Discussion:
Mr Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
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Carol Dickinson
2017-08-06 08:02:51 UTC
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I FINALLY FOUND A NEW AUTHOR I LIKE! Yes I was shouting. What's it been, 3 years I've been complaining that all the new authors are just not as good as the ones I used to read.

I don't remember even buying this book, but sometimes I do read just plain history and I probably picked it up for that reason. I do see on the back the promo quotes are from Rhys Bowen (I love 2 of her series) Carolyn Hart, whom I do not read, and Cara Black who is mystery author I am unfamiliar with. This might have been part of why I brought it home.

Its doesn't really fit the cozy genre, but there is no blood, guts and gore. The premise is that Churchill's secretary is murdered, and there is an immediate need for somebody trustworthy so some of his spy folks call a girl they know and plunk her into the slot. She had applied to be a spy/code breaker because she had a degree in mathematics but was not chosen.

This story is set in 1940 before the Blitz began. It seems to have a good feel for the period. I learned a lot about Britain in that period that I didn't know, and I thought I did know a lot.

The heroine is a British born girl, raised by her aunt in the USA. She was working for Ambassador Joseph Kennedy until he was recalled, but she inherits a house in London,takes in roomers and finds another job.

There are death/murders and several other mysteries. I suppose it more accurately be classified as a thriller. Although set in 1940 it does introduce a few elements from a modern feminist perspective without preaching, more just giving us a chance to realize how much things have changed in 80 years. Nice puzzles though. There were clues, and I did figure out some of them because she plays fair with them, but then end was a surprise. I like to be surprised at the end.

This one was written in 2012 and there is a second one mentioned at the back called Princess Elizabeth's Spy, which I will definitely be looking for.
Nyssa
2017-08-06 16:20:39 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
I FINALLY FOUND A NEW AUTHOR I LIKE! Yes I was shouting.
What's it been, 3 years I've been complaining that all the
new authors are just not as good as the ones I used to
read.
I don't remember even buying this book, but sometimes I do
read just plain history and I probably picked it up for
that reason. I do see on the back the promo quotes are
from Rhys Bowen (I love 2 of her series) Carolyn Hart,
whom I do not read, and Cara Black who is mystery author I
am unfamiliar with. This might have been part of why I
brought it home.
Its doesn't really fit the cozy genre, but there is no
blood, guts and gore. The premise is that Churchill's
secretary is murdered, and there is an immediate need for
somebody trustworthy so some of his spy folks call a girl
they know and plunk her into the slot. She had applied to
be a spy/code breaker because she had a degree in
mathematics but was not chosen.
This story is set in 1940 before the Blitz began. It seems
to have a good feel for the period. I learned a lot about
Britain in that period that I didn't know, and I thought I
did know a lot.
The heroine is a British born girl, raised by her aunt in
the USA. She was working for Ambassador Joseph Kennedy
until he was recalled, but she inherits a house in
London,takes in roomers and finds another job.
There are death/murders and several other mysteries. I
suppose it more accurately be classified as a thriller.
Although set in 1940 it does introduce a few elements from
a modern feminist perspective without preaching, more just
giving us a chance to realize how much things have changed
in 80 years. Nice puzzles though. There were clues, and I
did figure out some of them because she plays fair with
them, but then end was a surprise. I like to be surprised
at the end.
This one was written in 2012 and there is a second one
mentioned at the back called Princess Elizabeth's Spy,
which I will definitely be looking for.
Sounds like you may have found a winner for us, Carol.

I remember reading a book from the Eleanor Roosevelt series
of mysteries written by Elliot Roosevelt. Oh my, they were
NOT good. Lots of historical tidbits, but the mystery was
a big disappointment.

This new one you've found sounds like it's better done
overall. Probably because the author isn't related to any
of the characters. lol

Nyssa, who will have to keep an eye out for this one
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-07 18:17:53 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
I remember reading a book from the Eleanor Roosevelt series
of mysteries written by Elliot Roosevelt. Oh my, they were
NOT good. Lots of historical tidbits, but the mystery was
a big disappointment.
I read a couple of his too. I thought the mysteries were just
so so, but I read them so long after they were written I thought
perhaps just the style was old fashioned. And then many of the
historical tidbits were things I didn't care to know.

I also read a Margaret Truman, but I think I only just read the
one and I don't remember it. I just never acquired another for
my TBR pile.

And then there is the newer author, something that starts with
H, that has the series about the white house chef that solves
mysteries. I has a hard time suspending my disbelief with that
one and I think I rolled my eyes a few times. One was a enough.

