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Ten Books for the Library of Birmingham

Yesterday the new £188m Library of Birmingham was handed over to the City Council. As part of the regulation PR hullaballoo, the Leader of the Council Sir Albert Bore was pictured placing the first book on the shelves. This was The Hobbit, chosen by the public as part of a Twitter campaign last year – and … Continue reading

On the defacing of books

‘Libraries might as well not exist; they’ve got endless shelves for rubbish and hardly any space for good books.’ Joe Orton, 1967 Pulling together a previous post on Adrian McKinty’s Dead I Well May Be, I took a pencil and underlined a few key passages in my copy, which got me thinking about writing in … Continue reading

Panning for gold: ‘GBH’ by Ted Lewis

One of the great things about working in a library is the ready access to books – not only those you can borrow, but also the ones being discarded and sold. It’s the normal day-to-day work of any large library, and it’s also been happening to prepare for our move to the new building. Over the past few months, we have had an area of … Continue reading

My new favourite author: Adrian McKinty

I’ve had a copy of Adrian McKinty’s Dead I Well May Be sitting on my bookshelf for over two years. I know it’s that long because I asked for it for my birthday, along with a stack of other books (of which at least one other – The Hare with Amber Eyes – still remains unread).  I … Continue reading

‘Death is but a horizon’

I went to a funeral yesterday, for a family friend, who cruelly lost his fight with cancer. Not surprisingly, it was a very emotional experience – Dave was a lifelong Liverpool supporter, and the playing of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and The Beatles’ ‘In My Life’ were enough in themselves to bring a lump to … Continue reading

Philip Kerr, ‘A Man Without Breath’

I almost fell over with excitement when I saw this in Waterstones yesterday. I wasn’t aware that a new Bernie Gunther novel was coming, but I’m mighty glad to see it’s here. A Man Without Breath is the ninth in the series featuring German policeman/PI/POW/spy Bernie Gunther. The angle here is that it’s set pre- … Continue reading

The McBainiad, Book 1: ‘Cop Hater’ (1956)

I started on a steady diet of crime fiction when I was in my teens, for which you can blame my parents. I grew up in a house surrounded by lots of books; one my earliest memories is looking up at bookshelves filled with paperbacks, and hardback Book Club Associates editions, bound in a variety … Continue reading

Some unpleasant, but necessary, throat clearing

Hurruurggghhhhhh. Hurrrugh. Huuugh. Excuse me. This is my second attempt at a blog. I’m hoping it will be more successful than the last, which coughed and died after less than two weeks. One of the reasons for that was that my scope was too narrow, too restricted. Having said that, writing those few posts was … Continue reading