Archive for January 22, 2010


Posted: January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

Information via the Rap Sheet that A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell has been nominated for the Bruce Alexander Historical Award [for an historical mystery set before 1950].

You can read all my posts about this book and my interview with Rebecca by clicking here and scrolling down.


Posted: January 22, 2010 in Uncategorized


Whenever I start a long book by an author I have never read before there is always that niggling worry that I will not enjoy it, but feel some obligation to struggle through to the end. I know many bloggers who say life is too short to waste on books you are not enjoying, but perhaps you have to experience the ‘downs’ in life, and reading, to fully appreciate the ‘ups’.

Yesterday I started reading a thick book and there are certain clues that I will enjoy it, for instance this passage:

‘For the main dishes, there were chunks of pork stomach on a bed of green napa, thin slices of smoked carp spread on fragile leaves of jicai, and steamed peeled shrimp with tomato sauce. There was also a platter of eels with scallions and ginger, which he had ordered from a restaurant. He had opened a can of Meiling steamed pork, and added some green vegetables to make it another dish. On the side, he placed a small dish of sliced tomatoes, and another of cucumbers.’

No prizes for guessing on which continent this book is set.

…..he saw a girl selling big bowls of tea on a wooden bench. No more than thirteen or fourteen, she sat quietly on a low stool wearing her pony tail tied with a girlish bow, reading a book…….
just a kid from the village, still small and innocent, reading against the idyllic background- perhaps a poetry collection in her hand, providing a convenience to thirsty travelers who might pass by.
…… He also asked for a big bowl of tea.
“Three cents,” the girl said, without looking up from her book.
“What are you reading?”
“Visual Basics.”

[Photographs taken in Cambodia by my son]