Some more books worth reading

It’s been a while since I shared what I’ve been reading lately. So here are three more books you might like.

The House of Silk is a new Sherlock Holmes novel written by Anthony Horowitz. I’ve read the original Holmes stories so was curious to see how another writer would bring him to life. The style of the opening few chapters is close to Conan Doyle’s, exhibiting florid language that serves to help establish the period and atmosphere. Fortunately, given that this is a novel rather than a short story, the style becomes more modern, and easier to read after that. The story is gripping and the plot well structured. There is a great denouement too, which I won’t spoil here.

Back Story is a memoir by David Mitchell. The book uses a walk around London as its framing device, each stop along the way handily summoning memories from his youth and early adulthood. The voice is unmistakably Mitchell’s, filled with his pedantic and exasperated observations. After a while they become a little predictable, almost a mechanism to avoid becoming too serious. Whilst you wouldn’t expect a book by a comedian to be entirely straight, they sometimes felt like an attempt to force laughs where they don’t naturally come. Many of the stories focus on his experiences on stage, in the Footlights club and at the Edinburgh Festival, though his work in more recent years seemed to be hurried over. But nevertheless an interesting insight into someone who makes me laugh on a regular basis.

Patrick Troughton – The biography of the second Doctor Who has been written by his son Michael. To say that Troughton had a complex personal life is something of an understatement: He maintained three families at one point, but managed to hide it from the press. He was also an intensely private person, who rarely gave interviews. That the author has access to a unique set of letters, postcards and photographs is something that Doctor Who fans, or fans of brilliant character actors in general, should be grateful for. Unfortunately the book contains a number of silly formatting and grammatical slips, the sort of thing that should have been picked up by a half-decent proof reader or sub-editor. They are somewhat distracting but overall this is a valuable insight into a private man.

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