Manna from Hades by Carola Dunn

Manna From Hades is the first book by Carola Dunn which I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. Although it was first published in 2009, the book is set in Cornwall of the late 1960s or 70s, as the author spent a lot of her time there when she was growing up. She has definitely captured that atmosphere.

Eleanor Trewynn has spent a lot of her life living abroad as she and her husband spent their working lives helping those less fortunate in far flung countries. Now that she is retired and she is a widow she is living in a small Cornish village, having just had enough money to buy a small house, the ground floor of which she has turned into a charity shop, while upstairs she has her home.

Whilst gathering donations for the shop Eleanor discovers a small case full of jewellery amongst the clothing but has no idea who donated it, and so begins a mystery! I’m not going to say any more about the storyline as I don’t want to spoil it for people!

This is an entertaining sort of easy reading book which harks back to the time when female detectives were a rare thing and women weren’t allowed to wear trousers to work. Something which I’m sure people can hardly believe nowadays but until the equality of the sexes laws came about in the mid 1970s that is what life was like for women.

It says on the front cover A Cornish Mystery and that was one of the reasons I chose this book because if a book is set in Cornwall then it’s a plus for me. I just realised recently that the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton is set in Cornwall and I loved those books so they probably kick started my love for Cornwall, long before I ever managed to visit the place – and I wasn’t disappointed when I eventually got there.

Anyway, I’m keen to read more of Carola Dunn’s books, even if they don’t have a Cornish setting. Although Dunn was born and raised in England she now lives in the US – Oregon I believe.

My thanks to Jo at The Book Jotter who encouraged me to start reading Dunn’s books, although Jo hasn’t read this one yet.

Library Haul

I freely admit that I’m a real coward when it comes to reading new authors and that’s just one of the reasons why I read Jo @ The Book Jotter. Jo definitely comes under the category of brave reader because she’s happy to try out unknown quantities.

So when I saw a Carola Dunn book in my library called Manna From Hades I was happy to borrow it in the knowledge that Jo is quite keen on her books. This one is set in Cornwall and that’s always a plus for me too.

I also chose a book by M.C. Beaton called The Skeleton in the Closet for the same reason. I hadn’t realised that Beaton wrote the Hamish Macbeth series, mind you, I didn’t even watch that when it was on TV.

The Skeleton in the Closet cover

Then I got to the reason why I was at the library at all – Alexander McCall Smith, he’s writing his books too damn fast as far as I’m concerned, with the result that I have some catching up to do in the Scotland Street series. I borrowed the two which I haven’t got around to yet – The Importance of Being Seven and Bertie Plays the Blues. So I’m going to be busy with library books when I should be making inroads on my book piles at home. I’m looking forward to them though.

It seems that there are a few libraries around which are being refurbished at the moment. I spotted a small notice on the library door which said that it is going to be closed for more than a year!

You know what it’s like when a favourite tasty-bite has that dreaded slogan on it New Improved Recipe – well my heart always sinks when I read that because it’s almost always a change for the worse, probably because they’re using inferior and cheaper ingredients. I bet something similar happens to my library, it’ll be gutted and modernised and what is left of its original Victorian character will be scrubbed out, and all at great cost. I thought that local councils were supposed to be trying to save money in these dire economic times!

It has occurred to me that I might not have to see the effects of the modernisation because if everything goes to plan we’ll be living in another part of Scotland by then. Meantime a couple of the many empty shops in the High Street are going to be turned into a library for the duration of the refurbishment, I suppose it has the advantage that it will be central.