The 1951 Club

the 1951 club

I’ve read and blogged about quite a few books that were published in 1951 in recent years, so if you’re interested in my thoughts on them click on the titles.

A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor

The Wooden Overcoat by Pamela Branch

The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau

Cork on the Water by Macdonald Hastings

The Catherine Wheel by Patricia Wentworth

The Duke’s Daughter by Angela Thirkell

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols

Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

School for Love by Olivia Manning

Of course 1951 was an important year in Britain as we had The Festival of Britain which went on for most of the year – or at least until the general election when Churchill became PM again and he saw the whole thing as being Socialist so he shut it all down – spoilsport!

But apparently the Festival was a life-saver for the people who had by then been suffering under austerity for years and years what with the war and even worse rationing post-war. It cheered people up no end to see the bright colours and modern designs, and was a great opportunity for artists, designers and makers.

Before I started blogging I read and enjoyed Festival at Farbridge by J.B. Priestley which was published in 1951 and has local events featuring the festival.

I blogged about the festival some years ago and if you’re interested you can see that post here.

Cork on the Water by Macdonald Hastings

Cork on the Water cover

Cork on the Water by Macdonald Hastings was published in 1951.

Mr Montague Cork is the general manager of the Anchor Accident Insurance Company. He has many years experience of working in insurance and when a claim is made for £25,000 because a man called Gabriel Daggers has died, Cork has a feeling that something is not quite right about it.

Daggers had died in a fly fishing accident in the Highlands of Scotland, but it was two weeks before his body was found in the deep water of a pool. Daggers has left the insurance money to a well known ballerina, but she doesn’t want it. She had had a complicated relationship with Daggers in the past.

Mr Cork takes Robert, one of his insurance employees, with him and they take turns in driving up to the Highlands in his Bentley. Their driving skills are poles apart as Mr Cork is very aware of the dangers of driving, due to the amount of claims he has seen over the years, he’s a nervous and risk averse driver, knowing how sheep can cause mayhem on the roads! His companion is a young man who had got the job in insurance because his father was a friend of Mr Cork but the work is killing him with the boredom, he had been a commando during the war and he needs a bit of excitement in his life. Mr Cork has chosen the perfect partner for his investigation.

This is a good adventure story with the plot involving wartime experiences. The action takes place on a Highland estate and there’s a lot of leaping around on moors and hillsides.

It is written in the John Buchan style, certainly no bad thing. But it also seemed very similar in many ways to the Mary Stewart book which I read just before this one – Wildfire at Midnight. The setting was the same, a Scottish Highland hotel and the surrounding countryside, it was a shame that I didn’t realise that to begin with because I did get a wee bit mixed up with the two books at one point. Both books were also written in the 1950s and they both had so many people puffing away on fags constantly, Mr Cork smoked Passing Clouds all the time, even lighting one from the one which he was just getting to the end of. It’s a wonder I don’t have a smoker’s cough after all that! Cork on the Water was a good mystery and action adventure. I think that Hastings only wrote three or four of these books featuring Mr Cork as an unlikely sleuth.

Macdonald Hastings was a well known face on TV in the 1960s, so says Jack, but I can’t remember him. Before that he worked on radio and during the war he was Picture Post’s War Correspondent. He was also the father of Max Hastings who has carried on in the same vein as a journalist and author of books about World War 2.

I read this one for the Read Scotland 2016 Challenge.

Forthcoming Bookish Attractions

Ten days ago I got a message from WordPress congratulating me on 7 years of blogging. I knew that the anniversary was coming up, but I had been under the impression that it had been 6 years – ah well, numbers have never been my strong point and time flies when you’re having fun! When I started ‘Pining’ I was very loath to stick my head up above the parapet on the internet and I was determined to be more or less anonymous, hence at the beginning I didn’t even put my own name on any comments, just the blog name. The photograph of me wasn’t really recognisable – I hope. But I’ve sort of got over my shyness now (probably an age thing) and I’m out there and I just don’t care! I’ve ‘met’ some lovely friends from all over the place through the blog and I just never would have met them otherwise. It has been a life enriching experience. Anyway …

I haven’t been one for joining in many challenges, in fact I’m not a big joiner of anything like clubs, but this year I hope to join a few more, certainly the Reading My Own Damn Books Challenge hosted by Estella’s Revenge – because I really have to concentrate on my books rather than reading those from the library.

To encourage me and make my reading a bit less – hmm what shall I read next … decisions decisions -ish … I’ve decided to publish a list of books I intend to read soon. So starting with March, yes amazingly it’ll be March in just over a couple of weeks, I’m going for six must reads although I know I’ll be reading more than that within the month.

Books Again

1. The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett (I’ve had it over a year)
2. Introduction to Sally by Elizabeth von Arnim (over two years)
3. Crossriggs by Jane and Mary Findlater (around about eight years)
4. Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston (a recent purchase)
5. The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens (fairly recent)
6. Cork on the Water by Macdonald Hastings ( I have no idea how long)

Have any of you read any of them?

If anyone wants to share their ‘forthcoming bookish attractions’ then feel free to do so via the comments. Or you might want to read one of my March books so we can compare notes when the time comes.