A Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan

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A Murder to Die ForA Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan is outside my usual Nordic Noir type of reading. It is an a very funny tale set in an idyllic English village. Think Agatha Christie or Midsummers Murders and you get the idea. The whole premise is set against a festival celebrating a fictional celebrating a famous but dead crime writer Agnes Crabbe. The festival is crowded Milly Cutter looks a likes Agnes Crabbe’s famous detective. There a clashes between rival Agnes Crabbe appreciation societies. Then comes the obligatory murder and gruesome it is.
A murder to Die is a delight easy to read and quite funny in parts. Lots of confusing characters and red herrings. The village is awash with wannabe amateur sleuths getting in the way of the police. It all comes to a head in the space of a weekend. The other notable feature of the book is that it was published by Unbound which is essentially a crowd funding company that helps unpublished authors.
Thoroughly enjoyed A Murder to Die For.

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WP Book

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An interesting application/plugin for WordPress is WPBook. This plugin installs on you blog allows your post to be visible on a Facebook page.  It only works on self hosted WordPress installs.

The installation is, from my experience of WordPress plugins, a little quirky. This is primarily because the WPBook requires that you create a Facebook application. This sort of thing is a little daunting for someone like me with no programming experience. However it is really more about creating the application within the developers section of Facebook, this creates an API key and another password or  key called a secret. You then enter theses details in the plugin section of your blog. You need to give your application a unique name so that it has a “canvas” name this is Facebook jargon for where they host their application.  So after a few trials and errors  I was able to create an application that now displays my deep and meaningful post on my Facebook page.

The guy who created it John Eckman can be found here http://www.openparenthesis.org/2009/01/19/wpbook-wordpress-facebook-plugin-goes-10

A History of South Australia by Paul Sendziuk

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A History of South Australia

A History of South Australia by Paul Sendziuk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I heard the authors speaking on the radio about this volume both work at Adelaide Un9versity . I have never actually read a history of South Australia. This is despite living in south Australia most of my life. Its a chronological history which centres on european settlement and is not unsympathetic to aboriginal people. I found the earlier history up until about 1900 more interesting.
According to the authors there were about 700 Kaurna people living on the Adelaide plains when the english settlers arrived in 1836. What is remarkable is that by 1840 there were nearly 15000 european settlers in South Australia and they had already settled across the colony.
Money and farming seem to have been the drivers for settlement. South Australia did not have a penal colony. The authors paint South Australia as a contradictory place of innovation and conservative social values which fluctuate over time.
I think it’s well written and worth reading if you in South Australia or are just curious.



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A Quick Visit to Elliston

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I had a flying visit to Elliston this week. I was there to facilitate training and had time to look around. Elliston is not a large place three shops a pub and police station. There isn’t much else other than a medical centre. That aside Elliston has a most spectacular coastline and I’m told the fishing is great. Sadly I didn’t come across any fish.  The day was bright and sunny however Elliston is exposed and quite windy.

I drove to Elliston from Part Lincoln which is a 340 kilometre round trip across mostly flat country. I did see lots of old stone walls and what looked like low lying lakes. 

A Post Using Gutenberg

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The Holiday House

A post shared by Bernie S-R (@berniesr) on

This is our holiday house and posted the photo on Instagram. Pulling the photo across from Instagram was really easy. I have already completed two posts on another blog and  so far I think that Gutenberg is OK. 

The block structure is easy to navigate and quite different to its predecessor. Im sure that there will be haters but I look forward WordPress 5 when its part of the the core. 

Friday essay: from convicts to contemporary convictions – 200 years of Australian crime fiction

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(This is republished from The Conversation and written by Stephen Knight
Honorary Research Professor, University of Melbourne

File 20180712 27030 1qtvss2.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Guy Pearce as the Chandleresque private investigator Jack Irish: in the early years of Australian crime fiction, convicts and bushrangers featured prominently.
Lachlan Moore

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Arthur Gask an Adelaide Based Author

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Arthur Gask

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arthur Cecil Gask (10 July 1869 – 25 June 1951), dentist and novelist, was born on 10 July 1869 at St Marylebone, London, fourth of five children of Charles Gask, merchant, and his wife Fanny, née Edis.[1]

Gask, accompanied by his second wife, their two sons, and by a daughter of his first marriage, emigrated to AdelaideSouth Australia in 1920, where he set up practice as a dentist. He was among the first in the city to carry out extractions with gas.[1]

He began writing crime fiction while waiting for his patients and in 1921 paid for the publication of his first novel, The Secret of the Sandhills, which was an immediate success,[1] which he partly attributed to generous reviews by S. Talbot Smith.[2]

 

Over a period of thirty years Gask wrote over thirty books as well as contributing short stories to The Mail in Adelaide. Most of his novels described the activities of a detective, Gilbert Larose, in solving crimes. Gask’s work was translated into several European languages, serialised in newspapers and broadcast on radio. He also wrote short stories.

