Holiday reading and Price’s Other Paths to Glory

One advantage of an enormous TBR pile is that it provides you with plenty of fodder for holiday reading. We’re off in the VW shortly, and I’m in the process of creating a miniature crime library to take on the road.

DSC_0208

Mwnt in Wales – one of our stops in the VW last year. A very nice spot for a cuppa and a good book.

The following have already made the cut:

K.T. Medina’s White Crocodile (Faber & Faber, 2014). Cover text: ‘When emotionally damaged mine-clearer Tess Hardy arrives in Cambodia to investigate the truth behind her ex-husband’s death, she finds that local girls are going missing. Caught in a web of lies that stretches from Cambodia to England, Tess must unravel the truth, and quickly – before she becomes the next victim’. The novel has received some really glowing reviews and has been on my list to read for ages.

white-crocodile-jacket

Roberto Costantini’s The Root of All Evil (translated from Italian by N.S. Thompson, Quercus, 2014 [2012]). This is the second novel in the ‘Commissario Balistreri’ trilogy, which moves back in time from Italy of the 1980s/modern day to Libya in the late 1960s. I loved Deliverance of Evil (review here), and am looking forward entering this author’s complex world again. At 676 pages, The Root of All Evil is also handy insurance against rainy days when holidaying in the north of England.

Costantini

Eva Dolan’s Tell No Tales (Vintage, 2015). I expect the second in Dolan’s ‘DI Zigic and DS Ferreira’ series to be a particularly resonant and disturbing post-Brexit read. Cover text: ‘Two men are kicked to death in brutal attacks. Caught on CCTV, the murderer hides his face – but raises a Nazi salute. In a town riddled with racial tension, Detectives Zigic and Ferreira from the Hate Crimes Unit are under pressure to find the killer. Riots break out, the leader of right-wing party steps into the spotlight, and Zigic and Ferreira must act fast before more violence erupts’. I reviewed Long Way Home, the first in the series, here.

Dolan

When catching up with the lovely Ms Adler in Cardiff last week, I picked up Anthony Price’s Other Paths to Glory in Oxfam Books. Because it was part of the ‘crime masterworks’ series – one of my favourites – I didn’t even bother to read the back cover, but soon realised it was going to be very topical given the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July.

The novel was the winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 1974, and shows World War One historian Paul Mitchell being pulled into undercover work for the MoD following the murder of a colleague. A map fragment from the Battle of Hameau Ridge on the Somme in 1916 appears to be the cause, but why?

Other Paths to Glory was an absorbing read that provided sobering insights into the history of World War One and the experiences of ordinary soldiers, many of whom died senseless deaths at a tragically young age. Part of the plot explores the mystery of regiments that simply disappeared from the battlefield, and the novel offers an ingenious and plausible solution to that enigma.

There’s a lovely review of Price’s The Labyrinth Makers over at CrimeFictionLover, which also gives some background on this very interesting author and his works.

Anthony Price

Somme

Graves at the Somme

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26 thoughts on “Holiday reading and Price’s Other Paths to Glory

  1. Pingback: Holiday reading and Price’s Other Paths to Glory | picardykatt's Blog

  2. Given current events I am sure Tell No Tales will have a very familiar feel! I thought it was wonderfully written and it still remains a personal favourite of mine. Take it you won’t be driving then with all these books packed for the journey?!

    • I loved the first one, Rachel, and think she’s an excellent writer, so I’m really looking forward to this one. Number 3 is lined up ready on my shelf as well…

      OH does the driving and I do the map-reading/getting us lost. Plenty of scenic tea breaks in the schedule too, though 🙂

    • Thanks very much, Margot – really looking forward to being on the road. Got to have that carefully selected pile of reading along though – essential to the success of the holiday 😉

  3. Looked eagerly for summer recommendations. I shall try K T Medina. Roberto Costantini Deliverance of Evil was buried deep in unread yet kindle so shall dig that out. I have read the first three Eva Dolan and think them very good, honest and unsentimental . I read Antony Price years ago – it looks like time to dig them out again!
    Thanks for your list. Enjoy!
    Maggie Airey

    • Thanks, Maggie. Hope you enjoy the Medina and Costantini – they will be very different reads, I think, which is part of the attraction for me.

      I’ve read the first in the Dolan series and was really impressed. I love her writing voice – very distinctive and powerful.

    • Thanks, Raven. Ooh yes, definitely bump Dolan’s works up your list. I really think you’d like them.

      Hugely looking forward to White Crocodile and finding out more about Cambodia. Good to hear you rated it.

  4. Oh what a blast from my past! I remember reading Anthony Price around the time of his early books and they still stand out in my memory. At about the same time I was reading early Le Carre and Len Deighton and I think his early books can stand alongside both those authors. The library has no Price books so think I will have a little word with the Bibs Queen who works in my building! If not, any chance of a loan? Bon voyage, gute reise.

