Today is World Book Day, and I suspect there are scores of children everywhere dressed as Harry Potter, for once slightly gutted that school is shut due to snow.
Every day is book day in my world, just without the fancy dress. So today a cancelled train to Edinburgh gives me the perfect opportunity to read. However my latest read certainly isn’t one for children. It was The Collector, the second novel by author Fiona Cummins. Her debut novel Rattle was one of my favourite books of a couple of years ago, so I was very excited to get a copy of her follow up in my Festival goody bag last year and the Collector certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Collector starts shortly after the first book finished. There is a girl missing, and Brian Howley, the Bone Collector is on the run. In Rattle, Howley’s collection was destroyed and now he is trying to rebuild it. Detective Etta Fitzroy is back on his trail and is determined to prove she is up to the job of catching him again. Jakey is also back and having escaped from The Bone Collector once he is determined that no one else will suffer. This time we also meet Saul, with an alcoholic mother he meets Mr Silver and is soon under his spell.
This was another gripping read. The Collector grabs you from the start and continues at break neck speed until it reaches it’s disturbing conclusion. The Collector is terrifying and I think one of the reasons it is so creepy is that everyone can identify with collecting things. I was always collecting something when I was younger, even now I have a collection of fridge magnets. So collecting is something that you can understand, although hopefully no one reading this is collecting body parts!
The writing is superb in this novel, and the characters are that great mix of both good and bad that keeps them realistic. The viewpoints change throughout giving us an insight into not only Etta but also Howley and Saul which makes it a real page turner.
The Collector is an excellent novel. It is definitely best to read Rattle first but I would thoroughly recommend making your acquaintance with the Bone Collector and what more excuse do you need too treat yourself than in celebration of World Book Day.
Those of you have read any of my previous blogs know my love of a jiffy bag arriving. This week it has been jiffy bag galore around us. You could tell it had been pay day as it seemed every house had been ordering things. Of course down our street all parcels end up being delivered to Hilda 1. It’s nothing to do with the size of either the parcel or the letterbox, mainly it’s the fact that Pete the postie gets intercepted with the offer of help as soon as he turns into the street. On the odd occasion I’m actually in at lunchtime, watching him is great fun. You can see the look of fear on his face as he creeps round the houses trying desperately not to make any sound that might alert the Hilda’s to his presence. Sadly for him Hilda 1 has the hearing of an Owl (seriously, this is the woman who once told me she had heard a rat climbing into my hanging basket) so most days he is unable to avoid her.
This week the street has had a whole range of items delivered, from vitamins to clothing to a new frying pan. Of course mine were jiffy bags of knowledge containing books as always. This week they were even better from my point of view, as they were both books I’d been sent from America to review, so I’m very excited.
The slight problem with getting things delivered to Hilda 1 is that as she goes to bed at 4.30pm you always have to wait until the next morning to get the parcel. Although handily it’s always delivered with the 7am weather forecast and her top tip of the day. Friday’s tip for those of you interested was that you should always use lard when making pastry not butter, helpful to know at 7am.
Of course the fact that I know what everyone else down the street has bought also means that they all know my purchasing habits too. This led to the women over the road, we’ll call her Marina, commenting how she can’t believe I have so much time to read. This is the kind of comment that annoys me, in my experience everyone has the time to read if they want to. For some people checking their email is such an addiction there is barely time in their lives for anything else, similarly those who put constant updates on facebook are often those complaining of lack of time.
Marina is a classic example of a woman who spends hours doing non necessary (in my view) tasks. Putting aside the stream of male visitors that appear as soon as her husband turns her back, just friends obviously, this is the woman that seems to be obsessed with saving the street from the dangers of winter weather.
At the first sign of a morning frost she’s outside with her bucket and trowel throwing sand around until even the seagulls get confused and start circling overhead looking for the sea. When it was snowing, you’d think it was about to be the end of the world. Every time I looked out the window she was out with her shovel moving the snow, only for it to be completely covered again within an hour. Not that it deterred her or the Hilda’s who joined her in the fight against snow. . It was truly one of the most pointless tasks I’ve ever seen, especially as it all disappeared overnight anyway. This is the problem with a lack of reading I think, maybe if she’d read more books she would have known that snow is only temporary and does eventually melt! I think I need to introduce her to the joys of amazon and she might start getting the jiffy bags of knowledge too.