Perilously inebriated


Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And of things that go bump! in the night. (No, I don’t mean falling leaves.) In the Fall one’s fancies turn to thoughts of … Frights, Fears, Foul Secrets and Fouler Deeds. Which is why Readers Imbibing Peril, if the XVI following RIP is any guide, has proved so popular for so very long.

Dark Fantasy

I think I may be able to muster up a few titles as likely suspects for my own reading, but whether I’ll actually get round to reading any of them (or indeed none of them) is beside the point. The point being that it’s usually fun to consider one’s choices.

© C A Lovegrove

Here are some books I’ve hoiked from my shelves as possible reads in September and October — a mix of recent acquisitions and tomes long forgotten. Some have been recommendations, some charity shop purchases, others by authors I either like or feel I ought to read.

So, here are books aimed at a younger readership, such as Astrid Lindgren’s fantasy about death, The Brothers Lionheart, or Garth Nix’s YA horror / fantasy novel about possession. Also here are detective thrillers like Paul Auster’s compendium The New York Trilogy and Ragnar Jónasson’s Scandi noir The Darkness (itself the start of a trilogy).

I have a classic noir from James M Cain and Amanda Craig’s recent psychological thriller The Golden Rule; then there’s another psychological thriller from Meike Ziervogel, Clara’s Daughter and Kate Hamer’s tense The Doll’s Funeral in the vein of her earlier The Girl in the Red Coat.

Finally, as well as two Ruth Rendell mysteries I’ve Sam Youd’s The Winter Swan, told from the point of view of a deceased woman, and William Beckford’s Gothick fantasy with an Oriental twist Vathek. I think with these random choices I’ve managed to cover the whole range of genres, from Mystery, Suspense and Thriller to Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural. 

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But which one I’ll alight on first, if at all, remains to be seen. Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend to start with, or at least advise I include this autumn? Do let me know: I’m currently midway through Friedrich Schiller’s classic The Ghost-Seer and need something to aim for next!

© C A Lovegrove

32 thoughts on “Perilously inebriated

    1. I know a few bloggers rate Auster highly but I’ve never read him; still, it’s good to know his work can get a mixed reception, thanks for the forewarning! 🙂


  1. That sounds like a good selection of books. The only one I have read is Vathek, which I read for an earlier RIP and I can see, looking back at my review, that I described it as one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read! I’ll be interested to hear what you think, if you do decide to read that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beckford was a very strange man so I’m unsurprised you found Vathek very strange too! Whether I read it this autumn though is another matter, I’ll see how I feel. Glad you liked my selection though! 🙂


  2. Some interesting choices! I have The Brothers Lionheart TBR as well, and although I’ve read The Vampyre and The Castle of Otranto more recently, it’s a long time since I picked up Vathek. Which to choose???? As for Auster, I read one and wasn’t overwhelmed so I never went back – I might feel differently now I suppose!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Annabel of is keen on Auster, and as she has run Auster reading weeks in the past I thought I might give him a go — despite him not being everyone’s cup of tea. We’ll see, anyway! Like you I’ve read the Walpole and, more recently, the Polidori, but Vathek feels as though it might be a little outré in that particular company. I ought to try it, at least.


    2. I just finished rereading my own copy of The Brothers Lionheart and still love it, I would be really interested to hear what you and Chris thinks about it. After all, I grew up with the story and that colours my perspective.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. JJ Lothin

    It’s quite a while since I last read “Double Indemnity” but I suspect I’d still find it brilliant, particularly when envisaging the fabulous Fred MacMurray in the main role (not to speak of Edward G Robinson as the insurance investigator) … And as for Ruth Rendell: my ideal comfort reading!

    An intriguing selection of titles.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How do you do it? From Witch Week to Imbibing Peril? I second views about Paul Auster I find his books a bit artificial and not so keen on Amanda Craig after reading a few of her books. Jonasson though is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah, while you’re looking forward to spring doing its thing another hemisphere is anticipating longer nights—we woke up to inpentrable mist this morning though the sun is just starting to peer through—and I have an excuse to indulge in doom and gloom with an array of titles guilt-tripping me.

      Advice duly noted, and I will do my best to concur with your assessments while reserving the right to disagree if necessary… 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t as a matter of course produce a wishlist (which I suppose this is) but for the time of year some of these are ideal, Beth, I think. Should you worry you haven’t heard of most of them? I don’t think so—most of the book bloggers I follow are forever mentioning titles and authors who are entirely new to me, so I’m sure the reverse must apply!


  5. I’ll be curious to read your response to the Ruth Rendells, Chris. I only know her Inspector Wexford whodunits, which I love and have written about on TMA. But I deliberately avoided the rest, esp. the psychological thrillers. I believe the Barbara Vine thrillers were particularly twisted and I don’t have the stomach for that kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only read one title of hers, Josna — a psychological novella called Heartsease which I reviewed here: I enjoyed it (as much as anyone can honestly say death and trauma is ‘enjoyable’) but have been told she’s better at such matters than her contemporary and friend P D James.

      I’ll see how I get on with either or both of these before deciding whether I can stick her as Barbara Vine! I never watched the Wexford mysteries on TV so my mind is a blank canvas there, but these both appear to be standalones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t watched them on TV either. For me it was fascinating to watch how Inspector Wexford and the town of Kingsmarkham changed between the first one in 1964 and the last in 2013–nearly 50 years! Especially because Ruth Rendell was one of that rare breed, a progressive member of the House of Lords.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, such interesting points about Wexford’s length of career and the House of Lords. Intriguing too that though Rendell and P D James were in opposite sides of the political divide they were friends and ended up with houses just a handful of miles apart on the Suffolk coast.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I didn’t know that. My father-in-law was an avid reader of British mysteries, and he turned me on to the ones he thought I might like. The only mystery writers I’ve followed at all are Ruth Rendell and Amanda Cross (penname for the late Carolyn Heilbrun, who was a distinguished professor of English at Columbia University). In both their works, literary allusions figure importantly, which makes them all the more enjoyable for me.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The more I read and the wider I read the more I appreciate the richness and depth of fiction replete with literary allusions, even if they’re not intentional. Recent reads have suggested the dumb-show from Hamlet, certain Norse sagas from a children’s fantasy, Jane Eyre in a murder mystery, and Wells’s Martians in a children’s SF series. It’s one of the joys of well-written books that aren’t in any way blatantly derivative.

              Amanda Cross is a new name for me, I need to do a bit of sleuthing! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

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