ATTENTION CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

2015 Editions of the Color Coded , Mount TBR and Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenges--as well as Read It Again, Sam (due to popular demand)-- have been posted. I am also introducing my newest brain-child: Super Book Password. Please check it out!

As in the past, I will post sidebar links for sign-up posts as well as review headquarters once the new year begins.


Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Friday, December 31, 2010

The Friday 56



The Friday 56 is a bookish meme which is hosted by Freda's Voice. It's really easy (and fun!) to participate.

*Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
*Turn to page 56 and find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post that sentence with these instructions on your blog or in the comments section.
*Post a link back to Freda's Voice.
*Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST!

Here's mine from Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham:

"I have no doubt," she went on placidly, "that he has a theory that poor Julia, after having been responsible for Andrew's death, was overtaken by remorse, and committed suicide. Of course, no one but an unimaginative fool who knew neither of the two people concerned would credit such an idea for a moment."

Book Beginnings on Friday


Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy over at A Few More Pages. How to participate: Share the first like (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you like, let us know what your first impressions were based on the first line, and let us know why you did or did not like that sentence. Link up at Katy's page every Friday.


Here is mine from Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham:

When one man is following another, however discreet may be the pursuer or the pursued, the act does not often pass unnoticed in the streets of London.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Follow Friday 40 & Over (31)


It's (almost) Friday and time again for the Follow Friday 40 & Over blog hop (which is in its 31st edition). Sponsored by Never Growing Old, this blog hop asks: Are you a blogger over 40? Yeah, welcome to the club! Please join in the fun and get to know your fellow bloggers!!

The RULES to join in are very simple:

*Grab the button
*Add your link to the list on the blog site
*Visit as many blogs as you can
*Follow the ones you like (and comment to let them know you're following)


Booking Through Thursday: Best & Worst of 2010

This week Booking Through Thursday asks us several questions: What’s the best book you read this year? Worst? Favorite?

Best book I read this year:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (It's pretty amazing that I made it through a BA in English without having read this. Wonderful book. And do you realize how hard it was to narrow it down to just one book????)

Worst book I read:
The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman. (Hands down. Didn't even have to think about it.)

Favorite book of the year:
Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers. (This was a re-read, but I LOVE Sayers and could read her books over and over and over...and still give them a five star rating every time.)


They Call Me Naughty Lola: Review



I suscribed to the London Review of Books for several years. It gave me a little thrill to tell my hubby that I was reading "my literary magazine." (A little joke to counter all his financial magazines.) I loved the reviews. But the first thing I read in every issue? The personals. The LRB attracts its own brand of lonely hearts ads and they are usually hilarious. They Call Me Naughty Lola by David Rose (ed) is a tribute book to those ads--chock full of some the best personals 1998-2005. It is a marvelous collection of the funny (and sometimes down-right weird) side of love. As the book flap says, "The ads have been called 'surreal haikus of the heart,' and in an age of false advertising, the men and women who write them are hindered neither by high expectations nor by positivism of any kind." David Rose is funny in his own right. The introduction is just as much fun as the ads he has chosen for this small volume. The best part? I actually remember some of these ads from the issues I read. It was like recognizing old friends. A fun, little read that's been on my TBR list for a long time. I'm glad the library finally decided to put it on the shelves. Four stars out of five.

The Agency: A Spy in the House (Review)


Earlier this year I read The Agency: The Body in the Tower by Y. S. Lee which is the second in this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't generally like to read a series out of order--but the first book was MIA at the library and I couldn't find it anywhere. Then, apparently the library ordered a replacement and A Spy in the House showed up in my hold requests.

It didn't really hurt the story much to have read these out of order. It was nice to go back and find out how Mary got her start at The Agency and to see the beginnings of her relationship with James Easton who investigates things as well. In A Spy in the House Mary is on her first assignment...a training assignment that is not supposed to prove too dangerous but should allow her to hone her skills for the future. She is set up as a companion to the daughter of a man suspected of smuggling artifacts into England. Her job is to pick up any information she can glean from his conversations at home. But Mary, being Mary, soon exceeds her instructions and winds up breaking and entering his warehouse, rescuing James from a burning building, and getting mixed up in a secret wedding. Being a novice, she makes mistakes, but it is refreshing to have a main character who does that--rather than showing Mary off as the perfect undercover agent.

I had a good time reading both of the novels in this series and look forward the next installment. The Victorian time period is my favorite and I'm always up for another mystery series set in this era. I give A Spy in the House three and a half stars for a good, solid debut to this series.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Support Your Local Library Challenge


Yes, I know. Another challenge. BUT this is the last challenge. Really. I said in the last challenge post I did that I would only do another challenge if the Support Your Local Library Challenge got posted again. And here it is.

Last year (when I participated for the first time), it was hosted by J. Kayes book blog. This year The Book Junkie has taken it on. Here's the short version (for full details go through the link above).


*Books may be any form that you can check out from the library.

*There are four challenge levels--aim high. As long as you read 30 by the end of 2011, you are a winner.

*No need to list books in advance.


I'm going for the big-time--my challenge level is:


Mega Size: Check out and read 51+ library books.

