This has been e-books month, due to my membership of Kindle Unlimited. I haven’t logged all my e-book reads, merely the highlights.

My highlight for the month is a series of cozy mysteries, written by Simon Brett, featuring the charming Mrs Pargeter, widow of a criminal kingpin, living in London. I’ve read all 8 titles with great enjoyment and much appreciation of the  ingenious plots, the colourful characters, and the general jokiness .  Set in the 1980s/90s they are a testament to the peculiar British sense of humour and non-PC approach to humorous writing. A real tonic!

Fans of British  comic writing will love this series.  I did!     E-books

Another happy discovery in the world of Kindle Unlimited is a British crime series , written by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, featuring Dr Nell Ward, an English ecologist. Inexplicably  listed under the Cozy Mystery Genre, there’s not a cupcake, kitten, candle or bookstore in sight. Instead, what you get is an intelligently written, impeccably researched combo of crime and eco conservation. Sure, there’s light sprinkling of mild romance, but the focus is on ecology and crime. I’ve read Book 1,  A Murder of Crows, and eagerly await download of Book 2. E-books.

The following writers gave me many happy hours of reading on my Kindle: Rhys Bowen, Ellery Adams and Carmen Reid.

  Carmen Reid  skilfully combines  the  exciting life of a Personal Shopper at a prestigious London store, set against the background of the hurly burly of family life – a happy blend of domestic disasters, designer fashion, all laced with a good coating of comedy. Lots of fun.



The Book of Salt – Monique Truong.  A literary novel, written from the point of view of Binh, working in Paris and employed as a cook by the avant garde literary couple Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas. We learn about Binh’s Vietnamese background, and family history, as well as his five years in Paris. Beautifully written, in the most sensuous prose. Recommended.



            If  ever a book had my name  in mile high capitals, this one qualifies: When I’m Gone, Look for me in the East  –  Quan Barry.

Definitely my Book of the Month and a hot contender for Book of the Year. Why? Well, it speaks to my interests, namely Travel and Buddhism.  Plus, despite the small print, the chapters were exceedingly short, and therefore it was easy for me to read.

Here’s the publishers’ blurb:

            Tasked with finding the reincarnation of a great lama – a spiritual teacher who may have been born anywhere in the vast Mongolian landscape – the young monk Chuluun sets out with his identical twin, Mun, who has rejected the monastic life they once shared. Their relationship will be tested on this journey through their homeland, as each possesses the ability to hear the other’s thoughts.

…Quan Barry carries us across a terrain as unforgiving as it is beautiful and culturally varied.  …. The book is a stunningly far-flung examination of our individual struggle to retain our convictions and discover meaning  in a fast-changing world, as well as a meditation on accepting what simply is.

The descriptions of Mongolian life and culture are vivid and have the ring of authenticity, plus the book offers much Buddhist teaching and wisdom en route.

As a novel, it is utterly original.  I realise it is a niche novel, and I am definitely part of the target audience, but this said, if you’re looking for that elusive something different , then try this novel. And BTW, I’m not lending you my copy, I’m going to re-read it until it disintegrates.


The Orpheus Descent – Tom Harper. Ancient Greece juxtaposed with modern Greece. A mysterious object excavated in an archeological dig  may be the key to immortality; a thrilling hunt ensues. I could have done with less ancient Greek Philosophy, but nonetheless, an intriguing and exciting read.

 The Secret , Book,  & Scone Society  –  Ellery Adams . A cosy mystery, redeemed by a strong sub-theme of Bibliotherapy, earning instant Brownie points from me. Easy read.

The Whispered Word – Ellery Adams. Another addictive cosy mystery; more bibliotherapy, engaging characters. Easy read.

P.S. Due to our pestilential Load Shedding a.k.a Rolling Blackouts, I read a number of cosy mysteries on my Kindle  which ranged from the not-bad to the dreadful, but have not listed them. One of the aspects of e-reading I dislike, is that you cannot loan your latest reads out to your friends. But on the plus side, the Kindle screen beams brightly, even through the darkest gloom, so needs must etc.


