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...



Monday, December 31, 2012

Vintage Scattergories: Progress & Wrap-up



All right, 2013 is here!  On your mark, get set---Read!  This is the place to track everyone's progress for this year's Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge and also to link reviews, if you review the books you read. There will be two linkys--one for reviews and one for a wrap-up post. If you do not have a blog, please submit a final tally of books read in a comment below. I will accept updates through January 6, 2014.

ALSO: As a special incentive for me as your host to get out there and really check out your wonderful reviews** AND as an incentive for YOU to keep an eye on what your fellow challengers are reading....This year I will be making a list and checking it twice in preparation for Christmas 2013.  Well...the end of the challenge year, anyway.  As I make my way through the linked up reviews, I'm going to take notes and prepare a Challenge-Ending Scavenger Hunt.  Taking a cue from John at Pretty Sinister Books and his devious trivia contest, there will be a quiz and prizes to win.  I haven't quite decided whether I'll be looking for quotes or plots or just send you all on a cover scavenger hunt.  But I promise to make it worth your while.

**I really fell down on the job this year--my apologies to all my returning challengers.  I just didn't get around to peek at the reviews in 2012 the way I had previously.  It had nothing to do with the quality of your reviews or the books you read--it was all a time crunch.  I'm hoping to relocate those lost hours in 2013. 

***UPDATE: Review Copy Offer for Vintage Mystery Challenge Participants!  Bello (an UK imprint of Pan Macmillan) has offered up review copies.  Please my post-- Attention Vintage Mystery Challengers -- for details.

Please enter your review links below. For Name Display, please use the following format as an example:

Bev@My Reader's Block (Book Title) 








Please enter your wrap-up links below.  For Name Display, please use the following format:

Bev@My Reader's Block (Wrap-up) 

 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Murder on the Rue Dumas: Review

I found Murder on the Rue Dumas by M. L. Longworth on my last trip to the library.  It's so nice once I have all the challenge-reading out of the way--I can give in to impulse reading and just bring home books that look interesting.  I don't have to think about whether it will fit into one of my zillion challenges (and hopefully more than one) or whether I have time to sneak in a non-challenge book.

And Murder on the Rue Dumas was right up my alley--an interesting-sounding academic mystery, this time set in France.  We have Dr. Georges Moette, director of theology at the Université d'Aix--a very unpopular fellow with plenty of enemies.  Dr. Moette has held a very prestigious position at the university--a life-time post that includes a lavish apartment in a 17th C mansion as well as oodles of money to support a career of research that requires no teaching duties whatsoever.  Dr. Moette has announced his intention to retire and is all set to name his successor as well as name the graduate student recipient of an elite fellowship tied to the Dumas funds.  But he has a cruel streak in him--playing his colleagues and graduate students off of one another; promising the positions to first one and then another; and then the cruelest move of all...announcing at party that he has changed his mind and won't be retiring after all.

But someone decides to take matters into their own hands and force Moette's retirement upon him---permanently.  The doctor is found dead in his office with his head bashed in with an unusual blunt instrument, a 700 year-old religious statue.  Judge Antoine Verlaque and Commissioner Bruno Paulik look into the matter--aided by Verlaque's girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet--and find that more than fellowships have been up for grabs in the university theology department. 

This is the second novel in Longworth's detective series, but it is not necessary to have read the first to slip easily into the action of this one.  Explanations of relationships are clear and kept short (no rehashing of everything one might have learned in the first novel) and are just enough to make new readers comfortable.  The main characters are engaging and likeable and I particularly enjoyed the interactions between two of the graduate students, Yann Falquero and Thierry Marchive.  It is an interesting and fairly clued mystery that holds the attention.  

But....there was something about the writing.  It seems just a bit too short and to the point; very matter of fact....I'm not sure.  It has a j'ai ne sais quoi quality that doesn't quite meet my expectations for a novel set in France.  Maybe it has something to do with reading this one so close on the heels of the Fred Vargas novel.  The Vargas novel was originally written in French and had an excellent translator who instilled a lyrical quality.  Longworth is a Canadian who spends a great deal of time in France and seems to be trying to write from a French point of view and doesn't quite succeed.  She obviously loves France--evidenced by the descriptions of the area and the people, but doesn't quite pull off an authentic French feel.  Three stars. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

150+ Reading Challenge

Amy over at My Overstuffed Bookshelf is once again hosting her 150+ Reading Challenge.



