Sunday, November 30, 2014

2015 Men in Uniform Challenge


January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

 As Brianna at The Book Vixen says: Who doesn't love a man in uniform? I sure do! And I love reading about them too. They're hot, resourceful and they're always well-equipped. Do you like reading books featuring men in uniform too? If so, then this is the reading challenge for you!

Levels:
  • Sergeant: read 1–5 men in uniform novels
  • Lieutenant: read 6–10 men in uniform novels
  • Captain: read 11–15 men in uniform novels
  • Chief: read 16+ men in uniform novels
 I joined this challenge for the first time last year.  I realized that with all the murder mysteries I read that surely to goodness I could collect enough policemen to enter at the most basic level. And I was right.  So that's what I'm going to do again this year.  If I find that I can round up even more of those handsome men in uniform, then I'll ask my commanding officer for a promotion and will try for a higher level.  But my basic challenge will be complete when I earn my stripes for:

Sergeant: read 1-5 men in uniform novels

If you'd like to join in the fun, then click on the 2015 Men in Uniform Challenge link for full details and to sign up.

My reading list:
1. Police Procedurals by Martin H. Greenberg & Bill Pronzini, eds [policemen, all sorts of policemen] (1/9/15)
2. Death of Dwarf by Harold Kemp [policemen] (1/25/15)
3. Caught Dead in Philadelphia by Gillian Roberts [policemen] (2/11/15)
4. Into the Valley by John Hersey [Marines] (2/28/15)
5. Death & Mr. Prettyman by Kenneth Giles  [policemen] (3/6/15)
Challenge Commitment Complete (3/6/15)
6. Playground of Death by John Buxton Hilton [policemen] (3/18/15)
7. The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey [officers & crew of ocean liner] (4/1/15)
8. Gods of Gold by Chris Nickson [policemen] (5/23/15)
9.
10.
Lieutenant!

Challenge Absolutely Complete: Adam's 2014 TBR Pile




I Found It!!!

Back in September I gave up on ever finding my last alternate for Adam's 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. I had always read the originals plus the alternates for a full fourteen books, but after looking high and low for the book all year, I became convinced that the gremlins had run off with Harlan Ellison's Alone Against Tomorrow. And then, ironically, while I was hunting through my TBR piles in order to put together my list for Adam's 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I found it. Sitting on the TBR Science Fiction shelf just like it should have been. Either I've been blind since January and just regained my SF book sight or the gremlins finally took pity on me. Whatever the case, I have now read the final book on my list and the TBR Pile Challenge is absolutely complete.

 
Here's my list:
1. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (pub 1962) [2/27/14]
2. For Old Crime's Sake by Delano Ames (pub 1959) [4/29/14]
3. My Antonia by Willa Cather (pub 1918) [4/20/14]
4. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (pub 1952) [7/20/14]
5. Shakespeare's Planet by Clifford D. Simak (pub 1976) [1/6/14]
6. By the Watchman's Clock by Leslie Ford (pub 1932) [5/23/14]
7. Death on the Aisle by Frances & Richard Lockridge (pub 1942) [1/24/14]
8. Plain Sailing by Douglas Clark (pub 1987) [6/11/14]
9.  Made Up to Kill by Kelley Roos (pub 1940) [2/18/14]
10. Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout (pub 1938) [7/12/14]
11. The Clue of the Leather Noose by Donald Bayne Hobart (pub 1929) [3/31/14]
12. The Forgotten War by William Forschten (pub 1999) [7/9/14]

Alternates:
1. Alone Against Tomorrow by Harlan Ellison (pub 1971) [11/30/14]
2. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (pub 1991) [1/5/14]

Alone Against Tomorrow: Mini-Review

Harlan Ellison is a fantastic story-teller--even when every story in a collection is not up to his usual standard (as here), his less-than-best is miles ahead of others. So, let me just qualify my star rating on this collection upfront: the three stars represent a rating on the Ellison scale, not an Ellison versus others scale. I simply could not rate this collection as highly as Shatterday or Slippage because the overall quality on the Ellison scale is not equivalent.


These twenty stories focus on man's alienation--alienation from his time, from his fellow-man, and even from himself. He is numbed by future-shock; propelled by his noblest dreams but often prevented from fulfilling them by his inadequacies and the challenges of a universe determined to hold on to its secrets. Ellison takes us into the unknown, to a place full of conflict and awe to show us the grandeur and terror of men and women facing their deepest fears--alone and unaided.

