Sarah Vine's Femail Half Hour: Summer Books Special!


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Sarah Vine and Co Host Imogen Edwards-Jones celebrate the beginning of holiday season with a summer book special. Arts reviewer Claire Allfree and true crime expert and host of the Blood Ties Podcast, Geoffrey Wansell, join the show to offer some literary suggestions to accompany you on your summer break, from well known classics, to audiobooks, to last minute selections at the airport and lots more between!

The guest recommendations/books discussed were:

Geoffrey Wansell:

Sparring Partners by John Grisham, Hodder £20
These three novellas in a single volume show Grisham at his masterful best. A minor masterpiece.
The Blackbird by Tim Weaver, Michael Joseph £14.99
A road accident sees a Land Rover plunge off the road and career down a ravine. Two witnesses watch in horror as
it bursts into flames, but when the fire brigade arrives there is no sign whatever of the two occupants. The impressive Weaver triumphs again with this intricate mystery.
Aurora by David Koepp, HQ £14.99
The screenwriter of Jurassic Park depicts a catastrophe where a solar storm wipes out electricity across the planet.
Told from the viewpoint of a dysfunctional American family, it vividly explores how human beings cope with tragedy, and re-affirms our will to survive. It is fine storytelling.
Wake by Shelley Burr, Hodder £14.99
My crime novel of the year so far, a moving depiction of the pain that a mysterious disappearance can wreak on
those left behind. Nineteen years ago Evie McCreery vanished, leaving her younger sister Mina to pick up the
pieces of her life. Intense and evocative, it tears at the heart-strings.
Into the Dark, Macmillan £14.99
One morning the golden Holden family - father, mother and two teenagers – suddenly disappear from their spectacular home overlooking the sea in Essex. What happened? Enter DS Saul Anguish, with a record of protecting two children from a serial killer. The plot is both striking and original.
Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles, Weidenfeld £16.99
In the beautiful village of Champton, home to the de Flores dynasty, the local church is presided over by Canon Daniel Clement. A murder overwhelms the congregation and further skulduggery follows. A cosy, if slightly fey mystery with echoes of Father Brown unfolds as Clement investigates.

The best classic crime everyone should read is either The Mysterious Affair at Styles or A Study in Scarlet.

Grab something from the airport – no doubts, any David Baldacci or Michael Connelly.

For something less expected – try James Lee Burke

As for an audiobook it’s hard not to suggest one of the two by Richard Osman, which are a great listen. (The Thursday Murder Club / The Man Who Died Twice)

Claire Allfrey recommends:

Bad Relations by Cressida Connolly, a lush historical drama.

What Time Is Love by Holly Williams, a breezy beach read.

Gosford Park by Gil Hornby, a fun Jane Austen homage.

Vladimir by Julia May Jones, a spiky, creepy, psychological romance with lots of subversive observations on gender politics (also received Imogen's vote!)

Night Crawling by Leila Mottley, this summer's hot debut read, a gritty novel about race and crime in America.

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson, a very funny smart spiky marital comedy of manners.

A book to grab at the airport is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, or Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, both out last year but Women's Prize shortlisted and so ought to be easily available in airport bookshelves..

Claire spotlighted Natalia Ginsberg, an Italian mid century author whose novels are being republished.

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