Don't be shy! Come sign up and spread the word!  The challenge doesn't officially start until January 1st, 2013.  Only books read on this date or after count towards the challenge.

DETAILS/RULES:
1. The goal is to read 150 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.

2. Allowed are: Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts. 
What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible and comic books.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
5. Challenge begins January 1st, 2013 thru December 31, 2013. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.

Here's my list:
1. A Dark & Stormy Night by Jeanne M. Dams (1/4/13)
2. The Man Who Went up in Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö  (1/8/13)
3. The Evil That Men Do by Jeanne M. Dams (1/4/13)
4. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (1/13/13)
5. The Corpse at St. James's by Jeanne M. Dams (1/13/13)
6. The Puzzle of the Silver Persian by Stuart Palmer (1/15/13)
7. Slippage by Harlan Ellison (1/19/13)
8. The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield (1/21/13)
9. Four Lost Ladies by Stuart Palmer (1/23/13)
10. The Case of the Negligent Nymph by Erle Stanley Gardner (1/24/13)
11. Murder at Markham by Patricia Sprinkle (1/26/13)
12. Veiled Murder by Alice Campbell (1/28/13)
13. India Black & the Shadows of Anarchy by Carol K. Carr (1/29/13)
14. Zima Blue & Other Stories by Alastair Reynolds (2/3/13)
15. The Cavalier's Cup by Carter Dickson (2/5/13)
16. Corpses at Indian Stones by Philip Wylie (2/7/13)
17. Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan (2/9/13)
18. Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood (2/11/13)
19. Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell (2/15/13)
20. Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio (2/18/13)
21. The Desert Moon Mystery by Kay Cleaver Strahan (2/19/13)
22. Aaron's Serpent by Emily Thorn (2/22/13)
23. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2/24/13)
24. The World's 100 Best Short Stories, Vol. III: Mystery by Grant Overton, ed (2/24/13)
25. His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (2/25/13)
26. Three English Comedies by A. B. De Mille, ed (2/27/13)
27. The Other Side of Tomorrow by Roger Elwood, ed (2/28/13)
28. The Green Plaid Pants by Margaret Scherf (3/3/13)
29. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (3/6/13)
30. A Cold & Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry (3/9/13)
31. The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer (3/10/13)
32. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (3/11/13)
33. The Perfect Landscape by Ragna Sigurdardottir (3/12/13)
34. The Diplomat & the Gold Piano by Margaret Scherf (3/16/13)
35. The Lady Vanishes (aka The Wheel Spins) by Ethel Lina White (3/17/13)
36. Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams (3/19/13)
37. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (3/20/13)
38. A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greefield (3/22/13)
39. Unhappy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer (3/24/13)
40. Sally's in the Alley by Norbert Davis (3/25/13)
41. The Mystery of Hunting's End by Mignon G. Eberhart (3/29/13)
42. Hammett Unwritten by Owen Fitzstephen (Gordon McAlpin) [3/30/13]
43. A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford (4/2/13)
44. Black Widow by Patrick Quentin (4/3/13)
45. The African Queen by C. S. Forester (4/6/13)
46. In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (4/9/13)
47. The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares by E. K. Prescott (4/10/13)
48. The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards (4/14/13)
49. The Mountains Have a Secret by Arthur W. Upfield (4/16/13)
50. The Devil's Stronghold by Leslie Ford (4/21/13)
51. The Silence of Herondale by Joan Aiken (4/21/13)
52. Holiday Homicide by Rufus King (4/23/13)
53. A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders (4/27/13)
54. Death Has Green Fingers by Lionel Black (4/30/13)
55. Blood Makes Noise by Gregory Widen (4/30/13)
56. Inland Passage by George Harmon Coxe (5/2/13)
57. Choice of Evils by E. X. Ferrars (5/4/13)
58. The Talking Sparrow Murders by Darwin L. Teilhet (5/6/13)
59. Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell (read 5/8/13--review due for virtual blog tour 5/28/13)
60. Finding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon (5/18/13)
61. Sleep No More by Margaret Erskine (5/21/13)
62. Death at Crane's Court by Eilis Dillon (5/23/13)
63. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (5/24/13)
64. The Curse of the Bronze Lamp by Carter Dickson (5/27/13)
65. Miss Silver Deals With Death by Patricia Wentworth (finished 5/28/13)
66. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (6/4/13)
67. How Not to Murder Your Grumpy by Carol E Wyer (6/5/13)
68. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (6/7/13)
69. Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley (6/8/13)
70. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman (6/10/13)
71. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (6/12/13)
72. Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/14/13)
73. Break Any Woman Down by Dana Johnson (6/17/13)
74. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers (6/18/13)
75. The Father's Day Murder by Lee Harris (6/18/13)
76. Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare (6/21/13)
77. Devoured by D. E. Meredith (6/22/13)
78. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov (6/23/13)
79. Death in Zanzibar by M. M. Kaye (6/25/13)
80. Jack on the Gallows Tree by Leo Bruce (6/26/13)
81. The Listening by Kyle Dargan (6/28/13)
82. Mystery Train by David Wojahn (6/28/13)
83. Death & the Gentle Bull by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/29/13) 
84. The Mummy Case Mystery by Dermot Morrah (7/3/13)
85. Dead Man Control by Helen Reilly (7/6/13)
86. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (7/8/13)
87. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (7/10/13)
88. The Hollow Chest by Alice Tilton [Phoebe Atwood Taylor] (7/12/13)
89. Twenty First Century Blues by Richard Cecil (7/13/13)
90. Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. [text by Burt Boyar] (7/13/13)
91. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (7/14/13)
92. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (7/16/13)
93. Spotted Hemlock by Gladys Mitchell (7/18/13)
94. Heirs & Spares by J. L. Spohr (7/19/13)
95. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) by Betty White (7/19/13)
96. London Particular (aka Fog of Doubt) by Christianna Brand (7/22/13)
97. Dead Old by Maureen Carter (7/22/13)
98. The Case of the Careless Kitten by Erle Stanley Gardner (7/23/13)
99. Capacity for Murder by Bernadette Pajer (7/24/13)
100. Mist on the Saltings by Henry Wade (7/26/13)
101. The Black Stage by Anthony Gilbert (7/27/13)
102. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (7/28/13)
103. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (7/28/13)
104. The World of Christopher Robin by A. A. Milne (7/28/13)
105. The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers (7/31/13)
106. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (8/1/13)
107. Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr (8/2/13)
108. The Long Farewell by Michael Innes (8/3/13)
109. Death in the Air (aka Death in the Clouds) by Agatha Christie (8/5/13)
110. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (8/6/13)
111. The Scarlet Macaw by S. P. Hozy (8/10/13)
112. Age of Desire by Jennie Fields (8/14/13)
113. The Monster of Florence by Magdalen Nabb (8/17/13)
114. Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (8/20/13)
115. The Door by Mary Roberts Rinehart (8/22/13)
116. Poems & Prose by Christina Rossetti (8/27/13)
117. Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh (8/28/13)
118. A Bullet in the Ballet by Caryl Brahms & S. J. Simon (8/28/13)
119. Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering (8/31/13)
120. This New & Poisonous Air by Adam McOmber (9/3/13)
121. Murder & Blueberry Pie by Frances & Richard Lockridge (9/3/13)
122. The Croquet Player by H. G. Wells (9/4/13)
123. Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie (9/6/13)
124. Malcolm Sage, Detective by Herbert Jenkins (9/8/13)
125. The Yard by Alex Grecian (9/9/13)
126. The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson (9/10/13)
127. Famous Ghost Stories edited by Bennett Cerf (9/13/13)
128. The Temple of Death by A. C. & R. H. Benson (9/16/13)
129. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (9/17/13)
130. The Dreadful Hollow by Nicholas Blake (9/19/13)
131. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (9/24/13)
132. Death Knocks Three Times by Anthony Gilbert (9/27/13)
133. The Mystery Lovers' Book of Quotations by Jane Horning, ed (9/27/13)
134. The Yellow Violet by Frances Crane (9/30/13)
135. The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson (10/1/13)
136. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (10/4/13)
137. The Measure of a Man by Sideny Poitier (10/6/13)
138. The Haunted Dolls' House by M. R. James (10/9/13)
139. Unthinkable by Richard Cibrano (10/12/13)
140. Murder in Cambridge by Q. Patrick (10/15/13)
141. Cold Earth by Sarah Moss (10/18/13)
142. Dead of a Counterplot by Simon Nash (10/20/13)
143. Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter (10/22/13)
144. The Water Room by Christopher Fowler (10/25/13)
145. Gently Go Man by Alan Hunter (10/27/13)
146. Once Upon a Crime by M. D. Lake (10/28/13)
147. Through a Glass Darkly by Helen McCloy (10/29/13)
148. Mystery & Crime: NYPL Book of Answers by Jay Pearsall (10/30/13)
149. By a Woman's Hand by Jean Swanson & Dean James (11/2/13)
150. Maid to Murder by Roy Vickers (11/3/13)
151. Shell Game by Richard Powell (11/4/13)
 

