It actually took me all of July to read my book choice for The Year in Books last month but I enjoyed and savoured this wonderful biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrara. Her extraordinary life makes for fascinating reading and I also enjoyed learning more about her paintings and why she painted them. I finished the book in the last week of July and we watched the film Frida at the weekend, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
My book choice for August, recommended by my friend Anne is another crime drama but not your usual run of the mill murder mystery
The death of Lucy Kyte by Nicola Upson is set in the 1930s and tells the story of crime writer Josephine Tey recreated as a fictional character, who inherits Red Barn cottage from her godmother Hester, a well known actress. The cottage is close to the site of the notorious 19th century murder of Maria Marten, which was an actual event. Hester had been fascinated by the life of Maria and frequently played her on stage. I admit that I am already half way through this book and the tension is building as the secrets of the cottage and Hester's life and death are unravelled. I think my favourite type of story is one that weaves a fictional tale around real life events.
I suppose that the book holds a particular fascination as many years ago I also played the part of Maria Marten when our drama group put on a Victorian melodrama as part of an Old Time Music Hall.
We played "The Murder in the Red Barn" very tongue in cheek and I'm not sure at the time I was even aware that it was based on a true story.
But now that I've done some research into the original story of the murder it has brought me right back to my childhood. From about age 5 until I was 9 or 10 we lived in Bury St. Edmunds, where the murderer William Corder was tried and hanged. And suddenly I have clear memories of playground games involving murders in barns and ghosts etc. that had been long forgotten. Isn't it strange how things come around
What are you reading this summer?