My absolutely favourite way to relax is with a good book. As winter sets in and long dark nights take hold, I savour my evening hours curled up with a good book. Here is a list of my recommendations for eight excellent books across a range of genres,
My number one mystery recommendation is Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. This is a mystery enfolded in a mystery. It is a brilliantly executed homage to the Golden Age of Crime and the works of writers like Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. Horowitz writes:
“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists & turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.”
― Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders
Science Fiction & Fantasy:
I am currently reading the Empire Trilogy by Raymond Weiss and Janny Wurts. The series, set in a world resembling medieval Japan, tells the story of the heroine – The Lady of Acoma – and her remarkable exploits as she strives to save her family name from annihilation by her enemies. I have a fondness for books with strong female protagonists – and it is harder to get a smarter or stronger protagonist than Mara Acoma. If you enjoy twisted plots and machiavellian schemes, interspersed with sword fights and heroism this might be the series for you. The books are part of the larger Riftwar Cycle by Raymond Feist but I hadn’t read the earlier books and still was able to fully enjoy this trilogy.
A summer day trip to the small town of Sydney, British Columbia, home to six independent booksellers, led to my discovery of this series of gripping spy thrillers – The Tourist trilogy – by Olen Steinhauer. The protagonist Milo Weaver is a CIA “tourist” – an undercover agent with no fixed home address and a secret identity. The series follows Weaver’s efforts to retire from this life of active duty for a desk job within the agency. But his efforts are foiled as he is inexorably pulled into a tangled net of lies, manipulation, and betrayal. These books will keep you reading late into the night.
Take a weekend off for some armchair travel to Elizabethan England with this historical adventure novel by C.C. Humphrey – Shakespeare’s Rebel. The author who is himself a a professional actor, playwright and swords master knows a thing or two about the period and adeptly brings it to life in this rollicking page turner. Spying, rebellion, adventure, the Globe Theatre and more! “As a film actor and fight choreographer himself Humphreys creates in Shakespeare’s Rebel a hero with swashbuckling panache.” Jenny Barlow, Daily Express.