Embarrassment of Riches Challenge


From Patricia over at planetpooks, we have....






RULES: 

Sign ups allowed through January 8, though the challenge begins January 1. 

To be considered a TBR book, you must own it prior to Jan 1, 2013. The book can count toward other challenges, as well. It can be fiction or nonfiction, poetry or play, as long as it is a book. This is not a picky challenge–just about reading the riches we already own.
On the last day of each month I will post an entry where you can say how many TBRs you read that month, titles, and whether you liked them or not. Full-blown reviews not required. You can list them in comments or link back to your own blog or page where they are listed.
At the end of the year I will have pretty badges for all levels, and if I haven’t learned to create them by myself, hopefully somebody else will make them for me.
There are five levels of accomplishment (and a bonus challenge) in the Embarrassment of Riches TBR Reading Challenge.
Copper:  Read 6 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013.
Bronze: Read 12 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013.
Silver: Read 24 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013
Gold: Read 36 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013.
Platinum: Read 50 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013.
Bonus Challenge! The same levels are also available for digital samples. If you are like me, you also have a quizillion samples you’ve downloaded onto your e-reader. Culling through samples and deciding whether to keep reading or not is a separate challenge with all five levels and the same year-end prize–a special badge.

For more details and to join, hop on the link above.

This is Patricia's first time as a challenge host.  I feel it my duty as a certified Reading Challenge Addict to support her in her endeavor.  Therefore, I am signing up for the  


Platinum: Read 50 TBR books between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2013

This will be no problem because I've already decided that I'm going to read 100 books from Mount TBR mountain range.  Books read will be listed below:

