Tag Archives: Kate Ellis

Deary me, how terryble

If you haven’t got money you won’t want to read books. In fact, you shouldn’t have the right to read them, because (other) taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund your free reading. Rather like education. Why should those with no children pay to put other people’s kids through school?

Those pesky children might of course turn out to be the surgeon who saves your life 25 years later, but never mind that. Let’s live for today.

The Resident IT Consultant felt I was being strangely insincere in wanting to hang on to libraries, seeing as I don’t – currently – use them. That’s mainly because I already have access to all I can read. I used libraries until I moved to Britain, even after I discovered I could afford to buy English paperbacks. I read more than I bought.

Then I must have fallen foul of the ‘I am new here and I don’t quite know what to do in someone else’s library’ law, so didn’t. When Offspring arrived they had the school library, and before that there were all the book parties. Usborne and Red House parties were de rigueur in my neighbourhood.

And after that the mobile library parked in our street and I went every time it came. I stopped because I helped in Offspring’s secondary school library and there were so many books there I was in heaven. Once I stopped at the school, the mobile library had gone to park elsewhere (was it my fault..?) and I spent a year or two buying books again, since we could afford to, until Bookwitch was born and soon after her, the TBR piles arrived on the scene.

So that’s me. I have very little against libraries. I think we should hang on to the ones we have. Occasionally people with no money want to read books. Quite often people with money read nothing at all. The reading/not reading is not connected to the wallet, unless it has to be.

The well-off middle class children Offspring used to play with in the mid 1990s were delighted to discover libraries when they came along one day. They were readers already, but knew nothing about libraries. I blame the parents.

For obvious reasons, the mobile library had limited shelf space. But I found good stuff there. It’s the place I was introduced to Malorie Blackman and Gillian Cross, and which allowed me to work my way through ‘all’ of theirs. I found Tim Bowler, too, and the lovely and murderous Kate Ellis. They all went on to become firm book friends of the whole family.

Would I have discovered them without the library? I might have been waylaid by something garish and pink in some shop. Who knows?

And as for what authors get from libraries. They acquire readers. As someone pointed out in the Guardian; you can get ideas in the library, and then you go out and buy books. Another thing I’ve noticed authors are ridiculously fond of is the PLR money. So many of them aren’t dreadfully wealthy, and they are happy when that PLR cheque arrives every year. I know, because facebook is awash with PLR happiness for a day or two.

Then there is the greater good. J K Rowling is always saying how grateful she was for benefits, back when she wasn’t rich. She doesn’t need PLR, but I doubt she begrudges others that money. J K wasn’t uneducated, just a bit short of funds. Perhaps she even went to libraries.

Sometimes intelligence and the wish to read doesn’t increase with the bank balance. Actually, it could even be the reverse.

If and when my supply of review copies dries up, I’ll be down at the library too. If it’s still there.

Bookwitch bites #73

How about we go totally miscellaneous today? I feel all higgledy piggledy, completely lacking in plans and any greater pictures.

This lovely pirate photo appeared before me only yesterday. It’s really Marie-Louise Jensen behind that mask, and I gather the handsome young assistant pirate is her son. I wholeheartedly approve of people who make full use of their children, and junior is to be admired for agreeing to be dressed up. The event was for Marie-Louise’s new book, aptly titled The Girl in the Mask.

Marie-Louise Jensen

In fact, authors who dress up to ‘go to work’ in support of their work are to be admired. Normal people just have normal clothes to fret over. Have you even considered what it must feel like to get on the bus dressed like a pirate?

Stephen Davies (of Ouagadougou fame, if you recall?) also has a new book out, which is anything but masked, seeing as it’s called Goggle-Eyed Goats. I’ve not read it, and am very intrigued about Stephen’s comment re polygamy. That’s  not your typical topic for a young child’s book, but no doubt reading it will reveal all. Sort of.

I am busy missing book events here. Friday night saw Joan Bakewell at the Stockport Plaza, launching yet another new book. It’s an adult novel, so I know nothing. The reason I heard about the event was that Mrs Pendolino mentioned that her father, being childhood pals with the beautiful Joan, was wanting to go along and renew the friendship. I hope he had a good time.

And I probably won’t be going to Formby. At least not this Thursday evening, because it’s a long way and it will be dark. But I do want to. I have been meaning to visit Tony Higginson’s bookshop, and the weeks and months are simply slipping by. The fact that I won’t be there is no reason for the rest of you not going, so do pop along if Formby is within your reach.

