After yesterday’s snowfall DH and I find ourselves confined to barracks for the next few days. The drifts in our lane aren't deep, but we have no pressing appointments and thus feel no urgent need to dig ourselves out. Instead we’re using our enforced isolation to catch up with things or simply indulge ourselves with our favourite occupations.
This afternoon, while DH has been watching snooker on TV, I've revelled in the humour and humanity of the Call The Midwife Christmas special which DS downloaded onto my laptop during our Christmas visit. The new series starts tomorrow evening and I have to be up-to-date, don’t I? In addition I've almost finished the first of the new pair of socks for DH, but most of all I've been reading, and not just blogs either.
For Christmas Santa bought me three books and I've been reading them alongside each other ever since. The first is The Grand Designer by Rosemary Hannah, a fascinating and beautifully illustrated biography of the immensely rich Third Marquis of Bute, who was one of the most lavish patrons of the arts in nineteenth-century Britain. The second is the hugely enjoyable Letters and Diaries of Kathleen Ferrier, edited by Christopher Fifield, which reveals this wonderful singer’s warm and engaging personality and her acute and often wicked sense of humour. In complete contrast the third is Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield, a great collection of cartoons, perfect to dip into whenever I want a quick chuckle.
But, I hear you all cry, none of these is fiction and we all know Perpetua reads a lot of fiction. Indeed I do, but I borrow most of it from our local county library service or otherwise the Transit household would soon be stony broke. At the moment there are two very different authors I’m thoroughly enjoying.
The first is Barbara Nadel and I am indebted to Ayak for my introduction to this splendid writer of crime fiction. I have written before of my liking for the Venice mysteries of Donna Leon and her wonderful creation, Commissario Guido Brunetti. In the same vein, but with the even more exotic setting of Istanbul, are Barbara Nadel’s deeply humane novels about her unlikely hero, Inspector Çetin İkmen. Sympathetically characterised and beautifully written, I find each grips me from the first page to the last and I’m left wanting more.
In complete contrast are the light, frothy, but very enjoyable Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn. Set in the Britain of the early 1920’s, these novels are pure escapism and none the worse for that. Well-plotted, fast-moving and often funny, they are the literary equivalent of a foaming cappuccino, complete with chocolate sprinkles, rather than the strong, dark, Turkish coffee of Barbara Nadel’s books.
With companions like these to keep me entertained, you can understand why I’m in no great hurry to see the snow disappear.....