For as long as I can remember I have visited second hand bookshops with my ‘wants’ list. Mostly, I am disappointed and buy something else that catches the eye. But this time the second hand books bought at Hay were either on list, nearly so, or simply just pleasing to have.
My list had American spy writer Olen Steinhauser. I rate him very highly so I was delighted to find his first book, a first edition/printing, The Bridge of Sighs. Olen’s work reminds me of Alan Furst’s pre-war European suspense thrillers, and the sense of impending calamity found in the early novels of Eric Ambler.
Next came David Peace‘s Nineteen Seventy Seven – a nice crisp hardcover in jacket. This is book two of the Red Riding Quartet and the hardcovers are not easy to find.
Turning to another shelf I found Aravind Adiga‘s second Indian novel, Between the Assassinations. She won the Man Booker with The White Tiger. I was actually looking for the Booker winner but having not read her before I found her writing to appeal in unexpected ways. She has a wicked sense of humour and it has fascinated me why so many good writers come from the Commonwealth. I have for instance, Rushdie, Roy and Naipaul to mention a few.
My last purchase was a book that is memorable as an action film. It is The Eagle has Landed by Jack Higgins. The story is partly based on fact, a Nazi mission to land paratroopers and at a Norfolk house by the sea where Winston Churchill was spending a quiet weekend and snatch him away. The book and film were a great success and it is still shown on television. I have had the first edition before and always sold it provided it was a nice clean copy. These days the book is now in its 40th year. So happy birthday to the Eagle!