List:

1. Publish & Be Murdered by Ruth Dudley Edwards (1/19/11)
2. The X in Sex: How the X Chromosome Controls Our Lives by David Bainbridge (1/21/11)
3. Live or Die by Anne Sexton (1/21/11)
4. The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys (1/28/11)
5. Use Trouble: Poems by Michael S Harper (1/29/11)
6. Flying Finish by Dick Francis (1/29/11)
7. The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope (2/1/11)
8, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald: An American Woman's Life by Linda Wagner-Martin (2/14/11)
9. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippmann (2/15/11)
10. Something New by P. G. Wodehouse (2/17/11)
11. Zubin Mehta: The Score of My Life by Zubin Mehta (2/21/11)
12. The Thornthwaite Inheritance by Gareth P Jones (2/22/11)
13. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (2/26/11)
14. Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro (3/5/11)
15. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (3/7/11)
16. The Trail of the Red Diamonds by L. Ron Hubbard (3/11/11)
17. The Girl in Blue by P.G. Wodehous (3/12/11)
18. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (3/15/11)
19. The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (3/20/11)
20. Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker (3/23/11)
21. The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3/29/11)
22. Ten Little Herrings by L. C. Tyler (4/6/11)
23. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (4/10/11)
24. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (4/11/11)
25. Burial Deferred by Jonathan Ross (4/11/11)
26. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl (4/16/11)
27. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (4/17/11)
28. Third Girl by Agatha Christie (4/18/11)
29. Victorian Tales of Mystery & Detection by Michael Cox (ed) (4/26/11)
30. Death of a Doxy by Rex Stout (4/26/11)
31. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer (4/28/11)
32. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope (4/29/11)
33. Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov (4/30/11)
34. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (5/2/11)
35. The Wyndham Case by Jill Paton Walsh (5/3/11)
36. Heavy Weather by P. G. Wodehouse (5/4/11)
37. Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner (5/9/11)
38. A Piece of Justice by Jill Paton Walsh (5/12/11)
39. Killer Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh (5/14/11)
40. What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen (5/15/11)
41. Past Tense by Catherine Aird (5/16/11)
42. The Bloody Wood by Michael Innes (5/27/11)
43. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (5/28/11)
44. Howards End Is on the Landing by Susan Hill (5/30/11)
45. The Religious Body by Catherine Aird (5/30/11)
46. The After House by Mary Roberts Rinehart (5/31/11)
47. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L Ulin (6/7/11)
48. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (6/8/11)
49. Oscar Wilde & the Vampire Murders by Gyles Brandreth (6/13/11)
50.
The House of Paper by Carlos María Domínguez (6/15/11)
51. The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay (6/18/11)
52. The Savage Garden by Mark Mills (6/25/11)

Challenge Complete!! 6/25/11

53. The Last Matryoshka by Joyce Yarrow (7/2/11)
54. The Herring in the Library by L. C. Tyler (7/4/11)
55. Hot & Bothered by Jane Isenberg (7/9/11)
56. Roseanna by
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (7/11/11)
57. The Case of the Deceiving Don by Carl Brookins (7/13/11)
58. The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt (7/16/11)
59. Bone Harvest by Mary Logue (7/17/11)
60. Heartless by Gail Carriger (7/21/11)
61. The Prop by Pete Hautman (7/23/11)
62. No Body by Nancy Pickard (7/24/11)
63. Random Walk by Lawrence Block (7/26/11)
64. Shatterday by Harlan Ellison (8/23/11)
65. DeKok & Murder on Blood Mountain by A C Baantjer (8/28/11)
66. Starring Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies (9/9/11)
67. Deadly Reunion by Geraldine Evans (9/9/11)
69. The Quality of Mercy by David Roberts (9/12/11)
70. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin (9/18/11)
71. The Final Solution by Michael Chabon (9/18/11)
72. March Violets by Philip Kerr (9/23/11)
73. Death of an Englishman by Magdalen Nabb (9/25/11)
74.
75.


Out With a Bang Read-a-Thon


Can't resist a Challenge; can't resist a read-a-thon*. Saw the Out With a Bang Read-a-Thon (hosted by Book-Savvy and The Bookish Type) posted on a few of the blogs I follow and immediately caved to peer pressure. Let's see how much reading I can get in by New Year's!

Books Finished (click on title for review):
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (finished 12/30/10)
They Call Me Naughty Lola by David Rose (ed) (finishd 12/30/10)
Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham (finished 12/31/10)


Not as much reading as I'd like to have done, but not too bad considering my husband had me take a road trip to Half-Price Books (came home with six books!) and the Mayberry Cafe (yes, named after The Andy Griffith Show hometown & has an Andy Griffith theme) all day on New Year's Eve.


____________________
*Birdie: Please note...this is NOT a Challenge. Still no slapping going on.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All I Got For Christmas Is...


In the weeks that led up to Christmas, Danya at A Tapestry of Words asked us each week to list items that were on our Christmas Wish Lists. Now that Christmas is officially over at my house (just finished Christmas Part III with my parents today), I can do a wrap-up and report on my Literary Christmas Loot for 2010.

First of all, I received as a blogiversary celebration prize from Bibliosue the much-longed for The Haunted Tea Cosy by Edward Gorey! Yay!