Terry Pratchett. A Life with Footnotes – Rob Wilkins. Terry Pratchett. You don’t have to be a fan of the satirical and funny Discworld novels to enjoy this warm  and fascinating  portrait of Britain’s No 1 Fantasy writer, he of the black Fedora hat. It’s a comprehensive survey of Sir TP’s life from Day One, to the end in 2015. His writing output was prodigious. Over 50 best sellers,  due to the fact his busy brain never stopped working.  Neither did his assistant Rob Wilkins – keeping up with TP  required stamina – but en route, fun was had by all. I loved every page, every footnote (and there are many) and cannot recommend too highly, as a thoroughly entertaining read. Footnotes notwithstanding.

The Red Skirt Memoirs of an Ex-Nun – Patricil O’Donnell Gibson. A fascinating story about a devout Catholic girl who  enters the convent.  Very routine for a 1960s Irish-American Catholic family. Well written and sincere. Recommended. (e-bk)

Foreign Correspondence – Geraldine Brooks.  A thought-provoking memoir  about the writer’s Australian childhood and her childhood penfriends. As an adult, she tracks them down in France, Israel, and America with surprising results. A two-part book – I enjoyed both parts enormously.

DNF: The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams. Books/libraries/reading – the book ticked all the boxes, but 109 pages in, I was exhausted by the doleful, depressed characters, and re-shelved it in the library. Can’t win ‘em all.


Top read in March: Banana Rose – Natalie Ginsberg.  What’s a nice Jewish girl doing in Taos, New Mexico, living with the hippies, running around barefoot, and trying to be a painter?

 The novel was published in 1995,  and I finally got around to reading it. Regrettably as an e-book, as I’d like to own  the actual book. The writing is wonderful. I’ve known NG for years, via her books on writing  e.g. Writing down the Bones, by now a classic, but I never got around to reading her novel. I wish I’d done so sooner.

 We follow Banana Rose a.k.a. Nell Schwartz from Brooklyn, NYC on her wild journey to adulthood, marriage, and further …. I’m trying to avoid a spoiler here. If you haven’t read the novel, give yourself a treat and do so. Enjoy!

In completely different vein, Sophie Hardach’s debut novel The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages. Idealistic, wannabe anarchist, 17 year old German school girl steps up to the plate in defense of her political values, and nobly marries 18 year old Kurdish refugee Selim, to ensure he won’t be deported back to Kurdistan and certain death. It’s a marriage blanc, and once the mandatory 3 years is up, they can divorce and get on with their lives. Naturally it doesn’t work out this way. Seven years later, after battling through  a tangle of misunderstanding, confusion, deceit, ineptitude, French  and German bureaucracy   …. and, and, and …  a satisfactory conclusion finally stumbles out.  A very interesting and different read.


Banana Rose – Natalie Ginsberg. A nice Jewish girls embraces the hippy lifestyle in Taos, New Mexico. Vivid, colourful, packed with emotion. A wonderful read.

The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages – Sophie Hardach. Kurdish refugees, German schoolgirl anarchist, Idealism v.s. Reality. An interesting read.

The Venice Sketchbooks – Rhys Bowen.  Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in a novel of brief encounters and lasting romance. Colourful images of daily life in Venice improve the novel beyond a wartime romance. An enjoyable read.


The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern. A modern fantasy that continues to enchant and entertain me. This was my third excursion into the book, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.


The Zanzibar Chest : A Memoir of Love and War, – Aidan Hartley. This is one of the best books I’ve read about life in East Africa. When it was published in 2003, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.I loved the first section about growing up in Kenya, his description of the land, the people, the life –  it was wonderfully familiar to me. I didn’t enjoy the later sections, which related his experiences as a war correspondent in Africa, on behalf of the Reuters Agency. Anybody who is interested in reading an informed account of  modern Africa, should read the book.  


Eyesight problems put a crimp in my February reading, but here’s a very brief summary.

This month’s top read is Eyrie by Tim Winton. Bloody brilliant. Essential reading.

Other Fiction Reads:

 The Great Passage – Shion Miura and Juliet Winters Carpenter The intense world of Japanese lexicography and dictionary compilers. A must-read for word lovers.

The Cleaner, the cat & the Space Station – Fay Abernethy. A Space-opera with a subversive Utopian message. Interesting.

Jeffrey Archer – Turn a Blind Eye. Courtrooms & crime. Same-old same-old .