Among the most powerful stories found here are the classic "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream," the haunting "All the Sounds of Fear," and the disturbing "The Discarded" and "Eyes of Dust," as well as two versions of Ellison's take on Orwell's 1984: "Repent Harlequin Said the TicktockMan" and "Are You Listening?" Nearly as good are "Blind Lightning" and "The Time of the Eye," but unfortunately the remainder (12 stories) are all just good Ellison stories or even not-so-good. But don't forget "just good" Ellison, is pretty darn good.  ★★

2014 Challenge Goal Complete: Read One Million Pages

Picture

Julie over at Smiling Shelves has developed a blog-version of the Read One Million Pages Challenge that she found out on Goodreads.  This is a perpetual challenge with one simple goal: to read one million pages during your lifetime.  If you'd like to join us on this ultimate quest, then please click on the link above to sign up on Julie's page.
My pledge is to read at least 40,000 pages each year in order to count the challenge complete for my challenge list. As of November 30, I have read 43,558 pages in 2014--so I've got my quota for the year. I won't fill in the grand total until I see how many more pages I can get under my belt in December....

Starting Page Count: 206,286
2013 Page Count: 43,939                   Grand Total: 250,225
2014 Page Count: 43,558  (Nov)         Grand Total:

Challenge Complete: European Reading Challenge


European Reading Challenge
Hosted by Rose City Reader
Dates: January - January (Click above for full details and to join)
My Goal: 5+ Books (Five Star, Deluxe Entourage)

Although there is still one month left...I think I can safely say that I'm finished with the challenge. It's possible that I might sneak another European-based novel into the line-up, but given the challenges I have left to complete it's not likely. As you can see, my goal was at least five books and I've doubled that, so I'm pretty pleased with my European tour this year. Thanks to Gillion for hosting another tour of the continent.
 
My List:

1. The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi [Greece] (4/26/14)

2. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell [Sweden] (1/5/14)
3. DeKok and Murder in Ecstasy by A. J. Baantjer [Netherlands] (6/27/14)
4. Exit Actors, Dying by Margot Arnold [Turkey] (2/4/14)
5. Murder in the Vatican by Amy Margaret Lewis [Vatican City] (3/5/14)
6. For Old Crime's Sake by Delano Ames [Spain] (4/29/14)
7. The Poison Belt by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [author from Scotland; UK] (1/2/14)
8. The Wonder Chamber by Mary Malloy ["mystery" itself takes place in Italy ] (1/15/14) 
9. Gale Warning by Hammond Innes [Norway/Norwegian Sea] (4/15/14) 
10. Murder at the Villa Rose by A. E. W. Mason [Monaco] (7/14/14)
11. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy [Hungarian-born author] (9/21/14) 
12. Too Many Doctors by Holly Roth [set on German ship w/German crew] (10/22/14)
 

Challenge Complete: Reading Challenge Addict 2014




So....I actually completed this one a long time ago (like, maybe, June), but I just kept on finishing those challenges and forgot to log this one as done. Given my challenge-aholic status I signed up for that top level:


Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered & Completed)

If you'd like to see the challenges I've completed so far this year, please see my 2014 Challenges tab along the top or click HERE

Reading Challenge Addict 2015

YES !!! I AM A CHALLENGE ADDICT AND PROUD OF IT!!!
 
I just realized that November wasn't even over and I have already signed up for 25 reading challenges. That's right. Twenty. Five.  So, of course I'm going to have to sign up for the Reading Challenge Addict Challenge.  This challenge support group/group of enablers was the brainchild of two lovely ladies: Cheryl of CMash Reads and Gina at Hott Books.  They are also the Hostesses with the Mostest over at Partner in Crime Tours and Providence Book Promotions.  They got very busy with their book tour sites and asked me to step in and shepherd our little group of Challenge Addicts.  I took up the reins....and here we go for another year of challenge madness.  For details on the challenge rules and levels, hop on the site above. 

And my Challenge Level?  Given that I've already got 25 lined up for 2015, it's obvious that I've given up pretending that I'll control myself....Sign me up for the top level, baby.


Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered & Completed)

As I did last year, I will only track my challenges in one spot.  See my 2015 Challenges tab along the top or click HERE to see which challenges have reeled me in this year....

