Why I Really Like This Book (thrills and spills)
These are podcasts about forgotten fiction, for curious readers, and for anyone who likes old books. Sometimes they're stories, sometimes they're not. Most of the authors write in English; and sometimes they don't. But all the books I talk about, I really really like. I hope you will too.
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My name is Kate Macdonald: I'm an English lecturer, and a lifelong browser in second-hand bookshops. I post weekly ten-minute podcasts on a Friday, on the books I really like which I think deserve new readers. You can find out lots more at the Facebook page here, and get these podcasts weekly by subscribing on the iTunes link above.

The music for the podcast intro is by The Tribe Band. Lucy Marsh did the drawing and Matthias Opsomer lettered it. Patrick Belk and Martin Fowler hold my tech safety net.

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Questions? Send me a message by mailing me at kate [dot] brussels [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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Join perplexed lawyer Edward Leithen in John Buchan's The Power-House as he battles assassination attempts in central London, and avoids kidnap by building site, just because he's made the connection between a fleeing diplomat-adventurer in Russia and an international criminal conspiracy to destroy western civilisation. The first modern thriller from the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Direct download: John_Buchan_and_The_Power-House_-_Novels_of_1913.mp3
Category:thrills and spills -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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Get out the jewel box and summon the wig powderer, the aristocrats have escaped the Terror, and are looking for revenge. Some magnificent swashbuckling action and double-crossing plot twists in Baroness Orczy's classic novel of the French Revolution, in which the Scarlet Pimpernel leads the establishment's backlash against Revolutionary excess.

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Antony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda is a delirious farrago of doubles, red hair, and desperate plots against the king's life, in Ruritania. Will Princess Flavia realise she is being wooed by an Englishman and not by the king? Will Black Michael succeed in his wicked plot? Will Rupert of Hentzau scupper the secret? For duellists expert with both sword and pistol.

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What do you do when the man you had thought was dead, and who had tried to kill you first, is back from the dead, talking about champagne cocktails in Paris? You go to Paris to find him, and then when a bad lot beat you up to throw you off the scent, you head straight for the south of France to do more snooping. John Welcome's Run for Cover is a fine first novel from 1958 about fooling the enemy, and a lot of fast driving. For thriller heroes who insist on a decent dinner every night.

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The gentlemanliness of the Cold War spy, hitman and cold-blooded killer in Her Majesty's Secret Service is all about sex. And race. And class. And cheating at cards. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a complicated mixture of pre-war gent and post-war ruffian. For readers who hop from book to book looking for more of the same.

Direct download: Ian_Fleming_and_James_Bond_-_Five_Thrillers_for_Gentlemen.mp3
Category:thrills and spills -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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This is the one where Plato puts his hand down Audrey's shirt, so we know he's doomed. Dornford Yates' Gale Warning is a cracking thriller of map-reading, fast driving, navigation, and a gentleman's hunt to avenge the murder of a friend. For drivers who do what they're told without question.

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Dornford Yates was the master of the 1920s comic frivol and the gritty thriller of gentlemen heroes. He was a superb writer but also quite strong meat for those not used to the racy idioms of the 1920s. Adele and Co is a blend of his two favourite genres, and the first full-length novel featuring the immortal Berry and Co, five gentry cousins who have their jewels stolen in Paris and take their revenge with hard driving and a close reading of timetables and maps. Funnier than Wodehouse, and more thrilling than Buchan, Dornford Yates is for readers who appreciate tweed and pearls in their proper settings, with cocktails.

Direct download: Dornford_Yates_and_Adele_and_Co.mp3
Category:thrills and spills -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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She's a pre-feminist action hero, a serious contender for the hardest secret agent around, and she's a cartoon strip turned into a series of novels. Modesty Blaise predates Lara Croft and Emma Peel, and could beat them hollow: she could probably sort out Bond as well. She's the original fighting machine, performing in breathtakingly exciting capers, dripping with 1960s confidence and down to earth simplicity. For readers who prefer their reading pleasure as a vin ordinaire rather than any nonsense about shaking and stirring. 

Direct download: Peter_ODonnell_and_Modesty_Blaise.mp3
Category:thrills and spills -- posted at: 1:30am CET
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