What We're Reading 

Hidden gems, hot favourites, slow burners and the odd guest columnist.

February 2017

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Girl from Venice

by Martin Cruz—WW2 the Italians are in the process of changing sides, and the Germans are on the retreat. A young Jewish woman escapes the Gestapo and is rescued by a fisherman on the Venetian lagoon. Full of odd characters (like Rick’s Café in Casablanca) including a diplomat’s wife, a forger, helping both Jews and Germans to escape and a famous actor/collaborator. Entertaining, lots of fun predictably at the expense of the Italian Fascists and Germans ($33). Conclave by Robert Harris—Set in the near future, a Pope dies and a new Pope must be selected by the Cardinals. They gather in Rome with more ambition and agendas than the Australian Senate. Entertaining, with more intrigue and less theology than Morris West. Robert Harris brings his usual deft touch to makes a compelling narrative with a few unexpected twists ($33) John

In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes (1947)
The morning paper had columns on the case. It had pictures of the girl, Mildred Atkinson, of the lonely spot in Beverly Glen Canyon where her body was found. The cops were scouring the town now, talking to every man Mildred had known…A quick shot of thought jabbed him. The tires…Could they get a cast of tire marks from concrete? He doubted it. Certain gambles were legitimate. Like appearing in a lighted place with Mildred. Gambling on the muddled memory of waitresses and countermen…Risks were spice, as long as you used them like spice, sparingly. He fingered his lip. He could grow a moustache. No reason why he should. He looked like a thousand other men. He’d never been in that drive-in before. He never intended to go again. Risks he took; mistakes he didn’t make.

Dixon ‘Dix’ Steele—returned World War II veteran. A charming, cynical, calculating murderer. Set in post war Los Angeles, Dorothy B. Hughes (1904-1993) novel is a suspenseful first-person narrative of the mind and motives of a serial killer. Dix treads carefully, since his best friend is on the LA Police Department. However, when Dix meets Laurel Gray—a femme fatale with brains—things begin to unravel. In A Lonely Place combines taut, atmospheric prose, unflagging pace and a slow ratcheting up of tension. A unique gem. It also inspired the famous 1950 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame—a film noir classic in its own right—but one which departs almost entirely from the novel in plot. Steve

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