The Books To Buy With Your Vouchers This New Year

how to spend book vouchers this new year

Another Christmas, another round of book vouchers for bibliophiles. And we all know what that means- another trip to the bookshop!

If you’re at a loss as to what you should buy yourself with your pretty vouchers, here’s a roundup of some great new books in stores now for you to buy a new copy of.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee By Casey Cep: This true tale of the courtroom drama that Harper Lee hoped would become her version of In Cold Blood is a great true crime option for those seeking something gripping, thrilling yet humbling and human all at the same time.

The Testaments By Margret Atwood: There’s a reason the sequel to the acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale won the Booker Prize in 2019. If you’re a fan of the first book, or the TV series it inspired, then I suggest that you give this latest novel a go. It’s an inspiring tale of struggle and suppression that resonates with many of the political and social issues women still face today.

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference By Greta Thunberg: It’s important that we keep listening to this brave young woman and her crusade to change the world for the better. Her book is an extraordinary tale of her hard work and her theories on what the population needs to do to change things. A great read for those who want to do something to help.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse By Charlie Mackesy: A renowned cartoonist, Charlie Mackesy has created this sweet volume to act as an antidote to all the frightening news and scary tales we hear in today’s modern society. It’s a great choice for readers of all ages, and will definitely give you something to think about this New Year.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas By Adam Kay: It might not be Christmas anymore, but Adam Kay’s incredible short follow-up to his deeply amusing and yet thought-provoking book This Is Going To Hurt is a great read at any time of the year. If you want to know more about how the health service copes over the festive period and still enjoy a laugh then this is the book for you to treat yourself to with your hard earned (as I’m sure they were, if putting up with your relatives all year counts as work) book vouchers.

Agent Running in the Field By John Le Carré: Master of the spy novel John Le Carré delivered another scorcher in 2019, and it’s well worth a read if you’re a fan or you like reading twisted tales of super spies finding their way through the mysterious world of international espionage. His work is informed and inspiring, and makes for great films, so read the book before the film is even in the works to be one step ahead of everyone!

Thirteen By Steve Cavanagh: A twisted thriller that keeps the reader on their toes constant changes and red herrings, this is a fascinating book that’s definitely one to check out if you like crime fiction. With the strap line ‘the serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury’ it’s easy to see why you’ll be gripped by this clever novel. Played out as a courtroom drama crossed with an insight into the mind of a calculating killer, this book has a taut plot that you won’t forget in a hurry.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and treat yourself! Happy reading and have a lovely New Year, thanks for all the support and love over 2019. I hope 2020 will be an even better year for everyone!

Merry Christmas From The Dorset Book Detective


Merry Christmas! This is just a brief message to say that I hope you and your loved ones have an incredible festive season, and thanks for supporting my blog throughout 2019!

I’ve had a lovely time interviewing phenomenal authors and reviewing incredible books, and I hope 2020 brings me even more opportunities to increase my knowledge and grow as a reader and book reviewer.

Massive thanks again to everyone who’s done anything to help me during this past year and I hope you all have a great time reading and eating this Christmas!

There’s Etiquette To Gifting Books? Fuck That Off And Do What You Want


With Christmas approaching, many people are considering buying books for their loved ones to give them something new and exciting to read in the New Year.

As I’ve recently explained, gift cards are great for book lovers, but if you know what they want then you might be tempted to buy them an actual book. But wait! The Guardian thinks there’s etiquette to gifting people books.

Apparently you shouldn’t write an inscription, in case it gets given away or re-gifted (featuring an anecdote that’s about as true as a Tory election promise), and giving a book is as much about the giver as the receiver, as it’s a way to show how smart you are.

This is, to be frank, bollocks. You don’t have to buy people books to show that you’re a smart-arse, and you certainly are more than welcome to inscribe your book if you bloody well want to.

Christmas isn’t about you; it’s about doing well by others and spreading love, joy and laughter. It’s also about nice food, but that’s obvious.

