Discussion:
Recent reads.
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Carol Dickinson
2017-09-13 04:33:50 UTC
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My we are so quiet here lately. I remember when there were so many posts the digest came several times a day. OK a lot of it was OT, but at least we were talking, and as someone once said, whatever we talked about did eventually become relevant to something someone was reading, like when I mentioned "yellow dog Democrats" and had then to define it and then about a week later somebody posted they'd run across that reference in their current book.

So I'm still kind of feeling the after affects of "Caledonia" probably because I finished it right before the end of Droutlander. Everybody knows there's quite a hangover for addicts and I certainly am one for that.

But I decided I needed something rally upbeat after that so I picked a Jennifer Crusie mystery, one of her earliest ones, "Getting Rid of Bradley". Hers are always half romancey, but tolerable and very funny. I discovered her when I picked up "Agnes and the Hitman". Now who can resist a title like that. Anyway this was the best Crusie I've ever read. Must suspend disbelief a bit because the heroine, Lucy, decides on a divorce and its granted within the month, no muss no fuss, except her ex "Bradley" doesn't show up in court but wants to meet her afterwards at a certain creepy hamburger joint, but doesn't show up. When she decides to finally leave, the cute guy she's been eyeing approaches her and leaps on top of her shoving her into an alley. Well she's a modern woman and she fights back, whallops him darn good only to find out he's a cop who was "protecting her" when he thought she was being shot at. Next things that go bad is she dyes her hair but it comes out green, and the cop moves into her house to "protect her". The mystery is pretty darn good. I didn't put the clues together. But mostly it lifted my mood out of dark Scottish hangover.

Then I raed Alisa Craig's "Grub and Stakers Spin a Yarn". This was the best of that series so I'm glad I read this one last. They were good mysteries but a bit too spoofish which is probably why there were only the 4. If only she hadn't given all her characters such odd names. This one although it has much to do with a yarn shop, but not making things out of yarn, only that the dead guy stumbles into it and then out before dropping dead in front of our protagonist. It involves the stolen recipe for the most famous mincemeat made in Canada. And male siamese twins who share a spine, meaning one is always walking backwards. Very light and fluffy but the mystery part was good.

Jusr before "Caledonia" I read "The Bishop as Pawn" by Ralph McInerny, a very early one in his Father Dowling series. I was curious how the TV show came to be, so this one I read just to see. Had very little to do with the series. Father Dowling even had a different first name. The only other character from the TV seris was Marie, the housekeeper. The story revolves around her missing husband who's been gone for decades and shows up at the rectory, and later that day ends up dead in Maries bedroom from a gunshot fired from 1/4 mile away. Very good plot.

Last week I also read Sar Graves' "A Bat in the Belfry". This is one of those female home repair genres, which I thought I had read before and after checking I had, but this one was a lot grimmer than the others. A Boston PD detective quits her job and rushes to Maine when she finds a mysterious clue that her dead sisters infant daughter might be located (after 9 years.) Meanwhile a young girl is lured into the belfry of an old church and brutally murdered. The State troopers are then when the Boston cop arrives and trips over a former love whom she dropped when she found out he was married. And the protagonists /home repair folks have a guest staying with them who does research for a writer who does true life murder books. It a dark book not only for all those reasons but a lot of stuff happens in the dark of night, and the highly suspenseful ending happens during a looming hurricane. Just the thing to be reading last week. The others in this series that I have read I would call marginally cozy, but this one ... NOT!

The last book I read was "The House of Seven Mabels" a weak play on words which has very little to do with the story. This is one of Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffry Mysteries. This too is a "home repair" theme, in which Jane and her neighbor Shelley are considering taking on a decorating job for an acquaintance who has decided to rehabilitate an old wreck of a house in their neighborhood and turn it into a corporate condo, using all female contractors. Lots of womens lib theme here which is confusing to Jane and Shelley. But they aren't sure they want to do it for several reasons, primarily because there are a lot of accidents going on and of course one of the persons involved ends up dead. What I liked about this one above and beyond all the things I always like about the Jane Jeffries ones, is that Jane and Shelley aren't enthusiastic about either the project or the feminist themes so they drag their feet. This was written about 15 years ago and I also like how Jane ended up venturing into the computer world and discovering all the neat things a computer could do for her. It was quite nostalgically funny. "Caledonia" hangover cured.

I have just started "The Concubines Children" by Denise Chong, which is non-fiction story about her family. How her grandfather left China and his wife and child for Canada and later imported her grandmother, illegally, as his concubine just as the Canadian and American governments made Chinese immigration illegal over 100 years ago. They famiily settled in Vancouver. It looks to be a very interesting read. This is a part of north American history that is little written about. The only other books I ever found on this subject were the two by Lisa See.

SO what is everybody else reading?
James Nicoll
2017-09-13 14:49:01 UTC
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SO what is everybody else reading?=20
Mostly F&SF for my review blog. I suppose some of it is mystery-like in
shape. Fullmetal Alchemist is about unravelling a vast conspiracy. I
just got to the part where a major character did the Big Reveal of the
villain and it turned out everyone he was speaking to already knew
and didn't care that they were working for a monster.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/james_nicoll
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Nancy Spera
2017-09-13 14:59:58 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
Partway through "The Nine Mile Walk: The Nicky Welt Stories,"
a series of short stories by Harry Kemelman, the author of
the Rabbi Small mysteries. Nicky Welt is a college professor
who uses logic to solve crimes. So far so good.

