Eggs or Anarchy by William Sitwell
Started 1 August
Finished 13 August
This is the story of Frederick Marquis, Lord Woolton who ran the Ministry of Food in the UK during the Second World War. I happened to hear the author interviewed on the radio and was intrigued. I am of an age such that my parents lived through the war, my mother as an evacuee (to family, luckily) in South Wales, my father staying at home in west London. My generation, however, can barely imagine the privations of the wartime years.
Woolton was a businessman who was asked to run the Ministry of Food, overseeing the feeding of the UK - no mean task for a country which, at that time, was a massive net importer of food. Woolton had a background in social work and he had seen first hand some of the deprivation and malnutrition that existed in poorer parts of England. He has also run a successful retail business, so was perhaps well placed for the task. He was determined that the whole country would be fed a nutritionally balanced diet, at a reasonable price, so that, at the end of the war, the population as a whole would be healthier than they had been before it started. The book brought to life his frustration with bureaucracy and set out the scale of Woolton's achievement. It was well written, an enjoyable and educational read.
Summerchester Secrets by Hazel Elizabeth Allen
Started 14 August
Finished 18 August
This book won some independent romance prize. Yes, I know, not my normal genre, but I fancied something a little different for once. Something gentle and relaxing, which is exactly what I got. Pleasant, believable characters, pleasant setting and a believable little story. Not much variation on the boy-meets-girl theme, but the secrets of the title came into play. A happy ending, of course, but that made a pleasant change from the death and destruction in some of the thrillers I usually read. I enjoyed it for what it was; an undemanding read, but a pleasant tale nonetheless.
Rage by Zygmunt Miloszewski
Started 19 August
Finished 31 August
Translated from the original Polish, this read well in English,so credit to the translator for that. To start with, I wasn't sure I would continue with the novel, as it seemed a bit slow to develop. This is the last in a series of books about the same character, a state prosecutor, but the only one in English. That didn't matter too much, fortunately. Much in the vein of Henning Mankell, the local environment, particularly the weather, was very much a part of the story and the atmosphere was set well.
Overall I enjoyed the story, the more so as it developed. It had a few surprises, which unravelled gradually. I read a lot of thrillers, but didn't have any sense of thriler-fatigue here. If more of this author's work is translated, I would read it.