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My April Reads (2020)

Scotland, UK
Happy May! Like most of the world, I've spent the month of April at home and I've come up with little routines, my favourite being swapping watching TV in favour of spending my morning with a cup of tea, my breakfast, and reading. There have been some definite highs (I've added a few books to my "really enjoyed that" shelf on GoodReads and a couple that weren't so much my cup of tea but either way I'm pleased to have got through a few more books which were on my to-read list!

My April Reads (2020)

 

1. The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie

I enjoyed last month's Three Act Tragedy so much, that I decided to start April off with another Agatha Christie book. The Sittaford Mystery is a stand-alone book, that follows a few main characters such as Emily Trefusis, who is thrust into the role of an amateur detective when her fiance is accused of murdering his uncle for the inheritance; Charles Enderby, who teams up with Emily to help acquit her fiance (and interestingly, becomes part of an unexpected love-triangle); and Inspector Narracott, who unlike some literary depictions of the British police in amateur detective books, plays a significant role in solving the crime. I felt the setting brought a lot to the read as well, the snowstorm which descends on the quaint English village, makes it feel very cosy. Overall, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the Three Act Tragedy as I didn't feel as drawn to the characters and the motive for murder felt a bit too 'basic' (mainly due to the sheer number of red herrings scattered throughout the book), but it still had me guessing who could be the murder up until the big reveal. I think Christie has a great knack of pinning the murder on the most unlikely suspect, one that you've discounted in the first few chapters!

Verdict: 3.5/5 stars

2. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

I, Robot has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I remember watching and loving the movie when it came out, and I still find myself watching it if I'm in the mood for something fun and nostalgic. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was a collection of short stories as I generally don't enjoy them quite as much but I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only is Asimov a brilliant writer, who captures your attention and draws you into the story, but the novel short stories are all interlinked. The book centres around the three laws of robotics and starts with an interview of Dr. Susan Calvin, a renowned robopsychologist who precedes to share stories from her career. Personally, I felt it read almost as an autobiography and each short story introduced the reader to another facet of working with robots. From a one of a kind mind-reading robot and robot mutiny to a well-loved politician who was secretly a humanoid and the most charming nanny robot, thoroughly enjoyed this unusual read!

Verdict: 4/5 stars

3. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

After a murder mystery and science fiction, I fancied something a light-hearted read so since I had a month's free trial of Scribd, I decided to try The Red Notebook. After reading a review that described it as similar in tone to You've Got Mail (one of my all-time favourite movies), I thought I'd give it a go. I didn't dislike this book, it definitely had things in its favour - who doesn't want to read a story that takes place in Paris? But there were aspects of the story that didn't sit well with me like I found the main character's actions slightly stalkerish and didn't feel particularly drawn to the main characters.

Verdict: 2.5/5 stars

4. Trouble on the Thames by Victor Bridges

My mum had bought me a copy of Trouble on the Thames for Christmas as we'd recently been to London, and having never heard of the author plus the fact that it's part of the British Library Classic Thriller collection, I started it expecting a somewhat serious, John le Carré-style thriller. However, it turned out to be such a light, fun read. It felt like stepping back in time to pre-World War II Britain (albeit a slightly rose-tinted glasses version). The story follows Owen Bradwell, a naval officer who returns to England after realising he's gone colour-blind. However, his commander recommends him to another division and he's soon swept up in a covert mission. A murder occurs, there's a dash of romance in the plot, and overall, I enjoyed it!

Verdict: 4/5 stars

5. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Despite having enjoyed several other Horowitz novels in the past, Magpie Murders has sat on my shelf for the past year or so, mainly due to the size of the book. However, with plenty of time on my hands and after reading glowing reviews on GoodReads, I decided to give it a go. First off, I want to say Magpie Murders has by far the most unique murder mystery concepts I've come across. The story begins with an editor sitting down to read a manuscript of the latest Atticus Pünd murder mystery, and I don't want to give too much away other than to say that the novel attempts to tell the story of two murders - one fictional and one real-life. As much as I wanted to like it, I felt it was, at times, overly long and I found myself looking forward to finishing the book more than discovering who was the murderer and why they committed the crime.

Verdict: 3/5 stars

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