Tag Archives: Anthony Read

Catalogue woes

When I received my first book catalogues from publishers I was childishly pleased. And I still am. Sometimes. I was talking to a book world friend a few weeks ago about a recently received annual catalogue, and remarking that for all the books it listed, I was only interested in one.

In a way that was good, because it eases the burden of how to find the time to read. But what upset me was the large number of romances. That’s the only word to describe what they are. My foreign youthful equivalents of Mills & Boon have now been replaced by books with dark covers depicting vampires and dystopias and the like.

One such book I can show an interest in. Several even, if they don’t all come at once. Except they do. The catalogue I have in mind had pages and pages of them, and when you see all the covers side by side, the similarities are more striking than when you see them on their own. Being a bit gaga I peer at every new book and wonder whether I’ve already seen it. But most likely it was just one of its mates, looking almost the same.

The books are OK. I’m sure I’d enjoy reading a few if I had nothing else to read. But like the Mills & Boons they are not really review material. Or at least, I don’t think so. I’d never have dreamt of reviewing a romance back when I consumed them, nor would I have looked for someone else’s review of them. You buy or borrow, read and discard.

But luckily there are other catalogues. Some are excellent and contain not only the new books soon to come, but list all the old books still available. And when they are good ones it makes you go a bit crazy, until you realise you can’t order half the back catalogue. You just don’t have the time.

And then there are the ones that list books to appear over the next few months. Like the Walker Books Seasonal Catalogue which just arrived. The cover is nice. It’s from the May lead title, and looks like something I’ll want to read. A war time Shirley Hughes novel. On past lots of picture books. Then comes a new Sonya Hartnett. At least I think it is. The blurb sounds a little like another one, but I’m sure it’s new.

After which I get to the first and second books in Ann Turnbull’s ‘epic Friends trilogy.’ Whoa! It is a trilogy? I didn’t know. If so, where is number three? Hang on, perhaps the first two are there to herald the arrival of the third?

More picture books, and then what might be the end of Helena Pielichaty’s Girls FC football books. Old Horowitz.

Yes! It is a trilogy! And I haven’t missed a thing, because here comes the ‘long-awaited conclusion’ of Ann’s Friends trilogy, Seeking Eden. Not now, obviously. In the summer. But at least I hadn’t lost my mind.

More novels, more picture books (if that is possible) and some Baker Street Boys, of which there are many. Anthony Read has been busy. I can almost cope with this. There are books I like the look of, ones I love the look of and some which look fine but that I will not have time for.

And then there are lists and catalogues from all the other publishers… As well as the non-existent lists from others. Detective work can be such fun.

The Baker Street Boys

Do girls read Sherlock Holmes these days? I don’t want to be sexist, but am thinking of all the pink books I see. Does anyone young read Sherlock Holmes, apart from my own absolutely perfect Offspring? I used to love the books as a child, and I’m sure I would have loved these new stories, as well.

There’s something about Victorian London and crime. The fog. The cabs. The cockneys, and so on. I last moved in this neighbourhood with Philip Pullman. Both Sally Lockhart and The New Cut Gang have the flavour of Sherlock Holmes. And so does this series about Holmes’ Baker Street Boys by Anthony Read. Obviously, as the term is Holmes’ own. Or should that be Conan Doyle?

Anyway, this is great stuff for those who like Victorian crime. I would also hope that new readers can be persuaded to discover this genre, fantasy and pink books notwithstanding.

There’s a new, fifth book in the series, The Stolen Sparklers. The earlier titles are The Disappearing Detective, The Case of the Captive Clairvoyant, The Ranjipur Ruby and The Limehouse Laundry. The titles all feel so satisfyingly Victorian crimey. And the covers have all the mystery and charm that I expect from this kind of book.

I believe Anthony has a long past in television writing. The Baker Street Boys are crying out to be captured on film. Something for Christmas television, perhaps?

This would be a good place to start a love affair with Holmes, figuratively speaking. The books are best for young readers, because there isn’t enough substance for us oldies. There are also some minor details that jar, because they feel a little modern, but I doubt that young readers would notice. More books like these, please.