book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to

Missed any programmes? See below for list of guests, books and other details discussed.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Alex Scarrow - Timeriders

review written and read live on the bookshow by Brian Lowen 19th Nov 2015

An unusual book for AS because he normally writes thrillers, but this is number one of a series so there are going to be more on this subject, which involves travelling backwards and forwards in time.

The story starts with a young Irish steward being rescued from the sinking Titanic. He is just about to drown in the ship when he is rescued by a mysterious Mr Foster and finds himself transported on to 2001 in America.

A young girl is similarly rescued from a plane which is about to crash and then another girl joins the team of Timeriders who are given the job of ensuring that history runs true.

They work from a small room under the railway arches of the overhead railway in New York where they have their time machine. The story gets all very strange because someone else has gone back into history and changed the normal run of events so that Hitler did not lose the second world war but was replaced by Kramer who took over the Nazi leadership and beat the British and the Americans and created a Greater Reich which controlled Europe, UK and the USA. 

The Timeriders team are tasked with the job of sorting things out and putting history back as it was.

All rather silly I thought, not my type of story and disappointing because I have really enjoyed his previous books. I persevered and finished the book but I shall not be reading any more. You have really got to be a lover of science fiction to enjoy this book

Suzette Hill - Bone Idle

review written and read live on the bookshow by Brian Lowen 19th Nov 2015
This is the third book in the series featuring the Rev Francis Oughterard, the vicar of St Botolphs church in Molehill

He has still eluded arrest for the genteel murder of his troublesome parishioner, Mrs Elizabeth Fotherington thanks mainly to the efforts of his faithful dog, Bouncer and his cat, Maurice.

He is still in the grip of his ex colleague and blackmailing pal, the shady Nicholas Ingaza who in this book has instructed him to steal a valuable figurine of a prancing pig. During all this skulduggery another murder occurs, not committed by Francis though this time.

I love the way the book is written with each chapter being by either the Vicar, the dog or the cat. So we have each chapter headed either the Vicars Version, The Dog’s Diary or the Cat’s Memoir. It is very clever how the author tells the tale in the language and manner of what one would expect each to be like. The cat and dog can speak to each other and can understand what the humans are saying, mostly, which helps with the story.

You really need to start with the first book in the series, A Load of old Bones, to know what has happened before as there are several references to what has happened previously. 

The author is clever in leaving you guessing at the end of each book so that you need to buy the next one to know what happens. I am trapped in the cycle and have two more books to go, but I do find them thoroughly enjoyable.

I did try another book by Suzette Hill called A Little Murder but did not like this at all. I found it boring and difficult to follow and did not finish it.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Dinah Jefferies - The Tea Planter's Wife

bookreview written and read live on the bookshow 12th nov 2015 by Maggie Perkovich

This is a cracking read. When Gewndolyn Hooper lands in Ceylon to join her
newly wed husband Laurence she is excited to be moving to his tea plantation
and looks forward to living with him and being part of his life. But he is always
busy with work and meetings and she feels incredibly lonely. She knew he
was married before but what is the secret of a tiny overgrown grave?
Why is he so friendly with an American widow and how can she learn to
live with the different rules governing mixing with the members of a caste
system so complicated compared to her life in England?
She has a long talk with him and finally they seem as happy as before and
her pregnancy makes life complete. But at the birth her size seems to denote
twins, and in the delivery room with her husband and the Doctor absent it
is only the devoted Ayah Naveen who is witness to the shock the birth presents.
How the story commences to a suprising and very satisfactory conclusion is
both amazing and totally incredible I thought.
Set in 1925 this story is in the best seller's list, very well written and totally absorbing.
Maggie Perkovic.

Lizzie Lane - A Christmas Wish

bookreview written and read live on the bookshow 12th nov 2015 by Maggie Perkovich
Set in 1927 this is a story of a tragic little family whose Mum dies in the Workhouse and
Dad who is at sea comes home ostemsibly to set up home with them. However he takes
the eldest , Magda, to live with his sister-in -law Bridget who treats her very badly, the twins
go to his parents in Ireland which is also a hard life and the baby is adopted by a good
family who pay him fifty pounds for the privilege. Ten year old Magda is very unhappy with
her Auntie but plans to reunite the family one day by hook  or by crook. Opposite their
house is a building for "Ladies of the Night" which Magda avoids for obvious reasons
until she is befirended by and older woman who lost her baby many years ago and feels
sympathy for Magda living with a bully for an aunt, they strike up an acquaintance and it
is this woman who pays for her to have higher education so that she can fulfil her
ambition to be a doctor.
The twins try to leave Ireland when they are older but are betrayed and and
returned to the farm which they help to run with the Grandparents.
As they all grow older the one thought is to be together again which is finally
achieved, but not before a lot of trauma and heartache!!!
A page turner and thoroughly enjoyayable.
Maggie Perkovic.

