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Maurice Leblanc - "The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar"

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I have just finished reading "The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar" by Maurice Leblanc. When watching the "Lupin" series on Netflix I became curious about the books on which the series is based. All in all Leblanc wrote dozens of novels and novellas about his fictional gentleman-thief. The book I read is the first one he penned. It was originally published in 1907. Actually it's a collection of nine short stories loosely connected by the narrative harking back to earlier events every now and then. It reminded me of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories and of course of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes. Indeed, the latter makes an appearance in "The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar" in the final story of the collection, "Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late". Although the book series and the television series only have the name of their protagonist in common, they

Richard Osman - "The Thursday Murder Club"

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I have just finished reading "The Thursday Murder Club" by Richard Osman. Together with Alexander Armstrong, Mr Osman presents the quiz show "Pointless" on BBC television. This is his first foray into the world of literature. I think it cannot be denied that Mr Osman's fame as a television presenter has helped him and his book to the top of the best seller list. With that being said, this story about four residents of a retirement home, who meet every Thursday to review cold case murder files and who are suddenly confronted with a few real life murders, is an enjoyable read, which will satisfy many die-hard fans of crime fiction. The Club's 'detectives' are smart, witty, and sympathetic, and there are enough dead bodies to have made even Agathy Christie proud. Most importantly, Mr Osman has injected charm and humour in his writing. When reading I actually often found myself chuckling aloud. Unsurprisingly, after his success with "The Thursday Mu

Jac Geurts - "Zwijgende vlakten: een Spaanse wandeling

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  I have just finished reading "Zwijgende vlakten: een Spaanse wandeling" by Jac Geurts. For sixty days in 2016 the author walked alone across the Spanish plains and sierras from the Pyrenees in the north to Cádiz in the south. He didn't reach his destination though. He was forced to return home prematurely when a rare disease paralyzed his legs. In this travelogue the reader accompanies the writer on a journey full of adventures, descriptions of nature, encounters with all kinds of people, and musings on everything from religion to politics. Geurts's Spain is not the Spain most tourists see, this Spain is empty, wild, unruly, and above all silent. I love Spain and I enjoyed reading about a Spain I barely know. I especially liked Geurts's descriptions of the people he met and the conversations he had with them. The book is illustrated with watercolours by Piet Lap. It is unfortunate that these are printed in black and white, because in colour they are so much more

Robert Galbraith - "Lethal White"

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  I have just finished reading "Lethal White" by Robert Galbraith, a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, who is most famous for her books about Harry Potter. This is the fourth in a series of crime novels featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott. "Lethal White" was preceded by "The Cuckoo's Calling", "The Silkworm", and "Career of Evil".  A fifith novel, "Troubled Blood", was published in September 2020. The books were adapted for television and began airing on the BBC as a series in 2017, starring Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike and Holliday Grainger as Robin Ellacot. These films are well worth watching. There are two things I particularly like about this series of books. Firstly there is J.K. Rowling's writing style. It's so easy on the brain! The narrative flows like water in a river and carries you along to the end before you know it. Secondly there are the two main characters Cormoran and

David Mitchell - "Utopia Avenue"

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I have just finished reading "Utopia Avenue" by David Mitchell. He is one of my favourite novelists. I have read and I own all eight of his novels. He is probably best-known for "Cloud Atlas", but the ones I like most are "Black Swan Green" and "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet". If you grew up in the swinging 1960s, like I did, and were into the fledgling popmusic of those years, like I was, you will enjoy "Utopia Avenue". It tells the story of the eponymous fictional band from its beginning in London in 1967 to its fateful ending in Los Angeles in 1968. I liked the many music, pop culture, film, and history references in the book, which took me back to my teenage years. There are also surprising cameos from well-known artists, like John Lennon, Diana Ross, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Allen Ginsberg, and others. "Utopia Avenue" paints a colourful picture of the music industry and life in the 1960s. The characters, especi