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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … ‘Mailbox Monday’

Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!



There’s a summer heatwave in Dormouth, the Devon seaside town and former home of the artist Hugh Bonnington.

No one pays much attention to octogenarian sea swimmer Maud Smith, recently arrived from Portugal. But when she drowns and her body is washed up on the beach, she changes the lives of three people she never met.

Brenda, insomniac dog walker, finds Maud’s body and loses a husband.

Jim, reluctant heir hunter and committed birdwatcher, thinks he’s found love, if he can only escape London.

Philosopher-drunk Neil, the cemetery manager, plans Maud’s funeral then finds that art has a funny way of interfering with life.

With wry humour and sharp observation, Not the End is a contemporary novel about love, loss and the therapeutic possibilities of knitting.


Image Of Author Kate VaneKate Vane studied in Leeds and then worked in the city as a probation officer. Her first novel, ‘Recognition’, is a psychological crime novel set in Leeds.

In crime fiction, the end should both surprise you and be believable. This works best if the characters are in conflict, not only with the outside world, but with themselves. I think that’s how people are in life, but in a crime novel, they’re placed in an extreme situation and so the conflicts are magnified.

Kate now lives on the Devon coast, where she grew up and where her second, contemporary novel, is set. ‘Not the End’, was inspired in part by a period she spent working in a local authority cemeteries department.

The job made me think about our attitudes to death, particularly when someone died without friends and family and the local authority had to take charge of the funeral arrangements. Often they weren’t poor, or a loner, as people think. They had just outlived everyone who was close to them. I didn’t want to write the same kind of book again. But I think what unites the two novels is that they have complex, believable characters. I’m always intrigued and surprised by what people do and why they do it. That was my starting point for both books. I think it is ultimately an uplifting novel. It was fun to write and I particularly wanted to set the story during an ideal summer by the sea.

Kate now works for a charity in Exeter.


I am loving the line “Not the End is a contemporary novel about love, loss and the therapeutic possibilities of knitting.” I enjoy knitting and crochet whenever I get the opportunity, although these days much of my spare time is taken up with keeping Fiction Books looking fresh and different. I find that any solitary pastime is very therapeutic and I only wish that I was more accomplished in many of them.

I can’t wait to discover all your own great new finds this week … so please stop by and share your link, so that I can visit your post.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I love locally set books like this, especially those set on the Devon coast. Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers was one and I thought it was excellent. One of the Daisy Dalrymple series is another. I’ll keep an eye out for Not the End as I love the sound of it.

    • Hi Cath,

      It is so much nicer when you can relate to a locally based author, who writes about an area you know, isn’t it? Although I also quite like the sound of Kate’s crime novel, which is set in Leeds.

      ‘Not The End’ definitely sounds a bit quirky, however I love the connection with knitting and having a job in the cemeteries department must have given Kate more than enough unique scenarios for a novel, without having to bend the truth of the situation too far!

      I was amazed at just how many books have been written with Devon as their backdrop (thanks Wikipedia as always), although the ones I would quite like to add to your excellent suggestions, would be the 10 or so of the Agatha Christie novels which are set in Devon.

      Thanks for stopping by, it seems like ages since we last spoke and it was great to hear from you.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Kate says that she wanted to “set the story during an ideal summer by the sea”. I’m not so sure that Brenda would have felt quite that way when she discovered the body, I’m sure I wouldn’t have, it would kind of ruined most of my Summer I think. I am intrigued that Brenda then goes on to lose a husband, and I am curious to know about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, unless of course the poor man dies as well!!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I am not sure which of Kate’s characters sounds the most intriguing and quirky, but put them all together and this story is sure to have plenty of twists and turns, I’m certain of that!

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your time right now and I hope that your Mum continues to improve.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      It generally is the quiet ones who always surprise you though, don’t you think? So I wonder exactly what surprises Kate has in store for me, when this eclectic group of characters take to the stage … A sea swimmer who drowns, an insomniac dogwalker, a lost husband, a lovelorn birdwatcher, a philosophising cemetery manager and some unknown interfering art … I am just left wondering which one of them knits?

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, your visit is appreciated, as always.

    • Hi Stacy,

      I learned to knit almost before I could read and write, although these days, I tend to stick to the less intricate patterns and generally knit for charity.

      I can also crochet and embroider, but only the very basic of stitches, so the charity gets plenty of crocheted blankets.