I also received a bevy of books from my 2010 Secret Santa, Mareena (emeraldfiresbookmark) that included The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King (on my list) plus surprises: The Suspect by L. R. Wright, Mrs. de Winter by Susan Hill, Grounds for Murder by Kate Kingsbury, Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham, Slow Dancing with the Angel of Death by Helen Chappell, The Witch's Grave by Phillip DePoy, The Big Four by Agatha Christie, and A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott. Several of these have been on my long TBR list for a long time (and Mareena didn't even know). A cute Santa frog and lovely little glass container came along as well.

My hubby earned major points this Christmas, actually buying me books (that weren't Star Trek--not that I don't like Star Trek, I do; but he's never ventured out of his genre before...). From him, I got Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer and THREE Kerry Greenwood books. The other Georgette Heyer book pictured (The Unfinished Clue) is from my parents. Heyer and Greenwood were both mentioned in my "All I want for Christmas" posts. All in all, a very good year for books.





Last of all...(although not on my book list). I got two book-related t-shirts. The red one is from my boss. It has a picture of shelves of books and a quote which reads: "When I get a little money, I buy BOOKS, and if any is left, I buy food and clothes." Yep. That about sums it up. The Nancy Drew t-shirt is from the hubby (boy, did he do good this year). I'm pretty happy with all the Santas in my life....how about you?





Teaser Tuesdays


MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesdays. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



*Grab your current read.
*Open to a random page.
*Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to spoil the book for others.
*Share the title and author too, so other TT participants can add it to their TBR lists if they like your teaser!

Here's my teaser from The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (p. 50):

Her mouth was dry. What was that sound in the room? Oh, why hadn't she taken the time to lock the door properly behind her?


Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of 2010


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is the Top Ten Books Read in 2010. Let's see if I can stick to just ten....(no particular order)1. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch2. Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain's Smallest Man by Nick Page3. The Inklings of Oxford: C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Their Friends by Harry Lee Poe
4.
Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie
5.
Literary Murder by Batya Gur
6.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barber
7. Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9.
The Divine Comedy 1: Hell by Dante Alighieri (trans by Dorothy L Sayers) [actually all three parts count as one]
The Divine Comedy II: Purgatory by Dante Alighieri (trans by Sayers)
The Divine Comedy III: Paradise by Dante Alighieri (trans by Sayers & Barbara Reynolds)
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Honorable Mention:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
One Step Behind by Henning Mankell
India Black: A Madam of Espionage Mystery by Carol K Carr

And a very special shout-out to The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson. The best YA book I've read in a very long time and if any book could tempt me to read more YA at this time of my life this one is it.

Angel With Two Faces: Review



Angel With Two Faces is the second book in Nicola Upson's mystery series starring Josephine Tey. I have found with mysteries (or just plain fiction) that stars real people in fictional circumstances that they are either very, very good or very, very bad. I am happy to say that this series is very, very good. Upson's first mystery, An Expert in Murder, was good. A strong opener to a very promising series. This book builds on that success and the recurring characters are even stronger and more well-defined in this second outing.

This novel finds Josephine Tey and her friend Inspector Archie Penrose headed to Cornwall for a holiday. Tey is more than ready for a vacation after the exhausting and terrible events that surrounded her latest theatrical work in London and Penrose wants to show off his home country--a beautiful estate that belongs to branches of his family. The visit begins in les than pleasant manner--Penrose must arrive earlier than planned to attent the funeral of a family friend--a young estate worker who has died in a riding accident. However, there are many questions surrounding the accident and soon Tey and Penrose find themselves picking their way through secrets and deceptions and finally a witness to a real-life tragedy enacted at the local Minack Theater. Which secrets have led to the tragic circumstances and how will they affect those who remain?

Wow. This book was nearly unputdownable. If my parents hadn't been scheduled to visit today for Christmas Part III, then I would have read it straight through (except for that thing called sleep that I apparently need). Upson has gotten her characters exactly where she wants them. The interactions are near-perfect. The tension and emotions evoked in reading this story were captivating. There were moments that were gasp-out-loud and full of I-never-saw-that-coming. But it all comes together in a heart-rending, spectacular mystery that will keep you guessing till the very end. And just when you think that all the secrets have been revealed--she proves you wrong and whips out another. And they all work. The reader is never tempted to shout, "Unfair!" Four stars out of five--only because I want to give her room to be even better in the next installment. Which is out and I will have to get my hands on ASAP.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, a bookish meme hosted by Book Journey, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It's a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. So hop on over via the link above and join in...and leave a comment here so I can check out what you are reading.

Books Read Last Week (click on titles for review):
Mrs. Hudson & the Malabar Rose by Martin Davies
Murder Is Suggested by Frances & Richard Lockridge
Murder Has Its Points by Frances & Richard Lockridge
Murder by the Book by Frances & Richard Lockridge

Currently Reading:
Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson. Summer, 1935. Inspector Archie Penrose has invited Josephine Tey to his family home in Cornwall, a struggling but beautiful country estate on a magnificent stretch of coastline. Disillusioned with the London stage, Josephine is ready to begin work on her second mystery novel and finds much to inspire her in the landscape and its legends - in particular, a lake on the estate which is said to claim a life every seven years, and the nearby Minack Theatre, an open-air auditorium which overlooks the sea. But death clouds the holiday from the outset: Josephine's arrival coincides with the funeral of a young estate worker, killed in a mysterious riding accident, and another local boy disappears shortly afterwards. When the Minack proves to be a stage for real-life tragedy and an audacious murder, Archie's loyalties are divided between his friends and his job, and he and Josephine must confront the violent reality which lies beneath a seemingly idyllic community - a community with one face turned towards the present, and another looking back to the crimes of the past.


