☛ Miss Marple makes a comeback

The Guardian reports:

The collection, titled Marple, marks the first time anyone other than [Agatha] Christie has written “official” (as recognised by the Christie estate) Miss Marple stories. The 12 women who contributed to the collection include award-winning crime writers Val McDermid and Dreda Say Mitchell, historical novelist Kate Mosse, classicist and writer Natalie Haynes and New York Times bestselling author Lucy Foley.

(If the Guardian link above doesn’t work for any reason, here is an alternative link from Smithsonian Magazine quoting The Guardian.)

This is great! Always room for more Marple mysteries for avid Christie readers such as me!

There have already been several new “official” Poirot novels, written by Sophie Hannah, also sanctioned by the Christie estate, that have been published in the last few years. I have read a couple of them, and they are pretty good reads! The author’s voice seems just that bit different — of course, that is to be expected, and indeed hoped for — and that’s a little jarring after years of reading Christie, but the plots and the characters are quite well-thought-written-fleshed-out. They won’t feel out of place amongst Christie’s Poirot mysteries.

If these new Marple stories are anywhere as good, then they will be worth looking out for.

☛ New free street library in Kolkata!

The Indian Express reports:

If one gets down at Netaji Bhavan metro station and walks towards Rammohan Dutta road straight to Northern park one would stumble upon a rather curious sight. College-goers can be seen crowding the area and a familiar smell of books envelops it. Several books are exhibited in bookshelves on the footpath and it almost seems like a bookstore at first glance. This, however, is no bookstore, instead, it is an expansive library that houses books by authors ranging from popular Bengali comic books to Sidney Sheldon. The name of the place is Street Library.

This is such a lovely concept. Anyone who wants to read can pick up a book and return it once they are finished. People who have books that they don’t plan on keeping can donate and improve the collection. People with organization skills and some spare time can chip in and organize the collection every once in a while.

This is an excellent program that encourages reading, sharing and selflessness. It also depends on a community working together to keep a good thing going. I wish this all the best, and really hope that there is enough community interest and investment to overcome the occasional miscreant. Although Kolkata is home to the National Library of India, and hosts several other libraries, they are either not free or not easily accessible for many people. Street libraries are an excellent idea for people short on time and energy but an interest to read.

If you’re in Kolkata and have some books to spare, perhaps you can consider donating to this? Or better yet, perhaps you can see if something similar can be organized in your part of the city?