Here are some brief thoughts on a couple of recent reads that didn’t necessitate full posts of their own, but which I enjoyed reading nonetheless.
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Published by Harper, 2016 (first published in 1930)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Another thoroughly readable yet deceptively intricate yarn from the queen of mystery. This one captures the gossip fuelled nature of life in small, rural towns with characteristically wry humour and whip-sharp dialogue. I also enjoyed the brief though interesting commentary on society’s dismissiveness of older people’s worth, and the psychology of criminals (with characters questioning whether illicit behaviour is learned or inherited; free choice or an affliction of the mind).
With Christie always one step ahead, and everything planned out with meticulous care, she managed once again to bring her many plot threads together in a satisfactory and surprising way.
You can pick up a copy of Murder at the Vicarage by clicking here.
Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield
Published by Penguin, 2015 (first published in 1922)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
One of Penguin’s Little Black Classics, this slim volume brings together three short stories by Katherine Mansfield, who is often considered a master of the form. The selected stories compliment each other well in both theme and tone. Each captures a character’s sense of loneliness and longing, and a quiet moment of realisation which sees their illusion of contentment shattered. There’s a couple who realise they have drifted apart; a woman who spends her Sundays people watching in the park; and a man who craves his wife’s exclusive attention.
They’re definitely understated, but shrewdly observant. And though there’s nothing earth shattering about them, they are united by an effective air of melancholy, and some lovely prose. It made for a nice taster of Mansfield’s style, and I would certainly be open to trying more of her work.
You can pick up the full collection the stories were taken from by clicking here.
Have you read either of these? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.