I am not that active on this blog but I do try to get at least one post out for each WordPress update This has been more pertinent with the evolution of the Gutenberg interface. I say the beat goes on as I always have ideas for post but never seem to get around to putting the ideas down in words. This blog now primarily features book reviews of what I read and short stories on our travels. I do maintain another blog that suffers from a similar level of neglect sentimental about wood
Despite the covid-19 pandemic we have been quite lucky here in Australia. Because of our isolation we have been able to restrict entry into the country and limited the impact of new infections. Our federation of states has meant that we have been able to restrict movements across the commonwealth.
We enjoy living in a very large country with a mostly low population density so we have been able to travel within our own states and across state borders restrictions permitting. In South Australia where I live we have only had four deaths from covid-19 which is quite remarkable. In an unintended consequence of the pandemic the influenza rate is down on the five year average.
So as the title says the beat goes on. unemployment seems to have remained rather resilient and optimism is returning. Oh and I have managed at least one post for WordPress 5.7
Cannot believe that I have made it to the end of the sixth instalment. This story has more threads than a Persian rug. It starts with a high profile sex offender who gets parole and lands in Aberdeen. Logan or Laz to his friends ends up as part of the squad that has to keep him safe. There are some of the usual suspects notably DI Steele Logan’s boss. I do find Stuart McBride’s descriptions of DI Steele endlessly amusing, as are his descriptions of other ne’er-do-wells. The crimes are often grim and require some humour along the way. An honourable mention must go to DS Biohazard Bob. The tangle of intersecting and weaving story lines makes for an enjoyable read. McRae’s ageing Fiat is also quite a character in the story. I imagine a red car held together with duct tape. Professional standards are never far away in Logan McRae’s world and this story does not disappoint in that regard. It is good to see the slow but inevitable passing of peripheral but regular characters as you would find in any workplace with lots of staff. Dark Blood keeps giving up its twisted secrets right to the end. Must be time for number 7.
Well I have been locked out of the site for nearly two weeks. Thankfully my helpful admin was able to get into the gubbins in the backend of the site. Not quite sure what happened but the working theory is that Jetpack in one of its updates may have knocked the site out.. I’m not really sure but it was a hassle. I didn’t even get a am email so I could log in via safe mode. At its worse I was also locked me out of another site that I have. I discovered this when I decided to try and write a post from my mobile phone.
I still can’t access this site from my Android mobile phone. I can do most WordPress things form the phone except write and upload posts. Might just waiting for passwords to sync across the interwebs. So not much to write about other than trying to write a post and publish it. I also added a nice picture of an Almond torte that I made complete with buttercream icing.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars The fifth instalment in the series. Our hero Logan McRae or Laz to those who try to taunt him is up to his neck in trouble again. This is a particularly gruesome series of murders and attacks. Indeed some of the victims actually survive the attacks. The clue is in the title. Our fearless detective sergeant finds himself in Poland of all places.
As in previous instalments Logan is at the beck and call of more than one detective inspector none more so than DI Steel. MacBride’s descriptions of her makes you wonder if he had anyone in mind when he created the character. Anyone would be horrified if they thought it was them. Logan gets drawn into DI Steel’s personal issues with quite a twist. This is of course a subplot as is Logan’s love life which has its own peculiarities.
The main theme or crime is quite good. Indeed, it is a good yarn and this one was longer than its predecessors. I have tried to avoid going into the main plot for fear of spoiling it. These novels are not an advertisement for Aberdeen. This is the fifth that I have read in order and you could be forgiven for thinking Aberdeen is the serial killer capital of the world.
This is the first in the Logan McRae series. I’m not sure how I picked up on this probably a recommendation from somewhere. Anyway, Stuart MacBride has created a great character in Logan McRae. The book is really accessible I just fell into reading quite a bit during the first sitting. This is always a good sign for me. Our hero is the reluctant Logan McRae and we drop straight into his world. There is a back story he’s just returned to work after sustaining a very serious injury in the line of duty. In fact, so serious was the injury that he is referred to as Lazarus. He’s surrounded by a coterie of characters.
