Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For August, we’re looking at a surprisingly sweet romance, a trilogy of historical romances set in 19th century Oklahoma, and a history of British secret operations in France during WWII.
Since we’re focusing on letting the light shine on long-held secrets this month, I have a soon-to-no-longer-be secret secret confession: I love reading nonfiction about WWII-era espionage and cryptography. I blame this love on J.C. Masterman’s The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945. It’s not in our library system, but it’s well worth requesting through ILL if you also like reading about history and/or espionage. In it, Masterman meticulously and matter-of-factly details the espionage system he ran for British intelligence in turning German agents in Britain into British double agents.
It’s a fascinating book, but it also permanently ruined espionage thrillers for me. I’ve never found a spy novel (or movie, for that matter) that captures the sheer boredom punctuated with sheer terror and the anxiety of the spy life that lurks between the lines of Masterman’s book.
That is, I hadn’t encountered it until I read Leo Marks’s insightful, hilarious memoir Between Silk and Cyanide.
[Last month, Green Forest’s library director, Tiffany Newton, was kind enough to write a review for Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It was an incredibly popular post, and we’re excited to continue the Guest Blogger series with a new post from LeAnn Stark, the assistant librarian at Green Forest. ]
My New Favorite Women Sleuths
Early detectives have mainly been male, with a few exceptions–Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple being the most famous. Recently I discovered 3 authors, Laurie R. King, Jaqueline Winspear and Susan Elia MacNeal, with strong female private investigators. They were inspired by real-life stories from the women who pitched in during the 2 great world wars. While thousands of men were fighting, women found themselves filling in jobs that had previously been deemed unacceptable to them: building ships, aircraft, and tanks, delivering milk and coal and other supplies, driving ambulances, and much more. After the wars were over, many women didn’t want to return to the old restricted ways. Some had to keep working, due to a lack of men lost in the wars. These 3 authors do a wonderful job of exploring these issues.