Thursday, November 27, 2008

Berried Alive

Kate Kingsbury WWII. England. The Lady of the manor is divorced, broke and in love with a married American airman. She is determined to take care of her village and do the right thing. Always.
Then 4 American airmen turn up dead. It seems that they were poisoned with the berries of the Daphne plant. They have only one thing in common.
When I checked this book out the woman who was returning it thought that it got a little silly at the end. I enjoyed the ending. Lady Elizabeth does a good job of investigating without letting on to anyone that she knows anything about what is going on. Her household staff is entertaining and the Americans spice village life up. I thought the ending was reasonable, even though it became glaringly obvious.
I seem to be picking a lot of books lately set in England in WWII. I was struck by the desire of the villagers to be allowed back on the beach. They couldn't go to it because there were mines planted.
Can you imagine? Very thought provoking. Not that this is a heavy book by any stretch. Just little realistic snippets of their lives.
I noticed one swear word, muttered by an employee when she didn't know Lady Elizabeth was within hearing distance. Oh, I just thought of one more. Okay, two. Other than that nice and clean.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

M.C. Beaton******Skip this book. It was vulgar. I read into a bit and was disgusted with both the language and the content. I skipped to the last couple of pages to see whodunit. I didn't even read into the beginning far enough to get to the actual murder, but it is described on the back well enough.******

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh my freakin heck!! I LOVED this book. It was so exciting. The first few pages I thought it was going to be a real sleeper and before I know it I couldn't put it down. Really, it so rocked.
Mrs. Jeffries is the housekeeper for Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard. He is a good Inspector but she and the rest of the staff are the real brains behind the Inspectors success. In this installment a much loathed theatre critic returns to London after 3 months in America to attend the opening night of a new play.

And turns up as fish food later that night in the canal.

But apparently he was actually drowned in the bathtub at his house.....

In comes inspector Witherspoon with his household staff sneaking around London solving the case under his nose. I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this book by even describing the staff because it was so nice to get to know them during the course of the story.

I have only one warning, the theatre critic chose to participate in an alternative lifestyle. This book is very very clean. It is part of the story, but it is not graphic or inappropriate(the lifestyle is, but not the discussion of it. I would not be uncomfortable with my teenagers reading this. I might not want to have my ten year old read it, but only because they discuss a Brothel.) I hope this makes sense. It is like that you know that Elton John chooses this lifestyle and that David Whats his name is his, "roommate"

I have muddled that, I know, but unless you absolutely do not want to read about anyone that is at all different, which is fine with me, you will not be offended by this story.

There are several Mrs. Jeffries stories and I plan on checking out several of them next time I am at the library. I just looked it up and this seems to be number ten of twenty one Mrs. Jeffries books. Boy, I sure started smack in the middle, didn't I? Well, I am going to try and read the rest in order, so I will print the order here for you all, also....

The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries
Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues
Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock
Mrs. Jeffries on the Ball
Mrs. Jeffries on the Trail
Mrs. Jeffries Plays the Cook
Mrs. Jeffries and the Missing Alibi
Mrs. Jeffries Stands Corrected
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Stage
Mrs. Jeffries Questions the Answer
Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Cake
Mrs. Jeffries Rocks the boat
Mrs. Jeffries Weeds the Plot
Mrs. Jeffries Pinches the Post
Mrs. Jeffries Pleads Her Case
Mrs. Jeffries Sweeps the Chimney
Mrs. Jeffries Stalks the Hunter
Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight
Mrs. Jeffries Appeals the Verdict

Well, now you can read all of them in order and not make my mistake of reading them out of order. I am excited to see the characters Smythe and Betsy again, especially. They are so cute!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ralph M. McInerny

*******PG13 Rating******SWEAR WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh how I loved these Father Dowling mysteries when I was younger. Tom Bosley is so likable. And the fabulous nun played by Tracey Nelson.

I am going to stick with the TV version.

This book was weird and boring to me. A socially challenged, Type A personality dentist decides he needs a trophy wife. The only problem is that she is already someone else's trophy wife. When she won't have him, he decides no one will and kills her, and frames her husband. He has to keep killing to cover his tracks. He is psychotic and creepy. I have a hard time liking a book when I have no emotional connection with any of the characters. They are all so flawed that you really don't care who lives or who is murdered.

And then there is a weird televangelist.

