Julie Speed: Eyes to see (image from here)
After much hospital to and fro, latterly to have a needle biopsy (don't ask!) which should bring a definitive answer this week or next, I am still stuck with my ascites, discomfort, exhaustion, not being able to eat much, and with intermittent sharp pain, and of course worry. The thinking so far is that I have bowel cancer spread around to other organs, inoperable, and am to start chemotherapy as soon as they have pinned down exactly what's what so that they can put together the appropriate cocktail of drugs.
Usually someone who immediately starts thinking about possible solutions to any problem, I must admit myself to be somewhat stumped right now. But although I cannot concentrate on art books, or serious study, I can at least read novels.
I decided to try Joanne Harris' quartet of Chocolat titles. I had never read anything of hers, but had heard her speak on the radio. Unfortunately I was disappointed. I especially disliked The Lolipop Shoes which I found to be a horror story. But then I also am not especially enamoured of chocolate. They were a bit too sweet and sticky for me.
That's also the downside of binge reading. I stuck with the four titles, one after the other, when all the little things which irritate are exaggerated. On the other hand, I have similarly been binge reading Ngaio Marsh, and have been thoroughly delighted.
Although the detective protagonist Chief Inspector Alleyn remains constant, his murder investigations are set in different places, even in different countries, or even on board ship. Marsh is excellent at character, dialogue, and description as well as brilliant with story. I dread running out of her novels because they provide me with such excellent distraction.
I have run out of Josephine Tey mysteries, but Nicola Upson has written a series of novels with Tey as the protagonist, and a new one is due out later this year.