    • Hi MRo – it really was complete chance that I came across the book. I’d never heard of Price and it was the series that attracted me rather than the novel itself. But that’s one of the joys of random browsing in an actual bookshop rather than online – some of the best finds are made that way.

      I would definitely be interested in reading more of Price’s work now. I can see how comparisons might be made to early le Carre (don’t know Deighton well enough to judge), although I’d still give le Carre the edge in terms of quality.

      The one snag for me was the daft depiction of the main female protagonist, who is initially portrayed as being knowledgeable about WW1 history, but then turns out not to be after all…*sigh*

      If you can’t get hold of a copy, I’d be very happy to loan 🙂

  5. Tell No Tales is excellent and very appropriate for these Brexit times. Eva Dolan is hard-hitting as usual in her support for immigrants.
    By the way, have read with dismay the news that hate crimes in Britain have risen 500% since the Brexit vote. How awful.
    I hope some voices of reason and for unity prevail.

  6. I make no secret of the fact that I love Eva Dolan’s work and think her books couldn’t be more timely. I also enjoyed Medina’s debut novel – there was perhaps one story strand too many in the end, but overall a satisfying experience and an unusual, dramatic backdrop. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about the WW1 book. The Battle of the Somme anniversary has left me feeling torn.

    • Thanks for your thoughts on the Medina novel – sounds like an impressively accomplished debut novel.

      A bit more on Price’s novel…. One very interesting aspect of reading Other Paths to Glory was seeing WW1 depicted as being still within living memory. The novel is written and set in the 1970s and features some characters who experienced the Somme first-hand as soldiers. You hear their memories and find out a little about the trauma that they were left with after the war. The historian-investigator figure also provides insights – facts and figures, as well as descriptions of what conditions at the front would have been like (with plenty of comment on the high casualty rate). WW1 poems feature too – so there’s a collage of different sources and materials that build up a multi-dimensional picture of the Somme/WW1 history. A fascinating read.

  7. Have a great trip & lots of good reads, the Price one sounds really interesting, will try to find a copy. Just taken delivery of LG Persson’s ‘the dying detective’ have been looking forward to it for a long while.

  8. Morning Mrs P. I love your photo of Mwnt in Wales, an idilic spot for a cuppa and a chocolate hobnob, and a beautiful place for a swim too if the weather was better 😕. Ethel has Tell no Tales stored in her library, which hopefully will be crossed off my TBR list soon as. The others I must have a closer look at. At the moment the Tour de France is keeping me occupied most afternoons. I have by a mere fluke (only because they were advertised on the side of a bus shelter outside Waitrose), discovered a series of books by M.J. Arlidge, who has written crime novels based in Southampton 😁. Now who would have thought it. But if books can be written about crime in Weston-super-Mare, why not Southampton. So Ethel will have even more books to store.
    Enjoy your hols in your VW. What a wonderful way to see our beautiful country. I remember travelling in a VW campervan to Spain years ago. Surfboards and lilo’s strapped to the roof rack, BBQ’s on the beach, cheap Spanish plonk in the icebox…….Sunnies 👓on, and don’t let the seagulls nick your chips. Happy days 😊!

    • Hello Kathy – sorry about the (ahem) lengthy delay in responding. Hope you enjoyed the rest of the Tour de France.

      Not sure if you know, but I went to Southampton Uni back in the day, and still visit regularly. So will definitely hunt out the Arlidge books. I’ll look forward to seeing if Jesters (a grotty nightclub that’s still going) is mentioned 🙂

  9. Hello Mrs P. I hope you enjoyed your hols 👓.
    I not only watch Le Tour for the cycling, but for the beautiful French scenery which is filmed from a helicopter that follows the race. Much of which most holiday makers rarely get to see.
    Jesters, I remember it well. Always a favourite with the Uni. And is it really still going, well I never.
    I’ve read the first of Arlidge’s books, and really enjoyed it, although there were a couple of location mistakes 😉that I picked up on.
    I’m off to the wilds of Wiltshire house and dog 🐕sitting for two weeks. Such fun!

    • Thanks, Kathy.

      Jesters is indeed still going. I have it on good authority that it has not changed much, and that the walls/floor are still sticky *shudder*. But we all had some very good times there…!

      If you’re still in/near Southampton (sorry if we’ve been down this path before), then we really MUST meet up.

      Enjoy Wiltshire and the dogs! Happy reading 🙂

      • Sticky walls and floors euww!. Happy days though☺! And yes, I would love to meet up. I live by Southampton Common, so most places are fairly easy to get to from where I am.
        I’m trying to pack tatty trackies and other dog proof clothes, because even though Rosie 🐕 has got over her chewing phases, well mostly, something will always set her off.
        Ethel is currently chocker with unread books, so there will be plenty to keep me occupied. 😁

      • Will file that info away and try to contact you ahead of my next visit. Good luck with the Chewy One and enjoy your time with Ethel 🙂

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