The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm‘The Silkworm’ is the second novel by Robert Galbraith featuring ex-military policeman turned private detective Cormoran Strike. In his latest case, Strike is hired by the wife of Owen Quine, a little-known author who has gone off by himself for a few days and is expected to return home once he has been found. However, Quine had recently completed a new novel entitled ‘Bombyx Mori’ featuring grotesque pen-portraits thinly disguised as various people he knows. The unpublished manuscript has already been circulating the literary world and having made a considerable number of enemies, Quine is later discovered brutally murdered. Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Books

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and MargaritaWhen you have a reading list as long as mine and you don’t know what to choose next, sometimes it’s just easier to just start at the top. A book which had been lingering for a long time on my list was ‘The Master and Margarita’ by Mikhail Bulgakov, a fantastical satire about Soviet Russia widely considered to be one of the masterpieces of 20th century literature. Although difficult to summarise a plot as such, ‘The Master and Margarita’ is essentially a story about the devil in the form of Woland the magician who visits Moscow and wreaks havoc with his accomplices including Behemoth, a cigar-smoking vodka-drinking cat. Embedded in the story is another novel written by the unnamed Master who has been incarcerated for writing a book about the crucifixion of Yeshua Ha-Nozri (or Jesus Christ) while his former lover, Margarita, seeks help from Woland to be reunited with him. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Books

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hard Choices‘Hard Choices’ is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s account of the challenges she faced as America’s 67th Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013 during Barack Obama’s first term as President of the United States. Covering major world events including the global financial crisis, the Arab Spring, wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East and the continuing global challenges of climate change and poverty, ‘Hard Choices’ charts Clinton’s first-hand experience of foreign affairs and outlines her approach to diplomacy based on “smart power” using a combination of “hard power” in the form of actions and “soft power” through discussions. Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Books

Film Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred-Year-Old ManLast week, I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of the film adaptation of ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ at the Soho Hotel in London ahead of its general release on Friday. Thanks to the likes of Steig Larsson and Henning Mankell, Sweden is generally more famous for producing atmospheric crime fiction. However, the comic novel by Jonas Jonasson has been a worldwide hit and has been translated into more than thirty languages with more than six million copies sold since 2009. The film is likely to match the book’s success across the globe this summer having already broken box office records in Sweden when it was released last December. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Books, Other Stuff

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is Missing‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey tells the story of Maud Horsham, an elderly woman who is searching for her friend Elizabeth. However, Maud is suffering from dementia and she becomes increasingly muddled between the clues leading to Elizabeth’s whereabouts and those related to another unsolved mystery involving Maud’s sister Sukey who disappeared without trace nearly seventy years ago.   Continue reading

24 Comments

Filed under Books

Dominion by C. J. Sansom

Dominion‘Dominion’ by C. J. Sansom is an alternate history of what could have happened if Winston Churchill had failed to become Prime Minister in 1940 and Britain had signed a treaty with Germany ending the Second World War. In 1952, David Fitzgerald is a civil servant hiding his Jewish identity and secretly working for the British Resistance movement as a spy.  His mission is to rescue his friend, Frank Muncaster, from a mental hospital before the Gestapo discover his terrible secret which could potentially change the balance of world power. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Books

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Strange Weather in Tokyo‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ by Hiromi Kawakami (also known as ‘The Briefcase’ in the United States and Canada) tells the story of Tsukiko, an office worker in her late thirties who meets one of her old high school teachers by chance in a sake bar. His name is Harutsuna Matsumoto but she calls him Sensei. They strike up an unusual relationship and continue to meet from time to time without prior arrangements as the seasons pass. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Books