Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

The Old Curiosity Shop

Charles Dickens’ novel about ‘Little Nell’ (hardly ever called ‘Little’ in the story, just ‘the child’) has been on my Shelf of Shame for ever, because I was totally put … Continue reading

March 17, 2014 · 6 Comments

The Necropolis Railway, by Andrew Martin

Not very far from where I live (but not very close either) there is a mysterious long wall along the side of a road that seems to wind for miles. … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · 7 Comments

No Man’s Nightingale, by Ruth Rendell

“Donaldson will drive us,” Burden said in the tone a fond father uses when promising his small son a visit to a theme park.  Donaldson had once been Wexford’s own … Continue reading

January 24, 2014 · 2 Comments

Raising Steam *

This is Terry Pratchett’s 40th novel, in the Discworld series that began 30 years ago. In Discworld there are many lands, creatures, characters, and magical phenomena, so there is something … Continue reading

January 14, 2014 · 3 Comments

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

We all lie, whether we admit it or not. We lie to ourselves in self preservation or self-justification, we lie by omission – choosing to stay silent rather than speak … Continue reading

August 2, 2013 · 11 Comments

In Death series by J. D. Robb

Some might say this series are really mysteries and they are partly right. But as the author is an alter ego of Nora Roberts, romance is definitely involved. Sure, the … Continue reading

July 22, 2013 · 4 Comments

Stonemouth by Iain Banks

Stonemouth is the most recent of Iain Banks’ non-Culture novels. His new book, The Quarry, also non-Culture, is due for publication this month and it will be the last. This … Continue reading

June 18, 2013 · 3 Comments

To the Heart of Rest …

The location is 1930s Oxford. At the edges of the story the clouds of war are starting to gather, but they are of no immediate or direct relevance to the … Continue reading

June 12, 2013 · 13 Comments

Vulpes Random: Glorious Pulp Magazines

I love the covers of magazines. One of the perils of my job is getting sidetracked into looking at gorgeous magazine covers of the periodicals of the 1920s and 1930s … Continue reading

May 13, 2013 · 4 Comments

In praise of the gentler end of detective fiction

The Adam Dalgliesh novels of P D James. A Guest Review by Kirsty Doole. I have long been a fan of crime fiction. It is my go-to genre when I need … Continue reading

April 25, 2013 · 4 Comments

Better than Bond

My friend Emma (who is researching the spy novel) told me I should try reading some Desmond Cory. I had never heard of him, but I dutifully ordered a couple … Continue reading

January 30, 2013 · 3 Comments

A name for every voice: an interview with Gillian Philip

Gillian Philip and I used to be best friends at school (Aberdeen Grammar, if you want to know), but we lost touch when we went out into the world. Thirty … Continue reading

January 21, 2013 · 4 Comments

Broken Harbour by Tana French

This is the fourth novel by Tana French, an Irish crime writer who has done much since her first book, In The Woods, to establish herself as a practitioner of … Continue reading

November 13, 2012 · 6 Comments

The Other Half Lives by Sophie Hannah – where I’m with the half that died …

Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong and to be wronged. She once did something she regrets, and her punishment nearly destroyed her. Now Ruth is … Continue reading

August 16, 2012 · 18 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)