 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cloak & Dagger Challenge



January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Amy at A Bookish Girl is resurrecting her 2013 mystery reading challenge under a new name--the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge. The rules are fairly straight-forward...just read mysteries. There are different levels to shoot for, so for the full details hop on over to her blog (click link above) and check things out. Mysteries are my go-to books, so I'll be aiming for the top level: Sherlock Holmes (40 books).

Update: Amy has a lot going on and has decided to take a break from blogging. She has given permission for Elizabeth at Thoughts from an Evil Overlord to take over as host. Click on the new link to join or post reviews.

My list:
1. Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes (1/3/15)
2. The Case of the Painted Girl by Frank King (1/6/15)
3. Police Procedurals by Martin H. Greenberg & Bill Pronzini, eds (1/9/15)
4. Mother Finds a Body by Gypsy Rose Lee (1/12/15)
5. A Dead Man in Istanbul by Michael Pearce (1/14/15)
6. Death of a Dwarf by Harold Kemp (1/25/15)
7. The Golden Slipper & Other Problems for Violet Strange by Anna Katharine Green (1/26/15)
8. A Dead Man in Trieste by Michael Pearce (1/27/15)
9. Death of a Tall Man by Frances & Richard Lockridge (1/31/15)
10. One Touch of Blood by Samm Sinclair Baker (2/5/15)
11. Death Over Deep Water by Simon Nash (2/8/15)
12. Caught Dead in Philadelphia by Gillian Roberts (2/11/15)
13. 13 Steps Down by Ruth Rendell (2/15/15)
14. A Stitch in Time by Emma Lathen (2/17/15)
15. Panic by Helen McCloy (2/22/15)
16. The Secret of Magnolia Manor by Helen Wells (2/24/15)
17. The World's Best 100 Detective Stories by Eugene Thwing, ed (2/26/15)
18. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (3/2/15)
19. Death & Mr. Prettyman by Kenneth Giles (3/6/15)
20. Top of the Heap by A. A. Fair (3/11/15)
21. Night Train to Paris by Manning Coles (3/14/15)
22. The Underdog & Other Stories by Agatha Christie (3/17/15)
23. Playground of Death by John Buxton Hilton (3/18/15)
24. Malice Domestic by Sara Woods (3/26/15)
25. Murder Fantastical by Patricia Moyes (3/29/15)
26. Dine & Be Dead by Gwendoline Butler (3/29/15)
27. The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey (4/1/15)
28. Poison Jasmine by Clyde B. Clason (4/5/15)
29. Murder in the Wind by John D. MacDonald (4/13/15)
30. The Ringmaster's Secret by Carolyn Keene (4/16/15)
31. The Cavalier in White by Marcia Muller (4/18/15)
32. The Wilberforce Legacy by Josephine Bell (4/19/15)
33. The Smiler with the Knife by Nicholas Blake (4/21/15)
34. Safari by Parnell Hall (4/21/15)
35. Call for Michael Shayne by Brett Halliday (4/22/15)
36. The Case of Colonel Marchand by E. C. R. Lorac (4/27/15)
37. The Eye in the Museum by J. J. Connington (5/8/15)
38. Dead Lion by John & Emery Bonett (5/13/15)
39. The Great Dinosaur Robbery by David Forrest (5/15/15)
40. The Three Fears by Jonathan Stagge (5/17/15)
41. Gods of Gold by Chris Nickson (5/23/15)
Challenge Complete!
42. Deep Lake Mystery by Carolyn Wells (5/25/15)
43. Bones in the Barrow by Josephine Bell (5/29/15)
44. The Abominable Man by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (5/29/15)
45. Penny Allen & the Mystery of the Hidden Treasure by Jean McKechnie (5/31/15)
46. Double Cross Purposes by Ronald A. Knox (6/3/15)
47. The Darling Dahlias & the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert (6/5/15)
48. The Line-Up by Helen Reilly (6/8/15)
49. Falling Star by Patricia Moyes (6/12/15)
50. The Diamond-Studded Typewriter by Carlton Keith (6/14/15)
51. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull by Harry Stephen Keeler (6/21/15)
52. The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie (6/22/15)
53. Whisper Murder! by Vera Kelsey (6/24/15)
54. The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case by George Baxt 96/26/15)
55. Murder on Her Mind by Vechel Howard (6/27/15)
56. The Summer School Mystery by Josephine Bell (6/29/15)
57. The Turquoise Shop by Frances Crane (7/3/15)
58. Young Mrs. Cavendish & the Kaiser's Men by K. K. Beck (7/4/15)
59. Hand of Fate by Michael Underwood (7/5/15)
60. The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Erle Stanley Gardner (7/6/15)
61. The Crime & the Crystal by Elizabeth Ferrars (7/9/15)
62. The Lack of the Irish by Ralph McInerny (7/11/15)
63. Murder Past Due by Miranda James (7/13/15)
64. Resorting to Murder by Martin Edwards, ed (7/18/15)
65. Two & Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning (7/23/15)
66. Shadow of a Doubt by June Thomson (7/27/15)
67. The Bookfair Murders by Anna Porter (7/29/15)
68. The Penny Murders by Lionel Black (7/31/15)
69. The Avenging Parrot by Anne Austin (8/4/15)
70. The Old Die Young by Richard Lockridge (8/9/15)
71. The Cases of Susan Dare by Mignon G. Eberhart (8/10/15)
72.