Books that spark my interest:
A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock (I started this one, but couldn't settle into it. I loved the first in this is series and I still am interested in trying to read this one.)
The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
Scorpions: The Battles & Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices by Noah Feldman. Recently won as a give-away prize from CMash Loves to Read. Very interested in finding a chance to read it! Swing: A Mystery by Rupert Holmes. (set in the Jazz Age)
Theoretically Dead by Tinker Marks (another academic mystery--can't resist those)
The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch (another mystery series that I've gotten hooked on
What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris (ditto)

Something tells me that I'm not going to get all of these read before the New Year begins and I'm off and running on all those challenges I've signed up for....




Sunday, December 26, 2010

Meet Me on Monday (28)


Meet Me on Monday is a blogging meme hosted by Java at Never Growing Old. As she says: "Blogging is a funny thing...we tell our most intimate thoughts for all to read and yet most of the time I find myself wondering, "who is this person?" I know them...but yet I don't know them! I want to know who the person behind all those words is so I thought of a great way for all of us to "meet" each other!"

Every Sunday she will post five get to know you questions that we can copy and paste into our own Monday post and we can all learn a little more about each and every one of us. To play along click on her meme name and join up with the linky.

This Week's Questions:

1. What are your New Year's Eve plans? Staying home and away from the craziness. I've never been much of a partier and I don't want to be out late on night when lots of people are. I won't even stay up to see the ball drop. The only way I'll be up at midnight is if I get involved in a really good book and just can't stop till I finish.


2. How tall are you? 5'4"


3. What is your favorite pudding flavor? Chocolate. I pretty much will take chocolate in any form it comes in....(except mixed with coffee).



4. What room of the house do you blog the most in? The living room...all comfy on the sectional couch (which sorta looks like this one).



5. What is your best physical feature? According to the hubby (and I told him he had to mention a feature that I could post on a blog)....my pretty smile.



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Quote It! Christmas Edition


Freda's Voice has an awesome Saturday meme for quote lovers call Quote It! I have another blog, Quote Mistress, which is entirely devoted to the quotes I have collected over my lifetime. So my Saturday Quote It! may be found on my quote site. I'd love for you to visit...and be sure and visit Freda's Voice too!

As a bonus: My quote from Christmas Eve (from a Christmas card I received once upon a time)

Think freely. Smile often.
Rediscover old friends. Make new ones.
Tell those you love that you do.
Dream. Hope. Grow. Give. Give in.
Pick some daisies. Share them.
Keep a promise. Laugh heartily.
Sing. Dance. Reach out. Let someone in.
Hug a child. Kiss.
Slow down. Hold a hand.
See a sunrise. Listen to the rain.
Trust life. Share faith. Enjoy.
Make some mistakes. Learn from them.
Love everyone. Explore the unknown.
Celebrate life and love.


Saturday Snapshot Christmas Edition

Saturday Snapshot is a meme hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books. All you have to do is "post a photo that you (or a friend or a family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mr. Linky on [her] blog. Photos can be old or new, and be of anything as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give is up to you." All she asks is that you don't just post random photos that you find online.


This an experiment with Christmas lights taken by my son. He took a photography class last year and thought it would be cool to see what he could do with Christmas lights and motion. I think it's pretty spiffy!

Murder by the Book: Review


The last of the Lockridge books currently sitting in my TBR pile, Murder by the Book, takes Pam and Jerry North out of their usual NYC setting. It is also the final book of this charming husband and wife amateur detective series. The book finds Pam & Jerry on holiday in Key West. While there they befriend a famous doctor, also on holiday from New York, playing tennis and sharing drinks. Pam, in her usual fashion, also befriends the hotel's unofficial mascots, Freddy and Teddy--two pelicans who prefer the guests to do their fishing for them. A pleasant holiday turns fishy when Pam discovers the doctor lying dead on the pier with the pelicans looking on. There are, of course, a variety of suspects who could have had it in for the debonair doctor. Was it the wife of one his former patients--a patient who didn't survive his treatment? And the wife blames the doctor. Or perhaps the daughter of that same patient? There is also the fact that the doctor had served as a court witness in several cases and one of the men put in prison based on his testimony just happens to have headed south upon his release. Or maybe it is the husband of a woman who has just died in the hotel after Dr. Piersal had checked on her? Deputy Sheriff Jefferson finds himself in over his head and after checking up on "these Norths" with Captain Bill Weigand in NYC thinks that maybe Pam's screwy logic will be helpful after all.

Sometimes when authors take their characters out of their natural habitat, so to speak, it doesn't work. The Nero Wolfe stories that remove Wolfe from his brownstone home come to mind. But the Lockridges manage to keep the spirit of the North books true to form even with Pam and Jerry in tennis shorts on the sunny shores of Key West. Another thoroughly enjoyable outing. The North books are light and breezy, but always satisfying. I much prefer them to Nick and Nora Charles. Four stars.

