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Monday, 16 January 2012

Lizzie's Top Ten 2011

Every year DorothyL (Internet discussion group which last year celebrated its’ 20th year) asks us to list our Top Ten List of top reads for the preceding year. Basically the books that knocked your socks off, here is mine:

Lizzie's Top Ten 2011

Frozen Charlotte by Priscilla Masters (2011)
‘There was nothing to mark her out. She sat quietly in the corner of the Accident and Emergency department, in the seat farthest away from the registration hatch.’ The opening two lines of Frozen Charlotte have the reader griped from that moment.  For the woman is clutching a bundle in a pink blanket that contains a new born, that has been dead for several years.

What Lies Beneath by Sarah Rayne (2011)
Although the book starts in the present day when Ella Haywood hears alarming news whilst queuing at the supermarket, the story switches back to 1912 where we meet the Cadence family of Cadence Manor in the village of Priors Bramley, narrated by Crispian Cadence the eldest son, and a series of journals – author initially unknown. Although the seeds for the catastrophe of 1960 were sown in the early 1900’s the full horror does not actually come to light until the present day. This is a gruesome yet utterly absorbing tale, where the sins of the fathers are certainly visited on their children.  For Ella Hayward the past must stay buried, but secrets have a habit of finding their way to the surface.

The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (2011)
Douglas Brodie a former police man who enlisted to fight for King and country is now in 1946 returning to Scotland.   Demobbed, Brodie has secured a job in London as a reporter, where he intended to stay, but news from Hugh Donovan, a childhood friend who is sentenced to be hanged within the month convicted of the murder of a child, has him bound for home.

66° North by Michael Ridpath (2011)
The story is one of anger, helplessness, fear, and in some respects everyone's greed.  As more people in influential positions are murdered Magnus continues to pursue his line of investigation which is not in-line with his superiors. The `whodunit' aspect kept me enthralled to the end. And the final sentence has me leaping up and down for the next book. A real page turner, this is an excellent piece of writing

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman (2011)
Carol Goodman gives the reader a thought provoking tale and an interesting mystery to which she provides a satisfying conclusion, but the tale of The Changeling Girl and its interpretations may remain with you a long time.

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson (2011)
Waking up in a strange bed in a strange room lying next to someone we do not recognise and of whom we have no memory, may have happened to one or two of us after a great party and a hard nights drinking, but gradually memory seeps back usually accompanied by a massive pain in the head, and as things become clearer, infinite regret.   But what if there is no memory at all, and what if it happens every day that we wake.  This is what happens every day to Christine Lucas – she knows she is Christine Lucas only because that is what the man beside her tells her, he is, he says her husband Ben. Christine, if that is who she is, and she only has this stranger’s word for it, feels nothing for this man who says he loves her.
The Herring in the Library by L C Tyler (2011)
This is the classic whodunit, with a good cast of suspects whose motives gradually come to light as Ethelred investigates at the request of Annabelle Muntham. But above all it is a fun read. The story is told by Ethelred and Elsie in alternate chapters. They are marvellous well-fleshed out characters, that you so want to meet. The prose is witty and beautifully delivered.  This book is highly recommended and whilst I await the next instalment of Ethelred and Elsie I will catch up on the earlier ones – you should do too, if you haven’t already

The Deadly Touch of the Tigress by Ian Hamilton (2011)
Ava Lee is a forensic accountant - she tracks money owed to people who have advanced money in good faith, but then found that the recipients have reneged on their commitments. Asked by her elderly Hong Kong based ‘Uncle’ to locate money that should have been paid to Andrew Tan, Ava sets out to track the money and return it to its rightful owner.  But, although she quickly successfully tracks the money, retrieving it is a different matter. Her quest takes her to Guyana, and it’s not a place I would ever want to visit, and if you read this book you won’t want to visit it either. But with some fancy footwork Ava sets up deal, but she is dealing with rogues and very influential rogues at that. Can Ava pull it off?
For whatever reason you pick up this book, don’t put it down unless it is safely in your tote bag and you are taking it home. It is a not to be missed read. I just can’t wait for the next one.

A Means of Escape by Joanna Price (2011)
Debut book. Cleverly plotted this is an intriguing mystery which kept me reading into the early hours. Kate is a most engaging protagonist, feisty and yet vulnerable, her interaction with her immediate boss Rob Brown adds much to the story. Whilst, the solution was satisfactorily tied up, there is a good hook at the end to make me want to keep an eye out for the next book

The Lost Daughter by Lucretia Grindle (2011)
The main narrators of the story are Enzo Saenz as he struggles to make sense of the two disappearances, and the background to the story which is told by a series of flashbacks from Anna Carson’s past. So enthralling and descriptive is the writing that I became so immersed in the story that there were occasions when I looked up from the book and was surprised to find I was in the UK, and not in Florence.  


  1. Theresa
    Lovely to see you visiting my site.

  2. I'd be very interested in your Bottom Ten -- books that you expected to be good but that you found somewhat disappointing when you read them.