 

The Eclectic Reader Challenge


January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

I first joined Book'd Out for the The Eclectic Reader Challenge last year, but this is the fourth year for this comfort-zone challenging reader event. The goal is to push us out of that comfort zone by reading up to 12 books during the year from 12 different categories. For full details on the challenge and to join up, click on the Challenge link above.

Here are the categories for 2015 and my tentative book plans for each one:

1. Retellings (of fairytales, legends, or myths): Briar Rose by Jane Yolen [Sleeping Beauty] (9/14/15) 
2. Set in a country that begins with "S" (Spain, Sweden, etc.): The Abominable Man by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö [Sweden] (5/29/15)
3. PI Crime (featuring a private investigator): Call for Michael Shayne by Brett Halliday (4/22/15)
4. Published before you were born (1969 for me): The Golden Slipper & Other Problems for Violet Strange by Anna Katharine Green [1915] (1/26/15)
5. Contemporary Romance: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (11/4/15)
6. Fiction for Foodies: Death Dines Out by Theodora Du Bois [death by limes!] (9/30/15)
7. Microhistory (nonfiction): The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum (3/22/15)
8. Science Fiction (set in space): The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (4/12/15)
9. Sports (fiction or nonfiction): The Lack of the Irish by Ralph McInerny [football] (7/11/15)
10. Featuring Diversity: Swing Low, Sweet Harriet by George Baxt [features first gay detective--Pharoah Love--who is also African American] (9/13/15)
11.  Epistolary Fiction: Some of Your Blood by Theodor Sturgeon (2/13/15)
12. Middle Grade/YA Adventure: The Giver by Lois Lowry (9/4/15)

What's in a Name Challenge

What's In A Name 2015 logo




I'm ready to sign-up for the eighth annual What’s In A Name Challenge, originally started by Annie, handed to Beth Fish Reads, and now continued by Charlie at The Worm Hole.

The Basics
The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets): 
  • A word including ‘ing’ in it (The Time Of Singing, Dancing To The Flute, Lex Trent Fighting With Fire) My examples are verbs but you can of course use other words.
  • A colour (The Red Queen, White Truffles In Winter, On Gold Mountain)
  • A familial relation (Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, Dombey And Son, My Cousin Rachel) By all means include in-laws, step, and halves.
  • A body of water (The River Of No Return, Black Lake, Beside The Sea)
  • A city (Barcelona Shadows, Shanghai Girls, Under The Tripoli Sky)
  • An animal (Black Swan Rising, The Leopard Unleashed, The Horse And His Boy)
And my books (subject to change):
"ING": Flying to Nowhere by John Fuller (4/14/15)
Color: The Turquoise Shop by Frances Crane (7/3/15)
Family Relation: Mother Finds a Body by Gypsy Rose Lee (1/12/15)
Body of Water: Deep Lake Mystery by Carolyn Wells (5/25/15)
City: Caught Dead in Philadelphia by Gillian Roberts (2/11/15)
Animal: The Avenging Parrot by Anne Austin (8/4/15)

2015 Genre Decades Challenge




Becky from Becky's Book Reviews has put together the Genre Decades Reading Challenge. Here's how it works:
1) Choose a decade. She recommends starting with one. If you finish you can always come back for another! You will be reading TEN books. One book for each year of the decade you choose. You may choose to sign up for more than one decade from the start. But it's ten books per decade you choose. So it would be committing to twenty books if you choose two.