Nancy

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Carol Dickinson
2017-09-21 01:04:50 UTC
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Post by Nancy Spera
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
Partway through "The Nine Mile Walk: The Nicky Welt Stories,"
a series of short stories by Harry Kemelman, the author of
the Rabbi Small mysteries. Nicky Welt is a college professor
who uses logic to solve crimes. So far so good.
Nancy
I enjoyed the Rabbi series so I'll look for this. Thanks.

carol
Chris F.A. Johnson
2017-09-16 23:24:58 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.

I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.

"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".

http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
--
Chris F.A. Johnson
Francis A. Miniter
2017-09-19 13:35:27 UTC
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Post by Chris F.A. Johnson
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.
I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.
"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".
http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
When George killed off Lynley's wife, I was shocked. I have not read
one of hers since. She was much more of a likeable human than Lynley
himself. I tolerated Lynley because of the supporting characters. And
he does need support.


Francis A. Miniter
Mike Burke
2017-09-19 23:42:16 UTC
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Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Chris F.A. Johnson
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.
I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.
"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".
http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
When George killed off Lynley's wife, I was shocked. I have not read
one of hers since. She was much more of a likeable human than Lynley
himself. I tolerated Lynley because of the supporting characters. And
he does need support.
Francis A. Miniter
I've been binge reading Ann Cleeves's "Vera" series, enjoying every one of
them. We've also been watching the series on TV. This is an interesting
exercise in seeing how far the TV characterisation manages the books'
characters. Brenda Blethyn is picture-perfect in virtually every sense
except the physical. Most of the other characters are pretty close to the
originals. This is one series where, unusually for me, I have been led to
the books by the TV version.

I was disappointed by the Lynley series on TV, but never having read any of
the books really had no frame of reference. For me, the TV version of
Lynley's wife was unlikeable. Whether it was the actress who repelled me,
or just the way she handled the part, I don't know. I didn't think much of
Nathaniel Parker in the Lynley part either. I thought the series was
stolen blind by the woman who played the sergeant. The TV series will
never tempt me to read these books. It was, for this colonial, the ugly
side of the British class system writ large.
--
Mique
Francis A. Miniter
2017-09-21 12:06:57 UTC
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Post by Mike Burke
Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Chris F.A. Johnson
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.
I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.
"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".
http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
When George killed off Lynley's wife, I was shocked. I have not read
one of hers since. She was much more of a likeable human than Lynley
himself. I tolerated Lynley because of the supporting characters. And
he does need support.
Francis A. Miniter
I've been binge reading Ann Cleeves's "Vera" series, enjoying every one of
them. We've also been watching the series on TV. This is an interesting
exercise in seeing how far the TV characterisation manages the books'
characters. Brenda Blethyn is picture-perfect in virtually every sense
except the physical. Most of the other characters are pretty close to the
originals. This is one series where, unusually for me, I have been led to
the books by the TV version.
I was disappointed by the Lynley series on TV, but never having read any of
the books really had no frame of reference. For me, the TV version of
Lynley's wife was unlikeable. Whether it was the actress who repelled me,
or just the way she handled the part, I don't know. I didn't think much of
Nathaniel Parker in the Lynley part either. I thought the series was
stolen blind by the woman who played the sergeant. The TV series will
never tempt me to read these books. It was, for this colonial, the ugly
side of the British class system writ large.
Hi Mike,

Same way in the books. Havers is the smarter one. In the books, unlike
the tv series, Havers is fat and has an eating compulsion. George, I
think, uses the physical images of her and Lynley in contrast. He is
handsome and debonair but not a warm person, while she is physically his
opposite but very likeable.


Francis A. Miniter
Chris F.A. Johnson
2017-09-26 00:01:15 UTC
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Post by Francis A. Miniter
Post by Chris F.A. Johnson
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.
I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.
"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".
http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
When George killed off Lynley's wife, I was shocked. I have not read
one of hers since. She was much more of a likeable human than Lynley
himself. I tolerated Lynley because of the supporting characters. And
he does need support.
Helen was a minor character who had none of personality of other
characters such as Havers or Nkata or even Hillier. Her absence is
barely noticed in later books.
--
Chris F.A. Johnson
Joan in GB-W
2017-09-28 03:31:13 UTC
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Post by Chris F.A. Johnson
Post by Carol Dickinson
SO what is everybody else reading?
I'm reading and re-reading Elizabeth George.
I like most of here work; mostly 3/5 stars, an occasional 4 (e.g.
"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner"); and one 2.
"What Came Before He Shot Her" was a disappointment, but she
redeemed herself with the next one, "Careless in Red".
http://jfr.cfaj.ca/
When George killed off Lynley's wife, I was shocked. I have not read one
of hers since. She was much more of a likeable human than Lynley himself.
I tolerated Lynley because of the supporting characters. And he does need
support.
Francis A. Miniter
I also was disappointed when George killed off Lynley's wife. Also, I found
the books getting longer and longer and longer. I think a good editor could
have edited out 100 or more pages from some of her books.

Joan

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