The Doom of the Great City

Description: Set in the then far future of 1942, the Londoners of William Delisle Hay’s 19th-century novella were not suffering on account of Luftwaffe bombing raids but instead choking to death in a deadly smog.

Not sure I’d call this a straight novel, it reads more as a full-on rant by a moralising git big on sermonising. We do know that London had pea-soupers mingled into The Great Stink which hugely impacted on health.

Overall then, I’m sure Dickens and Collins secured more sales by their penmanship than William Delisle Hay could ever dream of. Glad it was only 50 pages; glad I came across this; mighty glad to move on from it.

Read for free via public domain

Article ablout this book

A whole month of Halloween 2015 reads:

#1: 3* Nobody True by James Herbert: fraudio
#2: The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard: fraudio
#3: Brain Child by John Saul: fraudio
#4: 3* Domain (Rats #3) by James Herbert: fraudio
#5: The Mourning Vessels by Peter Luther: paperback
#6: 2* The Doom of the Great City: ebook short-story

Daily Life in Victorian England by Sally Mitchell

bookshelves: autumn-2015, dip-in-now-and-again, nutty-nuut, published-1996, reference, under-500-ratings, tbr-busting-2015, skim-through

Read from March 25, 2014 to September 30, 2015
Description: Drawing on a wealth of sources, this volume brings England’s Victorian era to life. Teachers, students, and interested readers can use this resource to examine Victorian life in a multitude of settings, from idyllic country estates to urban slums. Organized for easy reference, the volume provides information about the physical, social, economic, and legal details of daily life in Victorian England. Over sixty illustrations plus excerpts from primary sources enliven the work, which can be used in both the classroom and library to answer questions concerning laws, money, social class, values, morality, and private life.

Chapters in the work cover: traditional ways of life in town and country, social class, money, work, crime and punishment, the laws of daily life (marriage, divorce, inheritance, guardians, and bankruptcy), the development of a modern urban world (with railways, electricity, plumbing, and telephones), houses, food, clothing, shopping, the rituals of courtship and funerals, family and social life, education, health and medical care, leisure and pleasure, the importance of religion, and the impact of the Raj and the Empire. Historical contexts are explained and emphasis is placed on groups often invisible in traditional history: children, women both at work and at home, and people who led respectable, ordinary lives. A chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index complete the work. This valuable resource provides students, teachers, and librarians with all the information they need to recreate life in Victorian England.

More indepth than most, yet not dry as, say, London in the Nineteenth Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God

Domain by James Herbert

Description: The long-dreaded nuclear conflict. The city torn apart, shattered, its people destroyed or mutilated beyond hope. For just a few, survival is possible only beneath the wrecked streets – if there is time to avoid the slow-descending poisonous ashes. But below, the rats are waiting.

Halloween 2015 reads:

#1: 3* Nobody True by James Herbert: fraudio
#2: The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard: fraudio
#3: Brain Child by John Saul: fraudio
#4: 3* Domain (Rats #3) by James Herbert: fraudio

3* Nobody True
3.5* The Fog
5* The Secret of Crickley Hall
3* Fluke
2* Moon
TR Sepulchre
3* Creed
4* The Survivor
2* The Spear
3* Portent

3.5* The Rats
3* Lair
3* Domain

3* The Ghosts of Sleath

The People on Privilege Hill by Jane Gardam

Description: Jane Gardam’s delightful short stories range from the Lake District to Dorset; from Wimbledon, where an old Victorian mansion has been converted into a home for unmarried mothers, to wartime London, where a hospital is the scene of a job interview in the middle of the Blitz. In ‘Pangbourne’ (not, in this instance, the place, but the name of an ape), a lonely woman allows herself tenderly to fall in love with a gorilla; ‘Snap’ is about a loveless one-night stand – and its ironic punishment. Two of the stories are ghost stories; and fans of Gardam’s most recent novel, the bestselling Old Filth, will be overjoyed to encounter Filth himself and his ancient enemy and sparring partner, Veneering, among the umbrellas at a luncheon party on a soaking wet day.

The People on Privilege Hill
The Latter Days of Mr Jones
The Flight Path
The Milly Ming
The Hair of the Dog
Waiting for a Stranger
Learning to Fly
The Virgins of Bruges
The Fledgling
The Last Reunion

The author of the Old Filth trilogy explains why, despite her award-winning career as a novelist, it’s short stories she loves best

4* Old Filth
5* The Man in the Wooden Hat
WL Last Friends
WL Crusoe’s Daughters
3* Bilgewater
TR The People on Privilege Hill
4* The Stories

The Price of Oil by Nicolas Kent

bookshelves: autumn-2015, radio-4, play-dramatisation, published-2015

Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from September 11 to 30, 2015

Description: Looking for Billy takes us up Alaska’s Haul Road all the way to the Arctic Sea. Every day alongside the road, above the tundra, billions of barrels of oil are being piped south from the wells discovered in the 1960’s, on the North Slope. As a private detective sets out with his mysterious client to investigate protests against the pipeline, we learn what that oil discovery did to the indigenous Inupiat people of Alaska.

