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A wilding

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  1. In the UK it is a great deal easier to get your first book published, and to get the publisher to push it hard, if you are already famous or connected, and so the dice are loaded in your favour. Though it is still quite possible that no one remembers the book a few years later. At least in Osman's case we can be reasonably sure it was not ghost written by someone else.
  2. <pedant mode> Wasn't it G. K. Chesterton? Certainly I am sure that Oscar Wilde himself would have shuddered at the word "someplace". </pedant mode>
  3. It is basically an idealised version of 18th - 19th century rural England. Frodo is your classic English gentleman. He inherited a nice house and enough money to have no need to work, and is related in one way or another to most of the important people in the Shire. And when an out of context problem turns up in the shape of the Ring. he considers it his duty to step up and solve it himself.
  4. I was about to post that myself. What got me was the clinching factor for the decision. Apparently it was not the fact that the SpaceX option is an order of magnitude or so cheaper, despite the fact it will be a Falcon Heavy and that the need to give the payload a big boost means that they won't be able to recover any of the cores. It was down to them discovering that the shaking of an SLS payload on launch is significantly greater than was being admitted to, and the Europa Clipper would not have coped with it. You have to wonder whether the SLS is ever going to get off the ground (sorry) now.
  5. Branson is just a typical late capitalism capitalist. In good time he takes huge dividends out of his companies and makes sure that the taxman does not see a penny of it. In bad times he ensures that the taxpayers pay the losses of his companies, giving them nothing in return.
  6. ... and that tells you all you need to know about Facebook in one post.
  7. It does occur - I can see Mrs W's point in wanting to be careful - but is still relatively rare.
  8. Interesting. Ticks are a problem in the Scottish Highlands also. My wife has to be very careful there (she has a special tool for pulling them out of your skin in one piece) but I also have never had one.
  9. Personally I think the Shetland series is not as good as the Vera series. The first 3 books are okay, but then it goes downhill (and in a book that once more features ornithology). And if you don't want to read about religious bigotry, the Shardlake series is definitely not for you! I have been on a reread of the classic golden age story (and also slight send up of the genre) Trent's Last Case by E.C.Bentley. It has aged extremely well considering it was published in 1913, possibly partly because, like The Moonstone, it is almost the only mystery story he ever wrote. (He co-wrote a sequel 25 years later, which is also good - a strong theme of failure and futility - but suffers a little from the co-writer's interest in food and drink.) I recommend it to any golden age fan who has not already come across it.
  10. In that case then I would indeed call her behaviour pathological. I have some slight experience of someone with issues, so if you want my advice (but do feel free to ignore it) I would suggest avoiding giving her the satisfaction of reacting to her behaviour, and to act in a calm and adult manner. Set boundaries and protect yourself. As far as possible detach yourself somewhat and try not to let what she says or does affect your own self esteem. Easier said than done when it is someone as close to you as your sister, I know.
  11. Is that a cultural thing? I am middle class English, and to me demanding to know what a family member was going to give you for Christmas would, unless there were very special circumstances, be extremely rude. Unsolicitedly criticising the gift to their face, however unwanted it was, would be unspeakably rude. Of course quietly giving it away straight after Christmas would be acceptable, and the giver could later ask only very indirectly whether the gift had been enjoyed or was valued.
  12. It is a while since I read those Rebus books. But basically it is difficult to discuss clues because of their spoilery nature. Feel free to come back if/when you have worked your way through Reginald Hill.
  13. Personal opinion: classic Reginald Hill - say from Ruling Passion (1973) to Bones and Silence (1990) - is definitely worth trying. Later on he had obviously got a bit bored of police procedurals and his books got weirder and started genre hopping. Apart from anything else, one of his books contains possibly the single most audacious clue in the whole of crime fiction. Even to say which book it is in might be a slight spoiler:
  14. I have read some of them. (They are included as extras in some editions of his books.) I would say they are a bit mixed, some good, some feeling a bit like filler. And they tend to be short. Unless one of the ones I have not read is a novella I doubt that the whole collection is that long. So I would suggest that only serious fans or completists read this (though I probably will).
  15. I fear I cannot share in your confidence that GRRM will ever finish the books, sadly.
  16. We may have been lucky with ASoIaF being finished as a TV show after all?
  17. Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series? Set in late Republic Rome with most of the key figures of the period turning up at some point. He started publishing them in the 1990's though so they may not count.
  18. I have just finished a reread of James McClure's Kramer and Zondi series. I had forgotten how good they are, so I thought I would post a recommendation. The books are decidedly uncosy police procedurals set in apartheid era South Africa. While being a good read just for the stories, they also have the added bonus of their setting. The books are superb examples of "show not tell", showing the horrors and wrongs of apartheid in clinical detail without any authorial comment at all (indeed I have seen a review that seemed to think McClure actually supported apartheid). It works all the more in that Lieutenant Kramer is an unthinking supporter of the system, except that he is humanised by constantly surreptitiously breaking the rules in favour of his very able black sidekick Sergeant Zondi, with whom he has a close working relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
  19. I would agree with that. Though I disagree about Sherlock Holmes being a Gary Stu. Holmes undoubtedly has an extraordinary talent, enhanced by him dedicating his life to nurturing and developing it, but in many other ways he is a deeply flawed human being. (And we discover in The Missing Three-Quarter that he has little knowledge of sport and absolutely no interest in it.) I also found that the realism and literary intent made it grate when Wimsey hounds suspects from his position of superiority and privilege. My sympathies were often with the suspect, which was certainly not Sayers intention!
  20. Personally I don't enjoy Dorothy L Sayers because for me Lord Peter Wimsey comes across as a bit of a Gary Stu. He is a massively wealthy aristocrat who is good at everything, effortlessly superior, and has no flaws, apart from some trivial ones designed to make him even more attractive to the reader (such as being a little squeamish after his actions have sent someone to the gallows.) For example, a medium size spoiler for Murder Must Advertise:
  21. Another Australian series worth a try is Arthur Upfield's Bony series. They are set in the mid 20th century and feature the half Aborigine Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (he was named that by the nuns at the Catholic mission that raised him). He generally investigates crimes in obscure parts of the Outback undercover, and the books give a vivid impression of the country back then. I think it was made into a TV series also.
  22. I would say The Laughing Policeman was the best one by some way. The books are deliberately stylised, with relatively little emphasis on characterisation, but they do drop you right into the period, and I also like them. The Haunted Monastery might by a good one to try.
  23. His Too Many Magicians is one of my favourites, despite almost no one in the UK apparently having heard of it. It is an excellent twist on the locked room mystery - one committed at a London hotel hosting the triennial conference of the Most Ancient and Honourable Guild of Sorcerers. Not to mention the pastiches of various famous fictional characters scattered throughout the book.
  24. I also enjoy a good mystery and have tried most of those authors. A few UK based suggestions you might also like, given that list: Josephine Tey: pseudonym under which she wrote a handful of miscellaneous golden age mysteries. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles: cosyish contemporary London based police procedural series (Inspector Slider). Reginald Hill: Northern England police procedural series written about a generation ago. Possibly also Peter Lovesey, Ruth Rendell, Ngaio Marsh.
  25. Hah, I never win anything. (Should have voted for Brexit.) Still nvm, I will read it anyway.
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