And a creepy bar. Like I said above, I gave this a PG13 rating because of language, but the content is also seedy. I would not let my 10 year old read this, so I really think I have no business reading it. I know I keep using the word weird in this review, but that is just kind of how this one felt. I was just glad to get done with it.

Now you know

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Laurie R. King

In the 1924 Mary Russell is summoned by a telegram. Her husband needs her help. He asks her to bring her compass and take a train to Dartmoor.

She ignores him. She is a student of theology at Oxford and has just gotten back to her studies after helping him with a mystery. She returns to her reading only to receive another telegram two hours later. Put down your books, it says.

Who is Mary Russell's husband? Why none other than the infamous Sherlock Holmes. This book is so ingenious. Written from the view of Mary Russell you see a very human and thoughtful side to Sherlock Holmes. It is historically accurate and interesting. The history of the Dartmoor Moor is explored with careful detail. Oh, and it is pretty scary at times!

The story revisits an event from 30 years prior- The Hound of the Baskervilles, while investigating a new murder.

This is the fourth book in the series. The first is the Beekeeper's Apprentice. I am looking forward to it....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Joanne Fluke
I love these Hannah Swensen books so much. She owns a cookie shop. She finds dead bodies. She solves the murders. She bakes more cookies.

Freaking Brilliant!

And there are honest to goodness recipes interspersed throughout. Her tuna sandwiches are magnificent. As are her fudge cupcakes and Apple Orchard Bars.

Oh, and these books are so squeaky clean. Even though she is dating two eligible bachelors, they always just drop her off with a good night kiss. Thank you Joanne Fluke!!

If you read this book and love it I am not opposed to you showing your appreciation with baked goods!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lillian Jackson Braun
This book was published in 1968. The third in the series. It is a little gritty. I like seeing into Qwill's life when he still lived "Down Below". I have read most of this series (28 books). She wrote the first three and then took an eighteen year hiatus before book 4.

The mystery is pretty light, but you can find the clues if you are looking. I like the cat angle. Koko and Yum Yum have a certain way about them that cat lovers will gravitate towards.

Qwill's pipe smoking is very dated, but I can over look it due to the age of the book. It is somewhat distracting, though.

This is a good one to start with, as it introduces Mrs. Cobb. I just LOVE Mrs. Cobb!!! Of course it would be even better to start at the beginning with The Cat Who Could Read Backwards.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This delightful drama is set just as WWII is ending. A widow, Caroline Dering, is relieved to have her son home after three years in Malay. Also floating into the village is a stranger. A man that Caroline develops a friendship with. That friendship becomes strained once her sister Harriet arrives and Caroline realizes Harriet's feelings for the newcomer.

The story moves slowly and sweetly. I loved the slice of English village life that we get to examine. It is a time of radical social and economic change. The older generation and the younger generation have to struggle to fit themselves together.

I am looking forward to reading the sequels, Music in the Hills and Shoulder the Sky.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Cat Who Smelled a Rat

Lillian Jackson Braun This is one of my favorite series. LJB delivers another great installment of Qwill, Koko And Yum Yum. Later books in the series are a little disappointing, but her form is still good here. It is sort of a mystery and sort of a romance, but really it is the story of this strange little town called Pickax that Qwill lives in. Do not start with this book! She has been writing this series since the 60's. This is installment number 23. You need not read them in order necessarily, but start closer to the beginning so things are clearer. The lives of Qwill and his friends are very interesting....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mary Roberts Rinehart
Written in 1907, this is an oldie, but what a goodie! It is full of all the "fun" moments that used to make you jump onto your bed as a kid so the monster wouldn't grab your feet! There are faces looking in through the windows and "ghosts" dropping and dragging noisy objects. Maids scream and faint. Fabulous. It is silly and scary and fun fun fun!

Mary Roberts Rinehart was a prolific writer in the first half of the twentieth century. You can find many of her books still in print. She wrote more romance than mystery, but is remembered for the mysteries more.

You will not be able to put this down.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Paul Aron

This was a fun read. I liked having a book handy that was full of 15 minute stories. Perfect for pick up lines and waiting for kids at piano! It was well written but not very enlightening. I didn't really discover anything new, but it was fun. I am a history and mystery buff, so it was right up my alley.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I really enjoyed this one. I think the part that I liked best is that I figured it out. It wasn't easy, but pieces started to fall together. I like that in a book. So many times you get to the end and the mystery is solved and it is so improbable. Very enjoyable.