Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a relaxing break and managed to squirrel yourself away for some of it with a good crime novel or two.
As is customary at this time of year, I’ve been doing a bit of a stocktake, particularly in relation to this blog. It’s been a sobering experience:
- It turns out I wrote a paltry five blog posts in 2021. FIVE! These consisted of one literary obituary, two Petrona Award posts, one set of summer reviews, and Mrs P’s Christmas recommendations. Spot what was missing: any semblance of regular crime reviewing. Hmmm.
- I managed to miss the 10th anniversary of Mrs. Peabody Investigates!!! I started blogging in January 2011, but that wonderful milestone just passed me by…
All of which tells me I can’t outrun the laws of time and space.
I won’t bore you with the details – just imagine a classic pandemic brew of extra work and family pressures. However, one thing is clear: something needs to change.
Option 1 is to say ‘it’s been a good run’ and let Mrs. Peabody bow out gracefully.
Option 2 is to say ‘must do better this year’, knowing that the end result is likely to be much the same.
Option 3 is to try a little experiment… And that’s what I’ve decided to do.
You’ll see there’s a jazzy new ‘donate’ button on the main menu bar at the top of the blog.
The idea is this: for those blog readers who can and wish to, there’s the option of donating a little something to help ‘power’ the blog. What this means in practice is that any donations will go towards buying me time to write reviews. Or to put it another way: as a freelancer with finite resources, they’ll allow me to liberate some precious hours to review and post more regularly.
BUT – and this is very important – there will never be any expectation on my part that readers should donate. The blog will always remain accessible and ‘free at the point of delivery’. No paywall for Mrs P! And you have my word that I’ll remain independent. ‘Mrs. Peabody Investigates’ will always review the best international crime fiction, TV and film without fear or favour.
As I say, all of this is an experiment and I’m very relaxed about the outcome. We’ll just see how things go…
So onwards and upwards, starting tomorrow with a review of Kwon Yeo-sun’s Korean crime novel Lemon!
Superb timing Mrs P!
I’m presently racing through EXIT by Belinda Bauer from your end of year list, following on from the stunning PEACE by Garry Disher, and that straight after THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd. All top shelf reads, all in the house because of your good self.
I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated your efforts more than I do right now.
So, please do carry on whichever way suits you – I shall tip you on the way out just to amplify my request 🙂
Hope 2022 is a good one for all of us!
Thanks so much for taking the time to write, Simon – and for the donation, which has the distinction of being the very first one! ❤
Hearing that blog readers have enjoyed the crime I've recommended is the absolute best thing about the blog for me, so it's been really hard to see the number of reviews nosedive in the last twelve months. Anyhow, new year, new start… 🙂
Wishing you a very Happy New Year, Simon, and thanks for helping to power the blog!
Best wishes, Mrs P
Thanks / Diolch / Herzlichen Dank / Gracias to those who have donated so far. Really heartening!!! ❤
I wish you all the best in the new year, Mrs. P.! May 2022 be kind to you!
Thank you, Margot! Happy New Year and the same to you. Here’s to lots of wonderful crime reading and reviewing xxx
I completely understand, Mrs P, and do hope that we can keep you going for a while! I am coming up to my tenth anniversary and am having all sorts of thoughts related to that as well…
Thanks very much for your support, Marina Sofia! Much appreciated.
I’m sure I’ll keep chugging along – the question is just at what kind of rate 🙂 But the whole situation has been an interesting one to mull over, and perhaps there is a debate to be had about the place of blogs in publishing’s economic firmament.
When is your 10th anniversary? We will have to celebrate. I’m going to do a retrospective little whoop at some point to mark mine x
Hello Mrs. P. I thought there was something amiss as I hadn’t read much from you in the past year or so. I’m back in Australia but soon to move to the UK after 11 years in China. Instead of reading ebooks, I can now go to my local library in Clare and meander amongst the shelves for something that I like. I have read several good books recently – The Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – a thoroughly enjoyable read which uses historical facts to weave a compelling story of an individual living under house arrest in Moscow for a very long time. Then there was Child 44 by Tom Robb Smith, a story loosely based on the case of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chkatilo. Again the story used historical facts and a writers imagination to script a very good story. Now I am almost to the end of a rather large book by Ken Follet titled “Never” which makes one think about the world as we know it and what could happen in the event of something going drastically wrong. Of course I do enjoy reading about China and what goes on in the Middle Kingdom but the most important aspect for me is that one must come away from reading thinking ” now that was a very good read”, or ” I’ve learned something new”, or possibly “I wonder if I could do that”.
I know how difficult it is to continually write a Blog. I started writing what I called “My Daily Update” on the 1st February 2020 while still in China about the coronavirus, news, weather etc and finished it on update 666 – a lucky number in China – on Christmas Day 2021. It was time consuming and some days I felt too tired to write, but once you start, you have to carry on.
Keep up the good work Mrs. P. I will make a donation occasionally to keep the wolves at bay.
Hello John – and thanks for your supportive reply. I really appreciate it. Yes, it’s been a classic collision of ‘ordinary’ life events and the pandemic, and in those circumstances something unfortunately had to give. Anyhow, I’m going to give it my best shot this year! I like the sound of your 666 blog – and I bet that when you look back on it in 10 years it will have acquired extra historical richness. A really good thing to have done.
Thanks for your recommendations as well – I remember being very impressed with Child 44 when I read it (one of those ones that stays with you), and I like the sound of The Gentleman in Moscow. Will check it out – ta!
Wishing you a Happy New Year, John, and all the best with your big move!
Thank-you Mrs P as you’ve opened up a whole wealth of fiction for me – your Xmas reading list is always my favourite of the year & I’ve dropped my contribution for now in your tips box.
I’d also like to echo John’s recommendation above for A Gentleman in Moscow – one of my very favourite recent reads. And I don’t know if you are a Public Service Broadcasting fan, but their latest “Bright Magic” is a great listen & I suspect even more so if you understand German (which I don’t!)
Dear Jo – thanks so much for your lovely message and for your contribution. I really value your support!
So it sounds like I will DEFINITELY need to track down A Gentleman in Moscow. And I have just looked up ‘Bright Magic’ and am listening as I type. Loving it so far. Herzlichen Dank für die Empfehlung 🙂
It’s Sunday evening now, and time for another heartfelt thank you to all who have donated thus far. I’m incredibly appreciative of your generosity and awed that blog readers are chipping in from as far afield as Australia, China and the US. You’re an awesome and inspiring lot! Looking forward to writing further posts and reviews 🙂 Thank you once again ❤