It’s posh people nonsense to suggest that giving the gift of a book is some kind of test of the giver’s character. The book you give should be a reflection of the person you’re giving it to and the things they love the most in the world.

Overall, it’s impossible to know what’ll happen to a book you gift to someone else in the future, and giving a gift to make yourself seem smarter, rather than to please the reader, is egotistical and, frankly, bloody stupid. Get a grip and buy the book you want for whomsoever you want to this Christmas. Put some money into a charity box, then go stuff your face. The festive season is about spreading joy, supporting the unfortunate and munching food, after all.

The Peregrine Review: A Pastoral Classic That Remains Relevant To This Very Day

the peregrine

It’s come to my attention that I’ve neglected the pastoral section of my blog since I started it, so I thought I’d rectify this by including a review of a seminal book from the genre.

J. A. Baker’s classic book, detailing his frantic following of a pair of peregrines through the forests around his home in Essex, is a tour de force of epic proportions.

It spans a full year and reads much like the diary of a rabid wildlife enthusiast. Baker is an insightful, voracious follower of birds of prey and gives minute details of every aspect of the lives of the birds and animals in the forest.

His book is deeply emotional and raw, with Baker shown chasing peregrines throughout the English countryside in a bid to understand their hunting methods and mentalities.

Unlike many books about birds of prey, Baker isn’t seeking to possess or tame these birds. He wants to become one. He’s looking to achieve their level of concentration and hunting prowess.

Throughout the book he surveys the birds and tentatively tries to get closer and see the world through their eyes. His pursuit of this hawk-like state sees him go into a trance as he follows the birds across the English countryside and gets to know their habits, prey, preferences and hunting styles.

Baker is a master at creating atmosphere and describing his natural surroundings, and as a result The Peregrine is deeply atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful. Also, as the book depicts a changing landscape being reshaped by manmade pollution, making it a very topical read even today.

At the end of the day, Baker’s book was published in 1967, and written even earlier, so it’s not exactly a recent publication, but I’d recommend any pastoral literature fan, amateur ornithologist or nature lover reads this book. I’ll be doing a review of Wilding in the New Year, once I’ve got all my Christmas reading and celebrating out of the way, so stay tuned for that!

Prediction: Children’s Books Will Dominate 2020 Reading Lists


Children’s books have been coming into their own of recent months. No more are they the exclusive reading of kids and the parents of kids who’re forced to read them to little ones.

Now, books aimed at kids are coming into their own, and becoming popular among adults and children alike. This trend is only going to continue in the New Year and beyond.

I’m not necessarily saying that bookshops will do away with children’s sections in the 2020s, but I definitely think you’ll see more adults shopping in them. I think that writers will start to adjust their writing to include more topical jokes for adults as well as being suitable for kids, something which is already being implemented by modern children’s writers including David Walliams and others.

Part of the reason I think this is because of the advent of children’s literature being turned into TV shows and films. Little Women, His Dark Materials and Worzel Gummidge. There’s also the popularity of famed children’s films such as Frozen 2, which is incredibly popular with kids and adults alike.

This is transitioning into literature, with more and more adults choosing to pick kid’s books. This is particularly true in genres that require a lot of imagination, like fantasy and sci-fi. Many fans of these styles of books tend to focus more on what they enjoy than what anybody else thinks anyways, what with their preferred style of books being mostly overlooked by others in the first place.

As these genres require lots of imagination and creativity, they’re beloved by adult and child readers alike. Over the coming year I see this growing even more important and readers coming to terms with the idea that some books can be written for and read by a much wider audience.

Ultimately, I think that the blurring of the lines between children’s and adult literature will be the biggest reading trend in 2020, and when I’m right I’ll be reminding you. Just you wait and see.

My Top Five Crime Fiction Books To Gift To A Mystery Lover This Christmas


Buying books as a Christmas gift is always a challenge, so if you’re looking for something to treat the crime loving reader in your life, here’s my list of five of the books they’d love to find under the tree this festive season!