Perhaps I just don't like mysteries featuring the White House.

Carol
Nyssa
2017-08-07 21:16:46 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Nyssa
I remember reading a book from the Eleanor Roosevelt
series of mysteries written by Elliot Roosevelt. Oh my,
they were NOT good. Lots of historical tidbits, but the
mystery was a big disappointment.
I read a couple of his too. I thought the mysteries were
just so so, but I read them so long after they were
written I thought perhaps just the style was old
fashioned. And then many of the historical tidbits were
things I didn't care to know.
I also read a Margaret Truman, but I think I only just
read the one and I don't remember it. I just never
acquired another for my TBR pile.
And then there is the newer author, something that starts
with H, that has the series about the white house chef
that solves mysteries. I has a hard time suspending my
disbelief with that one and I think I rolled my eyes a few
times. One was a enough.
Perhaps I just don't like mysteries featuring the White
House.
Carol
I remember reading one of the Margaret Truman mysteries too.
Nothing in it made me want to go out and find more.

I guess it's just more of the celebrity name recognition
syndrome that makes authors out of non-writers hoping that
people will recognize the name and buy the book(s).

Nyssa, who luckily only buys books such as this when they're
on the bargain bin pile
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-07 21:50:59 UTC
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Post by Nyssa
I guess it's just more of the celebrity name recognition
syndrome that makes authors out of non-writers hoping that
people will recognize the name and buy the book(s).
Nyssa, who luckily only buys books such as this when they're
on the bargain bin pile
Well I read the one by Humphrey Bogart which was fiction based
closely on fact. The sleuth was the son of a movie star who
was a dead ringer for Lauren Bacall. It was good enough.

And I read one by Peter Duchin (jr) which was about the same
kind of thing. Good too, but I wasn't really into the music
world enough to find out if he wrote more.

In those 2 instances, the famous name might have got my attention
and even that of the publishing house, but the story deserved
to be published.

I must say I also tried to read "The Hornet's Nest" by
Jimmy Carter. The first 7 chapters were pretty good fiction
and I cared about the characters. There was one really out
of place line that made my head spin. Doesn't matter why now
but it was clearly at the suggestion of an editor.

But by chapter 7 he had killed off all the fictional characters
and it turned into a dry history of the American Revolution
in Georgia. I put it down. I tried a couple of times to
get back to it because it is a part of history I know
nothing about. But it was just too boring. I finally
donated it to a senior center library in case somebody
who really loved Carter could appreciate it.

That one should not have been published in the form it was.
Needed a lot of better editing. Wouldn't have been published
if the author had not been in the White House.

I have appreciated other authors who wrote fictional
stories /series set in the American Revolution, John
Jakes for one and of course my favorite writer Diana
Gabaldon,although she started with the '45 in Scotland,
but #s 5-8 have been set in the Revolution and #9 will
be too. #5 "The Fiery Cross" has a lot of historical
stuff, even proclamations by the governor that take
up whole pages, but its not dry.

Carol
p***@gmail.com
2017-08-08 01:36:42 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by Nyssa
I remember reading a book from the Eleanor Roosevelt series
of mysteries written by Elliot Roosevelt. Oh my, they were
NOT good. Lots of historical tidbits, but the mystery was
a big disappointment.
I read a couple of his too. I thought the mysteries were just
so so, but I read them so long after they were written I thought
perhaps just the style was old fashioned. And then many of the
historical tidbits were things I didn't care to know.
I also read a Margaret Truman, but I think I only just read the
one and I don't remember it. I just never acquired another for
my TBR pile.
And then there is the newer author, something that starts with
H, that has the series about the white house chef that solves
mysteries. I has a hard time suspending my disbelief with that
one and I think I rolled my eyes a few times. One was a enough.
Perhaps I just don't like mysteries featuring the White House.
Carol
For other readers, the author is Julie Hyzy and she has another series having to do with the Grace Manor, nothing to do with the White House or DC. She sent the White House duo into Witness Protection. Yes, I read those, too.

If you're wondering if I do anything but read, you're very close. I do laundry and cooking and necessary shopping, but I'm a lousy house cleaner!

Pam

Pam
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-08 21:19:46 UTC
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the author is Julie Hyzy <snipped> Yes, I read those, too.

