At the moment I’m reading a science fiction book which was published in 1956 – The Man Who Japed by Philip K. Dick, it’s not my usual reading fare but I didn’t have any unread 1956 books of my own in the house so I had to resort to Jack’s books. It’s good to swerve off to pastures new every now and again anyway, but below are some of the 1956 books that I’ve blogged about in the past.
Guest in the House by Philip MacDonald was first published in 1956 and it’s the first book by the author that I’ve read. He wrote under various names and he was one of the many men who took to writing thrillers/mysteries after serving in World War 1, but writing was obviously in his blood as his grandfather was the very successful Victorian Scottish author George MacDonald and his father Ronald was also a writer.
The setting is California where an Englishman who had been a Lieutenant Colonel in WW2 is so down on his luck that he decides he must visit an old wartime friend of his. He is driving a borrowed Alfa Romeo so on the surface Ivor Dalgleish St Pelham St George, V.C, D.S.O is very respectable and well to do looking, but in fact he has only a handful of dollars left to his name, hence the visit to his old friend, whose life he happened to save during the war. From the beginning the reader realises that he’s a con man.
Jeff Gould is very happy to see his old friend although his wife Mary isn’t so keen, but their house guest makes a best friend of the daughter/step daughter of the home so it’s two against one and she has to make him welcome.
There are tensions within the marriage though which is a second marriage for Mary and the strife is caused by Mary’s first husband Victor who is demanding to have more access to his young daughter. His daughter doesn’t know him at all, Mary is determined to keep her away from her ‘dodgy’ father who has tricked her into signing an unusual divorce/child access agreement. Victor has already squeezed $10,000 from the couple to stay away from them, and that has caused them a lot of financial problems and now Victor has come back for more money.
I’ll give this book three stars on Goodreads I think. It’s well enough written but I wasn’t comfortable with the plot which involves a decent couple being manipulated by two very unlikeable men. I’ll definitely try another of his books though if I come across any on my wanderings.
I’ve never done this meme before but lots of the blogs that I enjoy frequenting have been doing it including Margaret at BooksPlease and I decided to join in. The idea is that you choose book titles from your TBR pile which begin with the letters of your blog name. So, here goes – sixteen of them. I intend to read them before the end of this year.
P – Papa-la-bas by John Dickson Carr
I – If This Is a Man by Primo Levi
N – Nicolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett
I – If Not Now, When by Primo Levi
N – Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith
G – Guest in the House by Philip MacDonald
F – For the Sake of the School by Angela Brazil
O – Old Hall-New Hall by Michael Innes
R – Reputation for a Song by Edward Grierson
T – Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy
H – How Late It Was – How Late by James Kelman
E – Edinburgh by Robert Louis Stevenson
W – Winter by Len Deighton
E – Everything You Need by A.L. Kennedy
S – Spiderweb by Penelope Lively
T – Trooper to the Southern Cross by Angela Thirkell
Have you read any of these books and if so where should I begin?