JERSEY EVENING POST Saturday 31 August 2013

ISLAND BOOK CHART
Week starting Monday 26 August In association with

1) A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen, £7.99 The books about Bob the Street Cat have hardly left the chart since they first came out and are proving as popular with our regular readers as with our summer visitors. If you are still not familiar with the tale of friendship between the London busker James and the stray ginger cat, it is high time to catch up. 2) The Cuckoo's Calling – J K Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, £16.99 When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – this is a classic crime novel in the tradition of P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, and marks the beginning of a unique series of mysteries. 3) The Casual Vacancy – J K Rowling, £7.99 In the idyllic small town of Pagford, a councillor dies and leaves a ‘casual vacancy’ – an empty seat on the parish council. In the election for his successor that follows, it is clear that behind its pretty façade Pagford is a town at war: rich at war with poor, wives with husbands, teachers with pupils. 4) Instructions for a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell, £7.99 It is July 1976 and London is in the grip of a heatwave. Robert Riordan tells his wife Greta he is popping out to get a newspaper – but he does not come back. The search for Robert brings Greta’s children – two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce – back home, each with different ideas as to where their father may have gone. However, none of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation which she simply cannot share. 5) The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez, £7.99 In a small coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. As they discover there is more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will forever change their lives and the lives of many others. 6) The Channel Islands Book Of Days – Mark Brocklesby, £9.99 Taking you through the year day by day, the new book from the author of Not the Guide to Jersey contains quirky, eccentric, amusing and important facts and events from different periods in the history of the islands. Featuring snippets of information gleaned from the vaults of the Channel Islands’ archives, it will delight residents and visitors alike. 7) The Racketeer – John Grisham, £7.99 Malcolm Bannister is a lawyer. He is in prison. Five years ago, the FBI agent set him up as the fall guy for a crime he did not know he was committing. He has exhausted every avenue of appeal and gave up any hope of acquittal. Until now. 8) A Dangerous Inheritance – Alison Weir, £7.99 Lady Katherine Grey, cousin to the formidable Queen Elizabeth I, finds in her chamber in the Tower of London old papers belonging to the bastard daughter of Richard III, Kate Plantagenet, who 80 years previously had embarked on a dangerous quest to find out what really happened to her cousins, the two young boys remembered in history as the Princes in the Tower. Two women separated by time become linked by the most famous murder mystery in history in this absorbing tale from one of the bestselling British historians. 9) Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn, £7.99 When Nick Dunne’s wife disappears on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of her husband, that she kept secrets from him. Nick denies it. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they were not made by him. Then there are the persistent calls on his mobile. So what did happen to the beautiful Amy Dunne? Our chart stalwart, it makes for a truly compulsive reading. 10) The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton, £7.99 Laurel, a well-known actress, haunted by the mystery of a shocking crime she witnessed as a sixteen-year-old girl on her family farm in Suffolk, returns to her childhood home and begins to piece together a secret history of three strangers from vastly different backgrounds brought together by chance in wartime London. Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, the book is a tense and atmospheric story of secrets, murder and enduring love.

John Hanley’s second novel set during the German Occupation begins with a maritime tragedy
A FORMER teacher keen to share his experiences of growing up in the Island and stories he learned about the war and Occupation has published his second novel.
Former deputy head teacher at Hautlieu John F Hanley started what he is planning to be a series of ten historic novels with the first called Against The Tide, which was issued last year. He writes in the first person as farmer’s son Jack Renouf, a teenager living in Jersey in 1939. Jack’s friendship with two young women, Caroline and Rachel, is explored in the first book, and he goes on with his communist uncle to unravel a Nazi plot involving diamonds and ruthless villains. The latest story, The Last Boat, follows on from there and opens very dramatically with Jack and some other characters from the first book, surviving the sinking of the troopship Lancastria off France in 1940 in which thousands died. What follows next is a series of adventures for them, as along with some Jewish Foreign Legionnaires they make their way across occupied France back to the Island. Back in the Island, Jack and his friends must find a way to escape, while ensuring that their precious cargo does not get into the wrong hands. John said that he was inspired to write the books because his mother had narrowly avoided being killed when the Luftwaffe bombed St Helier harbour on Friday, 28 June 1940. ‘In the summer she usually walked with her mother and a couple from across the road around the harbour after tea. On that evening, she had a stomach ache and so only the couple went, and the man was killed in the bombing raid,’ he said. John said that he had started The Last Boat with the sinking of the Lancastria because the official record of what happened during that disaster had been kept secret and is locked away for 100 years. ‘Surviving this disaster makes Jack more mature,’ he said. This series was not just about warfare, but also about the relationship between Jack and the two girls who pull him in strange directions,’ he added. Published by Matador, The Last Boat, priced £8.99, is