He is supposed to be on light duties on this return to work but of course falls right into the thick of things. Investigating child murders in a cold and bleak winter in Aberdeen. The way that MacBride paints Aberdeen its hardly inviting. There is also a good amount of humour in the book. At one point the locals who are struggling along the footpath in the rain are described as “looking murderous and inbred”.
In the end Logan McRae does get his man, a good and enjoyable yarn with lots of red herrings.
Ratchatcher is is the first in a series of novels featuring Matthew Hawkwood as the main character written by James McGee. Based on the Bow Street runners before the advent of more formalised police investigations. Certainly, an atmospheric novel and quite the page turner. Our hero Matthew Hawkwood is part detective and part action hero. Lots of murders and shadowy deals.
I did think that the book was getting into fantasy land but the notes at the end of the book put some context to the goings. I like historical fiction so long as it doesn’t stray too far from what’s plausible. The early 19th century isn’t a period of history that I’m overly familiar with so I was thankful for the notes at the end.
This was holiday read that I picked up quite cheaply and was an enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading another one in the future.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars I heard the author being interviewed on radio. I am trying to write this in a way not to give too much away. The story of Oleg Gordievsky is fascinating and, in many ways, mirrors a Le Carre spy novel. The big difference is that it actually happened. It’s just fascinating with so many twists and turns and turns. Oleg Gordievsky is from KGB aristocracy his father and brother both were in the service. This makes his eventual defection to MI6 really intriguing. Much of what happens follows a maxim if you have to choose between “a stuff up and a conspiracy always go for a stuff up”.
Ben Macintyre has put together an easy to read and entertaining book straight form the annals of the cold war. It provides and insight into how some of the KGB operations worked and the machinations of its bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed the spy and the Traitor.
It’s the start of my 5th week working from home during the time of Covid19. I am lucky to be living in South Australia where we have had a relatively low death rate from the virus. So far only four deaths and over 90% of people who have contracted Covid 19 have fully recovered. Our restrictions have not been as severe as in other states of Australia. So we can still go to the shops and make so called non essential purchases. This is of course tenuous and could reverse if people become complacent about social distancing and hand hygiene these are basic public health initiatives.
We have not ventured out in this time other than to the grocery shop and hardware shop. We have started leaving our shoes outside or just inside the front door. We wipe down the car door handles steering wheel and anything else that we may touched when out. This also includes the door handles in our house. We have even been washing our reusable shopping bags. On the plus side we have done lots of work around the house. Catching up on maintenance and gardening. Far from being bored we are trying to use our time productively.
I have taken a self imposed break from the news limiting myself to a 15 minute bulletin in the morning and no TV news. The media are really caught up in a cycle of disaster porn. Endlessly repeating the stats that are publicly available and speculating on what horrors are in the near future. This is embellished by experts who really do not know more than the published information. Largely our politicians seem to be behaving more sensibly than they usually do and listening to sound advice from the relevant bodies. Maybe that why we are having such a low rate of community transmission of Covid19 in this country. We are of course fortunate to live on a large island which prevents people sneaking in.
This does not take away from the absolute tragedies that are taking place in Europe and the United States. The death toll on the United Kingdom will no doubt be much higher than the stated numbers when deaths in nursing homes and domestic dwellings are taken into account. The likelihood of a miracle cure or vaccine seem distant now we can only hope that something will emerge.
I walk near our home , out the front door and into a conservation park. The dogs love it and they walk off leash . Usually we encounter about four or five people on our walks and some dogs. Last night a balmy evening we encountered about 25 people . I dont think that I have ever seen that many people on the walking track in the 25 or so years that I have been living here . Young and old all out walking this may be a small silver lining to the whole flattening the Covid19 curve.
I am guessing that once all the Covid19 restrictions start to return to normal the numbers will go down again. I have seen many posts on social media imploring people to take this as as a moment to reset their lives. Perhaps I am a pessimist but I suspect that most people will go back to their old ways as the Covid19 restrictions are gradually lifted. Enjoy some pictures of the dogs walking in the conservation park .