It was only after I signed up for Halloween Bingo that I realised that I didn't know how bingo was played (writing that down makes me feel like one of those ancient High Court Judges asking: "and what exactly is a Google Home and how many people live in it?"). In my ignorance, I assumed the game was over when all your squares were covered. This, I've since learned, is a special case called a BlackOut Bingo. As everyone but me knew, most Bingos involve covering all the squares in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row.
So now I'm focused on reading in straight lines, regardless of the squares called, in the hope that I'll soon be able to jump up and down and shout BINGO!
The price I paid for completing my first vertical line was reading "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde, read by Stephen Fry for the Darkest London square.
I'd expected it to be fun but it seemed designed to press all my indignation and irritability buttons. Still, it's over now.
I'm working on my first horizontal line by reading two very different dark mysteries:
"Thirteen" is for the Thirteen square (Duh!). It's a bizarre blend of courtroom drama and serial killer death fest.
The tagline is irresistible: "The serial killer isn't on trial, he's on the jury". The book is slick and fast and has a psychopath who is hard to look away from.
"The Ice Beneath Her" is classic Scandi-Noir and fits the Modern Noir square. I'm about twenty per cent into the book. It starts in the snow at a graveside, moves to a murder scene where a woman has been beheaded but eighty per cent of what is written is about the personal lives of the detectives, flips back two months to the interior monologue of a young woman reflecting on her childhood and her relationship with her new lover and then flips again to a psychologist reflecting on her early onset dementia, the state of her dying marriage and whether she should help the police with the beheading investigation.
Scandi-noir is like a snowstorm: if you try to go too fast you won't be able to see, better just to settle in somewhere warm and let the thing blow itself out while you appreciate the beauty of something large and purposeful yet made up of small, apparently unconnected frozen moments.
I've also changed the book I'll be reading for the "Grimm Tales" square that was called today. I found "The Mere Wife" in my TBR pile and realised it fits the retelling a legend criteria. The legend it retells? Beowulf - set in modern American suburbia. That has to have legs, right?