Beyond the Smoke that Thunders – Lucy Pope Cullen . Vintage travel/memoir of life in the late 1930s on the Roan Antelope Mine, Zambia. I loved it.

And that’s it, dear book-lovers.  Better luck in March !



My first read of the new year  was a dazzling novel, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty – Vendela Vida. I’ve already listed it as an entrant on my new 2023 Books of the Year List.

It’s a contemporary novel about a youngish American woman who constantly has to re-invent herself, in order to survive. The beginning of the story sees our unnamed  narrator flying to Morocco, to escape the drama of a nasty divorce. But she encounters bizarre travel disasters upon arrival, that multiply daily.. The middle of the story see her tossed into the cast of a movie being filmed in Morocco, but this episode changes again. The last section of the book finally explains the backstory,  which is shocking and heart breaking, the words betrayal and perfidy are insufficient. And then we see her yet again, in another persona, continuing on her journey. To what, and where, we don’t know. The finale is open ended.

A cleverly crafted story, that is unpredictable. A wonderful read.

All my January reads were good, but one more  book needs an individual highlight: The Perfect Golden Circle – Benjamin Myers. The cover is striking,  with its central golden circle, against a stippled corn-yellow background. The theme is quirky: two social misfits, in Britain, secretly creating crop circles of  dazzling complexity. Why, how, where and when they do  this, is revealed, but in oblique fragments. A thought provoking read, that is highly original.


The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty – Vendela Vida. Contemporaryfiction,  a murky mystery unfolds in a glamorous setting. A female runaway who survives against all odds. An adventure story, and the exploration of identity, that is personally liberating. Excellent!

The Perfect Golden Circle – Benjamin Myers. Two oddballs create crop circles in Britain. Calvert is a scarred Falklands SAS veteran, Redbone is an ex punk-rocker. He’s the visionary circle designer,  Calvert is the Ops guy. It’s an unlikely friendship, that has great depth. The novel celebrates the search for perfection, and male friendship.  An outstanding read.  I guarantee this novel will rank amongst the 2023 highlights, for quirky originality.

Shrines of Gaiety – Kate Atkinson. Soho, London 1926, The Great War is over, and people just want to have fun, drink dance, flirt, do drugs,  have fun. Which is where the redoubtable Nellie Coker and her 5 nightclubs come into the story. She’s an indomitable character, a force of nature. The book is worth reading just to make her acquaintance. But there are other strong women, young Freda from York, a provincial with stars in her eyes; Gwendolen, who nursed during the war, living life on her own terms. Beneath the gaiety lies the seedy underbelly of crime, exploitation of girls, murders. Soho deserved its notorious reputation. Kate Atkinson does not disappoint – a cracking good read. Recommended

Sea of Tranquility – Emily St John Mandel.Speculative fiction/SF. The theme is time travel and deliberate disruptions to historical timelines. The tone is calm, measured; the prose is simple and factual.  It’s a novel best read in one go, in order to grasp and appreciate the swirling complexities . Fortunately the book is not a dense readI made the mistake of reading halfway, allowing a week to elapse, before finishing the story, whereupon I had to skim read the first half in order to appreciate the second half. An intriguing story.

Nothing Ventured – Jeffrey Archer.  More art theft, fraud and crime on all levels, including police forces. The beginning of young William Warwick’s stellar career in the Scotland Yard Fraud Squad. A well plotted and written  story, with good court room scenes as well. The book is worth reading for the  outrageously cheeky final line – I gasped and then laughed. But you need to read the entire novel in order to grasp the joke.  A good read.

Hidden in Plain Sight – Jeffrey Archer. William Warwick continues his Scotland Yard career, this time  helping to bust a drug empire, but as a dual plot line, Miles Faulkner is up to his old tricks with art fraud  and  defeating the machinations of his vengeful, soon-to-be Ex-Wife. Again, episodes in the court room; Justice triumphs at the end, but there’s a nasty sting in the tail. Entertaining read.


The Mandibles – Lionel Shriver. Fan though I am of Lionel Shriver, this novel defeated me. It’s a dystopian story about the collapse of a wealthy American family due to the vagaries of the stock/bond/and world currency markets. The financial background was too arcane, and the characters did not appeal to me. Splat! Out it went.


