Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon (Review)

Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

Blurb

A gripping new translation of the first novel in the famous Inspector Maigret series. What he sought, and what he waited and watched out for, was the crack in the wall. In other words, the instant when the human being comes out from behind the opponent.

Who is Pietr the Latvian? Is he a gentleman thief? A Russian drinking absinthe in a grimy bar? A married Norwegian sea captain? A twisted corpse in a train bathroom? Or is he all of these men? Inspector Maigret, tracking a mysterious adversary and a trail of bodies, must bide his time before the answer can come into focus.

Review

This is the first Maigret book and our first introduction to the amazing detective Maigret. Maigret is trying to hunt down the criminal Pietr the Latvian with nothing but a description but the mystery deepens when Maigret realises that Pietr the Latvian is not all that he seems.

In this book we have a detailed description of Maigret and he appears to be a formidable presence in any room. He is described as a muscular man who dominates a room with his size. He will also dominate any stove, fire or radiator in any room as he is obsessed with being by a heat source which was a surprise as the later novels in the series I have read have him obsessed with alcohol but obviously in the first book he isn’t a functional alcoholic yet.

Maigret starts to unravel the mystery that is Pietr the Latvian but as he does so the case turns dangerous for Maigret and his colleagues. However, the danger only makes Maigret more determined to find out the truth and nothing will stop him.

I enjoyed this book and liked how Maigret unravelled the case but I must admit it did seem to lack the finesse of the later novels I have read but it is the first Maigret book. I also felt very sorry for Mrs Maigret as through this book she heard nothing from her husband for days and kept making his meals without him showing up to eat them but she never complained. 

The mystery in this book was really fascinating and I enjoyed seeing how Maigret worked it all out. However, I didn’t find the book as good as the other Maigret books I have read so I have only given the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. A good read but was just lacking that special something.

About the author

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was a Belgian writer who published nearly 500 novels and many short stories. Simenon is best known as the creator of the Maigret stories.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

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Friday Poetry: Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death by Hillaire Belloc

Hello!

Happy Friday! My apologies for my absence recently, a combination of assignment deadlines and feeling rather rough after my first Covid vaccine meant the blog suffered but I am back now.

My chosen poem today is basically a retelling of Aesop’s fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Matilda: Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death 

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away,      
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Hillaire Belloc

Happy Reading

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Goodreads Monday: 10/05/2021

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Hello!

I hope everyone has got a good week planned ahead.

The book I have chosen to feature this week is one that has only just recently arrived but one that I have been looking forward to reading since I preordered it.

My chosen book is…

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

I love Andy Weir and one of my favourite books is The Martian. This sounds like a fantastic plot and I can’t wait to read it. However, I have promised my husband he can read it first so I will have to wait.

Please drop me a link with your Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading.

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The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. I have been thoroughly enjoying the books I have been reading this week.

So here is what I have been up to on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

Books Acquired this Week

I can’t wait to start reading these books soon although I will have to wait to read Project Hail Mary because I have promised my husband that he can read it first.

Happy Reading

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The Women of Troy by Pat Barker (Review)

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

Blurb

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

Review

When I saw this book I knew I had to read it, especially as I studied the women of Troy last year for an assignment. We sadly don’t know much about Briseis and we definitely don’t know for sure what happened to her once Achilles was killed. Some believe that Achilles gave her to one of his comrades in arms and this is the story line that Barker has gone with for this book.

We start the story with the sacking of Troy and the death of Priam. After the battle the story is mainly told by Briseis but is occasionally seen from Calchus the high priest and Pyrrhus’ point of view. 

Briseis is not a slave like the other women of Troy because she is now married to Alcimus, so she has more freedom around the camp. However, Briseis knows what it is to see her family killed and to be taken as a slave by the Greeks so she endeavours to help the women of Troy as much as she can. 

Briseis is a wonderful character in this book as she has troubles of her own but she really tries to help the women of Troy. However, at times I did find her rather naive and that did annoy me slightly. 

Hecuba was perfect in my opinion and as I always imagined her. Even though her kingdom has fallen and she is now a slave owned by Odysseus she still has her pride. The only thing that knocks her is her grief but she still keeps on going. Cassandra was a rather a surprise because sadly she is usually portrayed as insane but Barker was very kind about her. Pyrrhus was another mystery but really he is a lost little boy trying to fill his father’s shoes and always feeling lacking. 

I really found this take on the aftermath of the fall of Troy very refreshing and it was wonderful to have a story about one of the women of Troy that isn’t Helen. I really enjoyed this book but I was disappointed at the end because I really wanted to find out what happened with Briseis’ and Alcimus’ relationship, all it needed was a couple of extra pages. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons and I thank NetGalley and Penguin UK for giving me an ARC of this book.

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Purchase Links

(Due for publication on the 26th August 2021)

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. 

