July 28th, 2012

lovejoy

July Books 25) Paid and Loving Eyes, by Jonathan Gash

I thought I had read only one Lovejoy book, and that it wasn't this one; but there was an incident with an undercover policewoman here which I definitely remembered reading before, though almost none of the rest of the plot had stayed in my mind.

The plot, for what it's worth, involves Lovejoy getting embroiled in annd then helping to bust a ring of international criminals by travelling to Paris and Switzerland from his native East Anglia; his supernatural ability to tell real antiques from fakes is a key element of the conspiracy (and makes me wonder if I should classify the Lovejoy books as fantasy rather than non-genre; on a related note I lost count of the number of women who threw themselves at him, another fantasy element).

The question of real v fake in the antique world is central to Lovejoy's motivation; it is also the author's excuse for lots of trivia about antiques, most of which I have already forgotten, though the touching story of James Sandy of Laurencekirk, the disabled and bedridden craftsman who created wonderful things, will stay with me.

Anyway, not exactly profound reading, and quite a different tone from the TV series, but entertaining and I think I'll read a few more.
earthsea

July Books 26) Last Term at Malory Towers, by Enid Blyton

I had never read a single one of these books before, and swiped this off my sister-in-law's bookcase in a moment of experimentation. While it was probably not a great idea to start with the last of the series, I found it wholesome stuff about building character and learning to get along with other people, in the all-female environment of Malory Towers boarding school, the tough life lessons - and there are several - leavened by the fun of bullying the French teacher by removing her hair pins magnetically (but she is not English so it doesn't matter). I understand that part of the thrill of earlier books in the sequence is waiting to see when Darrell loses her temper, and was a little sorry to discover that she manages to keep her composure in this last volume. The only men who get much of a mention are fathers; little talk even of brothers and no talk of boyfriends. However I think it does no harm to sample a setting where there are a variety of female role models to choose from. When my nieces are old enough to appreciate these books, I think they may start appearing in Christmas presents from us.