2) Choose your genre. Or genres. You may choose up to five genres for a single decade. (Two books per genre.) It is up to you if you want a single genre or multiple genres. Genre is different from audience. So if you choose fantasy, you may read fantasy for children, young adults, or adults. But "young adult" is not in and of itself a genre. You can definitely make this challenge your own. For example:

  • sci-fi from the seventies
  • fantasy from the eighties
  • historical fiction from the thirties
  • mysteries from the fifties
  • romances from the forties
  • paranormal from the nineties
3) If you want to make the challenge more difficult, you might consider reading one book per genre per year of your decade. So minimum of ten books, maximum of fifty.


I'm in for Mysteries from the Thirties AND Science Fiction from the Seventies (so a total of 20 books).

1930s Mysteries
1.  The Avenging Parrot by Anne Austin [1930]
2.  The Case of the Painted Girl by Frank King [1931] (1/6/15)
3. Two & Two Make Twenty-Two by Gwen Bristow & Bruce Manning [1932] (7/23/15)
4.  The Case of Colonel Marchand by E. C. R. Lorac [1933] (4/27/15)
5. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull by Harry Stephen Keeler [1934] (6/21/15)
6. The Bat Flies Low by Sax Rohmer [1935]
7. The Murder of Sir Edmund Godfrey by John Dickson Carr [1936] (4/8/15)
8. Double Cross Purposes by Father Ronald A. Knox [1937] (6/3/15)
9. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene [1938] (3/2/15)
10. The Smiler with the Knife by Nicholas Blake [1939] (4/21/15)


1970s Science Fiction
1. Ringworld by Larry Niven [1970] (8/20/15)
2. Alpha 2 by Robert Silverberg, ed [1971] (1/18/15)
3. The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit & Other Plays by Ray Bradbury [1972] (12/15/15)
4. Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home by James Tiptree, Jr. [1973] (1/2/15)
5. The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle [1974] (4/12/15)
6. The Winds Twelve Quarters by Ursula Le Guin [1975] (12/9/15)
7. Spock, Messiah! by Theodore R. Cogswell [1976] (5/8/15)
8. Asimov's Choice: Black Holes & Bug-Eyed Monsters by George H. Scithers, ed [1977] (1/9/15)
9. Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison [1978] (5/21/15)
10. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams [1979] 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monthly Motif Challenge 2015

2015 Monthly Motif Image1

 January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015

Kimberly is also hosting  the Monthly Motif Challenge.  This one has 12 themes--one for each month.  These are going to take a bit more thinking...so, I'll gradually add titles that I'm sure of and update as I figure out what books will fit.  If you'd like to join, click on the link above for details and the sign-up linky.

Monthly Motifs:
JAN - Book to Movie or Audio: Ride the Pink Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes [made into a move in 1947] (1/3/15)
FEB - Award Winner: Caught Dead in Philadelphia by Gillian Roberts [Anthony Award for Best 1st Mystery 1988] (2/11/15)
MAR - Genre Jumble (genre you don't normally do): The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum [Non-Fiction/Micro-History] (3/22/15)
APR -  Mystery, Murder, & Mayhem: The Ringmaster's Secret by Carolyn Keene (4/16/15)
APR - Mystery, Murder, & Mayhem: The Cavalier in White by Marcia Muller (4/18/15)
MAY - Library Love: Gods of Gold by Chris Nickson (5/23/15)
JUN - Take a Trip (set in different country): Falling Star by Patricia Moyes [England] (6/12/15)
JUL -  Standing Up [Maude stands up for her right to do a "man's job" and Maude & her friends stand up against the German spies]: Young Mrs. Cavendish & the Kaiser's Men by K. K. Beck (7/4/15)
AUG - Alternate Reality: Ringworld by Larry Niven (8/20/15)
SEP - Furry Friends: Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout [Caesar = a bull] (9/17/15)
OCT - Goblins, & Ghosts, & Ghouls, Oh My!: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (10/16/15)
NOV - Oldie But Goodie (Pre-2000): The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum [1900] (11/15/15)
DEC - That's a Wrap: The Monday Theory by Douglas Clark [the next book in the series that I needed to read] (12/7/15]
 

2015 Monthly Key Word Challenge


2015 Monthly Key Word Image

January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Kimberly is hosting the 3rd Annual Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge! For this challenge she has chosen six key words associated with each month in 2014. Our task is to read one book each month whose title includes one or more of the key words for that month. For complete rules and to sign up,click on the link above.