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration; The Eye in the Door, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road, winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. She’s married and lives in Durham, England.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Friday Poetry: A. A. Milne

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some exciting weekend plans. I chose this poem for today because it made me smile and hope it makes you smile.

Buckingham Palace

They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
'A soldier's life is terrible hard,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We saw a guard in a sentry-box.
'One of the sergeants looks after their socks,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
We looked for the King, but he never came.
'Well, God take care of him, all the same,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice,
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
'I wouldn't be King for a hundred pounds,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out, but it wasn't the King's.
'He's much too busy a -signing things,'
Says Alice.

They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace-
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
'Do you think the King knows all about me?'
'Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,'
Says Alice.

A. A. Milne
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Ariadne by Jennifer Saint (Review)

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Blurb

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel

Review

I do love a Greek myth retelling especially if it is fairly faithful to the actual myth. This Greek myth was a refreshing read because it was told from the viewpoint of the women instead of the usual male heroes. 

The main voice we hear in this story is Ariadne. Ariadne is the granddaughter of Helios but the only sign of this is her beautiful blonde hair. Ariadne’s life in Crete is not easy once her brother the Minotaur is born, her life is haunted by the sound of the Minotaur living beneath her feet. However, a way out of this existence presents itself and Ariadne grabs it with both hands. 

The other voice that we hear from is Phaedra who is Ariadne’s younger sister. Phaedra is the complete opposite to her sister, she is full of spirit and is not afraid of anything and has the ability to rule. 

This retelling really highlights what is always there in the original myths but always remains in the background. Men strut around being heroes, fighting the monsters and vanquishing enemies, they draw the attention to the gods and when they upset the gods the gods make them pay by making their wives and female relatives pay. I think that is the main vein of the story that runs through this book, women are always the ones who pay the price and poor Ariadne really does pay. 

I loved this retelling and although there were a few historical inaccuracies which I only picked out because I’m a classics student, the story was beautifully written and one that I couldn’t put down. I really felt every hurt and wrong that poor Ariadne and Phaedra suffered but at the same time I loved their strength and belief in standing up for themselves. I also loved how the male characters within this story took a backseat, Theseus, Perseus and Dionysus have had far too much attention over the years. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Jennifer Saint grew up reading Greek mythology and was always drawn to the untold stories hidden within the myths. After thirteen years as a high school English teacher, she wrote ARIADNE which tells the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur from the perspective of Ariadne – the woman who made it happen. Jennifer Saint is now a full-time author, living in Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two children.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Mid Week Quote: Abraham Lincoln

Happy Wednesday!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. My chosen quote this week is by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) who was the 16th President of the United States.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Abraham Lincoln

Happy Reading

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WWW Wednesday: 5/05/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Hello!

I’ve so far had a really good week reading. I even read for half an hour whilst on my exercise bike, I’m not sure how much effort I put into the pedalling but my FitBit said I had burned some calories.

What I am Currently Reading

For the first time in ages I am reading two books at the same time. I made the mistake of reading the first chapter of The Women of Troy when I downloaded it onto my iPad and now I can’t put it down. I also wrote an assignment last year on Helen of Troy and so I was intrigued about the book. Ariadne is also fantastic.

What I Have Recently Finished Reading

This book had some lovely characters in and some real comedy moments. Review

What I Think I will Read Next

Any one of these will be my next read I think.

So there is my week in books.

Please drop me comment if you want to chat about any of the books. Also please drop me a comment with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Most Recent Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For more info please check out Jana’s blog.

Hello!

I haven’t taken part in Top Ten Tuesday for quite a long time so I thought it was high time I joined in.

So here are my ten most recent reads. I will include a link to the reviews as well.

I loved the characters in this book but I will be honest I did get a little bored with the story. I will give Osman’s second book a read though when it comes out.

Review

I really enjoyed this but I did find it slightly sad as well.

Review

Maigret and the Saturday Caller.

I loved this book because it showed just how caring Maigret is.

Review

Maigret and the Calame Report

My first Maigret book and the one which got me hooked to the Maigret series.

Review

This is the second book in the Shardlake series and I could not put it down. I loved seeing how Shardlake gathered all the clues and worked out who the suspects were.

Review

My first Tommy and Tuppence book. I enjoyed this but it didn’t have Christie’s usual flare but I suspect that is because it was one of her early books.

Review

The third Expanse book and I must admit they just keep getting better and better.

Review

I will be honest I was rather unimpressed with this book considering all the good reviews I read about it.

Review

Absolutely adored this book. I read it in one sitting. I will definitely be reading more books by Garrett.

Review

This was a creepy read but I did enjoy it and it has some fantastic characters in it.

Review

So there are my ten most recent reads. Please drop me a comment with your Top Ten Tuesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you