This week the Mirror Book Club’s reviewers find Bill Bailey knows how to make you happy with his book of 36 charming essays.
Well-known author Rosamund Lupton returns with a thriller creating extraordinary tension, building to a dramatic crescendo – all in rural Somerset.
While the author of the marvellous Dublin Murder Squad thrillers, Tana French, is back with a tale of a divorced and disillusioned Chicago cop which adapts the hallmarks of the Western to Ireland.
For all that and more – read on. And don’t forget to join the Mirror Book Club.
Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To Happiness, by Bill Bailey
Comedian and Strictly Come Dancing star Bill Bailey follows his Remarkable Guide To British Birds with a guide to happiness consisting of 36 charming essays on subjects that bring him joy.
Some are energetic activities such as Wild Swimming, Dancing and Paddleboarding; some involve the world around us, such as Being In Nature, Birdsong, and Trees.
Others are inter-personal – Generosity, Love, Being Someone To Rely On – while a few are as eccentric as one might expect from this zany comic – Playing The Gamelan, Swearing, and Equations.
What the essays have in common is they are all thoughtful, delightfully humorous, and backed up by references to research in psychology or sociology.
Did you know, for example, that being outdoors for just two hours a week reduces your chance of being hospitalised? Or that learning another language can increase your brain size?
“I am a simple soul for whom simple pleasures bring ample rewards,” he writes in the entry on Pleasure.
“Removing the peel from a satsuma in one piece, making the perfect cup of tea and finding one last oatcake in the packet will elicit from me a clenched fist-pump of victory.”
Personally, if I were making a list of 36 sources of happiness, I would give serious consideration to including Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide ToHappiness.
It’s a book guaranteed to make the reader smile.
BY WILLIAM HARTSTON
The Windsor Knot, by SJ Bennett
SJ Bennett brilliantly sets up the Queen as a detective after a visiting dissident Russian pianist is murdered at Windsor Castle. The secret service suspect the Russian president wants to show that his influence stretches as far as Windsor, but Her Majesty recruits her new assistant private secretary Rozie to help her uncover the truth.
Our super-sleuth Queen unites sharp intuition and a first-class memory with a lifetime of observation to outwit the police and MI5. She is Miss Marple with a crown.
by VANESSA BERRIDGE
Jeeves And The Leap Of Faith, by Ben Schott
Ben Schott’s second Jeeves novel, capturing PG Wodehouse’s style very well, sees hapless Bertie recruited as a spy, more Johnny English than James Bond.
So misunderstandings ensue along with broken engagements, ghastly aunts and Jeeves to the rescue.
Its big strength is its jokes, such as misquoting Conan Doyle: “As Sherlock Holmes once observed, when you’ve excluded the inedible, whatever remains, however unpalatable, must be lunch.”
by WILLIAM HARTSTON
The Searcher, by Tana French
In the latest standalone novel from the author of the marvellous Dublin Murder Squad thrillers, Cal Hooper is a divorced and disillusioned Chicago cop.
Seeking a quiet life, he buys a cottage in Ireland and is befriended by teenager Trey whose brother is missing. Cal and Trey form an unlikely detective duo and the novel is as much about their touching relationship as the mystery. French’s prose and the clever way she adapts the hallmarks of the Western to Ireland make it an addictive read.
by JAKE KERRIDGE
Three Hours, by Rosamund Lupton
Armed gunmen enter a school in rural Somerset as a snowstorm rages outside. They shoot the headmaster then hold the pupils hostage, threatening to kill them if police set foot in the building. In the three hours that follow, the race is on for police to find out what the gunmen want.
Rolling news coverage begins and the students’ parents are frantic with worry. Setting the story over three terrifying hours creates extraordinary tension, building to a dramatic crescendo.
by ELIZABETH ARCHER
Join the debate and read our next book of the month!
For our latest book of the month, Mirror Book Club members have chosen An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. So read along with us!
In this 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction winning novel, newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. But then Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Devastated Celestial struggles to hold on to the love that has been central to her life, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. But then Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns home to resume their life together.
We’d love you to give An American Marriage a read and let the Mirror Book Club know what you think at facebook.com/groups/mirrorbookclub. We’ll print your feedback here on November 20.