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Arts and culture in Ashburton District
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The clock is ticking, and President Jonathan
Lincoln Duncan must personally follow the trail of an immediate and grave
terrorist threat to America. The trouble
is, he has no idea of who the perpetrators really are, or the exact nature of
the deadly peril his country stands in.
Only he, as President, can negotiate with suspects to find the answers
he needs. And who the traitor in his
closest circle of advisors will prove to be.
Gripping stuff, with some insider knowledge no doubt provided by Mr
Clinton. Not as thrilling as most of
James Patterson’s novels, but still a worthy page-turner.
Lex Tyler works for the assassination department of
Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She has
just returned from six month’s maternity leave after the birth of her daughter,
Gigi. While it’s handy having access to
surveillance equipment light years in advance of the usual baby-cam to keep
tabs on the nanny, she has other worries.
Will baby brain affect her aim? Her
first target is a particularly nasty Russian oligarch. But not all is at it seems in the seamy world
of international espionage. Fast moving thriller with an entertaining heroine.
Set in Cape Town, another police thriller featuring
Colonel Vaughn De Vries, a flawed detective from the Special Crimes Unit. De Vries calls on profiler Grace Bellingham
when he fears that the killing and mutilation of a woman at a deserted house
called Apostle Lodge is the work of a serial killer. Indeed, a pattern of similar crimes appears,
and puts Grace herself at risk of being targeted. At the same time, an apparent terrorist
attack results in an explosion in the central city. De Vries comes to believe all is not as it
seems with this incident. As usual, this
puts him at odds with his superiors.
Inspector Alan Banks
has two mysterious deaths to unravel. Two
bodies are found on the moors above Eastvale, with a similar time of
death. A young girl in evening dress
whose body has been propped up in an already crashed car on a hill road, and a
late middle-aged man in a business suit, dead in a gully from a broken neck. When a third body is found in the same area,
the mystery deepens. Banks feels sure the
deaths are connected, but it seems impossible that the victims knew each
Another Thomas Kydd novel set in the Napoleonic
Wars. In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte signs
a treaty with the Spanish government.
Soon his armies are occupying the country, and the Spanish king flees,
to be replaced as king by Napoleon’s brother, Joseph. Captain Thomas Kydd and his shipmates on the
Tyger find themselves caught up in a popular uprising against the French by the
Spanish people. When General Wellesley,
later to become the Duke of Wellington, needs naval support from a skilled and
courageous frigate captain, Kydd fits the bill.
A feel-good “Aga-saga” novel set in a Cornish
fishing village. Widower Ned and his
nephew Hugo share a big house by the harbour, which becomes a safe haven for a
large cast of friends and family of all ages needing shelter from the storms of
upper middle class life. Nobody is short
of a bob or two in Marcia Willett’s novels, but she is good at describing
relationships and creating likeable characters.
An autobiography through the gardens of his life by
this famous English landscape designer, with lavish colour photographs and
garden plans. Brookes was a pioneer in
thinking that a domestic garden should be designed for the lifestyle and use of
its owners, many of whom needed a labour-saving place to relax in. His style of strikingly simple, modernist
garden designs, often using gravel in the place of grass, was effective in both
small and public settings. Working
abroad in Iran, Kashmir, the United States, Japan, Russia and South America
gives the book an exotic dimension and adds to the many design ideas for keen
We are no longer savannah-roaming hunter-gatherers,
but many of the instincts from that long period of human history stay with us. Leftover evolutionary strategies can play
havoc with our well-being through fatty, sugary diets, an overload of stress, a
desire for instant gratification, and a preference for “strong” leaders. This
book asks how we can re-programme our Stone Age brains to best deal with the
demands and dangers of the modern world.
The author has cooked Tudor food, followed Tudor
personal hygiene customs (without, she says, alienating her workmates), and
slept in all sorts of Tudor beds. Disease
was thought to enter the body through the open pores of the skin, so daily bathing
would have been considered suicidal. To keep themselves clean, people changed
their linen underclothing regularly, and rubbed themselves down with cloths. Soot was used as tooth cleaner. All fascinating stuff, giving insights into
the daily lives and customs of all classes of Tudor society.
A frank and often light-hearted look at the
author’s 31 year career in the New Zealand Police. Starting as a constable in Timaru, Al Lester
rose to become a detective sergeant in the CIB in Christchurch. Policemen have insights into humanity that
few of us, (most would say luckily), can ever have. This gives the author access to a wealth of
anecdotes featuring the trademark black humour for which police are famed. However he also freely admits the desperate
circumstances he encountered in his work also took a toll on his mental health
This is a really hopeful book for those who have serious
problems with their dogs. Aggression in
dogs is simply not tolerated in todays’ society, but how to channel a dog’s
energy to more positive behaviours, and desensitise him to things that cause
stress? Pat Miller suggests various
strategies for modifying behaviours and removing the triggers for dog on human
and dog on dog aggression. Well illustrated with photos, and full of positive
training tips. It just may hold the
solution you need.
Andrew Morton caused a furore with his book about
Diana, Princess in Love. Now he turns
his talents as a biographer to the story of Wallis Simpson, the twice divorced
Southern Belle who lost Edward the Eighth the British throne, married him and
became the Duchess of Windsor. It is a
fascinating story, although the characters of neither of the Windsors comes
across as particularly attractive.
Wallis was driven all her life to ruthlessly improve her social position
through men, and Morton claims that her aim really was to become Queen. Instead she found herself in exile, living
the “romance of the century” with a man who increasingly bored and irritated
Back in the far off days when television hadn't been invented many children found an Annual in their Christmas stockings. They featured heroes such as Rupert the bear and other popular book and magazine characters. Kate De Goldi, Susan Paris and friends have put together an Annual following a similar format. Stories are mixed with poems, jokes, things to do and comic strips. The look may be retro but the content is definitely 2017. Annual is the perfect browsing book, with something for everyone.
Remember the three Billy Goats Gruff? Grandson Billy and his friend Cyril star in
this modern twist on the goats versus troll story. Billy picks up a phone that the farmer has lost. The friends have some laughs. But when do a few texts and the threat of an
internet posting cross the line from harmless fun to cyber bullying?
Our earliest stories were often written to illustrate
a moral. It’s interesting to see this
continued to cover 21st century themes.