Murder Has Its Points: Review


I picked up one of my Library Loot books from this week, but just couldn't settle into it. So, I went back to my tried-and-true mystery friends Frances and Richard Lockridge for another adventure with Pam and Jerry North. Murder Has Its Points starts out with a dramatic confrontation between Jerry North's latest best-selling author and his rival. The fight disrupts the party, but not nearly as much as when the best-selling author is shot on his way to dinner. A sniper has been on a rampage in NYC and when the report comes in Bill Weigand is relieved to think that his friends the Norths can't possibly be involved in this one. Then he realizes that they are. That makes him wonder if Anthony Payne's murder really is a simple case of sniper shooting. Especially when he finds out that there are plenty of people who would be happier with Payne dead. Two ex-wives and a current wife. A son that he refused to acknowledge. The rival author. An actor who lost his job in the play adaptation of Payne's book--at Payne's insistance. A bookstore owner/critic who believed Payne was corrupting his protege. What if one of these suspects used the sniper's activities to cover a murder of their own?

This was another fast-paced, satisfying mystery from the Lockridges. I continue to be charmed by Pam's interesting form of logic and I love the way they work the Siamese cats into the story. Just enough cat to add humor and interest without making it too cutesy or having the cats somehow steal the show. A perfect read for a cold winter's night. Four stars

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a post to wish all my followers and all the wonderful friends that I've made through blogging a Very Merry Christmas! Thank you all for making my first year in blogging such a great experience. Hope all your Christmas wishes come true.


The Friday 56


The Friday 56 is a bookish meme which is hosted by Freda's Voice. It's really easy (and fun!) to participate.

*Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
*Turn to page 56 and find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post that senctence with these instructions on your blog or in the comments section.
* Post a link back to Freda's Voice.
*Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST!

Here's mine from A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock:

"What is it about the syllabub?" I said. "Isn't that a strange thing to have in a dressing room?"

Book Beginnings on Friday



Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Katy over at A Few More Pages. How to participate: Share the first like (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you like, let us know what your first impressions were based on the first line, and let us know why you did or did not like that sentence. Link up at Katy's page every Friday.


Here is mine from A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock:

Neither of us knew the rate for bribing a gaoler at the Old Bailey.

My thoughts: Well, yeah, that's not exactly common knowledge (Lol). But now I've got to know why we're bribing and what's going on.

Murder Is Suggested: Review


Murder Is Suggested by Frances and Richard Lockridge is another outing with my favorite New York couple, Pam and Jerry North. Is it murder by hypnotism? Can a subject be convinced by a good hypnotist to kill? A well-known psychologist is found shot in his office. Captain Bill Weigand must determine if this is a murder of revenge, murder for money, or murder by suggestion. And this time Sergeant Mullins is feeling pretty good about the case--because the Norths aren't in it. Until he finds out about the cats. It seems the psychologist and his protege have been doing experiments with cats. And where there's cats, at least in Mullins' mind, the Norths are soon to follow. Of course, he's right and we're soon following Pam and Jerry through the maze of hypnotic suggestion to a late-night session in the professor's laboratory to bring an end to this spell-binding mystery.


The Lockridges are up to par in this latest outing. An interesting mystery with a hypnotic twist. I thoroughly enjoyed this romp throught the subconscious and as always loved Pam's unique take on things. Four stars out of five.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Follow Friday 40 & Over (30)


It's (almost) Friday and time again for the Follow Friday 40 & Over blog hop (which is in its 30th edition). Sponsored by Never Growing Old, this blog hop asks: Are you a blogger over 40? Yeah, welcome to the club! Please join in the fun and get to know your fellow bloggers!!

The RULES to join in are very simple:

*Grab the button
*Add your link to the list on the blog site
*Visit as many blogs as you can
*Follow the ones you like (and comment to let them know you're following)

All I Want for Christmas Is... (11)



All I Want for Christmas Is.... is a feature/meme sponsored by Danya at A Tapestry of Words. It is where we choose a book each week leading up to Christmas and say why it's made it onto our wishlists. And Danya would love to see what books everyone else is hoping to get, so make your post and link up at Danya's site.

Well it's the last Thursday before Christmas and the last chance to get a word in with Santa. This week I'm adding a mysterious collection of essays to my Christmas wish list:

On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey. The titular essay in this volume of work by Thomas De Quincey centers on the notorious career of the murderer John Williams, who in 1811 brutally killed seven people in London's East End. De Quincey's response to Williams's attacks turns morality on its head, celebrating and coolly dissecting the art of murder and its perfections. This volume also contains De Quincey's best-known piece of literary criticism, "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," and his finest tale of terror, "The Avenger," a disturbing exploration of violence, vigilantism, and religious persecution. Ranging from gruesomely vivid reportage and brilliantly funny satiric high jinks to penetrating literary and aesthetic criticism, these essays had a remarkable impact on crime, terror, and detective fiction. They are also a key contribution to the satiric tradition, as well as on the rise of nineteenth-century decadence. The bibliography is the most extensive available on critical responses to De Quincey's essays on murder and violence, and the essays included here have never been annotated so thoroughly before. They reveal--often for the first time--De Quincey's debts, remarkable erudition, and encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary crime. (synopsis from Amazon)


Best of 2010 By Month

Saw this at Blkosiner's Book Blog (who found it at Phantom Paragrapher). I thought it a good idea, so I'm adopting it for a post of my own. Here's the best of the books I've read in 2010 by month. I have picked two books per month. I didn't start blogging until late April, so there are no reviews before that. Reviews may be found by clicking book titles.

