Quick book reviews

The Yellow Diamond by Andrew Martin, Faber & Faber, £14.99 (ebook £5.69). Review by Gill Oliver
The Yellow Diamond by Andrew MartinThe Yellow Diamond by Andrew Martin
The Yellow Diamond by Andrew Martin

Author and journalist Andrew Martin whisks us into the world of London’s super-rich, for this sophisticated tale of money laundering, jewel theft and murder. It opens with the shooting of a top detective investigating the shady dealings of billionaires. Enter his successor, DI Blake Reynolds, low-key, calm and not a cliché in sight, who makes a likeable and believable hero. Having penned nine thrillers featuring Jim Stringer, a railway-man-turned cop and various other books, Andrew Martin proves once again he can tell a rattling good yarn. He also raises thought-provoking questions about why so many of us are enthralled by brands and the trappings of wealth.

That’s Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms and What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore, Square Peg, £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Review by Holly McKenzie

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We like to think of ourselves as intrinsically linked with America – sharing a language, a love of food, a penchant for bad TV and a narcissistic obsession with discussing our own idiosyncrasies. We work quite well together - but what defines our differences? Erin Moore ponders Britishisms and Americanisms and casts a fond sideways glance at the quirks that mark us as cousins, rather than brothers. Having grown up ‘across the pond’ and settled here in Blighty in her thirties, Moore applies her wealth of experience in both countries to document the superficial differences in our use of a shared language which tickle (and often grate on) us both.

The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell. Michael Joseph, £9.99 (ebook £4.99). Review by Georgina Rodgers

Documenting the author’s real-life story, which saw him head off travelling in the 1970s only to wind up an assistant master at a prestigious boarding school in Argentina. En-route he finds himself helping an oil-covered penguin in Uruguay and after cleaning him up, the penguin refuses to leave his side and thus follows a story of an extraordinary bond, where Michell smuggles the penguin, whom he names Juan Salvador, over the border and into his apartment. Packed full of funny, heart-warming anecdotes and peppered with interesting details of the political and economic picture of Argentina, this would make a perfect Christmas stocking filler.

The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern, HarperCollins, £16.99 (ebook £5.99). Review by Heather Doughty

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Sabrina Boggs’s life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she discovers a vast marble collection among her father’s possessions. The man she thought she knew so well becomes a total stranger. Cecilia Ahern masterfully guides us on a journey of discovery and hidden truths, switching between Sabrina’s narrative and various flashbacks from her father, Fergus and his secret double life. Don’t be fooled though, this story is no typical ‘hidden family secret’ plot. Rather in Ahern’s hands it turns into both a heart-warming and thought-provoking tale exploring the fragility of memory and the complications of family relationships.

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