5. The Mystery Of Three Quarters: Sophie Hannah’s latest outing of her reimagined Poirot features the intrepid Belgium detective and his young friend Edward Catchpool working to uncover two mysteries: was the death of an elderly man an accident, and why was Poirot implicated in the accusation of an array of unlikely suspects? This is a tense tale that’s great for Christie fans, readers who enjoy Golden Age crime fiction or those who want something mysterious yet relaxing and fun to read over Christmas.

4.The Siberian Dilemma: Fans of Martin Cruz Smith and his revered Arkady Renko series will love this latest instalment, which sees the investigator embroiled in a personal mystery after his on/ off girlfriend disappears. When he gets the opportunity to interrogate a suspected assassin, Renko travels to Siberia to find his lover and get to the bottom of the criminal conspiracy she’d stumbled upon. This novel is fast-paced and enticing, making it great for readers who want thrills and chills this Winter.

3. Bodies From The Library 2: The second instalment of this incredible anthology series of stores and novellas from Golden Age stalwarts is a masterclass in how to create the perfect selection of tales for mystery lovers. It features famous names like Dorothy L Sayers, through to less well-known writers who nonetheless have a lot to offer. Readers who enjoy Golden Age books, or just a good classic mystery, will love this well thought out anthology.

bodies from the library 2

2. The Complete Collection Of Sherlock Holmes: Mystery fans who’ve only perused a few of Conan Doyle’s classic tales will adore a complete set, particularly if you get them one with all of the original drawings, or a newly illustrated one from a provider of luxury books, such as my personal favourite the Folio Society. The stories and novels that Conan Doyle created remain popular to this very day, and with good reason: each contains a cleverly constructed mystery and a solution that is both ingenious and deeply human. Make sure the person you’re buying for doesn’t already have a complete set before you buy them another one!

1.The Puppet Show: A copy of this year’s CWA Gold Dagger Award winning novel is a great gift for any crime fiction fan who hasn’t read it yet. Bloody and dark, M.W. Craven’s novel is not for the fainthearted. It features a deranged serial killer who’s burning victims alive in a set of stone circles in the picturesque Lake District. The police bring back a reluctant, disgraced detective whose past seems to be linked to these horrific crimes, and he embarks on a challenging investigation that will shake everything you think about humanity and human decency. Fans of rough, tough thrillers with lots of blood and gore will be ecstatic to find this book under their tree on Christmas morning. 

The Dorset Book Detective’s 2019 Christmas Gift Guide!


It’s back! For another year, here’s my annual Christmas Gift Guide, filled with amazing things you can give to the booklover in your life.

For Your Fancy Friend

From last year’s list is a selection of books from the Folio Society. These beautiful, decorative tomes are perfect for book collectors and those who enjoy the finer things in life.

There’s something for everyone, from crime fiction to classics, kid’s books to non-fiction, so you can find your friend’s favourite and give them a gift they can cherish forever.

For more information see:

For The Fussy Family Member

If you’re looking for a gift to give a friend that’ll last long after the Christmas food and fuss has all gone, then a book subscription could be the answer. They’ll get sent a book that’s handpicked just for them from their preferences.

There’s even the option to swap the books for no extra charge if the one they send isn’t just right. As such, your loved one will always have something great to read all through 2020.

For more information see:

For Someone Who Deserves A Little Treat

Sometimes it can be hard to find a stocking filler for your book loving friend that isn’t yet another bookmark that they’ll only lose. Most of us just use old receipts and train tickets anyways.

One great small option for stockings or Secret Santa is a light that clips onto the edge of your book. Really Tiny Book Lights are pretty, cute and come in loads of different colours so there’s something for everyone.

For more information see:

For The Eco-Warrior In Your Life

If you know someone who loves to help the planet, then try buying them a cute literary tote bag to carry around all the books they’re going to buy in the January sales.

These sweet bags come in loads of different styles, meaning there’s one for everyone, no matter what their reading preferences may be.

For more information see:

I hope you like this year’s Christmas Gift Guide and it’ll be back with bells on next year!