Tag Archives: mystery

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

Yay! One of my Singapore finds. Clay is a designer who knows a bit about web, computers etc, and is also out of work. One night he stumbles in Mr Penumbras 24 Hour bookstore and lands himself a job as the night clerk. He notices strange patterns and goings on, and with the help of his friends sets out to uncover the mystery behind Mr Penumbra, his book store, and his special customers.

It is a book about books, about code breaking, about immortality. It brings together the physical, and then ups it with the power of Google! It’s about the love of reading.

Here’s one of my favourite quotes from this novel,

… I’m really starting to think the whole world is just a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules.

To me it was a great and suspenseful read. A bit like a short and really approachable Foucoult’s Pendulum, without the real menace. Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy Umberto Eco’s Pendulum, and thoroughly recommend it as a read. It’s suspenseful, but big, with lots of tight prose.

Feel free to disagree.


Started early, took my dog

By Kate Atkinson

OK.   So I love Kate Atkinson.   Have been a long time fan, and I do like these new “Jackson Brodie” case-histories novels.

I must confess to being a bit of a chicken though.  I started reading Started early, took my dog ages ago, but I read the first few pages and thought, “Oh that is going to open a whole big can of worms” and I was too scared to read it because I knew bad things were going to happen.

It is fantastic.   Jackson Brodie is now a PI, and has been hired by a woman in New Zealand to track down her birth parents.   They have been traced back to Yorkshire.   Tracey Waterhouse is an ex-cop, now security chief who sees a child being mistreated and does something about it.   And Tilly is an actress who witnesses the mistreatment.   All of their stories interconnect, with more twists and turns than the Rimutaka hills.   Kate Atkinson really isn’t predictable, and it’s great.   And the baddies get their comupences.   Ye hah!   And there is a small dog.

Started early, took my dog is about a crime, so it is sad at times.  Well I found it so anyways.   Kate Atkinson is a great writer.  So easy to read.   I haven’t yet read the first two books featuring Jackson Brodie, but I have also read When will there be good news.   Oh yeah, and the “Case histories” books have been turned into a TV series (I have only seen one but it seemed very faithful).   Check out the series on Kate Atkinson’s website.

My favourite “other” Kate Atkinson is Emotionally Weird, which has a bit of a mystery at the heart of it too.   Mind you, that seems to be fiction all around doesn’t it?!   And I was looking for a review of Emotionally Weird, and found the NY Times one, but didn’t agree with it.   I was not prepared to agree to disagree.  Har har.

You, however, are welcome agree to disagree!