Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “book review”

His Bloody Project


I am not endowed with writing skills nor critique to do book reviews. The only O level I failed quite correctly was English Literature. But this book captivated me to the extent that I read the last few pages slowly digesting every word on a cold blustery Düsseldorf airport train station. 


This is the best book I have ever read and this is with apologies to Stieg Larsson and  Jo Nesbo and even Stuart Neville. The book captivates . It is worth looking at why. The name of the book is novel and the design of the cover draws buyers in to pick it up and peruse. The writing is both serious and at times humerous  despite dealing with the macabre murder of three family members in the Scottish highlands in 1869. One is left with a real feeling why the murders were committed and the kind of lives that were being lived there at the time . The book though goes much further into trying to draw an opinion from the reader as to whether Roderick McCrae the 17 year old crofter was insane to any culpable amount. That he committed the crimes is not in doubt . There are a series of characters in the book that one grows to like, loath or simply be amused by. Many we still recognise as doppelgängers in our own everyday lives.  

With a psychiatry head one one oscillated between conduct disorder, remnants of psychopathy , ADHD, Aspergers, normality for that time in the highlands or something in between. 

I have no wish to spoil the story for anyone who reads the book so will not divulge anything substantial. However each word in the book needs to be read. There is not a single word that could have a red pen drawn through it. 

The Devil in the Marshalsea


I rarely read the saturday review section of The Times. Today for a first for many reasons including an excellent book review of a book due out March 27th by Antonia Hodgson ” The Devil in the Marshalsea”. Amazon was visited and by 9.29 am the book had been ordered. What fascinated me was the topic of the book which is a story around a debtors prison in London in 1727. London then was ( and still is) a cruel place with institutions such as Newgate Jail and Bedlam operating at full capacity to lock those up whom we might treat today with some tolerance or pity even. These places were real then. The cruelty, the fraud, the back room conspiracies and the backhanders. Much of this sounds like what we might read in our papers in the news sections today. Not a lot has changed really.

There are a whole series of books based  on “faction” that cover the history of the middle ages and later, C J  Sansome is an example writing about Matthew Shardlake. Clearly there is an admixture of fact, learning,speculation and fiction, but broadly these books bring to live how life must have been for those in trouble in the 18th century and before.

Lets wait for March 27th and see if my impulsive purchase was a good option or not. I expect it is

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