Tuesday, November 3, 2015
As I mentioned, Philippa Carr is the author of the series, and that is a pseudonym for Eleanor Hibbert. Hibbert was quite a prolific writer, using different pseudonyms for different genres. She wrote romantic suspense as Victoria Holt, historical novels as Jean Plaidy, and the romantic, suspenseful, historical Daughters of England series as Philippa Carr. I haven't read any Plaidy, but I am a huge fan of the Victoria Holt books. I have found the Daughters of England series to be equally entertaining. It's always good to have an author you love who is also prolific.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
A is for Arsenic is an interesting ready, but I have to admit that I found myself skimming the book. Instead of reading this book as you would a typical fiction book, I think it would be great as a resource for the dedicated Christie fan, who could consult the book as he or she reads the mystery.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Damask Farland is the heroine of the book, and obviously the start of the line of strong women who get involved with strong men. The miracle in the title is the baby who is found in the crib at the local abbey altar at Christmas one year. The boy is named Bruno, and he is raised by the monks. However, in the time of Henry VIII, there is a good deal of religious upheaval. Henry basically got rid of the church because he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. The reader learns about all the things going on in Henry's court and the country through mostly secondhand stories told by Damask and her cousin Kate. Anyway, the abbey is dismantled, and Bruno is exposed as love child between a Damask's female servant and a monk. Bruno vanishes one day shortly after the abbey is emptied, and he is gone for a few years. Kate marries a lord and quickly has a boy. Damask's father is imprisoned and beheaded for harboring a former monk. When Bruno comes back, he marries Damask, and surprises of surprises, he has enough money to restore the abbey. There is a lot of tension between Damask, her step-father, Simon Caseman (who betrayed Damask's father to get her father's lands), and Bruno. Things also don't go well when Damask is only able to produce a female child.
All in all, the book is a classic start to the stories that were published in the Philippa Carr name. There is some romance, some intrigue, some happiness, and some depression. If you like historical novels with strong female characters, you should give the Carr books a try. You will not be disappointed.
Overall, the mystery was not easy to solve, and there were red herrings to wiggle around. My favorite part of any of Marsh's novels is the depiction of the characters. I felt that I could really visualize the characters, and I found myself drawn into the plot. All in all, it was a very enjoyable mystery.
As a note, I loved the cover of the book. Yes, it is rather graphic, but I think that it's eye catching. Don't you just want to read a book with a picture of a dead body sprawled on a piano?
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Marsh did a masterful job in plotting out this mystery. You can feel the tension build. I know that I started to suspect several of the passengers, and I wasn't sure if I was really onto the Jampot until the very end. Fortunately for me, even though I had read the book before, I couldn't remember the murderer. All of Marsh's mysteries have an erudite air about them, and there is always a lesson to be learned about art, literature, or classical theater. I am a fan of Roderick Alleyn and Agatha Troy, and it was very enjoyable to revisit them in Clutch of Constables.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
As an example of a question, someone mentioned that he and his wife were wondering if they should start a family. Ariel's advice was to stay with a family for a week and observe the interactions. Then the couple should offer to watch the kids for a whole week. As Ariely said, if you thought his suggestions were asking too much, maybe you shouldn't have kids of your own. Ariely provides logical, rational insight into the dilemmas and questions that people have. One that particularly caught my attention was the letter from someone who hated his job of eight years and wondered if he should get a new job. Ariely suggested that the person take a long vacation (three weeks) and volunteer at the place that he thought he might like to work. He could then decide if the grass was greener elsewhere. If the guy wasn't interested in trying out the volunteer job, Ariely suggested that maybe the guy's dissatisfaction with the job wasn't that great, and the guy should just stay where he was and stop complaining.
I love to read Ariely's insights into behavior. Since I subscribe to the newsletter, I read (and remembered) the majority of letters. What made the book new and interesting for me were the cartoons by William Haefeli. They did a great job of illustrating, in a comic way, Ariely's feedback. If you haven't read anything by Ariely, you should definitely read this book. It will give you a taste of rational thinking, and it will make you want to read more of Ariely's writing.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The Fairy-Tale Detectives is a entertaining take on the modern fairy tale, and I really enjoyed reading it. There seven other books in the series, and I know that I want to find out what happens to Sabrina and Daphne, and to see if they find their parents, who may have been kidnapped by some Everafters who want the Grimm family dead. If the last Grimm dies, the spell that binds the Everafters to Ferryport Landing will be broken, and the Everafters can be free to roam the world again. Not only will the youngster in your life enjoy the story, but you will too.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Dr. Lewis Tunney is a friend of the vice president, and it seems he also has some secret information about goings on at the Smithsonian. At a gala at the museum, Tunney winds up getting killed with Jefferson's sword, and at the same time, the Legion of Harsa medal goes missing. The murderer has to be one of the guests at the gala, but who could it be. When Mac Hanrahan investigates, he finds his way blocked by everyone. The Vice President is not being very helpful, and the employees at the museum seem to act pretty suspiciously. When Tunney's fiancee, Heather McBea shows up, the investigation becomes even more cloudy. Heather's uncle was the one who donated the Harsa to the museum. The uncle also supposedly committed suicide, which Heather doesn't believe he would do. Then Heather starts to be the victim of some mysterious doings, such as a mugging, room ransack, and bombing. Can Mac Hanrahan figure out what's going on before Heather turns up dead.
