Nazi bits and falling asleep.

The two stories in different times is reminding me of Peter Robinson’s _In a Dry Season_ that we read a couple of years ago. I think Robinson did a far better job of connecting his stories in the course of the book though.

So no, I’m not finding both storylines to be enthralling I’m afraid and the prologue obviously didn’t make an impression upon me. I do really like the present day story though and I’ll keep reading to find out what happens.

You know how sometimes you can love one book by an author whilst finding another unreadable? It feels like Wilson has managed to do this in a single book to me!

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 20th March 2002.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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I’ve no time at the mo’ to write up a long, or even a short, piece on what I thought of this. I’ll just say I liked it and it’s the kind of science fiction that I enjoy, the type without very much science in it. That’s odd for someone with a rather scientific bent I suppose but I find social future fiction far more interesting.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.


i’m this close to ready to go off on my hols, see you in a couple of weeks!

i’ve cleared all the pics off my cam to make way for my holiday photos which means that my photos of fountains abbey are up on the web.

update: “this close” has been reduced to being measured in nanometres, i’m all packed up and ready to hit the road and i’ve no time to play with this cool search tool i’ve just found. see you soon!

new money

oooh, we’ve got a new design fiver today and we have a note that features a woman again. the prison reformer elizabeth fry balances out the scientist charles darwin on the tenner and the composer edward elgar on the twenty pound note. (is there a nickname for a twenty pound note?)

the issue of the new five pound note completes the bank of england’s reissue of all english notes. i really like the new notes they’re much cleaner designs than the old ones. hopefully by the time the security features on these notes are outdated we’ll have a new currency.

on the bank of england’s site i also learnt that the promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of … on english currency is valid for all time, the bank will exchange notes of any age for current tender. this makes the plot of shooting fish (in which a couple of con men have to manage to exchange their soon to be discontinued notes before the expiry deadline) even more ludicrous than it was to start with.

The Mercy Rule by John Lescroart

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I think I’d better mark this one done as “abandoned”, I just can’t get into the story at all. I like the premise, I just don’t find myself wanting to read this book.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 29th January 2000.

Looking for Trouble by Cath Staincliffe

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This is just about as good as I could want a crime novel to be. Staincliffe’s Manchester is the real thing, it’s not been sanitised or seedified and it’s a great backdrop for this story. I thought Val McDermid’s Kate Brannigan books had a good Mancunian feel to them but they’ve got nothing on this book for bringing the city to life. On every other page I found myself remembering something else about the place. I don’t know how the book would read if you didn’t already know Manchester but I don’t think it would harm the book any, I hope you’d find the town as real as I did.

I liked the plot so much that I find myself not wanting to say too much about it here as one of the best things about it was the unexpectedness of some of the events. There’s plenty of surprises and no authorly cheating.

The characters are probably the star part of the book though, I especially like the protagonist’s four year old daughter and the fact that a single mother investigator is a twist on the usual crime story.

Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in ages, it’s way too long since I read Dead Wrong (the third in this series I think, Looking for Trouble is the first) and I won’t wait so long to catch up on the rest of Staincliffe’s work.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 20th March 2002.


the british tourist authority has a new advertising campaign that’s apparently all about how eccentric britons are. (i often wear a bowler hat in fields of flowers and waltz through trafalgar square of course) what strikes me is that two of them feature wellington boots:

  • wellington boots rain down on a london cab
  • a wellington boot throwing contest at cennan castle, south wales

does no one else in the world wear wellies? how do you splosh in puddles with if you don’t have wellies?

netscape 5

the upcoming release of mozilla 1.0 (which seemingly isn’t going to halt it’s schedule to sort out why the release c

these are not the version numbers you are looking for. move along.
move along.

jamie’s humour has been elided from the party faq by someone at mozilla.