To my relief, the Cape Town Libraries re-opened earlier in the year, as the Covid Pandemic started to wane.  I really  missed the Public Library during the lockdowns, and my bank balance suffered accordingly, because I was buying books online as a substitute. My best buy in 2022 was These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. Essay collections hospitably  provide for return visits over the years.  As do comic novels: I’ve re-read several of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novels and  chortled happily, all over again.

Another excellent investment was the 2022 Collins Scrabble Dictionary. My existing copy was published in 2010. And we all know how many new words creep into the compendious English language annually. Over 200  in 2022.  How the compilers keep up is an enduring mystery.

I remained steadfast to my two main Bookish Vows i.e. not to enter reading challenges, and to firmly close books that I’m not enjoying. The acronym DNF  does not bother me one smidgeon!

This was the year I abandoned Goodreads. It’s time consuming, I don’t like their restrictive star system and their year-end stats never coincide with mine.  But, in fairness, I must admit GR helped me find followers when I launched my book blog, The Booksmith.

I’ve re-read some old favourites on my shelves – otherwise, why am I keeping them? “Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale,” opined   Gabriel García Márquez,  which reminds me, I want to re-read One Hundred Years of Solitude; I read the book when it first debuted, which is a long time ago.   I frequently see the title on lists, you know, 100 Best Books Ever, and the like.

I keep eyeing two very battered collections of W S Somerset Maugham’s stories and perhaps they should feature top of my 2023 Targets list. This year I’ve read very few short story collections. I’ve read Essays,  but few shorts  or novellas.

 I didn’t keep track of my book buying this year,  but inspired by Bookish Beck’s  meticulous record keeping,  I did keep track of other stats. For example: up to mid-December 2022,  I read 85 Books, 33 of which were written by men and the remaining 52  by women .  Not that I was hellbent on reading female writers, it just turned out that way.  Let it be noted that women wrote outstanding non-fiction as well as entertaining fiction.

I’ve always seen myself as an intrepid explorer of the Backlist Territories, but to my surprise, scanning my primitive stats, I see that 32 of this year’s reads were published during the two year period 2020 / 2022.  Just under a third, so it seems  I  didn’t spend all my time in the Backlist undergrowth this year.  

Fellow Book Bloggers have provided pleasure, entertainment and introductions to marvelous books, for which I thank you. A special thanks  to Book Jotter, who provides a comprehensive weekly review over the bookish world.

All things being equal, I intend to continue reading and book blogging in 2023, and I wish you heaps of gift wrapped books over the Festive Season, plus a peaceful, healthy New Year.

Rebecca Foster


Paula Bardell-Hedley, Book Jotter



The Bullet that Missed – Richard Osman  cheered me enormously. Finally some cheer! Not Festive, seasonal cheer given that its crime genre, but hey! After the year we’ve been through, I’ll take it.

This is #3 in his Thursday Murder Club Series, and he is writing #4, which I cannot wait to read.

His splendid cast of geriatric sleuths finally unravel the ten year old mystery of Bethany Waites’ death. En route they tangle with  an ex-KGB officer, the world of local TV, crypto-currency, money launderers – you really get your money’s worth with this one. The novel is hugely entertaining,  despite the general murder and mayhem.

If you need cheering up, either buy a copy yourself or  firmly inform  Family & Friends that its top of your Xmas Wish List. Enjoy. I did. Every page.


The Bullet that Missed – Richard Osman. Four geriatric friends team up to solve a murder mystery … ‘Mystery fans are going to be enthralled’ says Harlan Coben; and ‘So smart and funny. Deplorably good” says Ian Rankin. Highly Recommended.

Impossible – Sarah Lotz. It’s difficult to review the book without revealing spoilers, but: what do two people do when they find their soulmates but will never be able to meet? The story  offers ingenious solutions, surprising twists and turns delivered with warmth,  charm and humour. The contemporary setting and tone are spot on. A lovely, engaging read. Recommended.