January:
Murder on a Midsummer Night by Kerry Greenwood ***Death at the Alma Mater by G.M. Malliet ***

February:
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch ***
The Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee

March:
Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain's Smallest Man by Nick Page
Musical Mysteries: From Mozart to John Lennon by Albert Borowitz

April:
The Inklings of Oxford: C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien & Their Friends by Harry Lee PoeFoul Matter by Martha Grimes

May:
Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie ***Literary Murder by Batya Gur ***

June:
The First Saint Omnibus by Leslie Charteris (Two posts, so two links) ***The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barber

July:
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury

August:
Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

September:
Katherine by Anya Seton
The Divine Comedy 1: Hell by Dante Alighieri (trans by Dorothy L Sayers) [actually all three parts]
The Divine Comedy II: Purgatory by Dante Alighieri (trans by Sayers)
The Divine Comedy III: Paradise by Dante Alighieri (trans by Sayers & Barbara Reynolds)

October:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

November:
Death by Water by Kerry Greenwood ***
One Step Behind by Henning Mankell ***

December:
India Black: A Madam of Espionage Mystery by Carol K Carr ***
A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock ***

Library Loot: Dec 22-28

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire (The Captive Reader) and Marg (The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader) that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out of the library. If you'd like to participate just write up your post, feel free to steal the button, and link up using the Mr. Linky on Claire's site this week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

This week's loot (all synopses from Amazon):

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean. Since being named “London’s Lord to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, delicious woman he’s ever met! The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though she is used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks. But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless and foolish…like falling madly, passionately in love.

Not sure about this one. I'm not generally into romance fiction, but I really liked MacLean's first book in this series (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake), so we'll see.

Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson. Summer, 1935. Inspector Archie Penrose has invited Josephine Tey to his family home in Cornwall, a struggling but beautiful country estate on a magnificent stretch of coastline. Disillusioned with the London stage, Josephine is ready to begin work on her second mystery novel and finds much to inspire her in the landscape and its legends - in particular, a lake on the estate which is said to claim a life every seven years, and the nearby Minack Theatre, an open-air auditorium which overlooks the sea. But death clouds the holiday from the outset: Josephine's arrival coincides with the funeral of a young estate worker, killed in a mysterious riding accident, and another local boy disappears shortly afterwards. When the Minack proves to be a stage for real-life tragedy and an audacious murder, Archie's loyalties are divided between his friends and his job, and he and Josephine must confront the violent reality which lies beneath a seemingly idyllic community - a community with one face turned towards the present, and another looking back to the crimes of the past.

A Dangerous Affair by Caro Peacock. Liberty Lane, still in her early twenties, is doing her best to make a new life for herself in London after being bruised by loss and treachery. But there's no chance for her to settle down as a conventional young lady. First, a disturbingly attractive young politician, Benjamin Disraeli, wants her to use her contacts in the theatre world to find out more about a prima ballerina with a notorious love life called Columbine. He hints that some important interests may be at stake. Then Columbine is murdered in her dressing room, after an on-stage brawl with a younger and less successful dancer, who becomes prime suspect. Liberty is at the center of the investigation because one of her dearest friends, Daniel Suter, is convinced of the girl's innocence and will put his own neck in danger to save her. Liberty's determination to save them from the gallows leads her from the upper reaches of the aristocracy to some of London's lowlife haunts, posing the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee. Mary Quinn, a scrappy 12-year-old orphan and accomplished thief in Victorian London, is saved from the gallows by a stranger and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls, an institution dedicated to turning out strong, independent, educated young women. Though reluctant at first, she accepts the challenge and eventually becomes a teacher herself. At 17, she is recruited by the mistresses of the school to join a covert group of female spies known as The Agency. Her first assignment involves posing as a lady's companion to the daughter of a man suspected of fraud and smuggling. She carries out her investigation at night and during stolen moments, but soon finds that she is not the only one on the case. Is James Easton a friend or foe? A dramatic rescue from a burning building reveals the true villain but leaves other questions unanswered. Lee fills the story with classic elements of Victorian mystery and melodrama.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Blogger Scavenger Hunt 2011


In case, like me, you just don't have enough reading challenges and what-not to keep you busy in 2011, here's a nifty blog scavenger hunt sponsored by Reading With Tequila. The Book Blogger Scavenger Hunt is Reading with Tequila's year long contest for 2011. This contest will be based on the 2010 Book Blogger Recommendation List. The list was compiled from the data acquired through a survey of 54 book bloggers favorite books in November of 2010. Each month she will post the name and description of a book recommended by only one blogger on the survey. Hunters will then be off and running to find blog reviews and posts about the book and will return to Reading With Tequila to claim points. For the full details of the Scavenger Hunt rules and point system, use the Hunt link above and check out Tequila's post. Sounds like a great time! Hope you join me.