Tony is offering a Night of Crime, for a mere £3, at six o’clock on Thursday 15th March. The ‘criminals’ are two favourites of mine, Kate Ellis and Martin Edwards, who both write crime novels, and they do it much closer to home than Formby, so perhaps I should ask them round for tea instead of haring across Lancashire in the dark.

Actually, once you start looking for events (not) to go to, there is no end of them. Although I am not totally ruling out Stephen Booth, another fairly local crime writer, at the library in Dukinfield on Wednesday. That’s at ten in the morning, so will require getting out of bed. I know they all do, but not as early.

I’ll think about it. I am always more willing the further away it is in time…

Seeking the Dead

Kate Ellis can’t leave history alone. Her new crime series, featuring policeman Joe Plantagenet, and set in fictional Eborby, has some fairly unsavoury historical facts as background to the modern day murders.

The Resurrection Man goes round murdering people by putting them in coffins until they die. Not very nice, in other words. As can be expected, the police end up with a chase against time, trying to save the last victim from an unpleasant, certain, death.

Joe Plantagenet is an interesting detective, who initially intended to become a priest. He works with his superior officer, Emily Thwaite, who combines being a wife and a mother of young children with police work.

Eborby, which is really York, is a perfect creepy historical setting for crime. I couldn’t work out how to pronounce it, without getting my tongue in a twist, until I asked Kate the other day. Now I know.

I did work out whodunnit, but I kept wondering if I was just falling into a trap set by Kate, to make me think I was clever. But, no, it was…aarghh….

A Friday miscellany

Happy Birthday to Daughter! I didn’t really know this, but it would seem that becoming 16 is a bigger thing than silly old me could ever understand.

Thursday saw the witch back in Didsbury for another literary lunch. Adèle Geras had expressed an interest in meeting Kate Ellis, so I oversaw this event, in an Indian restaurant, which was empty apart from us three. Was it something we did? Kate and Adèle compared notes on how to write novels, and I sat there pretending to know all about it, too. 

The book world is small enough for everyone to have at least somebody in common, but I don’t believe there was anything incredibly juicy being said. I was far too cool to bring any books for signing, but Adèle brought a Kate Ellis novel with her to be signed. And we were so busy talking about other things, that the promised gossip from the Booker evening was forgotten. Typical.

Afterwards I made brief forays into a couple of charity shops for Christmas presents, and there was a coincidence involved, but I can’t mention it here, because then it won’t be a surprise.

The Blood Pit

There is such a thing as too much blood. Kate Ellis is now dangerously close to my target for blood. I used to be a real wimp, but have hardened myself quite nicely over the years. However, just the title of Kate’s latest offering in paperback is enough to make me feel a bit faint. I feel drained of blood, too, but perhaps more metaphorically so, than Kate’s victims.

Not only has Kate made the most of all the blood this time, but the lovely woman has cruelly killed off one of her characters, and I won’t tell you which one. And poor DI Peterson continues to abandon Mrs Peterson and the children all the time. And on the whole you don’t want to be associated with the Tradmouth police force, because too many associates come to sticky ends. Or near ends.

The Blood Pit is another good read from our local crime writer. Trust me. I did wonder how long Kate can keep going with her Devon murders, but she’s in full stride here. This is the prefect book for those of you who fancy blood spurting from carefully cut holes in the human body. I suspect that 35 years ago I may not have been able to cope, so be warned.

But I did guess who did it, quite early on. And contrary to what some people say, I don’t mind. It makes it more interesting to see how the author tries pulling the wool over the reader’s eyes. And this time the chapters begin with modern writing, rather than historical. So much scarier.

When the witch met Kate Ellis

The interview with Kate Ellis is up. Read all about her here.

The final few hours

Nine on a Sunday morning is very early for a panel on the importance of psychics. No, sorry, that should be sidekicks. But for the 20+ who had staggered out of bed, it was very interesting. It was hot, too, and one day I will learn to carry a fan round with me. The semicircular kind.

Next after the psychics came the comedians, and it worried me slightly that I had had dinner with three of the four on the panel. The losers, I have to point out. Those who didn’t win The Last Laugh Award, which went to Ruth Dudley Edwards. Naturally I felt the need to sample one of her books, too. The authors very carefully pointed out that they were not funny in real life. Could be, but they were a lot funnier than many others.

Humour is contagious, and I spent some of the time writing down notes of very funny stuff. I’ll probably throw it away tomorrow.

The witch had time for half of the last panel of the CrimeFest, which had a very wide subject area to cover. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and Great closing lines. Laurie King moderated excellently, and dealt with the first three at great speed.

Authors really are very nice people. The thing to remember about this bunch, though, is that they have killed more people than most.

It will take me a lot of the week to recover, I suspect.