I don't think I can look at my new pile of books without picking one out to start reading now. Lately when I reach for a new book it is almost always a mystery, but as I already have several started I will opt for something else for a little variety in my current reads pile. I have it narrowed down to three and thought I would share a little teaser of each to help me decide.
So, Helen MacInnes is practically a mystery writer, but since her books fall into the suspense/espionage category I'll let her slide by. I like the sound of Decision at Delphi with its Greek setting. Newsweek is quoted on the back of the book as saying she can "hang her cloak and dagger right up there with Eric Ambler and Graham Greene. Now that sounds like quite a high accolade to me. The story begins:
"Now there's a pretty girl, Kenneth Strang thought, as he relaxed his efforts to open the porthole of his cabin and glanced down at the cluster of upturned faces planted along the pier's edge. For a moment, he wondered who had won that smile and wave. Then, quickly, he renewed his attack. The porthole swung open with a surprised shriek, letting the cold March air pour into the overcrowded cabin."
In its favor--I love suspense stories, it has a groovy 1960s cover, and I could get back to my season of spies if I were to pick this up. Helen MacInnes made the list, though not this particular title (I'm flexible, though!).
I mentioned that I've read and enjoyed Katherine Mosby's books before, and Twilight always appealed to me--I just never quite got around to reading it. This is the story of a woman's "unlikely blossoming in the face of war". It begins in New York in the 1930s and moves to Paris before the war. It has a great opening paragraph, too.
"It would be misleading to say that the course of Lavinia's life was diverted by a kiss, or that a chance remark would change the continent on which she lived, although both things were true. Lavinia Gibbs was not known for being either sentimental or a helpless romantic. There was nothing nothing helpless about Lavinia at all. She was, in fact, among the most practical members of her graduating class at Miss Dillwater's Academy, a trait much commented upon in her 1917 yearbook. Born at the turn of the century, Lavinia seemed always older than her years, but this was due to her reserve rather than her wisdom."
In its favor--It's certainly just the right time period and I could read this in anticipation of the Paris in July readalong.
If the comments I received about J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace are anything to go by I definitely need to read it sooner rather than later. A coworker prompted me to borrow this from the library a while back, which I didn't get to before it had to be returned. Now I have my own copy to take my time with.
"For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well. On Thursday afternoons he drives to Green Point. Punctually at two p.m. he presses the buzzer at the entrance to Windsor Mansions, speaks his name, and enters. Waiting for him at the door of no. 113 is Soraya. He goes straight through to the bedroom, which is pleasant-smelling and softly lit, and undresses. Soraya emerges from the bathroom, drops her robe, and slides into bed beside him. 'Have you missed me?' she asks. 'I miss you all the time,' he replies. He strokes her honey-brown body, unmarked by the sun; he stretches out, kisses her breasts; they make love."
Well, that was a little surprising. I hadn't read anything before cracking it open just now for my teaser.
In its favor--I've heard many good things about Coetzee, I've read very few books by South African writers and its won a number of awards.
I'll let you know which one I choose!