The Price of Oil season of factual dramas explores the history of oil – and the price we’ve paid for it. All this week, season will take us from 1951 to 2045, and around the world from Iran to Alaska, Libya, Nigeria, Turkmenistan, Washington and onto Scotland’s offshore rigs, to explore the role oil has played in shaping our world.

Devised by Nicolas Kent, with Jack Bradley & Jonathan Myerson, the season is produced by Jonquil Panting for BBC Radio Drama.

As director of London’s Tricycle theatre for almost 30 years, Nicolas Kent championed responsive factual and political drama, including seasons of plays by renowned writers about Afghanistan (The Great Game) and nuclear weapons (The Bomb). Now he brings that experience to BBC Radio 4, to tell the story of oil.

Killed At The Whim Of A Hat by Colin Cotterill

Description: When Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her career—maybe her life—is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one of them wearing a hat, is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer’s field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered, with the temple’s monk and nun the only suspects. Suddenly Jimm’s new life becomes somewhat more promising—and a lot more deadly. And if Jimm is to make the most of this opportunity, and unravel the mysteries that underlie these inexplicable events, it will take luck, perseverance, and the help of her entire family.

Opening: Old Mel hired one of Da’s nephews – the slow-witted one with the dent in his forehead – to sink a well in his back acre.

Not hard to understand that this was mainly purchased because of that quirky title. I found the flippancy became palling after a while so do not envisage going further in this series. 3*

Hand dug well – no steel toe-capped work shoes in evidence.

Pak Nam

Nobody True by James Herbert

Read by Robert Powell ~14 hrs

Description: James True was not there when he died.

He returned from an out-of-body experience to find that he’d been murdered and mutilated. He had no body to go back to. But who murdered him? The serial killer terrorizing the city–or someone closer? True had no enemies, at least none that he knew of.

To discover the truth, James True must track down his killer. The initial horror of True’s experience is followed by an even greater terror . . . . his family are the murderer’s next targets. Without a body, True has no substance and no real power. No one can see him, no one can hear him, and no one except his murderer even knows his spirit still exists. How can he save his family?

At times, this reminded me of Randall and Hopkirk but in slasher mode. We encounter knitting needles and killer carpets.

Halloween 2015 reads:

#1: 3* Nobody True by James Herbert

3* Nobody True
3.5* The Fog
5* The Secret of Crickley Hall
3* Fluke
2* Moon
TR Sepulchre
3* Creed
4* The Survivor
2* The Spear
3* Portent

3.5* The Rats
3* Lair
TR Domain

3* The Ghosts of Sleath

Blood Lines: Long and Short Stories by Ruth Rendell, Nigel Anthony (Reader

Read by Nigel Anthony

Description: In this collection of stories, Ruth Rendell probes behind the patterns of everyday life to pinpoint the deceptions and guilty secrets of human beings.

Not only were the stories short, the overall caboodle is very short. SWIZZ

3* From Doon With Death (Inspector Wexford, #1)
3* A New Lease of Death (Inspector Wexford, #2)
3* Wolf to the Slaughter (Inspector Wexford, #3)
2* The Best Man to Die (Inspector Wexford, #4)
3* A Guilty Thing Suprised #5
3* No More Dying Then (Inspector Wexford, #6)
3* Murder Being Once Done (Inspector Wexford, #7)
3* Some Lie and Some Die (Inspector Wexford, #8)
3* Shake Hands Forever (Inspector Wexford, #9)
3* A Sleeping Life (Inspector Wexford, #10)
3* Put on by Cunning (Inspector Wexford #11)
1* Speaker of Mandarin (Inspector Wexford, #12)
3* An Unkindness of Ravens (Inspector Wexford, #13)
3* The Veiled One (Inspector Wexford, #14)
3* Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter (Inspector Wexford, #15)
3* Road Rage (Inspector Wexford, #17)
3* Harm Done (Inspector Wexford, #18)
3* The Babes in the Wood (Inspector Wexford, #19)

3* Not in the Flesh (Inspector Wexford, #21)
2* The Vault (Inspector Wexford, #23)

2* Blood Lines

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Description: Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Read by Zak Appleman. ~16 hours

The descriptions of St Malo were so spot on that I felt I was on a re-visit.

Great story-telling, especially liked the radio evolution and natural history sections.

Constructing the Atlantic Wall

There are flaws, and increasing needlessly protracted areas from the halfway mark onwards, yet there were also flashes of pure genius, and some parts had me holding my breath.