Strange reviews these as I usually only review books that I very much like - these are rather flawed but still worth your attention.
The Barchester Murders by G. M. Best published by Buried River Press. Oh, I had high hopes for this as I loved the premise. Anthony Trollope is visiting Salisbury for the first time when he is drawn into the events at Hiram's Hospital. One of the old gentlemen is murdered and everyone from the Rev Septimus Harding to his daughters Eleanor and Susan and Dr Grantley and John Bold come under suspicion. The plot is managed very cleverly, and not without difficulty as though seemly a simple closed community type mystery, like the country house, the fact that we know of the later lives of the characters through the Barchester novels does not make it easy for the writer.
I wanted to like this book so much and though I finished it (it really did make me want to read to the end) I was frequently frustrated by clunky dialogue and an erratic and odd narratorial style. If this kind of thing is to your taste then you can also read the author's Oliver Twist Investigates and Wuthering Heights Revisited.
Poldark, or more specifically Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1783 - 1787 by Winston Graham (and yes my copy has Aidan Turner on the front) by Winston Graham was another book I really wanted to like. I did enjoy it, and the TV series (this volume is covered in first series) seemed quite faithful, but somehow it wasn't a page turner. I don't think this was just because I had seen the series. The narration does not change pace but always proceeds at the same, pleasant leisurely style. This was a great read when my bad back was at its worst as I wouldn't have enjoyed the tension but it surprised me that the books had been so popular so quickly in the '40s. Maybe the war, like a bad back, makes you appreciate slow and steady. Especially as the Ross is adjusting to a post-war life of his own. I notice Wikipedia claims that the novels have been shortened significantly as their publishing history has evolved. This does not surprise me as there is such a lot of pootling about. I guess the originals were even slower and steadier. I have gone on to read most of the others in the series, the TV-tie in editions are all attractively produced with stars from the series on the covers, and the pace does not improve in any of them though they still make for a strangely compelling read. I've read as far as Warleggan (the fourth book in the series), via Demelza and Jeremy Poldark and find them all enjoyable in a pedestrian kind of way though they are more of a winter read than a summer one, perhaps.
Poldark is of course back for series 4 on Sunday.