Here are the Monthly Key Words:
JAN- Bird, Girl, Ever, Silence, Bad, Truth, End 
FEB- Key, Water, Lie, Chase, And, Once      
MAR- KInd, Face, Power, City, Blue, Night, To 
APR- Dream, Prince, Long, Wind, Rose, The, Rock 
MAY- Ash, Road, Thief, Bend, In, Far 
JUN- My, Together, Whisper, Win, Soul, Sleep 
JUL- Sun, Unto, Energy, Fate, High, Look 
AUG- Fall, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now 
SEP- Color, Touch, Life, Day, How, Sweet 
OCT- Ghost, Home, Beach, Away, Test, Number 
NOV- Rise, Holiday, And, Little, Call, Dark 
DEC- Space, Mirror, Over, Flower, Trap, Cold

And my List:
JAN: The Case of the Painted Girl by Frank King (1/6/15)
FEB: Death Over Deep Water by Simon Nash (2/8/15)
MAR: Night Train to Paris by Manning Coles (3/14/15)
APR: Murder in the Wind by John D. MacDonald (4/13/15)
MAY: The Eye in the Museum by J. J. Connington (5/8/15)
JUN: Whisper Murder by Vera Kelsey (6/24/15)
JUL: Hand of Fate by Michael Underwood (7/5/15)
AUG: Glass on the Stairs by Margaret Scherf (8/27/15)
SEP: Swing Low, Sweet Harriet by George Baxt (9/13/15)
OCT: The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (10/16/15)
NOV: Call for the Dead by John le Carré (11/18/15)
DEC: Cold Poison by Stuart Palmer (12/18/15)

COMPLETE! 12/18/15

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lament for the Bride: Review

Judith Kingsley marries well-known financier Horace Fescue on the rebound. She had fallen in love with Charles Darlington, but he never came back to her as promised from a supposed trip to break off his engagement to another woman. And she never heard another word from him

On the day of their wedding, Fescue takes his bride to his house in St. Augustine for their honeymoon where she immediately see Darlington and his fiancee. In fact, the honeymoon is crowded with people who know either Fescue or Judith--from Fescue's ex-wifer, to the Darlington family (who have reason to hate Fescue) to Fescue's factotum--a man who seemed downright evil to Judith and whom she had asked Fescue to dismiss. He had told her he had. None of the servants at the St. Augustine house seem to approve of the new bride and none of them are friendly. 

Before their first night is over, Judith overhears Fescue telling his ex that he deliberately brought Judith to St. Augustine knowing Darlington was in town, that he had intercepted a letter from Charles meant for Judith and he knew of their ill-fated love. It seems that Judith's new husband has a cruel streak and is going to enjoy torturing his bride with the nearness of the man she cannot have. Judith decides to leave him at once and have her marriage annulled...but before she can escape Fescue is shot and he tells her that Darlington is the man who did it. If Judith leaves him, he will turn Darlington over to the police. If she stays, he will play dumb.

Judith feels caught in a trap and determines to find out who really shot her husband. She doesn't believe Fescue for a moment when he claims it was Darlington. Before she can make much headway, Fescue begins receive death threats ("You are going to die"), another attempt is made on the recovering man, and then Hudson is killed. Who is behind it all? Is it Darlington's fiancee, the pretty girl with the scarred cheek? Could it be Darlington's sister, who has reason to hate Fescue for ruining her family? Or maybe Fesuce's ex-wife still has reason to want him dead? Then there's the mystery man Chesneck who claims to have known Fescue's brother--does he know a few secrets as well?

Inspector McKee is in the case from the beginning and comes to Florida to unravel all the clues. But the more clues he discovers, the worse it looks for Darlington and Judith is afraid that neither she nor the man she really loves will escape the traps laid for them.

