Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Into the dying throes of 2008, and it's been a strange and in many regards quite a life changing year. People often remark that they are glad that the year is over because all they recall are the bad things that have happened. This is almost certainly down to bad things having a lasting and usually more serious impact than good things. Take the most extreme of both, birth and death, most people remember the death of a close relative more so than the birth of a baby. True? Well you decide.

My year has had its share of ups and down, being diagnosed with a form of Autism, IE. Aspergers. Being suspended from work for 5 months, worrying about possibly losing my job, livelihood and the consequences that this entails. The down times with the depression, the perpetual moments of self doubt/loathing and insecurity. The pain and anxiety I have put others through. The Sleep Apnea and constantly feeling tired.

I look at the other side of the coin and find new people have entered and enriched my life, Shelley who we met in Ireland and have kept in touch with over the Internet, a lovely lady and someone who we hope to meet again sooner rather than later. Carol, the lady from LEAT, which is the charity that supports me both at work and home, she has proven instrumental at keeping my job. Everyone at the Mind group who don't judge their peers, just accept you warts and all for exactly who you are. Bob, the gentleman who I visit every Thursday for an hour as part of the befriender programme I am on. Michelle, a member of the Mind group who I seem to have struck a chord with, a troubled lady with a kind, gentle disposition. Lastly and by no means least Kay from Australia, this lady has meant so much to me, words cannot express my gratitude, admiration and fondness I hold for her. She is a fantastic lady with great taste in books, she has been both a comfort and friend.

So what out weighs what? Possibly this is a question for each and everyone of us, that only ourselves can answer. I would like to wish everybody a happy and healthy New Year, especially those named above, those poor people in Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq. But most of all to my wife Jayne. Covers to end the year on.

Gladys Mitchell "My Bones Will Keep" First U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph, 1962, p254, jacket by Kennith Farnhill.

Gladys Mitchell "The Dancing Druids" First U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph, 1948, p239.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


Marion Babson, The Twelve Deaths of Christmas, delivered everything expected of it. A good old fashioned who-dunnit involving a Psychopath who goes around bumping victims off for causing almost every conceivable inconvenience known to man. Oh how liberating to be able to do what the murderer in this book does. Where Babson does fail is in the characterisation and in depth description found in other books of similar ilk, particularly Margery Allingham's books. Having said this , Babson more than makes up for it with the page turner ability rarely found in a lot of authors, and I sadly have to say that Gladys Mitchell often fails in this aspect. All in all a high 7 out of 10.

Christmas has now come and gone and Santa bought me a wonderful present this year, that was a new Margery Allingham first edition whose cover will adorn this Blog shortly. In the meantime and as a special treat for Kay.

Charlotte Armstrong, "The Case of the Weird Sisters" First U.K. edition published by John Gifford Ltd, 1943, p191.

FORWARD:_When wealthy James Whitlock decides to marry his secretary, he did not take into consideration the reaction of his three sisters, all of whom are suffering from some sort of affliction. His amazing escapades and the ultimate entrance of MacDougal Duff, one time school teacher, but now solver of murder cases, will hold the readers attention absolutely to the end.

Gladys Mitchell "Noonday and Night" First U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph, 1977, p191.

FORWARD:_Called upon to probe the mysterious disappearance of two touring motor coach drivers, Dame Beatrice, Lestrange Bradley uncovers a racket which involves stolen antiques, smuggling and murder.

Later a third driver is missing, but reappears to tell a tale which Dame Beatrice suspects is only partly true. The story moves from a stately home in Derbyshire to a Cathedral town in West Wales and finishes in a loch-side hamlet not far from Fort William. One slender clue leads to another until the drama is played out and the murderer named.

Coach-party addicts may be able to recognise the various locations and those who contemplate their first coach tour may be reassured by the fact that, according to the story, only the driver-couriers get murdered, never do the passengers.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


I feel compelled to post an entry concerning the recent trial and committal of Robert Napper. He is regarded as a serial rapist and murderer. Most infamously guilty of the Rachel Nickell murder on Wimbledon Common on July 15 1992, witnessed by her 35 month old son. He is to be detained in Broadmoor high security mental hospital indefinitely. Which in his case means life.