Less is Lost – Andrew Sean Greer. The charming, bumbling Less and a mid-life crisis send him running away from his problems, via the Mid West, the South and to his mid-Atlantic birthplace; mistaken identities and situations abound, providing  tragically funny episodes and characters. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

We shall Sing a Song into the Deep –  Andrew Kelly  Stewart. A dystopian story; the novella’s ‘protagonist struggles through coming of age whilst a press-ganged  member of a fanatical community of monks, manning an ageing nuclear submarine that has a sacred mission, namely to trigger the Second Coming by launching a nuclear missile  attack against the ungodly surface-dwellers. Grim, paranoid,  and haunting; not a light or easy read, but gripping and original. Squeamish readers should avoid.  

False Impressions- Jeffrey Archer. A Family Visit Read, scrounged off son-in-law’s bookshelf. Art Theft, ruthless tycoon outwitted by female art expert. A global setting, London, Tokyo, stately home.  A satisfying ending: Villain got his just desserts.

Boundary  Born – Melissa F Olson. A Holiday bargain from a Charity Shop. YA Paranormal thriller. Not my usual genre, but its good to read beyond one’s comfort zone periodically. Witches, vampires, ghosts – the whole nine yards. If this is run-of-the-mill reading territory for the Millenials, I have some serious concerns! But hey, I’m probably just a fuddy duddy wrinkly old bookworm. That said,  I quite enjoyed it, I have to confess.


Light Rains Sometimes Fall – Lev Parikian. This wonderful book has been my early morning  companion throughout the year. Lev took the traditional  Japanese  72 micro-seasons, and applied the dates to his own calendar, in North London, England, for one year, recording his outdoor experiences during daily walks around his neighbourhood.  He walks through streets, parks, a wild cemetery and his own garden,  enjoying the flora and fauna (mostly birds, though there’s a fox, living in the cemetery.) We experience the  gradual progression of the seasons through his eyes, via his  attention to detail, laced with humour, and his  ability to deliver great prose. I’ve loved every page. Finally: extending gratitude to my generous friend C for the gift – one of the lovliest books you’ve ever sent me. Thank you!


I’ve enjoyed my reading year, and looking forward to further exploration of the Backlist Territories in 2023. Plus the occasional foray into Lit Prize territory like the Booker, the Caine Prize, the Sunday Times Lit Awards etc.

I have written a detailed account of my 2022 reading year in another post, which will appear later in December.  

And so to the Hits of 2022. I no longer list my reading debacles, which I list  in my monthly reviews under the DNF tag.  I’d rather focus on the triumphs.

What were your favourite reads?


Tomb of Sand – Geetanjali Shree (translator – Daisy Rockford)  Indian novel


The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt – contemporary novel

10 minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

The House of Rust – Khadija Abdalla Bajaber  –        Kenyan fantasy

Lanny – Max Porter  – fantasy

The Music of Bees – Eileen Garvin – contemporary novel


Tomb of Sand – Geetanjali Shree (translator – Daisy Rockford)  Indian novel


Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah – historicAfrican novel

The Woman of the Stone Sea – Meg van der Merwe – fable/fantasy


Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus


The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter – Gothic tales


The Thursday Murder Club series – Richard Osman. Romps with Geriatric Sleuths

Impossible – Sarah Lotz. Paranormal romance


#1  Light Rain Sometimes Falls – Lev Parikian – Nature writing

These Precious Days – Ann Patchett –  essays/memoir

The Bookseller’s Tale – Martin Latham  – memoir  


Book of the month is Tomb of Sand – Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell. A wonderful read. Such an exuberant book, playful and lively in style. While the bones of the  story are fairly simple – 80 year old Ma rises from deep depression and sets out on an odyssey, driven by unresolved issues from her early  years in Pakistan, during the period of Partition.   The treatment of the story, the language, the word play, the diversions and detours into a myriad other topics are what makes the novel so original.

The brilliant translator of the novel, Daisy Rockwell,  says … Tomb of Sand is above all a love letter to the Hindi language.

And: … a  tale of many threads, encompassing modern urban life, ancient history. Folklore, feminism ,global warming, Buddhism  …

Not to mention Ma’s unseemly friendship with Rosie a hijra (eunuch/transvestite/wedding entertainer); then there’s Ma’s Daughter Beti, a modern bohemian woman determinedly living a single life away from her family;  there are talking birds; there’s a long divagation into Ma’s sari collection, and much much more.

If you prefer novels that are clear-cut and plot driven, you probably should give the book a miss.

If you like Indian novels, with all the colour, smells, vivid characters and  uproar of daily life, then this is the book for you.