Henning Mankell – The Man from Bejing

review by showhost
In a quiet village in Sweden the police discover 19 bodies which have been brutally slaughtered.
Judge Birgitta Roslin, a Swedish judge in a nearby town, takes an interest in the case when she realised that her mother was adopted by one of the murdered couple.
The story steps back to the early 19thCentury and a poor Chinese family who’s 3 sons leave their poor village to find work.  They are brutally treated whilst working on the building of the railroads in Americas and only 1 survives.  He keeps a diary and this diary is read by a present day dynasty owner.  This owner is linked to a Chinese takeover of Zimbabwe which involves President Mugabe.
The murders in the village are all linked by a thin thread and the judge finds her life in danger when she goes to Bejing and starts asking questions and showing a picture from a CCTV camera.
I never did find out what the thin thread was nor the reason for the murder other than a revenge but why them?  Also, what was the red ribbon all about??  Started off with promise but became tedious.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Jamie Ford - The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

review by showhost
A warm love story.  It’s gentle style reminded me a little of ‘Goodbye Mr Tom’ and both were set around WW2 but different location & country.
The story goes back and forwards from 1942 – 1980’s in Seatle USA.
It begins outside the Panama Hotel in Seattle in 1986 and a 56 year old Henry is watching with sadness and amazement as the possessions of more than 30 Japanese families are brought up from the cellar of the boarded up hotel.
Henry is a 12 year old Chinese boy in 1942.  His father is a staunch Chinese Nationalist and has raised thousands of pounds to fight the war against the Japanese back home in china.  Henry is made to go to an American and speak only English.  He wears a badge which says ‘I am chinese’.  There is ill feeling toward the Japanese in Seattle after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and Henrys father doesn’t want Henry to be accused of being Japanese.
Henry helps out in the school cafeteria during the school term to earn some money.  He also gives his packed lunch to a coloured musician, Sheldon, who busks on the street in Seattle.  In exchange he gets a nickel. 

Keiko is also 12, born & raised in America but of Japanese descent, so she is classed as Japanese.  Keiko also attends the same school as Henry and starts to help in the kitchen.  A secret friendship and then young love ensues, one that will be tested as the Japanese are rounded up and sent to internment camps.  They promise to wait for each other but fate deals a blow.
It is a ‘feel good’ book with sombre facts about the treatment of the Japanese during the 1940’s in America. 
Enjoyable book

Monday, 19 October 2015

Tom Rob Smith – The Farm

Review by showhost
This is the author of that great trilogy ‘child 44’.  This was an unusual format for a novel.  Daniels Parents when they retired, left England and bought an isolated farm in Sweden, the country where his mother, Tilde, was born.  The reason they said was to go back to basics and live off the land, being self-sufficient.
A phone call from his father shatters his life.  He tells Daniel that his mother is not well, she is dillusional, imagining and accusing people of terrible things and is in a mental hospital.  As Daniel makes plans to get to Sweden to find out what is going on his mother rings.  She has left the hospital and is on her way to him.  He is not to believe anything his father tells him, nor tell him that she is on her way to Heathrow.  She will explain everything when she sees him.
What follows through most of the book is a narrative of chronological events told by his mother, accompanied by pieces of evidence she has collected in her satchel.  She paints his father as being part of the conspiracy to have her institutionalised along with their neighbour Hakan.  Daniel has to decide who to believe.  There is a little change of scene half way through the story as they move location to evade his father, who has come to collect her. 
Daniel finally goes off to Sweden in search of the truth. 
This is totally different from Child 44.  Daniels partner is a bit player as well as his father really.  It is well written but strange and a strange ending.  I also found the conclusion with Mia a nothingness.