1. The Man Who Went up in Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (1/8/13)
2. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (1/13/13)
3. The Puzzle of the Silver Persian by Stuart Palmer (1/15/13)
4. Slippage by Harlan Ellison (1/19/13)
5. The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield (1/21/13)
6. Four Lost Ladies by Stuart Palmer (1/23/13)
7. The Case of the Negligent Nymph by Erle Stanley Gardner (1/24/13)
8. Veiled Murder by Alice Campbell (1/28/13)
9. The Cavalier's Cup by Carter Dickson (2/5/13)
10. Corpses at Indian Stones by Philip Wylie (2/7/13)
11. Aaron's Serpent by Emily Thorn (2/22/13)
12. The World's 100 Best Short Stories, Vol. III: Mystery by Grant Overton, ed (2/24/13)
13. Three English Comedies by A. B. De Mille, ed (2/27/13)
14. The Other Side of Tomorrow by Roger Elwood, ed (2/28/13)
15. The Green Plaid Pants by Margaret Scherf (3/3/13)
16. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (3/6/13)
17. The Lady in the Morgue by Jonathan Latimer (3/10/13)
18. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (3/11/13)
19. The Diplomat & the Gold Piano by Margaret Scherf (3/16/13)
20. The Lady Vanishes (aka The Wheel Spins) by Ethel Lina White (3/17/13)
21. A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield (3/22/13)
22. Unhappy Hooligan by Stuart Plamer (3/24/13)
23. Sally's in the Alley by Norbert Davis (3/25/13)
24. Black Widow by Patrick Quentin (4/3/13)
25. In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (4/9/13)
26. The Mountains Have a Secret by Arthur W. Upfield (4/16/13)
27. The Devil's Stronghold by Leslie Ford (4/21/13)
28. The Silence of Herondale by Joan Aiken (4/21/13)
29. Holiday Homicide by Rufus King (4/23/13)
30. A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders (4/27/13)
31. Death Has Green Fingers by Lionel Black (4/30/13)
32. Inland Passage by George Harmon Coxe (5/2/13)
33. The Talking Sparrow Murders by Darwin L. Teilhet (5/6/13)
34. Sleep No More by Margaret Erskine (5/21/13)
35. Death at Crane's Court by Eilis Dillon (5/23/13)
36. The Curse of the Bronze Lamp by Carter Dickson (5/27/13)
37. Miss Silver Deals With Death by Patricia Wentworth (finished 5/28/13)
38. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (6/7/13)
39. Murder on Safari by Elspeth Huxley (6/8/13)
40. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers (6/12/13)
41. Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/14/13)
42. Break Any Woman Down by Dana Johnson (6/17/13)
43. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers (6/18/13)
44. The Father's Day Murder by Lee Harris (6/18/13)
45. Death in Zanzibar by M. M. Kaye (6/25/13)
46. Jack on the Gallows Tree by Leo Bruce (6/26/13)
47. The Listening by Kyle Dargan (6/28/13)
48. Mystery Train by David Wojahn (6/28/13)
49. Death & the Gentle Bull by Frances & Richard Lockridge (6/29/13)
50. The Mummy Case Mystery by Dermot Morrah (7/3/13)

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 European Reading Challenge


Host: Rose City Reader
Name: European Reading Challenge, 2013
Post Reviews

Dates: January - January
My Goal: 5+ Books (Five Star, Deluxe Entourage)


The gist: The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, or any other genre. You can participate at different levels, but each book must be by a different author and set in a different country – it's supposed to be a tour. (See note about the UK, below)
 
What counts as "Europe"? For this challenge, we will use the list of 50 sovereign states that fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy), the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Baltic, Balkan, and former Soviet states.
 
Note: Technically, the United Kingdom is one country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  So one book from any one of these four should count as your one book for that one country. I'm not going to be a stickler about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries will count.
 
Here is the list, in alphabetical order: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

My List:

1. The Man Who Went up in Smoke by May Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (set in Hungary, written by Swedish authors) [1/8/13]

2. Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards  by Kit Brennan (Spain) [2/9/13]
3. Three English Comedies by A. B. De Mille (United Kingdom) [2/27/13]
4. The Perfect Landscape by Ragna Sigurdardottir (Iceland) [3/12/13]
5. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White (Bulgaria--actually takes place in the "Balkans" which area covers parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, etc; I have arbitrarily picked Bulgaria for location) [3/17/13]
6. The Talking Sparrow Murders by Darwin Teilhet (Germany) [5/6/13]
7. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov [Russia] (6/23/13)
8. The Monster of Florence by Magdalen Nabb [Italy] (8/17/13 
9. Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark) [8/20/13]
10. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (French author) [11/27/13]


Friday Memes




Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme now sponsored by Rose City Reader (who originally inspired the meme). Here's what you do: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section. Include the title and author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line and if you did or did not like that sentence. Link up each week at Gilion's place.

Here's mine from Murder in the Rue Dumas by M. L. Longworth:
The friendship between Yann Falquerho and Thierry Marchive had surprised everyone at the university.