So why do I feel so compelled as to make this entry? Well at his trial 2 eminent psychiatrists both pronounced Napper to be a Paranoid Schizophrenic and also suffering from Asperger's. This is not the sort of publicity that this already misunderstood and hidden disability requires or needs. Napper is an exceptional case and no association with his practices and those of us who also have Aspergers should be made... on any grounds.

Having got that off my chest I have become acutely aware that the Gladys covers I have posted has almost left me with hardly any left, well still a few perhaps.

Gladys Mitchell, "Lovers Make Moan" first U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph, 1981, p192, jacket Graham Rogers.

Gladys Mitchell, "Death of a Burrowing Mole" first U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph 1982, p204, jacket Graham Rogers.

Anthony Gilbert, "Riddle of a lady" first U.K. edition published for the Crime Club by Collins, 1956, p192.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


It's been a busy week for me socially anyway, last Wednesday I went to the LEAT Christmas party, this for fellow Asperger sufferers. It can be quite an ordeal being in a room full of people with Aspergers. Especially awkward for those who have never encountered Aspergers. Having said all of that, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I felt relaxed and at ease.

Saturday, Clarence invited us to a surprise 70th Birthday Party for his Mother, this was an event that gave me a certain amount of trepidation, could I go and sit in a room full of strangers? How would I cope with a strange enviroment? This was a West Indian function, would a different culture effect me? Well......I needn't have worried, it was a wonderful night and instead of only staying an hour or two, we ended up staying well past midnight. No big deal you might think, but for me this was something of a watershed.

Monday night saw me at the MIND groups Christmas Party. This is probably the place where I feel the most at home. This wasn't quite the case as there was a number of people there who don't usually attend on a Monday night, so this made me quite guarded. It was a pleasant night and I took a desert for the pleasure and enjoyment of my fellow groupees.


3 oz Digestive Biscuits--crushed
2oz of butter
3 1/2 oz Icing sugar
1 egg
1/2 pt of double cream (not frozen)
432g tin of Pineapple chunks
Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs.
Fold in thoroughly drained pineapple
Beat cream until it is stiff and fold in to the mixture
Put in to a flan dish and sprinkle with the biscuit crumbs, lightly press them in to the mixture
Decorate with glaze cherries or halved grapes
Chill for 24 hours
This will comfortably serve 8.


Gladys Mitchell "Death of a Delft Blue" first U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph 1964, p240, jacket by Broom Lynne.

Gladys Mitchell, "Here Lies Gloria Mundy" first U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph 1982, p182, jacket by Mark Wilkinson.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

mmmmmmmmmm......IT'S BEEN A WHILE.

I don't know why I haven't put anything on my blog for a few days, I kept telling myself "Finish off Bones of the Buried, then do your biog" Well I have finished the book and here I am.

There were times when I thoroughly enjoyed and enthused about this book, I revelled in the historical content and class struggle that runs through the book. However, there are to me detrimental aspects to this book as well as the positives I've mentioned. The two biggest gripes I have are that the two main characters seem to have slipped into almost hedonistic behaviour, therefor tarnishing their appeal and also their own relationship to each other. But to me a far greater crime was committed, where it is fine to have murderers working in unison, it is not "cricket" to have multiple murders committed by multiple killers. It just becomes to cloudy and almost impossible to solve. All in all a 6 out of 10.

A quick apology to Kay for not congratulating you on your wonderful exam result, you are a star. Well done.

I decided to start a Marion Babson book today, as it has a theme that's festive. Babson is an author whom I used to read in my younger days, and generally liked (along with HRF Keating and his Inspector Ghote books).

Marion Babson "The Twelve Deaths of Christmas" First U.K. edition published by Collins 1979. p180, cover photograph by Margaret Murray.

Gladys Mitchell "Cold, Lone and Still" First U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph, 1983, p190. Jacket by Graham Rogers.

Gladys Mitchell "The Crozier Pharaohs" First U.K. edition published by Michael Joseph 1984, p189. Jacket by Graham Rogers. This is notable for being the last book Gladys wrote and the third and last to be published posthumously.