This novel is much more of a romantic suspense mystery than others I've read by Reilly. While it is still a good read--Reilly is a more than competent writer--I really enjoyed her earlier books more with their focus on the police  procedural rather than the damsel in distress. McKee has generally had a damsel who needed rescuing in each of the cases, but they haven't been so very tense. I would have appreciated more focus on McKee and his efforts to discover the killer than to have spent so much time with Judith and her constant fear that Darlington would be arrested any minute. Decent mystery with a twist at the end. ★★

The Curious Affair of the Third Dog: Review

Henry sighed and thought wistfully of the classic murders of fiction--the aristocratic house-party, neatly cut off by snow or floods to limit the number of suspects; the multiplicity of unlikely motives and opportunities; the tortuous investigations of  the amateur sleuth; and the final denouement, in which the murderer turns out to be the elderly, gentle maiden aunt--beloved by all, but unmasked as a sub-human fiend in the final chapter. (p. 9)

It is no spoiler to tell you that Inspector Henry Tibbett is out of luck in The Curious Affair of the Third Dog. There are no gentle maiden aunts to be had--the most gentle woman in the entire book is his very own wife Emmy and she's no crazy killer.

The story begins with Emmy heading to the country to spend a holiday with her sister Jane whose main occupation these days is as a representative of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The house is overflowing with foster animals (in addition to the pets who live there full-time). When Henry arrives he finds the village up in arms because one of their own has just been sent to prison for a year for reckless homicide (killing a man while under the influence) and Jane up in arms because one of the man's animals has disappeared. She had gone to his house to collect his three dogs for safe-keeping while he was in prison, but when she arrived there were only two. What happened to the third dog?

Once Henry hears the full story of the drunken homicide and learns that the missing dog is a greyhound, his official "nose" begins to twitch and he senses a connection with a case he had been investigating in London. Soon Henry's entire team is on the case--all searching for a missing hound. But Henry will be beaten, tied up, dumped in the shed of a released criminal, shot, and dressed up in drag before the crime is brought home to the proper criminals and his men find not one... but two missing greyhounds.

This one was great fun--lots of interesting information about greyhounds (and other animals), nicely understated police procedural work--making the officers' actions realistic without bogging the reader down with official details and tedious checking and double-checking. Worth the price of admission for the image of Henry dressed up in his sister-in-law's blouse and skirt with a random nurse's blonde wig in order to sneak out of hospital. We're given enough detail to solve the mystery right along with Henry, but just enough is kept back to allow for a twist or two at the end. Well done and a good reminder of why I enjoy Patricia Moyes' detective novels. ★★★★

Adam's 2015 TBR Pile Challenge



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Adam from Roof Beam Reader is taking us on another round of TBR Tower Taming with his 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. I love challenges and I'm all about the ones that will help me knock out some of those stacks in my back room.

Here's the main point: If you join Adam's challenge, then you will sign up to read 12 books (one for each month) from your TBR list. You are allowed two alternates just in case you just can't finish a book for whatever reason. Each of these books must have been on your TBR list for AT LEAST one year. None of the books may have a publication date of 1/1/14 or later (yes, Adam will be checking).

For the full run-down of challenge details, hop over to Adam's blog (click on link above), read the rules, and join me in my quest to reduce the teetering stacks.


Here's my list:
1. The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov (pub 1951; on my TBR since 1993) [5/31/15]
2. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (pub 1966; on my TBR since 2013) [7/8/15]
3. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (pub 1996; on my TBR since 2010) [8/16/15]
4. Lost Laysen by Margaret Mitchell (1st pub 1996 [written 1916]; on my TBR since 2006) [2/17/15]
5. The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (pub 1974; on my TBR since 1999) [4/12/15]
6. Robert F. Kennedy: His Life & Death by American Heritage, eds (pub 1968; on my TBR since 1991) [4/15/15]
7. The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case by George Baxt (pub 1995; on my TBR since at least 2011) [6/26/15]
8. Dine and Be Dead by Gwendoline Butler [pub 1960; on my TBR since 2009] (3/29/15)
9. Who Is Lewis Pinder? by L. P. Davies (pub 1965; on my TBR since January 2014)
10. Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home by James Tiptriee, Jr. [pub 1973; on my TBR since 1988] (1/2/15)
11. Death in Kashmir by M. M. Kaye [pub 1953; on my TBR since 2011] (8/25/15)
12. The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl [pub 2007; on my TBR since 2009] (9/25/15)


Alternates:
1. A Pound of Paper Confessions of a Book Addict by John Baxter (pub 2002; on my TBR since 2012) [10/24/15]
2. A Knife in the Back by Bill Crider (pub 2002; on my TBR since 2006)