I need to record my thanks to my generous friend C, who presented me with the book and  made great efforts to get the book to me. Gratitude, my friend.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The novel won the international Booker prize in 2021, no surprises there. Highly recommended.

Postscript: here’s a link to an excellent article on the book.:



The Music of Bees – Eileen Garvin . The golden thread of honey from the lives of bees and their beekeepers, sticks this  heartwarming story together. Recently widowed  Alice and newly paraplegic teen Jake get their lives back together through beekeeping, while hapless Harry enters their little farm and is healed by friendship and kite-surfing. The healing power of friendship is a major theme, with  sub-themes of dysfunctional families and the villainous mega company destroying the orchard industry . I enjoyed the book enormously.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur – Alka Joshi. Sequel to The Henna Artist.  Family secrets abound, as do love and jealousy, and gold smuggling. Modern India, colourful and complex. Enjoyable but not memorable . Fans of Indian novels will love it.


October’s top Read was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Her new book, The Goldfinch, is her most ambitious undertaking. “The process was different in that it was three places—Park Avenue, Las Vegas, and Amsterdam—that dictated the story, and it takes place over a much longer span of time,” Tartt says. The Goldfinch follows 14-year-old Theo Decker as he oscillates between high society and the seedy underbelly of the antiques and art world’s black market.

In the novel Theo takes possession of the painting  The Goldfinch after a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art kills his mother and sets his life on a traumatic course. Essentially it’s a coming of age story, but wonderfully executed.

She credits 19th-century novels with teaching her how to write, and she lists Dickens, Stevenson, Conrad, Wodehouse, and Nabokov among her favourite authors. Her literary influencers shine throughout the book. I was constantly delighted by the rounded characters, the immersive  nature of the action and the general satisfying flavour of the read.

 The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. As usual, I’m stumbling around in the Backlist Territory, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this novel.

At this point in the year, the novel will definitely feature in my Top Five of 2022.


The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt. A magnificent novel. A literary thriller, involving the theft of a 17th century Dutch masterpiece, the deep friendship of two (semi)orphaned boys, Theo and Boris, the  transition to adulthood and a satisfying ending. Not to be missed.

Shipwrecks – Akira Yoshimura.  A short, spare novel about the harsh life of a community of Japanese fisher folk during the medieval  period. They live on the edge of starvation and so take whatever bounty the sea  and O-fune-sama a folkloric female deity,  might send them i.e. wrecked merchant ships. They take certain practical measures to assist the process. Reading the Introduction by David Mitchell is essential. He describes the novel as ‘austere’, and it is. Nonetheless, recommended as a slice out of a very different type of life.

The Fire Portrait – Barbara Mutch. Francesstruggles in early life to pursue a career as an artist, against familial and social disapproval; after several romantic disappointments, she settles for a marriage of convenience, marries Julian, who is a shy school teacher and 15 years her senior. Her married life starts with a  move to a small, remote Karoo town. At this point the novel gains more depth, and describes the complexities and nuances of South African life in the 1940s, the lingering aftermath of the Boer War, the Afrikaner Nazi sympathizers, the birth of the Nationalist Party and apartheid. The ending is surprisingly powerful and complex. Initially an easy read, but progressively more demanding. Recommended

The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown – Vaseem Khan. A re-read, but still vastly enjoyable, maybe because one of the characters is a baby elephant? An old-school whodunnit, set in Bombay, filled with charming and truly villainous characters, no shades of grey here. Thoroughly enjoyable.   

Island on the Edge of the World – Deborah Rodriguez. The Haitian setting is very much part of the story : a vibrant, colourful, chaotic, destroyed, disaster-ridden island. Four women in search of a missing baby.  Dishonest pastor and adoption agency, Voodou priestess, American psychic,  – hold on to your hats! My first Haitian based read …. Interesting to say the least, and  accustomed to Third World living conditions as I am, along the way,  I still exclaimed: OMG!

What’s Left of Me is Yours – Stephanie Scott. Debut love story/crime set in modern-day Tokyo, inspired by a true crime. A young woman’s search for the truth about her mother’s life, and her murder. Impeccably researched, well written but the characters did not speak to me. If you enjoy Japanese stories, this book is for you.