Malvern books

Malvern is one of my favourite places, and Saturday was spent very happily on a day trip there. The reason for the trip was seeing Noel Coward’s Present Laughter at the theatre (which was excellent; very funny, good lines, beautiful set, and a winning turn from Sam West – makes me wish that more Coward plays were put on, as there is much more to him that Blithe SpiritPrivate Lives, and Hay Fever, fab though those are) – but while we were there: books.

Malvern books aug 2016On my last trip, I was sad to discover that the Malvern Bookshop would be closing down if they weren’t able to find a buyer. Well, praise be, they found one! It would be such a shame to lose a gem like that. So half of these came from that bookshops (where I also picked up some cheap piano music), and half from the excellent Amnesty Bookshop. The friend I went with spent happy time with a box of old theatre programmes in the Malvern Bookshop, and came away with some beauties. Anyway – here are the books!

Young Adolf by Beryl Bainbridge
I have a few unread Beryls on my shelf, but don’t remember coming across this one in the wild before – so wanted to nab it. Who other than Beryl would attempt this novel? I can only assume she brings all her trademark quirks to the table.

The Clocks by Agatha Christie
I need to work out precisely which Christies I have and haven’t read, because it feels like they’re dwindling – but this is definitely one of them.

Misreadings by Umberto Eco
Apparently a book of parodies? I have ‘parody’ on my Book Bingo card, so this may well come in handy.

Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley
Human Being by Christopher Morley
Two novels by Christopher Morley, author of Parnassus on Wheels – I keep buying books by him, and have only read three, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave these behind.

The Lighting of the Lamps by Susan Hill
I though I’d had quite a coup here, but it is actually available from 10p on Amazon – I just hadn’t heard of this book before. It’s a collection of Hill’s writing about literature – prefaces from books, and articles, I think. Something fun to dip into.

The Faces of Justice by Sybille Bedford
Another book I hadn’t heard of by a writer I like! This one sounds fascinating – Bedford travels around various countries looking at their justice systems, and how the same crime will be treated differently in many different places. I’m a little worried that it might be xenophobic, but her wine-soaked travel writing Pleasures and Landscapes wasn’t (as far as I can recall) so fingers crossed.

Opening Night by Ngaio Marsh
I’ve yet to read any of her detective fiction, but I can’t resist a murder mystery set in a theatre.

14 thoughts on “Malvern books

  • August 22, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Great haul. Will have to explore Malvern book shops when next I’m there. I enjoy Ngaio Marsh, Opening Night is a good one. She’s particularly good at portraying the theatre world as she knew that world so well.

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Oo, looking forward to it!

  • August 22, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Opening Night is pretty interesting, though it didn’t make me want to read more of the same. The Clocks is pretty good, although I always confuse it with Seven Dials – Christie’s other book about clocks which is a delight! But that one is a nice whodunnit with some great character writing.

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      And then there’s Hickory Dickory Dock! I have read that, and Seven Dials, so I should finish the clock triumvirate.

  • August 22, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I love photos of old hardback books.Thanks.

  • August 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Agree with Tina, the sight of old hardbacks makes my heart go a little faster! As a New Zealander I am happy to see Ngaio Marsh on your list. Also being a Sybille Bedford fan, (Jigsaw my favourite to date), I am keen to hear how The Faces of Justice goes. Merenia x

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      And just imagine shelf after shelf of them! It’s a real delight :)
      And the Bedford might leap up the pile – because it was such an unexpected find.

  • August 22, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Also enjoy seeing your finds across the pond, where all good bookshops from here must have migrated, as they’re scarce as you-know-what over here. (And sadly contain too many newer volumes from this side the pond.) Will eagerly await reviews!

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      And even here the good bookshops are dwindling! Though I did find some gems in the Washington DC area. But, oh, for the days where every small town had a secondhand bookshop…

  • August 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    You have some fantastic finds. Oh, to be in Malvern now that Noel Coward is there. If you like Agatha Christie, I think you will like Ngaio Marsh. Also I can highly recommend Josephine Tey and Nicholas Blake (pen name of C. Day-Lewis). Lot’s of fun ahead for you!

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      I’ve read one Tey, but no Blake yet – though have always found it fascinating that a Poet Laureate would turn his hand to detective fiction. As of yet, nobody has lived up to Agatha – though I am loving the British Library Crime Classics on a slightly lower plane.

  • August 23, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I think I went to Malvern once a very long time ago… Though not alas to see Present Laughter, which is a play I love. Have you seen the old television version starring Peter Wyngarde? It’s fab! But I digress – wonderful book finds as usual Simon. Your version of The Clocks looks like it might be the same as mine.

    • August 28, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I hadn’t – I hadn’t even heard of the play! After a gap, I’ll take a look. (And do get back to Malvern – such a lovely place, and I’m so pleased the book shop has survived.)

  • August 30, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Oooh, Simon! An enviable haul. :-)

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