After writing about the Nancy Drew series of books in my previous blog, I came across some other information about that genre of literature. Several articles in other issues of The Book and Magazine Collector caught my attention and set me to thinking about these types of books. Some are mystery stories, some are detective stories, some are police procedurals, some are thrillers. Have I covered them all?
Incidentally, the most famous literary spinster of all time made her novel-debut in 1930, the same year as Nancy Drew. Miss Marple in The Murder at the Vicarage, first published in 1930.
It’s not a genre I read very often – that is until recently when I have been going through a spate of them. But the ones I have been reading are not the traditional cosy Miss Marple types. I have never taken to the Agatha Christie books but I love the films. Authors I have read occasionally in the past have been Georges Simenon and Graham Greene. No Ellery Queen or any of the American writers. Ellery Queen was one of my brother’s favourites.
But now I am caught up in reading a number of Scandinavian thrillers. First there was Henning Mankell, then the Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo Martin Beck series of 10 books. Feeling in the mood for more Scandinavian thrillers I tried one from Finland and that turned out to be very good. Against the Wall by Jarkko Sipila. For a review of this book and information about the upsurge in Scandinavian crime fiction being translated into English I refer you to this website.
Jarkko Sipila has written a second book, Vengeance. It is now available in English so I am on the look-out for it. Again, the photo is from the internet.
The photos of these covers remind me of the cover of a book which I saw recently at my Irish Conversation Group, Cupla Focla. One of our regulars, Seamus, aka James, has written a book on the History of the Irish Astronomical Society. This book was self-published in 2006. For the cover he used a detail of a rug which he and his wife had hooked. The image was the Belt of Orion. A very striking image in black and red. The general conclusion of the Irish Group was that it was a latchet hook rug done from a kit. But I don’t think so. (Of course my comprehension of Irish isn’t brilliant so I could be all wrong.)
Those kits for doing latchet hook rugs had much more mundane images, like horse’s heads or whatever. I suspect that Seamus’s wife had designed the rug and then they could well have purchased the cut packs of rug wool and indeed used a latchet hook and rug canvas purchased from the famous Needlecrafts store on Dawson Street here in Dublin. Alas, shop is long gone now. That is the way I did a number of hooked rugs back in the 1970’s. I had a small book from Norway and it had some lovely designs for hooked rugs. I put a grid on the small pictures in that book and then enlarged the design for making the rug on my rug canvas. I used a latchet hook and I bought little packs of cut wool in the colours of my choice. Below is a photo of one of the rugs I made. The book with the designs was very small and somewhere it disappeared – how I would love to find that book again. It was from Norway and on the cover it had a picture of a family grouped around a rug frame and happily doing their hooking.