Read My Review: From Book to TV/Movie


Read My Review, Hosted by A Trillian Books is a chance for book bloggers to share new and old reviews--all related to a theme.

What to do:

*Find one of your reviews that fits this week's theme (you can be as creative as you like when choosing what fits). It can be new or old, good or bad.
*Create a post on your blog explaining your book choice and leaving a link to your review there.
*Leave your link with Mr. Linky at the bottom of her post.
*Visit some of the other reviews and leave a "quality" comment (at least a couple of sentences).
*Grab the button and let people know about Read My Review.

This weeks theme is TV/Movie Adapttions. It doesn't matter if you liked the TV/Movie version or if you've even seen it, as long as there is one. My choice this week is The Saint Omnibus by Leslie Charteris. My review is split into two posts: click on the title for Part I and the author for Part II. The Saint was played most ably by Roger Moore in a 1960s television series. As I mention in the review, I had my husband order up The Saint so I could see what the series was like. I enjoyed both the book and the series a lot.

A-Z Wednesday: The Letter "T"


It's A-Z Wednesday! Hosted by Reading at the Beach. To join in here's all you have to do.

*Go to your stack of books and find an author whose first or last name starts with the letter of the week.
*Post:
1~ a photo of the book
2~ title & synopsis
3~ a link (amazon, barnes & noble, etc)
4~ go back to Reading at the Beach and link up your post



My choice this week is Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes. This one is yet to be read. It is on deck for a few challenges in 2011 (What's in a Name 4, Off the Shelf, Outdo Yourself, & Victorian Lit).

Link at Amazon

My copy:
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Puffin Books (1981)
ISBN: 0140305343
Genre: Literature, Classics

Synopsis: Recounts the adventures of a young English boy at Rugby School in the early 19th Century. Although nowadays he will not be tossed in a blanket or roasted over the fire, every boy will have his own memories of his first days as a new boy, and most boys will now the equivalent of the hated bully Flashman, and have a hero who measures up to Brooke.

Mrs. Hudson & the Malabar Rose: Review


When a maharajah decides to give England and Queen Victoria the famous Malabar Rose, a ruby of great price, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are requested to guarantee its safety. They, along with Inspector Lestrade and one of Britain's most trusted military minds, come up with a plan that should guarantee the jewel's safety. But they have miscalculated the talents and determination of the Great Salmanazar--a famous magician who makes more than rabbits appear and disappear. It's up to Mrs. Hudson to give the great detective a lesson in housekeeping details which hold the secret to the jewel's disappearance.

Mrs. Hudson & the Malabar Rose by Martin Davies is the second in this fun, light-hearted series. As long as you aren't a dyed-in-the wool Sherlockian who takes her canon seriously, you should enjoy this. Otherwise, it might give true Sherlockians fits to find the Master bested by his housekeeper. This is a nice, cozy little mystery...just right for a winter's evening. The writing is pure and clean and the story whizzes on by. It is a delight to watch Mrs. Hudson and her side-kick Flotsam (Flottie) as they track down clues such as the purple socks, the mechanical toys, and the disappearance of the man who went back inside for his umbrella (sound familiar, Sherlockians?). I recommend this solid mystery to anyone who can take a lighter side of Holmes or who is looking for a quick, fun read in the Victorian era. A solid three star outing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday; Wishlist for Santa


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by
The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is what do you want Santa to leave under your Christmas tree this year?

1. The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks by James Anderson: Who ever tires of the zany British country house murder? Lord Burford, for one. When his wife wants to allow nine guests to stay at their country home ("just for the night"). Lord Burford protests that the last time they had a large number of guests stay there had been unfortunate incidents. Lord Burford's misgivings were understandable. After all, the "unfortunate incidents" had been murders. But these people were travelling a long way for the funeral of an elderly relative. There was nowhere else for them to stay in the village, so the Earl really had to offer them accommodations at Alderley, the Burfords' Carolean mansion. Things started to go wrong when one of guests claimed she had knowledge that would ruin the others' reputations. But nobody took that seriously. Until, that is, she was found murdered... The Affair of the 39 Cuff Links, lighthearted sequel to The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy and The Affair of the Mutilated Mink, delighfully captures the atmosphere of the 1930s country-house mystery. I absolutely adored the Egg Cosy and Mutilated Mink stories. I would love to get my hands on this one.


2. Dorothy L. Sayer's Love All/Busman's Honeymoon by Alzina S Dale (ed) : (synopsis from Amazon review by "A Customer"): fans of Dorothy L Sayers' Vane-Wimsey novels will fine Love All a delightful change of pace. The companion play to the dramatic version of the novel Busman's Honeymoon in this edition, Love All takes a very different approach to male-female relations. While she creates for Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey a fulfilling personal and professional relationship in Busman's Honeymoon, Sayers suggests in Love All that women can find emotional fulfillment, financial security, and artistic challenges all on their own.
Why I want it: I love the writing of Sayers. So far, I have not found anything by her that I do not like. I've read all the Wimsey novels, including Busman's Honeymoon and I'm very curious to see/read the play version. I understand that there are some differences. I am also intrigued by the description of Love All and would like to check it out.

