Generosity of spirit is a characteristic of the Methodist Church and one I am grateful for. There is many a bargain to be had from the local thrift shop, especially the range of books that I might have missed or wouldn’t have otherwise thought about reading.
One that spring to mind is Cecil Woodham-Smith’s The Reason Why, the 1953 account of the characters and events that lead to the Charge of the Light Brigade that all other accounts cite as source material. It is also a bloody good read.
Another is The Coins of Judas by Scott McBain, a totally different sort of read. A supernatural thriller that takes the 30 pieces of silver as its starting point. each imbued with the power to corrupt and ultimately betray. A jolly little tale.
I’ve just finished reading my latest £1 bargain, Caedmon’s Song by Peter Robinson. No, not the smarmy, profiteering Irish politico, but the author better known for The DCI Banks novels, none of which I’ve read.
The story is told entirely through the voice of Kirsten, the first victim of a serial killer and the only one to survive his attack. Maimed in the worst possible way, she recovers physically, but is irrevocably damaged psychologically and the story focusses on her need for revenge.
The Caedmon of the title was the earliest English poet that we know by name. He was unable to sing until he was visited in a dream and became a zealous monk and inspirational poet. This medieval past plays a part in the lives of both Kirsten and the killer.
It was written about 20 years ago, but even so it is a foreign land we can hardly recognise. Smoking in pubs, restaurants, cafés and hotels is not only tolerated, but is the norm. Mobile phones are an accessory of the future and there is no email or franchise outlets to speak of. It is a forgotten world that Robinson captures like a half-remembered dream.
It is billed as a psychological thriller although it isn’t anything of the sort. There are no surprises and the outcome is almost inevitable. But it is beautifully written and observed and is believable in its oddness. Very much recommended.