The mystery in the book was a good one. However, I did have a problem with Heather. Every time she has information, that she should have shared with Mac if she really wanted Tunney's murder to be solved, she would keep it to herself. Then she would find herself in a threatening situation, and she would STILL keep her mouth shut. I found myself yelling at the book in frustration because Heather was so stupid and has such a lack of self preservation. I seem to be running into that a lot with mysteries lately, and I had the same complaint about Miss Seeton. I guess it's supposed to add to the suspense, but it doesn't work for me. I will continue to read Truman because I have a few more on my Kindle.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
I'm not sure if I like Miss Seeton. She seems like a bit of an idiot. Someone tries to kidnap her, but she thinks that it's really just a lark by a youngster. I found myself shaking my head at her several times. It was really annoying when she would keep important facts from the police because she didn't think that it was really important or criminal activity. I will be reading more because they are light, frothy reads. However, if Miss Seeton continues being such an annoying idiot, I might have to change my mind!
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Crichton's story is quite enjoyable, and you can see Crichton's personal quirks showing up in Ian Malcolm. Grant and the kids have a much more tense time getting back from the outage that leaves them stranded in the park, and the whole group are attacked much more frequently than in the movie. I really miss Crichton's writing, and I'll probably be re-reading more in the future. Next up will be The Lost World.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Doesn't that sound like a fun story? The book wasn't very long, but after the attack where Jimmy vanishes, the book began to drag for me. I started to skim the book because Hart just went on and on about the awful life that Chinese immigrants had in the US. They were poor and lived in squalor. Families fought for a chance to educate their children, to make life better for the children. Old people died alone and destitute. This dialog didn't really move the story any further, and I started to skim the pages to get to the action. Eventually, there is some more at the end, and Ellen and Dan find romance. However, I found the book to be a more tiresome read, and I did not enjoy it as much as I have the other vintage Harts that I've read. If you read it, I hope that your experience is different.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I enjoyed this story. The story is a quick read, and I have to admit that I didn't suspect the murderer or the reason for the crime. Up until the last 15 pages or so, I was as bamboozled as most other readers are, I suspect. There is some humor in the dry, British humor sort of way. The story has the feel of a golden age detective novel, and I am looking forward to reading more Detective Inspector Sloan mysteries.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The King of the Castle tells the story of Dallas Lawson, an English woman whose father has recently died. She worked with him restoring paintings. When the Comte de la Talle requests Dallas' father to come to restore the Comte's collection, Dallas goes instead. Imagine the consternation of the Comte's staff when a woman shows up instead of a man. However, the Comte, a womanizer, gives Dallas a chance. The Comte seems to show an interest in Dallas, and Dallas has an interest in the Comte, the Comte's young daughter, the castle, the paintings, and the surrounding land and people. Yep, Dallas is hooked. Of course, there is a problem other than the Comte being a womanizer. There's also a rumor that he murdered his wife by giving her a sleeping draught. Of course, Dallas gets involved in all that is going on, and she restores a painting showing some beautiful emeralds that have been missing for years. There's lots of tension about whether the Comte is really interested in Dallas, and if Dallas should leave the castle before it's too late. She doesn't, or we wouldn't have much of a story.
