M. John Harrison – The Sunken Land Begins to Rise again




….Meanwhile there was coming and going on the stairs, especially at night. Voices were raised. Two in the morning, someone dropped a heavy object on the landing, while downstairs someone else leaned on the bell-push or shouted indistinctly from the street. Next door’s sash window, its frame warped by years of river fog, slid up with a long grunting sound. Next day Shaw might glimpse a figure making its way quickly across the landing to the communal bathroom, which it occupied for longer than a normal person; afterwards there was a smell in there. (p 9-10) Continue reading M. John Harrison – The Sunken Land Begins to Rise again

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol



He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding, hammer, clang, clash! Oh, glorious, glorious!

Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his head. No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious. Glorious!

And may we all be filled with compassion as Scrooge was after his visitation from the three Spirits. As Dickens says in another part of this book

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.



Christmas carol for the times

Australia’s magnificent ABC has been a wonderful resource and support for people confined at home over the weary pandemic months. In November ABC Classic invited people to join a virtual choir to sing a new Aussie Christmas carol by Yorta Yorta singer and composer Deborah Cheetham. 1500 people of all ages from all over Australia, and expats all around the world, did.

Continue reading Christmas carol for the times

Anthony Horowitz – Magpie Murders

By my rough estimate Anthony Horowitz is the author of around seventy-four books, not counting anthologies he has edited and the odd screenplay (He is the creator of Foyle’s War and wrote most of the episodes, as well as quite a few Midsomer Murders). He has, with the permission of the Conan Doyle Estate, written two Sherlock Holmes stories, not to mention dozens of young adult books and a couple of James Bond. He is a professional author of the highest calibre and has been on my radar for some time. Continue reading Anthony Horowitz – Magpie Murders