The Friday 56 is a bookish meme sponsored by Freda's Voice. It is really easy to participate. Just grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56. Find a sentence that grabs you and post it.
Here's mine from Murder in the Rue Dumas by M. L. Longworth:
All we did was break in...that's nothing compared to murder.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Female Detective: Review

The Female Detective was published in 1864.  Written by James Redding Ware under the pseudonym Andrew Forrester, it not only represents what is probably the first collection of stories about the Metropolitan Police (formed in 1829) but also introduces readers to the first professional female detective in fiction.  She is unnamed in the longest story, "The Unknown Weapon," but in other stories by Forrester, she is referred to as Mrs. G---- of the Metropolitan Police. She makes reference to herself and another female officer as constables...and I find it interesting to have references to female constables at this early date.  

Mrs. G---- generally works undercover and only represents herself as a detective when she must.  We learn very little about her--later female detectives will be described as falling into their profession out of need, either to support themselves or loved ones in reduced circumstances.  But we don't even learn that much about Mrs. G----.  The stories themselves are very casebook in nature, running true to the form of other casebooks of the time.  Like her male counterparts, she uses professional methods--hunting for clues, looking over the scene of the crime, questioning suspects, and using cunning and disguise to reach her conclusions.  But not all of her cases are great successes.  She tells at least two stories where the culprit gets away and she isn't shy about relating the shortcomings of the police force of the time.

In "Tenant for Life" Mrs. G--- becomes interested in a story that her friends the Flemps tell her.  Mr. Flemps is a driver and while out driving one evening a poor young women approaches him and asks him to take her child to raise (as she cannot afford to).  Flemps has no sooner taken the child and started on his way again when another young woman approaches him--first to hire him for transport, but then when he refuses to ask if he has seen a young woman with a child.  The child in his carriage cries and the woman is ecstatic to have found the child and pays Flemps to take the child away.  Mrs. G---- is intrigued by the story and feels sure that someone somewhere is up to no good.  She determines to get to the bottom of the story and by the end she knows that it involves the rightful heir of some very important property.

"Georgy" relays one of the failures.  Georgy is a clerk at a local bank.  He manages to abscond with a goodly sum and does so in a fashion that makes it impossible for the authorities to catch up with him.  Mrs. G---- tells us the particulars of the case to let her readers know that criminals maybe the most charming of fellows and completely fool the most cunning of detectives (namely, Mrs. G----). 

"The Unraveled Mystery" is about a mysterious carpet bag that appears on one of the Thames bridges.  It contains bits of human remains, but no head. The official police are baffled and seem unable to solve the mystery  Mrs. G----'s colleague, Dr. Y----, comes to tell Mrs. G--- about his theory about the case.  We also have one of the first instances where we are told in a detective story that the use of a knife indicates that the murderer/s must be foreign.  Englishmen just don't use knives, you know. 

"The Judgement of Conscience" is a shorter work.  In this one, Mrs. G---- insists on ballistic evidence being examined.  Her insistence saves an innocent man from being hanged for a crime he did not commit.

"A Child Found Dead: Murder or No Murder" is an odd little tale.  Mrs. G--- is not really the detective here.  She relays the story as told to her by Dr. Y----.  A young child is killed and the reader is asked to believe that the killer struck while sleepwalking.  If true (I'm not convinced), does that make the killing murder?  Can somebody be convicted for murder for a death caused while they are sleepwalking?  I don't know how to answer that one.  But it doesn't really matter to me, because I don't really believe that someone would kill under those circumstances.


"The Unknown Weapon" is the longest of the stories. It is about the death of the son of a miserly old man who is killed while apparently in the the process of breaking into his own father's house. He has been stabbed with a weapon that no seems to be able to identify.   Mrs. G---- is a thoroughly scientific detective in this outing, reminding the reader of Holmes. Had she the advantages of his training at university, I'm sure she would have examined her own bits of fluff under the microscope rather than sending them off in a tin box and directing "it to the gentleman who is good enough to control these kind of investigations." She faithfully takes up every piece of evidence, giving it a more thorough going-over than the local constable, looks over the scene of the crime, and thinks the problem through with logic that Holmes could not fault. There is no "feminine intuition" at work; it is a thoughtful, orderly investigation. The grand finale is a bit of a let-down--but over all a very good early detective story.