3. Any of the Phryne Fisher mystery series by Kerry Greenwood. This is an absolutely marvelous series set in 1920s Australia. And I think of Phryne Fisher as the the grownup's Nancy Drew. I've read most of the series, but own none and would love to start collecting them.

4.This one may be a little hard for Santa to find (at least in hard copy--which is what I want, no e-books for me). But, after all, he's Santa so he's got plenty of magic at his disposal, right? I have long wanted to get my hands on Fergus Hume's 1893 mystery story The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. It's been on my list of gotta-haves almost as long as I've liked mysteries (and that's a long time!). Here's the synopsis: On the twenty-seventh day of July at the hour of twenty minutes to two o'clock in the morning a hansom cab drove up to the police station in Grey Street St. Kilda and the driver made the startling statement that his cab contained the body of a man who he had reason to believe had been murdered.

5. The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer...one of the last Heyer mysteries needed to complete my reading of her work. Synopsis (from Amazon): Sir Arthur Billington-Smith is not a nice person: he is arrogant, opinionated, and abusive. His verbal abuse makes life a constant misery for his hapless wife, Fay. One truly awful weekend when Fay is trying to host a house party, Arthur's son and heir, Geoffrey, brings home Lola de Silva, a Mexican cabaret dancer who is wonderfully obtuse, vastly colorful, and totally unsuitable as a future Lady Billington-Smith. Arthur is absolutely incensed and takes his rage out on everyone. Therefore, when he is found stabbed to death in his study later in the day, all those in the house become suspects.

6. Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson: Summer, 1935. Inspector Archie Penrose has invited Josephine Tey to his family home in Cornwall, a struggling but beautiful country estate on a magnificent stretch of coastline. Disillusioned with the London stage, Josephine is ready to begin work on her second mystery novel and finds much to inspire her in the landscape and its legends - in particular, a lake on the estate which is said to claim a life every seven years, and the nearby Minack Theatre, an open-air auditorium which overlooks the sea.

But death clouds the holiday from the outset: Josephine's arrival coincides with the funeral of a young estate worker, killed in a mysterious riding accident, and another local boy disappears shortly afterwards. When the Minack proves to be a stage for real-life tragedy and an audacious murder, Archie's loyalties are divided between his friends and his job, and he and Josephine must confront the violent reality which lies beneath a seemingly idyllic community - a community with one face turned towards the present, and another looking back to the crimes of the past.

7. The Garden Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine: I only need two more of the Philo Vance mysteries by Van Dine and I will have the complete collection. Here's the synopsis for this one: Professor Garden has a New York penthouse with a rooftop garden, and his son Floyd is accustomed to gather a group of socialite friends together in the Garden garden to listen to the results of horse-races over a built-in loudspeaker system. Philo Vance receives an anonymous telephone message that leads him to one such gathering, on a day when Floyd's best friend has placed an enormous bet on a horse named Equanimity. Equanimity loses, and a gunshot takes the life of the friend, but Vance determines that it is murder and not suicide. Some more suspicious events occur, including the attempted poisoning of Floyd's mother's private nurse, and the murder of his mother. Finally Vance solves the crime and arranges an opportunity for the murderer to be photographed attempting Vance's own life by pushing him off the garden balcony.

8. The Puzzle of the Silver Persian by Stuart Palmer: (In case you haven't noticed, my wishlist tends to run to mysteries....). Synopsis from the Rue Morgue Press site: Hildegarde Withers, the angular schoolteacher with a talent for solving homicides, thought she was off on a vacation when she set sail for England aboard the S.S. American Diplomat. But she’s no sooner found her sea legs than her fellow passengers start getting murdered, and the killings continue after the ship has docked in London. Hildy offers her services to a singularly unimpressed Chief Inspector Cannon of Scotland Yard, but his well-bred young sergeant, John Secker, is more than willing to listen to her. She accepts an invitation to visit the Cornwall home of a fellow passenger, the Honorable Emily Pendavid, who lives in the oldest inhabited castle in England along with her nephew and a handsome silver Persian cat, and it’s there that the pieces finally fall into place for Hildy. First published in 1934, it’s the fifth case for everybody’s favorite meddlesome schoolmarm.

9. On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey. The titular essay in this volume of work by Thomas De Quincey centers on the notorious career of the murderer John Williams, who in 1811 brutally killed seven people in London's East End. De Quincey's response to Williams's attacks turns morality on its head, celebrating and coolly dissecting the art of murder and its perfections. This volume also contains De Quincey's best-known piece of literary criticism, "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," and his finest tale of terror, "The Avenger," a disturbing exploration of violence, vigilantism, and religious persecution. Ranging from gruesomely vivid reportage and brilliantly funny satiric high jinks to penetrating literary and aesthetic criticism, these essays had a remarkable impact on crime, terror, and detective fiction. They are also a key contribution to the satiric tradition, as well as on the rise of nineteenth-century decadence. The bibliography is the most extensive available on critical responses to De Quincey's essays on murder and violence, and the essays included here have never been annotated so thoroughly before. They reveal--often for the first time--De Quincey's debts, remarkable erudition, and encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary crime. 

10. Takeoff! and Takeoff Too!! by Randall Garrett **Science Fiction, short stories. Composed of tongue-in-cheek imitations of a number of other authors. I read the first one long ago and far away and would love to own these.