#FridayReads, Jan. 11–“Zero” by Collinson Owen. Enjoyed this engrossing late-Edwardian (1927) potboiler about a novelist who welcomes the opportunity dealt him by a train wreck that leads his wife and friends to believe he’s been killed. Notwithstanding a new life under a nom de plume that shoots his career as a writer to new heights, he discovers a powerful urge to somehow go home again. It has lots of London publishing and theatre world material. According to the inside, Owen wrote at least 5 other books: The Adventure of Antoine; The Rockingham Diamond; The Battle of London (as “Hugh Addison”); C.O’s Cameos; and Salonica and After, a travel narrative. It’s easy to see why this was a popular entertainment in its day. I (gently as possible) reread my 1927 copy (it’s mostly disbound).
Have moved on to The Troubled Man, another Kurt Wallander police procedural novel in my recent binge of books by Henning Mankell. This is one of the last of his Wallander novels, with the taciturn detective investigating the inexplicable disappearance of his in-laws. This book also features his daughter Linda, a police captain herself. It is the father and mother of her beau that have gone missing. I know from the sequence of these novels that Wallander is going to retire soon, plagued as he is by diabetes and terminal ennui, a fear that he’s wasting his life in futile pursuit of lawbreakers. I love these books for Mankell’s loyalty to his characters.