A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories – Book Review

Maigret is in the first of these three stories by Georges Simenon, but not the other two. In these two stories, his ‘supporting’ cast come to the fore, people such as Janvier, Lognon, and Lecoeur. The second story, Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook, is the best. All the story is set in a control room with the action taking place at the end of the phone and in your imagination, accompanied by the deductions and logical reasoning of the police.

A Maigret Christmas is also set in a small area, namely in Maigret’s apartment and in another apartment opposite where Father Christmas has been sighted by a child and when Maigret starts asking questions, the child’s mother starts acting suspiciously.

Indeed, care and protection of the young is a pattern in all three stories. In the third story The Little Restaurant near Place des Ternes, a young woman is out and about on Christmas Eve and needs saving from herself, before she gets into trouble. A slightly older version of herself, it seems to me, almost like a ghost of Christmas future, comes to her rescue in an inelegant and scruffy way.

Once again, Georges Simenon or The Postman as he should be called, delivers a first-class package of beautiful, simple writing.

She’s Coming For You

She’d loved animals her whole life.

When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

This book is available at a discount here between 1st January and and 8th January.

Freddie the Buddhist Cat

Do you need something to smile about in these dark days?

Meet Freddie.

Freddie treats everything with respect. People, animals, birds, plants, even his breakfast.

Freddie finds Buddhism. Saved from the shelter by John and Mary a new life begins. Then he meets Gemma.

She regards humans as oppressors as they took her kittens.

Gemma thinks Freddie is soft in the head but sees his approach brings rewards as Freddie wins friends, gains knowledge, stops thieves, and helps a squirrel fly further from a children’s slide.

Feet of Clay book review

The City Watch books are all brilliant and this one is probably the best of the three I’ve read so far. It’s genuinely funny and all the wonderful characters are ones to treasure. Lord Vetinari (The Patrician – the top person in Ankh-Morpork) and Sir Samuel Vimes (Head of the City Watch) don’t get along but tolerate each other. Vetinari knows Vimes loves walking around the city feeling the stones beneath his feet, but gives him a Sedan Chair as a present – it’s that kind of relationship.

Two of the officers of the City Watch, Carrot and Angua, complement each other wonderfully. Angua is always conscious of who she really is or what she really is and can’t believe how honest and sincere Carrot is, and that he seems to know everything about everybody and treats them all the same. Carrot admires Angua even though he knows what she is really like in her nature.

Without giving anything away, this book contains golems galore, a vampire Dragon King of Arms ah-ha, and a superb character called Wee Mad Arthur who deserves a book of his own. Wee Mad Arthur is a rat catcher who helps members of the watch at just the right time. There’s also Corporal Cheery / Cheri Littlebottom who gradually discovers her feminine side as the book progresses.

Two people are murdered at the beginning of the book and Lord Vetinari is poisoned though not fatally. These two whodunit themes intertwine throughout the book, making it a murder / mystery story as well as an imaginatively humourous book and a voyage of discovery for some of the characters and for the reader. Highly recommended. Reading ‘Guards! Guards!’ and ‘Men At Arms’ first would be a great introduction to this book.

This book is as good as Truckers which for me says it all – it was a shame it had to end.

Days of Reading book review

For as long as reading is for us the instigator whose magic keys have opened the door to those dwelling-places deep within us that we would not have known how to enter, its role in our lives is salutary. It becomes dangerous on the other hand, when, instead of awakening us to the personal life of the mind, reading tends to take its place, when the truth no longer appears to us as an ideal which we can realise only by the initimate progress of our own thought and the efforts of our own heart, but as something material, deposited between the leaves of books.

In these essays, Proust explores all the pleasures we take from books as well as explaining the beauty of John Ruskin’s work and the joys of losing yourself in books at a younger age.

She’s Coming For You

She’d loved animals her whole life.

When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

This book is available at a discount here between 1st January and and 8th January.

Freddie the Buddhist Cat

Do you need something to smile about in these dark days?

Meet Freddie.

Freddie treats everything with respect. People, animals, birds, plants, even his breakfast.

Freddie finds Buddhism. Saved from the shelter by John and Mary a new life begins. Then he meets Gemma.

She regards humans as oppressors as they took her kittens.

Gemma thinks Freddie is soft in the head but sees his approach brings rewards as Freddie wins friends, gains knowledge, stops thieves, and helps a squirrel fly further from a children’s slide.

Freddie the Buddhist Cat

Do you need something to smile about in these dark days?

Meet Freddie.

Freddie treats everything with respect. People, animals, birds, plants, even his breakfast.

Freddie finds Buddhism. Saved from the shelter by John and Mary a new life begins. Then he meets Gemma.

She regards humans as oppressors as they took her kittens.

Gemma thinks Freddie is soft in the head but sees his approach brings rewards as Freddie wins friends, gains knowledge, stops thieves, and helps a squirrel fly further from a children’s slide.

Buddhist Cat

Do you need something to smile about in these dark days?

Meet Freddie.

Freddie treats everything with respect. People, animals, birds, plants, even his breakfast.

Freddie finds Buddhism. Saved from the shelter by John and Mary a new life begins. Then he meets Gemma.

She regards humans as oppressors as they took her kittens.

Gemma thinks Freddie is soft in the head but sees his approach brings rewards as Freddie wins friends, gains knowledge, stops thieves, and helps a squirrel fly further from a children’s slide.

Days of Reading book review

For as long as reading is for us the instigator whose magic keys have opened the door to those dwelling-places deep within us that we would not have known how to enter, its role in our lives is salutary. It becomes dangerous on the other hand, when, instead of awakening us to the personal life of the mind, reading tends to take its place, when the truth no longer appears to us as an ideal which we can realise only by the initimate progress of our own thought and the efforts of our own heart, but as something material, deposited between the leaves of books.

In these essays, Proust explores all the pleasures we take from books as well as explaining the beauty of John Ruskin’s work and the joys of losing yourself in books at a younger age.