"The Mystery"is the final and shortest of the entries. It's not really much of a mystery at all.  A young woman is told by her father that she must marry the man he has chosen or he will lock her in her room until she complies.  She is in love with someone else and refuses to obey her father.  She manages to get a message to her love and then escapes from the locked room.  How she got out and what happens next is the only (tiny) mystery that needs explained.

The best story is "The Unknown Weapon."  It ranks at four stars--balancing the entire collection out at a solid three-star rating.

The 2013 Sci-Fi Experience


Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is once again hosting his non-challenge 2013 Sci-Fi Experience (or, if you prefer, Science Fiction Experience).  The goal? Just to read, discuss, and enjoy some science fiction during the months of January and February.  No required reading levels.  Movie viewing also welcome.  And, hey, I've already planned on doing some science fiction reading in the new year, so I won't be adding much to the ol' reading pile. Low pressure and fun!  So go on and join us!

Reviews not required, but if you'd like to share them then the Review Site can be found here.





Possible Reading List:

1. The Web Between the Worlds by Charles Sheffield (1/21/13)
2. Slippage by Harlan Ellison (1/19/13)
3. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey  (1/13/13)
4. Zima Blue & Other Stories by Alastair Reynolds (2/3/13) 
5. Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell (2/15/13)
6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2/24/13)
7. The Other Side of Tomorrow by Roger Elwood, ed (2/28/13)


Book to Movie Challenge

BookToMovie

Katie at Doing Dewey is hosting her first ever reading challenge, the 2013 Book to Movie Challenge. The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to review books and the movies which they’ve been made into. 


To enter, just click through to the linky at the bottom of the Challenge post (link above) and link to a post on your blog mentioning the challenge and the challenge level you’re attempting. You can change challenge levels at any time and the challenge levels are listed at the site. Here is my chosen level:
 
Movie Fan - read 3 books and watch their movies

I will read (and watch) at least three of the following:

1. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (3/11/13)
2. The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White (3/17/13)
3. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (3/20/13) 



4. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson/The Haunting 1963 film (10/7/13)
5. Death in the Air (aka Death in the Clouds) by Agatha Christie (8/5/13)
6. The African Queen by C. S. Forester (4/6/13)

Bonus: The Maltese Falcon by Dashielle Hammett [read last year, but read a pastiche called Hammett Unwritten by Owen Fitzstephen (Gordon McAlpine) and will watch the movie as well as link up last year's review]


IF I manage to do all of these, then I'll upgrade to Movie Devotee--but I'm gonna start small. Black Widow may be difficult to find in movie form (1954 production date). [Addendum--managed to find Black Widow--but couldn't finish the movie.  Replaced it with The African Queen.]



Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge
Hosted by Reading with Tequila 
January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013
Click the links for more info and to join up!
My Commitment:
Level I - Read 5 books

Here is my plan (subject to change, based on availability of books from library when I'm ready for them). My books have been selected from the entire 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation list.


  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (7/16/13)
  2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2/24/13)
  3. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff (3/20/13)
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (7/10/13)
  5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (6/4/13)
Complete! 7/16/13

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year End Challenge Reminder

As we rapidly head towards the end of 2012, don't forget to link up your Wrap-Up Posts for the Vintage Mystery, Color-Coded, and Mount TBR Challenges.  To make it easy--here are all the post links in one place:

Click for Vintage Progress Post
Click for Color Coded Progress Post

Click for Mount TBR Final Check Point Post




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Book Loot


All I wanted for Christmas is....a bunch of books.  A bunch of books.  
See? A bunch of books.
Cuz if I had a bunch of books, then I would have a Merry Christmas.

And the Santas in my life have come through (both the Secret and the not-so-Secret).

From the Hubby:

The Further Adventures of  Sherlock Holmes: The Titanic Tragedy by William Seil
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver by Sam Siciliano
 



Welcome Death by Glyn Daniel

The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop by Gladys Mitchell



Penelope Passes (or Why Did She Die?) by Joan Coggin


From my Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa:

Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran




And...a Barnes & Noble Gift Card from my boss!