5 British Books You Need To Read Right Now

May 2020 edition

Claire Handscombe
4 min readMay 11, 2020


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

What would we do without books? This year, it seems, that’s a more pertinent question than ever. I haven’t visited the UK in a year and was planning my next visit for May, but sadly that is now…more complicated. I’m glad, though, that when I’m homesick I can at least pick up a book from my home country and immerse myself in its pages. And if you, too, are starting to get cabin fever, grab one of these from the online store of your favourite bookshop and travel not only to the UK but also to Greece and India…

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes (Pantheon, May 5, 2020)

We all respond differently to feelings of disconnection. For Helen Jukes at the beginning of her 30s, the answer came in the form of a gift of being given a colony of honeybees. But, just as H is for Hawk is about much more than bird taming, this book is about so much more than beekeeping: it’s about uncertainty, hope, solitude, friendship, restlessness, and home. The Bookseller calls it “pure delight”.

Death In The East by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Crime, May 5, 2020)

This is the next installment of the adventures of Captain Sam Wyndham, a police detective based in 1920s Calcutta, and his sidekick Surrender-Not Banerjee. The story begins in London in 1905, when Wyndham had promised to find out what happened to a woman found dead in her own room. In 1922, someone is out for revenge…

The Lizard by Bruce Dugald-Lockhart (Wholestory Audiobooks, May 07, 2020, Audio Only in the US)

Bruce Dugald-Lockhart is a stage actor turned prominent director and now novelist with a fascinating family background, and I’m really interested to see how all of this plays out in his debut. The description makes me think of The Great Gatsby with its heady mix of parties, sex, and drugs. It’s the story of Alistair Halston, who follows the ex-girlfriend he’s obsessed with to Greece, but, after getting mugged and losing everything, takes a job posing for a wealthy artist. And then a body is found, and it looks like Halston is to blame.



Claire Handscombe

Editor of WALK WITH US: How the West Wing Changed Our Lives; author of the novel UNSCRIPTED and of CONQUERING BABEL: a Practical Guide to Learning a Language.