Tale of survival

BOOKS

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Adding a more thrilling dimension to the story, is the fact that they are carrying with them consignments of a component of early nuclear energy research, as well as uranium and diamonds which the Germans and French fifth columnists would do anything to obtain.

Novelist John Hanley and (left) the cover of his latest book available from the website www.troubador in the book shop section.

Originally a Cunard liner, the Lancastria was requisitioned in April 1940 and converted into a troopship which took part in the evacuation of Norway . The vessel was sunk off the French port of St Nazaire on 17 June 1940 while taking part in Operation Ariel – the evacuation from Cherbourg and St Malo of British nationals and troops from occupied France two weeks after the Dunkirk invasion. Lancastria’s official capacity was 2,200 including 375 crew, but the captain had been instructed to load on board as many people as possible, with estimates of exactly how many being between 4,000 and 9,000. As well as troops, there were

THE sinking of HMT Lancastria was Britain’s worst ever maritime disaster.

Attempt to cover up a sea disaster

HMT Lancastria was originally a Cunard liner also civilian refugees including women and children on board. As HMT Lancastria waited west of St Nazaire, the vessel suffered three direct hits and sank within 20 minutes, with the loss of over 4,000 lives. Possibly more died, but the true total may never be known. Over 1,400 tons of oil leaked

into the sea and were set partially on fire, and the rescue boats picked up survivors while under enemy fire. There were 2,477 survivors, many of whom were exhausted and covered in oil, some of them loaded on ships bound for the UK. Churchill was concerned about the effect on British morale that news of this major loss of life would have when coming at the same time as the fall of France. He ordered that the records on the Lancastria be sealed and he issued a D-notice to prevent survivors from speaking about it. However, the story was broken in the USA by the New York Times and in Britain by The Scotsman on 26 July – over five weeks after the tragedy .

RECOMMENDATIONS

Win a £25 voucher from Waterstones for your book review
CAN you recommend a book?
Every Saturday we will feature readers’ recommendations and if you tell us about a book that you’ve been reading you may win a Waterstones gift voucher worth £25 if your review is published. Reviews should include the title of the book, the author and – in 80 words – why you think that the book is a good read. Submissions should be emailed to features@ jerseyeveningpost.com, or sent to Book Reviews, JEP Features, Jersey Evening Post, PO Box 582, JE4 8XQ.

Reader recommendation of the week

Waterstones recommendation of the week

THE THIRTEEN TREASURES Michelle Harrison
THIS delightful story is full of mystery and adventure about a girl who is able to see fairy creatures, but not the nice kind, a kind which is incredibly unpleasant. When she is sent to stay with her grandmother, she discovers a mysterious disappearance which took place decades ago. She is desperate to find answers but is led into further trouble. This is an awe-inspiring read with lots of twists and surprises unlike any book I’ve ever read. Ana Simmons (11)

APRONS AND SILVER SPOONS Mollie Moran
IN 1931, vivacious 14-year-old Mollie started work as a scullery maid in a big London house. Even after her 15-hour working day she would still go out socialising. By the age of 20 she was a cook on a country estate. She married just before the Second World War and later on, as an officer’s wife, she travelled the world. Mollie is now 96 and still has the same zest for life as ever. She said she had enjoyed her life and tried to find fun in any situation. This is an inspirational memoir full of entertainment for the reader. Agnieszka Czuchra

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