Ralph’s Best Books Of The Year

A strange year,gone without mourning,but here are a few suggestions to kickstart the year, says Ralph McAllister.

‘Ian McEwan with Lessons leaps straight into Booker contention with his longest novel yet .

Adolescent Roland is seduced by his mad piano teacher Miriam and so begins his journey to a life of love,obsessions,pain and joy.

Deeply gripping,this is a cavalcade of brilliance, one man’s decades of  a failed marriage and family estrangement set within public events such as Chernobyl and Brexit.
McEwan with Lessons and this,his 17th novel ,has given us his masterpiece.

All the Broken Places by John Boyne is another addition to his superb oeuvre.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was a major success in 2006 .

Young Bruno tries to fathom out what his father is doing at Auschwitz as a commander.

In this sequel Gretel, Bruno’s guilt-ridden 90-year-old sister, looks back at her life and what could have been.

Shifting deftly in time from present-day London to Germany and France after the war Boyne shares with us his own skills, shot through with touching humanity.

Finally, Anthony Horowitz gives us more of his fictional self in The Twist of a Knife, his fourth in a series.

Set in present-day London’s theatre world Horowitz is accused of murdering a theatre critic Harriet Throsby after she has written a particularly nasty review of his latest play.

This is madness, hilarious and familiar.

(Does anyone else remember late fifties and Donald Wolfit challenging local Dominion critic Bruce Mason to a duel after Bruce had been less than complimentary?)

Writer and fictional writer Horowitz offer laughter and more in this ingenious farce.



I consider the literary genre, Crime, Thrillers and Mystery dead. Richard Osman’s latest book, The Bullet That Missed, has spoilt my appetite for new books in this genre and hastened my decision to only reread books from the past. Agatha Christie is top of the list and the shock I got at 10 reading; the final chapter of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is still remembered. Next is my aim is to reread the 70 Perry Mason books which in my youth the council libraries would not stock. They were available from a private lending library, the London Book Shop. John Creasey was another author only available from a private library. Later I discovered authors James Hadley Chase and Ed McBain from second hand book shops. A lot of summer reading.
My biggest surprise was once finding a shop dedicated to selling only crime mystery and detective books in Charing Cross London.


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