But did you roll your eyes? Sending those characters into witness protections would be a good place for them.
Post by p***@gmail.com
If you're wondering if I do anything but read, you're very close. I do laundry and cooking and necessary shopping, but I'm a lousy house cleaner!
Pam
I'm about the same. Retired. Hubby sits in a chair as a lump and stares at his computer until he falls asleep. He has some sort of dementia so whatever gets done around the house I do, but laundry, meals, and shopping/errands is nearly the whole list.

I also have to do all the money stuff. Bills are auto-paid, but the taxes and insurance claims don't "auto", and I'm still trying to rebuild my genealogy files from the destruction done by Family Treemaker 5 years ago. Am putting together a family history for my nephew as a wedding gift. Each niece and nephew gets one. However he chose to marry just after the crash and on just a few days notice. He's been divorced for years now and just moved in with a new significant other, so I'm way behind on that. Hence not much besides laundry, lunch and shopping.

The grass/weeds in the yard is 2 feet high. The dog loves the backyard wilderness preferring it, it seems, to lawn and I live rural so none of the neighbors can see it. And I don't care anyway. When I moved here the yards on either side were wooded original forest. Now the north neighbor has an ORANGE connex just outside my dining room window with a street light on top that shines all night right into the bedroom, and the south neighbor bulldozed all
the trees and created a parking lot for his construction equipment. SO my view
that direction instead of forest, horses and dogs is now graders, and bulldozers. So if the dog likes 2 feet of greenery, I'm ok with it.

Carol
p***@gmail.com
2017-08-13 17:53:39 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
the author is Julie Hyzy <snipped> Yes, I read those, too.
But did you roll your eyes? Sending those characters into witness protections would be a good place for them.
Post by p***@gmail.com
If you're wondering if I do anything but read, you're very close. I do laundry and cooking and necessary shopping, but I'm a lousy house cleaner!
Pam
I'm about the same. Retired. Hubby sits in a chair as a lump and stares at his computer until he falls asleep. He has some sort of dementia so whatever gets done around the house I do, but laundry, meals, and shopping/errands is nearly the whole list.
I also have to do all the money stuff. Bills are auto-paid, but the taxes and insurance claims don't "auto", and I'm still trying to rebuild my genealogy files from the destruction done by Family Treemaker 5 years ago. Am putting together a family history for my nephew as a wedding gift. Each niece and nephew gets one. However he chose to marry just after the crash and on just a few days notice. He's been divorced for years now and just moved in with a new significant other, so I'm way behind on that. Hence not much besides laundry, lunch and shopping.
The grass/weeds in the yard is 2 feet high. The dog loves the backyard wilderness preferring it, it seems, to lawn and I live rural so none of the neighbors can see it. And I don't care anyway. When I moved here the yards on either side were wooded original forest. Now the north neighbor has an ORANGE connex just outside my dining room window with a street light on top that shines all night right into the bedroom, and the south neighbor bulldozed all
the trees and created a parking lot for his construction equipment. SO my view
that direction instead of forest, horses and dogs is now graders, and bulldozers. So if the dog likes 2 feet of greenery, I'm ok with it.
Carol
Wow, maybe we're related. We live on a ridge at 8500-ft elevation in Colorado. One more likely hears a weed wacker than a lawn mower. We've designated an area of our yard the Deer Bar and Grill.

Pam
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-16 22:29:10 UTC
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Post by p***@gmail.com
Wow, maybe we're related. We live on a ridge at 8500-ft elevation in Colorado. One more likely hears a weed wacker than a lawn mower. We've designated an area of our yard the Deer Bar and Grill.
Pam
Oh cute! Don't really have deer here in my neighborhood, moose, bear, wolf, lynx, fox,etc.

My cousin Barb, who inherited my uncle Bob's place though, has deer that never leave the property. They own a whole section, have a pond, a fallow field and an ancient orchard. They can sit on the porch of the original 1860's homestead they use as the guests house/hunting cabin and harvest their fall venison.
p***@gmail.com
2017-08-17 04:15:31 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by p***@gmail.com
Wow, maybe we're related. We live on a ridge at 8500-ft elevation in Colorado. One more likely hears a weed wacker than a lawn mower. We've designated an area of our yard the Deer Bar and Grill.
Pam
Oh cute! Don't really have deer here in my neighborhood, moose, bear, wolf, lynx, fox,etc.
My cousin Barb, who inherited my uncle Bob's place though, has deer that never leave the property. They own a whole section, have a pond, a fallow field and an ancient orchard. They can sit on the porch of the original 1860's homestead they use as the guests house/hunting cabin and harvest their fall venison.
Moose aren't that great visiting as they're so violent, and they are moving back into the neighborhood. We do have fox, mountain lions, puma, bear, elk, coyote. We have a friend who lives on a ridge in Colorado Springs. The ridge is full of bear dens and bear roaming around in that neighborhood is quite normal. One needs to keep doors closed or they invite themselves into your kitchen for lunch. Mary Jo, however, did call animal control when she got home from work and found a mountain lion sunning on her patio. This is a very heavily populated part of the Springs, not on the outskirts.