      My sewing however, is a non-existent skill and even replacing a button needs very careful consideration before I start. I must have been about the only pupil in my entire year who failed to make an apron in needlework classes at school!

      There is something very therapeutic about a solitary hobby, being able to lose oneself and concentrate on a piece of craftwork is very calming … if only I could earn an income from such a pursuit, then all would be well!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

    • Hi Lindsay,

      Crime and thriller novels will always be my most favourite genre, so like yourself, I shall be on the lookout for a copy of ‘Recognition’.

      We live down on the Somerset / Devon border, so ‘Not The End’ is a local story for me and I am looking forward to discovering more about this intriguing trio of characters and of course, the cause of them coming together, Maud. I am sure that there must be more going on than meets the eye!

      Thanks for the lovely comment, I appreciate the visit.

    • Hi Juli,

      The characters in this book do sound like an eclectic mix, don’t they?

      Why are people who work in any capacity with death, so often depicted as being such strange characters do you think? Mind you, I used to work as a contract florist for several undertakers and thinking back, perhaps they always were a little eccentric and quirky!

      With Neil being something of a philosopher, I wonder what kind of art gets in the way of life, and is it his life or the life of others … hopefully it’s nothing to do with poor Maud’s demise!

      Thanks for the interesting comment, it is great to catch up with you and I hope that you have a good week.

    • Hi Lucy,

      I think that you have summed this book up nicely with those two words “quirky and original”. Together with a “unique and interesting” character set, what else needs to be said!

      Knitting is definitely making a comeback, at least it is here in the UK. Some of the designer wools are so expensive though and can make the cost of a relatively straightforward item, as much, if not more, than it would have cost to purchase ready made.

      As most of my knits are for charity, I tend to stick to the value brands. The charity shop where I volunteer carries one such brand and I have often been called upon to offer impromptu beginners sessions for new knitters.

      Thanks for stopping by this week, I really appreciate your comment.

    • Hi Vicki,

      A unique premise, and an interesting and quirky cast of characters …. sounds good to me!

      Thanks for stopping by and for being such a great co-host of MM.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      ‘Not The End’ has a cover which with its simplicity and eyecatching colours, captured my attention immediately and I am defnitely curious about that title. I wonder, is Maud out to have the last laugh on those responsible for her final resting place, or has she a message far more profound, to leave behind?

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your interest in today’s post.

  • Not the End sounds like a good one, and I like that a there’s crime and knitting involved here! Like the author says, characters with inner turmoil are most realistic.

    • Hi Naida,

      I must admit that I am eager to find out exactly where the knitting is involved in this book. I wonder if it is one of the protagonists featured in the synopsis, or another, as yet unknown person, who is going to appear on the scene.

      Kate has written a lovely guest post, where she talks about the character selection for her books and the message she is hoping to convey in the storylines. Should be up and published in a couple of weeks, so watch this space!

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comment.

  • I think the author Kate Vane makes an excellent point when writing, “In crime fiction, the end should both surprise you and be believable.” That is something that I look for in books I’m reading for sure! I just finished a novel that I have to recommend. It’s called Human Source Code by author Lubos Borik (www.lubosborik.com). It really blew me away! It follows Detective Klapman on a hunt to expose an international organization who has been manipulating peoples very DNA, but to what end? (dont want to spoil it!). It explores the subjects of DNA manipulation and how much of our very nature could be changed by it in a very interesting way. I love novels that leave me with questions and new ideas and this one definitely did and then some. The writing and character development is top notch as is the very unique storyline. This one will leave you with many questions and could be a frightening real prediction for the actual future!

    • Hi Julia,

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave such an interesting comment. I always appreciate visits and comments and I love meeting new people, so welcome!

      I think that Kate seems to be making the point, that whatever the authors genre of choice, their characters have to be believeable to both author and reader and interesting enough for potential readers to want to get to know them.

      Kate has elaborated on her thoughts, in a fascinating guest post, to be published here very soon, in which she also discusses genre switching and how the principles of strong characterisations and the vagaries of human nature, can transcend genre labelling.

      I just checked out the synopsis and first few pages of ‘Human Source Code’ on Amazon and I think that I could really get into reading this book, despite it having such average / poor review ratings. The problem seems to be the bad translation of the book into English and for me this could cause a real problem, as I have a ‘thing’ about very badly written English and I do need a good flowing dialogue … Still, it has potential for my TBR mountain!

      Best wishes.

Written by Yvonne