New Arrivals and Current Reading, April 7 – 13, 2014

New Arrivals
Two books this time, and they couldn’t be more different.

Duncton Tales by William Horwood [Harper Collins Publishers UK 1991 hardcover, purchased used] – fantasy-adventure, allegorical novel featuring a community of moles. The books are of a kind with Wind in the Willows (Ratty, Mole, Toad, Badger etc.) and Watership Down (rabbits); allegorical novels with animal characters. I came across, bought and read Horwood’s Duncton Wood (published in the UK in 1980) in 1982. I wanted to get the rest of the trilogy in hardcover, but they proved hard to find. Then Horwood wrote a second set of three Duncton books, The Book of Silence which proved equally elusive. I’been getting very good condition used copies as I find them, this is the first volume of that second set. I have found and ordered a couple Duncton books from booksellers in the UK.

The Dr. Zeng Omnibus by E. Hoffmann Price, W.T. Ballard & Robert Leslie Bellem [Altus Press 2011 trade paper, purchased new] – adventure. Seven short novels which originally appeared in Thrilling Mystery and Popular Detective between 1941 and 1944. The stories are of Doctor Zeng Tse-Lin’s “battle with crime and menace in the mysterious world of San Francisco’s Chinatown.” Never completely reprinted until this volume.

Current Reading
I finished and enjoyed Jeffrey Siger’s Murder in Mykonos and have started reading the second in the series, Assassins of Athens. Between those books I read The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel, enjoying it a good bit for the facts it contained. I’m also continuing to read short stories.

Barbara finished Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In and then read Trickster’s Point by William Kent Krueger and now is reading Tamarack County  also by Krueger.

What new did you get, what have you been reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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14 Responses to New Arrivals and Current Reading, April 7 – 13, 2014

  1. Evan Lewis says:

    Don’t know Dr. Zeng, but E. Hoffman Price and the Ballard/Bellem team had very different styles. Should be an interesting book.

  2. Jerry House says:

    I’ve never been able to get into the first Horwood book, although I have a copy lying around somewhere, Perhaps I should give it another try. The Dr. Zeng collection sounds like a winner, though.

    Again, it’s been another light week for me. I read the 13th volume of Chester Gould’s collected Dick Tracy strips (1950-51), the best one in the series so far. I also read the final volume of Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series and Book 2 of Sergio Aragones’ THE GROO CHRONICLES. Two short collections, Margery Allingham’s THE DARINGS OF THE RED ROSE and Joe Lansdale’s UNCHAINED AND UNHINGED, Were the only other two books I read this week. I’m reading Lansdale’s DEADMAN’S ROAD, a weird western collection of Reverend Jebediah Mercer stories, including a slightly revised version of DEAD IN THE WEST, to be followed by SHADOWS WEST, a collection of three weird western scripts by Lansdale, which includes an unfilmed treatment for a DEAD IN THE WEST movie that was never shot. After that, I’ll get to Ed Gorman’s THE SILVER SCREAM, which I had hoped to get to this past week.

  3. Like Jerry, I have some Horwood books but haven’t had time to read them. I did finish reading the first book in the Catherine LeVendeur medieval mystery series by Sharan Newman. My review will be up on my blog in a couple of days. I might have to buy that Dr. Zeng book.

  4. I often love animal tales so I’ll have to check that first one out.

  5. Richard says:

    Evan, I didn’t know about that, so unless there was a strong effort to copy the Hoffman Price style, the stories could change mid point. That could be good, or confusing.

  6. Richard says:

    Jerry, the Duncton book may be one for which you have to be in the right mood, and I was. I’ll know if it holds up after reading it and another one that’s one the way.

    You’re getting into some Landsdale and Gorman that seems outside their normal oeuvre but I could be wrong about that. Hope your enjoying the Landsdale movie treatment. I don’t recall Darings of the Red Rose as being very good Allingham, perhaps only for the completist.

    I prefer Stan Saki’s Usaki Yojimbo to Aragones’ Groo.

  7. Richard says:

    George, hoped you liked Death Comes As An Epiphany, which I think is the first in that series. I look forward to your review. Try the first Duncton book, then you’ll know if you want to continue.

  8. Richard says:

    Charles, though I’m buying the (pricey) hardcovers, you can find paperbacks of the Dunction books, or at least the first few.

  9. fence says:

    I read and loved the first Duncton Wood book when I was a teenager. The library had most of the series, I think I got through them all but the others didn’t live up to that first one, got all about philosophical and not enough story. Might be interesting to reread them now that I’m older though.

  10. Richard says:

    Fence, You’re not the first to say the first book is the best. I’ll find out as I’m planning on reading the first trilogy this summer.

  11. fence says:

    It’ll be interesting to read your thoughts on them.

  12. Jeff Meyerson says:

    The Dr. Zeng sounds interesting. The other, not so much.

    Being on the road for 10 days did cut down on the reading a lot. I got one book before I left (from the exchange), THE PHARAOH CONTRACT by Ray Aldridge, the first in the Emancipator trilogy Bill Crider recommended a while back. I don’t even remember what it is about.

    I did read a couple of things, MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT, a lesser Monk book by Lee Goldberg (from the library) and WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT by Jo Walton, as mentioned previously. Next week I’ll tell you what I’ve read since then (not a lot).

    We’re home now, by the way.

  13. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Oh, and I’m halfway through the first Siger book. It’s not a storyline I generally care for but the setting and stuff about Mykonos is fascinating – no, it doesn’t make me want to go there – and I like the main character.

  14. Richard says:

    Jeff, I thought you’d fallen in a deep hole, but then I saw a few comments on other blogs so guessed you’d taken a little bit of an internet break. No, I wouldn’t think a talking animals allegorical novel would be in your area of interest, but one never knows.

    I’m not usually one for serial killer novels, but this was mild and the religious, geographical cultural aspects were interesting and I too like the main character. I liked the second book even better.

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