I rather envy your cousin's home.

Pam
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-18 07:07:17 UTC
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Post by p***@gmail.com
Moose aren't that great visiting as they're so violent,
Yes they are. Not all, but many. Once I was walking my new puppy in my side yard, marching around in a square in the snow in the dark (potty training) and the puppy, who had lived with her litter in a horse pasture with horses wandering around so she was used to tall animals with long legs) walked right into a moose and bumped her head. I was only 3 feet away at the other end of the leash and I didn't see the moose either. But it was a placid one. Later in life she got kicked by a moose and after that anytime there was a moose within 300 yards she hugged the side of the house. Great clue for us since the rest of the pack was not cautious about them.


The ridge is full of bear dens and bear roaming around in that neighborhood is quite normal. One needs to keep doors closed or they invite themselves into your kitchen for lunch.


Around here, they do that even with the doors closed.
Post by p***@gmail.com
I rather envy your cousin's home.
Me too. Before my Uncle died and Barb upgraded the main house to a ridiculous mini palace, I used to actually have dreams that I lived on that farm in the old homestead guest house, wood cookstove, outdoor water pump and outhouse not a deterrant. She is not a relative I could live that close to.

Carol
m***@hotmail.com
2017-08-18 19:54:00 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
Post by p***@gmail.com
Wow, maybe we're related. We live on a ridge at 8500-ft elevation in Colorado. One more likely hears a weed wacker than a lawn mower. We've designated an area of our yard the Deer Bar and Grill.
Pam
Oh cute! Don't really have deer here in my neighborhood, moose, bear, wolf, lynx, fox,etc.
My cousin Barb, who inherited my uncle Bob's place though, has deer that never leave the property. They own a whole section, have a pond, a fallow field and an ancient orchard. They can sit on the porch of the original 1860's homestead they use as the guests house/hunting cabin and harvest their fall venison.
Moose aren't that great visiting as they're so violent, and they are moving
back into the neighborhood.
I've looked at a few deer and moose antler-fight videos. Terrifying.
p***@gmail.com
2017-08-06 22:23:41 UTC
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Post by Carol Dickinson
I FINALLY FOUND A NEW AUTHOR I LIKE! Yes I was shouting. What's it been, 3 years I've been complaining that all the new authors are just not as good as the ones I used to read.
I don't remember even buying this book, but sometimes I do read just plain history and I probably picked it up for that reason. I do see on the back the promo quotes are from Rhys Bowen (I love 2 of her series) Carolyn Hart, whom I do not read, and Cara Black who is mystery author I am unfamiliar with. This might have been part of why I brought it home.
Its doesn't really fit the cozy genre, but there is no blood, guts and gore. The premise is that Churchill's secretary is murdered, and there is an immediate need for somebody trustworthy so some of his spy folks call a girl they know and plunk her into the slot. She had applied to be a spy/code breaker because she had a degree in mathematics but was not chosen.
This story is set in 1940 before the Blitz began. It seems to have a good feel for the period. I learned a lot about Britain in that period that I didn't know, and I thought I did know a lot.
The heroine is a British born girl, raised by her aunt in the USA. She was working for Ambassador Joseph Kennedy until he was recalled, but she inherits a house in London,takes in roomers and finds another job.
There are death/murders and several other mysteries. I suppose it more accurately be classified as a thriller. Although set in 1940 it does introduce a few elements from a modern feminist perspective without preaching, more just giving us a chance to realize how much things have changed in 80 years. Nice puzzles though. There were clues, and I did figure out some of them because she plays fair with them, but then end was a surprise. I like to be surprised at the end.
This one was written in 2012 and there is a second one mentioned at the back called Princess Elizabeth's Spy, which I will definitely be looking for.
I've read six books of hers in this series. I think there may be a new one coming out soon. I do so enjoy these.

Pam
Carol Dickinson
2017-08-07 18:09:52 UTC
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Post by p***@gmail.com
I've read six books of hers in this series. I think there may be a new one coming out soon. I do so enjoy these.
Pam
SiX! Happy day!

Carol
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