Reading report, 9. January 2017
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The reading year began well for me. I have finished three books so far, which is considerably fewer than the same time last year, but they were good books.
First came Thee Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann.
I found the idea of the story intriguing: a herd of sheep, a mixed bag of an old Irish heritage breed and some other breeds, some of them rescue animals, find their beloved shepherd dead in their pasture, a spade lodged in his abdomen. The humans around them don't seem too concerned or eager to investigate, so the sheep decide to solve the mystery themselves.
There is a sequel, about what happens to the sheep after the case is solved.
Then came Maigret and the Wine Merchant by Georges Simenon.
One of the things I love about Simenon's crime novels is that they are usually not all about finding out whodunit, but rather about proving that a particular person did it and finding out why. There is sometimes some uncertainty about the killer's identity, but it is usually cleared up around midway through the story, and the rest is a psychological chess game with the killer on one side and Maigret and his team on the other.
In this case, a rich wine merchant is murdered and no-one seems to care overmuch. Maigret's investigation reveals a man obsessed with being the boss, with an apparently insatiable appetite for sex that's driven by a need to dominate. A lot of people might have wished him dead, but who had the nerve?
The final book was All Fishermen Are Liars by Linda Greenlaw.
I first found out about Linda Greenlaw when I found her first book, The Hungy Ocean, at a book sale and bought it on a whim. I grew up in a fishing village in northern Iceland and heard and read a lot of sea stories. It was therefore interesting to read a sea story from another fishing culture.
This book is a collection of sometimes funny, often hair-raising sea stories, possibly true, possibly not, probably somewhere halfway in-between, framed by the story of the author and her concerns for the health of a good friend and her attempts to persuade him to go into retirement. I have another one of her books on my TBR shelf and will read it soon - if I can find it.