This is another instalment of “Recent Reads”, where I wrap up 3 books that I don’t have a lot to say about!
Talk to the Tail, by Tom Cox
Following on from Tom’s life with six cats in UNDER THE PAW, he now picks up the story in TALK TO THE TAIL, updating readers on what has happened with his feline friends as well as looking back for more confessions about his animal-loving past.
Readers of Tom’s previous book will be delighted to read what has happened to his six eccentric cats. Why does Janet keep bringing 1980s sweet wrappers into the house? Will 24-hour surveillance of The Bear, using a state-of-the-art cat GPS system, finally solve the mystery of his wanderlust?
Tom also writes about his bumbling forays into the remainder of the animal kingdom. He attempts to overcome his crippling fear of horses with disastrous results, chase ostriches in Kenya, put his hand into a tiger’s mouth for 0.9 seconds and he meets his ‘alter-doggo’ — the spaniel Tom regularly walks who likes to roll around in dead animals. Where will it all end? Will he give in to temptation and get a dog, a goat or even more cats? With this soppy creature-obsessive, anything is possible.
Gerald Durrell has lots of family and other animals, but Tom Cox has MY ANIMALS AND OTHER FAMILY.
I was left quite disappointed by this book. I was expecting most of the story to be about the cats, and only a little about the many other animals the author came into contact with. Unfortunately it was about 95% other animals and only about 5% about the cats. It has put me off reading anything else by the author – I was very glad it was borrowed from the library! I gave it 2*.
The Poisoned Chocolates Case, by Anthony Berkeley
Graham and Joan Bendix have apparently succeeded in making that eighth wonder of the modern world, a happy marriage. And into the middle of it there drops, like a clap of thunder, a box of chocolates. Joan Bendix is killed by a poisoned box of liqueur chocolates that cannot have been intended for her to eat. The police investigation rapidly reaches a dead end.
Chief Inspector Moresby calls on Roger Sheringham and his Crimes Circle – six amateur but intrepid detectives – to consider the case. The evidence is laid before the Circle and the members take it in turn to offer a solution. Each is more convincing than the last, slowly filling in the pieces of the puzzle, until the dazzling conclusion.
This new edition includes an alternative ending by the Golden Age writer Christianna Brand, as well as a brand new solution devised specially for the British Library by the crime novelist and Golden Age expert Martin Edwards.
I really enjoyed this. It was almost like reading a collection of short stories, but it’s the same crime with 8 different solutions. I did come up with a solution (similar to Martin Edwards), but his was so much cleverer! This was from my own bookshelf, and I gave it 4*.
Hard Pushed, by Leah Hazard
No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.
Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.
Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward.
Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.
Oh my goodness me. This was an eye opening account of the real lives of midwives. Having never had children myself I learned so much. Some stories were heartbreaking – making me cry, and some left me grinning. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book, and giving it a full 5*. This only counts towards my Goodreads goal as I won a copy earlier in the year.