H. G. Wells, an admirer of Gask’s work, corresponded with Gask. Wells regarded The Vengeance of Larose (1939) as Gask’s “best piece of story-telling…It kept me up till half-past one.”[3]

Bertrand Russell, also an admiring reader, called to see Gask at Gask’s home in Walkerville, an Adelaide suburb, when he was in Adelaide in August 1950.[3]Gask was reported to have been delighted when, within a few hours after his arrival in Adelaide, Lord Russell called in and spent about an hour and a half with him. Russell confided that he was a reader of Mr. Gask’s books in England, and said that now they were so near to each other he felt he really must make his acquaintance. Lord Russell was 78 at the time and Arthur Gask was 81.[4]

Gask’s sister, Lilian Gask, was also a writer.

When nearly 80, Gask was still turning out two 80,000-words novels a year,[5] and was reported to have got out of bed to write 23 pages and complete his final novel, Crime After Crime.[3]

Arthur Gask died on 25 June 1951, in an Adelaide private hospital.[3]

The full article and references is available here

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Lenin’s Roller Coaster by David Downing

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Lenin's Roller Coaster (Jack McColl, #3)Lenin’s Roller Coaster by David Downing

Lenin’s Rollercoaster
This is the third instalment Jack McColl and Caitlin Hanley series written by David Downing. The preceding volumes One Man’s Flag  and Jack of Spies set the tone but are not required reading .This time the protagonist are in Russia after the fall of the short-lived Kerensky government. The Bolsheviks under Lenin have come to power. There are however many factions who are fighting each other within Russia. Some want peace with the Germans others want to fight on. The supporters of the Czar the White Russians want the old order restored. This forms the backdrop to the adventures of Jack McColl and Caitlin Hanley.
The background really highlight a time when there as optimism and the thought that the Russian revolution would yield a utopian workers’ paradise. As the story progresses the idyll is slipping away. The Bolsheviks execute the Czar and his family and the state security apparatus is emerging. The terror that follows the spring of hope is more than just rumour. Our heroes Jack and Caitlin are traversing the Russian landscape separately he a spy she a journalist. Narrow escapes and shady characters are the order of the day. Their adventures are always crisscrossing but separate. In some ways it is two stories in one. A wonderful way to have glimpse of this turbulent time in history.

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Greeks Bearing Gifts: Bernie Gunther Thriller 13Greeks Bearing Gifts: Bernie Gunther Thriller 13 by Philip Kerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the penultimate instalment of the Bernie Gunther series the author Philip Kerr passed away 23rd March 2018. There is another novel coming Metropolis which is due out at the end of the year. Like all the novels in this series there is enough to explain his past without necessarily reading them all. I have read all in order and enjoyed the series.

This time we find Bernie Gunther in Munich working as a morgue attendant under another assumed name. He reluctantly becomes embroiled in a scam which ultimately lands him in Greece. He is a belligerent as always and falls for an attractive woman who is embroiled in the plot. surprisingly he becomes an insurance assessor and upon proving himself he gets sent to Athens. Here he becomes embroiled in an insurance scam involving antiquities.

Bernie Gunther novels have always referenced the Nazi era and the current context. Philip Kerr’s attention to historical detail always makes these novels interesting combined with an engaging plot. Here we find references to de-Nazification and the links that post war Western Germany has to the Nazis. This link to the atrocities committed in Thessaloniki and other places in Greece.

Our grumpy hero is moving along towards his final adventure.

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One Man’s Flag by David Downing

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One Man's Flag (Jack McColl, #2)One Man’s Flag by David Downing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second Jack McColl novel’ by David Downing, which continues his spying, adventures this time inside enemy lines on the continent. Europe engulfed in the war to end all wars. There is continuation from the first novel, Jack of Spies, but enough to read this on its own. Since the first yarn, McColl has now become a spy being formally part of the fledgling British secret service. Previously he may more accurately described as an amateur spy. He has and troubled relationship with Caitlin a journalist from the US who is sympathetic to the Irish republican cause. She comes from a strong Irish-American family.
The story explores the war on the western front as well as issues on the home front in the United Kingdom. This becomes entwined with the 1915 uprising in Dublin where there was an attempt to overthrow the British. The plot moves between the Irish uprising and McColl’s troubles behind enemy lines in Western Europe. The background to the Irish uprising is interesting as are the escapades of Caitlin and Jack.
I really enjoyed David Downing’s Station novels, which I felt were more immersive than the McColl series. That has not to say I do not like them but enjoyed the Station novels more. It could be that the period that the McColl novels are set does not hold the same appeal. There are another two to come and I will definitely be reading

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