I liked the book. I think that some women would have problems with the fact that Dallas is so accepting of the Comte's bad behavior and womanizing. Dallas even says that if he would cheat on her, she would still not leave her. Actually, I think the Comte is willing to give up his womanizing ways for the woman he loves. All in all, the Comte is not as bad as he is made out to be. As usual with Holt, the book was an enjoyable read.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
The book is a product of its time, with Erica acting like many women in the 1970s who wanted to break free from male bonds that kept the women in demeaning roles. There were some action scenes and thrills, however, compared to the fast-paced thrillers of today, Sphinx seems a bit on the tame and lame side. I kept on waiting for something really exciting to happen, and I had to wait until the last 30 pages of the book. Even then the tension was quickly resolved. Cook did some research on Egyptology, but overall, I found the book to be unsatisfying. I think that's why it took me so long to drag through the book.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Although the book is not long, Aird provides a fairly complex mystery. It wasn't clear at all who the murder was. In fact, I was quite shocked at the end when all was revealed. I already got the two of the next three books in the series. The third Henriette Who is not available from my library. However, the fourth Inspector Sloan book is the classic The Stately Home Murder, and I am really looking forward to reading it.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
As with the other Kaye mysteries, the heroine is some backbone, but lacks in common sense because she gets herself into trouble, which could have been avoided if only the heroine thought about it. Death in Kashmir is a good thriller, and Kaye did keep my guessing about who was the bad guy. Kaye did a great job describing the situation in India in the late 1940s. In the Author's Note, Kaye mentions that the literary agent who was assigned to her was Paul Scott, who went on to write the Raj QuartetDeath in Kashmir.
It's a shame that Kaye only wrote six mysteries. I'll have to check out Far Pavilions and The Ordinary Princess.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Meltzer twists the plot and tension around. I never suspected the truth behind the Three, and the tension was constant with Wes trying to figure out what the heck was going on and Nico trying to track down Wes and Boyle. The story moved around from the viewpoints of Wes, his friend Rogo, and intrepid gossip reporter Lisbeth. I was reminded of The Fifth Assassin, another Meltzer book. I think that Meltzer sticks to a genre that he knows and does well. I enjoyed the book, and I just wish that Meltzer wrote more books.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I really enjoyed this book. The action was fast paced and thrilling. I have to admit that I couldn't figure out who the murderer was or why the murders were happening. The clues are all there, but Kaye does a good job of keeping the reader guessing. What I like the most about Kaye's mystery books is the romantic element. The heroine is always getting herself into trouble, and the hero is always the strong, omniscient, silent type. The heroine doesn't know if the hero suspects her of murder, and the pair of them tend to be at odds because they can't realize that they are in love. Of course, all works out well in the end, which is why I loves these books. Unlike the real world, everything works out for the best. Death in Cyprus is a winner.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Real Murders was a real page-turner. I found myself reading the book every spare moment, walking up the steps, eating lunch, riding on the bus, etc. Aurora is a likable character, and I will definitely be checking out the second book in the series when it's available for Kindle loan from Overdrive. I'm also looking forward to the Hallmark Channel movies. Candace Cameron Bure will be playing Aurora when the movie comes out in April.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Sad Cypress is an Hercule Poirot mystery. Elinor Carlisle is accused of murdering Mary Gerrard, a young woman who had been a protege of Elinor's aunt. When Elinor and her fiance, Roddy Winter, who is also a relation by Elinor's aunt's marriage to Roddy's uncle, get an anonymous letter about Mary Gerrard cozying up to the sick aunt, they go to visit the aunt to see what's going on. Roddy winds up falling for Mary, and when the aunt dies suddenly after a second debilitating stroke, Elinor is the sole heir. The aunt died without a will, but she did express an interest in taking care of Mary Gerrard. Elinor breaks off her engagement because Roddy is in love with Mary, and Roddy also seems upset that Elinor has all the money. Roddy is rebuffed by Mary, and Elinor encourages Roddy to go to Europe. When Elinor goes down to sell her aunt's house and invites Mary and Nurse Hopkins to lunch, Mary winds up dead. Elinor is instantly suspected because of jealousy over the loss of Roddy. The local doctor, who is smitten with Elinor, enlists the help of Poirot to prove Elinor is innocent. Can Poirot do it? More importantly, is Elinor innocent?
Sad Cypress was an enjoyable mystery. The clues are all there, and when Poirot gives the recap at the end, it makes perfect sense. I know that I found myself smacking my palm to my forehead over clues that I overlooked, or didn't even realize were clues. Christie was the master of weaving a great mystery, and in this case, she created some believable characters. Elinor may not always seem very likable, but I did feel sympathy for her. Not only that, but I could see myself have the same reaction to losing my fiance. All in all, Sad Cypress was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery that I would recommend to any who haven't experienced Christie or Poirot.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
I have to admit that Death in Berlin in Berlin is my favorite of the Death in ... series of Kaye's. The mystery is not obvious, and the tension and suspense build as the story continues. Miranda is a very likable character, and I found myself rooting for more action between her and Simon Lang. If anything, the romance part of the story is a tad underdone, but that means that most of the concentration was on the action and the suspense. All in all, this was an an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
I really enjoyed reading the story, and it was an added touch that it happened during the Christmas holidays. The plot was just convoluted enough to keep it interesting and to prevent me from figuring out who done it. It should have been as clear as the nose on my face, but Kaye did an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing. Next up is Death in Berlin.