Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Books

It's been so long since I posted anything that I've almost forgotten how to do it!  The day's not over, but here's my list of books finished in August.

Juggling  -  Barbara Trapido

The Judas Cat  -  Dorothy Salisbury Davis

A Chill Rain in January  -  L. R. Wright

Murder and Mendelssohn  -  Kerry Greenwood

Moranthology  -  Caitlin Moran

The Hidden Child  -  Camilla Lackberg

Heaven's Keep  -  William Kent Krueger

The Thai Amulet  -  Lyn Hamilton

There were some decently entertaining books in the group and several that didn't measure up.  As you can see, I was escaping into mysteries once again.  Those are my comfort reads.

I can't believe that summer's almost over.  This weekend is Labor Day which, to many of us, signals the end of summer.  It shouldn't for me since I'm all but retired.  It's hard to shake those old habits, though.  At this time of year, I'm always gripped by the urge to buy pencils and notebooks and other school supplies, even though I haven't seen the inside of a school for almost fifty years.

I will, however, be glad to see an end to the high heat and humidity that ruined the summer for me.  My body has never been able to deal with those things.  I melt into a moaning heap.  I long for some cool breezes and cloudy weather.  Our city house has no outdoor space to speak of.  I long for big trees and rustling leaves, shade, peace and quiet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Juggling - Barbara Trapido

I am so grateful for being steered to Barbara Trapido by the blogger here.  I started with Brother of the More Famous Jack, which the blogger had posted about, and then went on to Temples of Delight.  I loved them both.  I got Juggling from the library and, as I started to read it, I realized it was a sequel to Temples of Delight.

Alice and Joe Angeletti have been married for over ten years.  Pam, the daughter of Alice's dead friend, Jem, is studious, pretty in a voluptuous Madonna and Child way, and perfect.  Christina is bright and pretty in an elfin way, but more frivolous and outspoken, always up for stirring up trouble.  They've been raised in American, but then are sent to boarding school in England, the one where Roland Dent, a previous boyfriend of Alice's, teaches.

While there, they meet two boys, Jago and Peter.  Peter is delicate and Jago is charismatic, bright, and handsome.  He has a posse of boys (and girls) who just want to be enveloped in his aura.  Christine falls for Jago, but until a traumatic event in the woods, he doesn't pay any attention to her.

There are so many interesting and odd characters in this book that it's hard to even start to tell you about them all.  I especially like Dulcie, tall, beautiful, edgy, foulmouthed, poor, in love with books of all kinds.  I think the 'juggling' of the title ultimately refers to the interchanging relationships of the characters.

This book, even more than Temples of Delight, is sort of like Alice in Wonderland meets real life.  It's magical without being fantastical, magical in the sense that I read on in awe as more and more secrets were uncovered and unreal things happened.

According to Wikipedia, Barbara Trapido lives in Oxford.  I wish I could tell her how much I admire her writing.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Climate of Fear - Fred Vargas

Occasionally, I can't wait for a new book by a loved author to be published.  In this case, I ordered A Climate of Fear from The Book Depository so I could have it before it was released in the United States.

Suicides aren't always suicides.  At least Commissaire Adamsberg doesn't think so.  An elderly woman is found dead in her bathtub, her wrists slit.  But she's fully clothed and there's an odd sign written next to the tub.  She had recently mailed a letter to a young man and met with him to tell him about a trip she'd been on to Iceland ten years ago.  The group got fogged in for weeks and barely survived.  Two were murdered by a mad man in the group.  One was the young man's mother.

The police's investigation leads them to a horse farm in a small village and to a group of people who are totally immersed in the French Revolution, dressing up and re-enacting the speeches of the assembly.  Robespierre is unsettlingly authentic.  

Eventually, Adamsberg and two of his detectives go to the island in Iceland where the murders took place.  And they find something unsettling.

Some of his department think he's barking up the wrong tree, wasting time on murders for which the statute of limitations has run out.  They think they should be concentrating on the murders of members of the French Revolution group.  They should know better than to doubt Adamsberg, an odd man who free-thinks and dreams and comes to the correct conclusion.

Apart from the regular unusual characters in the series, I fell in love with Marc, who appears in chapter IX. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Drowning - Camilla Lackberg

A responsible family man disappears one morning before work.  The police haven't been able to find him.  Foul play?  Or did he intentionally disappear?  His body, frozen in the ice, is found by a dog.  The man has been stabbed several times.  Why?

Patrick Hedstrom is the police detective in charge and he and his team have come up with nothing.  His wife, Erica Falck, very pregnant with twins, has been working with a local author who's written a best seller.  She discovers that he's been receiving anonymous threatening letters.  He doesn't want to go to the police, but he was a friend of the murdered man and Erica feels there's a link.

Erica digs into the author's past and finds some horrifying information.  She has to hand it over to her husband to help him in his investigation.  They find that others have received letters, too.  All of them are friends.  They all swear that they have no idea who is sending them or why.  But that's not true.

The solution caught me by surprise, although I had started to suspect.  However, I had forgotten that Lackberg ends her books in this series with cliffhangers - and what a doozy this one is!  I want to leap to the next book in the series, but I'm in the middle of some other books and I also realized that I skipped book number 5.  This is a series that is best read in order.