Filed under Book reviews

Kiddar’s Luck (1951), by Jack Common

By Val Hewson This month we read working class fiction and I discovered a book which makes me think about where I come from. … Newcastle being a fine town to roam in, especially after dark. Its natural features are excellent, that’s why, since it is all hills, vales, bridges and one view succeeds another … Continue reading

Impressions of Latterday Symphony (1927) by Romer Wilson

By Alison Butlin, Chris Hopkins, Mary Grover and Val Hewson Impressions of Latterday Symphony (1927) by Romer Wilson Recently our group read books by novelist, poet, short story writer and anthologist Romer Wilson (1891-1930), whose work has been almost entirely forgotten. We usually read popular fiction, which was never Wilson’s focus, but she was born … Continue reading

Torment for Trixie (1950) by Hank Janson

Book review by George S.: Torment for Trixie is the seventeenth of the over two hundred novels published under the name of Hank Janson, and in this one the detective hero (also called Hank Janson) is on his best behaviour. . What makes the novel quite interesting is that it was written when local police … Continue reading

Ride the Pink Horse (1946) by Dorothy B Hughes

Book Review by Jane V: I fetched a deep sigh on contemplating November’s ‘hard-boiled fiction’ assignment. I didn’t look forward to reading about testosterone fuelled guys gunning up freeways, slugging each other and knocking back immoderate amounts of whiskey. So I decided to find out if any female writers had attempted the genre, thinking that … Continue reading

The Trials of Hank Janson (2004) by Steve Holland

Book review by George S.: Hank Janson (pronounced Yanson) was, to the embarrassment of the respectable, Britain’s best-selling author in the late forties and early fifties. This excellent book describes the career of  Stephen Frances, the man behind the pseudonym, and gives a very full account of the attempts of various authorities to censor the … Continue reading

Skin-Deep (1927) by Naomi Royde-Smith

Book Review by George S: Naomi Royde-Smith is probably best-remembered for her career as a literary journalist, first on the Westminster Gazette (where she ran the celebrated competition pages) and later on Time and Tide, but she also wrote twenty-six novels. These gained respectful reviews, but were not hugely successful at the time, and have … Continue reading

Proud Waters (1954) by Ewart Brookes

Book review by George Simmers: Minesweepers were among the less glamorous naval vessels during the Second World War, but the work they did was vital. Ewart Brookes’s novel is closely based on his own experience commanding a minesweeper patrol ship. His hero, Lieutenant William Haley, RNVR, is at first disappointed to be transferred from a … Continue reading

We (1924) by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Book review by Alice C: ‘You look in bad shape. You look as if you’re developing a soul’. I read this dystopian novel in The Second Lockdown. On page 12 we’re told of the Table of Hours, where one’s life, one’s comings and goings, are mapped out in a familiar and comforting timetable and of … Continue reading