Beyond the Bookcase – January To Be Read Pile.

As the nights continue to draw in (January is my least favorite month) I turn as always to the comforting power of books as I await the lighter nights of early Spring. As always I have predominantly been reading murder mysteries and other historical novels as I await my first trip of the year to Edinburgh in February! 

I bought this in a lovely second hand book shop in Cork this past September and have been dying to pick this up to read ever since. I loved the Matilda film when I was younger as I was a voracious reader like Matilda although my parents encouraged my reading rather than hindered it!

A new to me Golden Era of crime fiction book ‘Hag’s Nook’ was found by me in my local library! Unfortunately my local library system is not as prolific in the re-issues of Golden Era crime fiction that the library system in Scotland I had access to when I lived there so this was a pleasant surprise. ‘Hag’s Nook’ is by John Dickson Carr and is the first book to features his series detective Dr. Gideon Fell, a lexicographer from Lincolnshire, England. The murder takes place in a Victorian prison and has overtones of Victorian gothic (especially Jane Eyre!), the supernatural, and possibly one of the first psychopaths’ in detective fiction.

Next up is a murder mystery in homage to Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie that featured Miss. Marple for the first time, ‘Murder Before Evensong,’ by real life retired English Vicar, the Reverend Richard Coles. True to form the detective is a Church of England vicar with the murder taking place in his own church in a small English village that true to type has all of the stereotypes. A local landowner, busybody ladies, a few village pubs, and several local legends. I am very much looking forward to reading this as this is bread and butter reading for me!

I am heading to Edinburgh for the first week of February and have appropriate books to read before I visit to get me into the Edinburgh mood (whose kidding I don’t need to do this as I <3 Edinburgh! One of my favorite authors, Catriona McPherson (author of the Dandy Gilver murder mystery series set in Inter-War Scotland) has just released a new book (possibly for a new series?) called ‘In Place of Fear’, which takes place in 1948 as Scotland embraces the NHS (National Health Service) and Helen Crowther, a newly qualified medical almoner, begins work in a doctor’s surgery before discovering a murder and the underbelly of Edinburgh at it’s worst.

In Place of Fear

Another book set in Edinburgh, ‘The Martlet Box’, by Jean Ross tells the tale of an ordinary box that grants the owner the power to travel through time and space. The central characters travel back and forward through time and different era’s of Edinburgh’s history. A brilliant read for a misty Edinburgh night whilst you imagine yourself in Edinburgh’s medieval old town before it was built over for the Georgian new town.



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