I've been reading, but I haven't been writing about what I've read. I've told you before, I'm lazy. Every minute spent not reading is taking away from my reading time. It's that simple. But the whole point of a blog is to communicate. I want to talk to you about books and I want you to talk to me. A pet peeve: bloggers who don't respond to comments. That's one-way. I'm not interested in a lecture. I want a conversation.
I like archeology and I love mysteries. Even in real life, they often go hand in hand. I've bought all of the books in Margot Arnold's Dr. Penny Spring and Sir Toby Glendower mystery series. They're an odd couple, to be sure, but they're great at solving mysteries. This time, they're in Hawaii. They're supposed to be there for a vacation and so Penny can mediate an argument between two professionals regarding the existence of Hawaiian 'little people', like leprechauns. But the bodies start piling up, so Penny and Toby go to work.
Although I like the Miss Silver mysteries, she hardly makes an appearance in this one. Two sisters inherit. One is married to a very handsome man, one is single. The single one, lost in the London fog, overhears someone hiring a man to commit murder for hire. She also meets a handsome architect in the fog. All three meet again at her sister's house, the one they're renting and that her husband wants desperately to buy - using his wife's in-trust inheritance. The husband's ward, an obnoxious young girl, falls to her death. There's something odd going on here and Miss Silver helps point the police in the right direction.
This one was a Christmas gift from my niece Amy. She knows how much I love the inside story on musicians. Howard Smith was a journalist who had a radio show, too. He was the only journalist who broadcast live from Woodstock (I think I have that right). He made hundreds of tapes of his interviews with people like Ravi Shankar, John and Yoko, Frank Zappa, Jane Fonda, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Norman Mailer, Jerry Garcia, Dick Cavett, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin (just days before she died), and many, many more. The tapes were made between 1969 and 1972 and lay untouched in an attic for decades, until Smith's son found them. I told Amy that the book brought back so many memories for me. Ramparts and Avant-Garde magazines (I've always been ahead of the curve), the news on the radio of the Manson murders and the deaths of Hendrix, Morrison, and Joplin, Vietnam anti-war marches. It was an exciting and terrifying time to come of age. Things were far more turbulent then than they are now, IMHO.
I think Australia is too alien for me. I don't doubt that it's breathtaking and amazing, but I think it's so different from any landscapes I know. When I got off the plane in Salt Lake City, Utah, I felt like I'd landed on Mars. I feel the same way about Australia, even though I've never been there. Napoleon Bonaparte is a police detective, part white, part Aborigine. He's very good at what he does, so he's sent to the east coast of Australia to find out who killed a former Scotland Yard inspector. He went out deep sea fishing and disappeared with the two men who owned and ran the boat. Until his head came up in a trawler's net. There were some incredibly boring (to me) parts, with pages and pages of descriptions of catching sport fish. I thought I'd put down Swordfish Reef and accidentally picked up The Old Man and The Sea! The mystery was fine, but I'll take my time before reading another in this series.
I've had Richard Adams' A Nature Diary for years. I read Watership Down when it first came out in the 1970s and remember liking it. In A Nature Diary, Adams identifies and lists the birds, insects, and plants that he sees while taking extensive walks with his dog, Tetter, on the Isle of Man, where he lived. Adams just died this past December, at the age of 96. According to Wikipedia, his wife died in 2016, too. He's left most of the descriptive writing out of his Nature Diary. It's mostly notes about the weather and what he sees while walking. I'm envious of (or exhausted by) his walks of four to six miles. I like the illustrations very much. I've sent the book on to my friend Jenny who is a veterinarian, vegetarian (as all veterinarians should be), writer, and artist. I think it'll be the perfect book for her.
Then, for some excitement. I still haven't read the first Harry Hole book, although I have it on my Kindle. This one, the second in the series, came up first, so I read it. Harry is sent to Bangkok to discover who murdered the Norwegian ambassador, found stabbed in the back in a cheap motel, waiting for a prostitute. But Harry's been sent just to wrap things up without unleashing a diplomatic scandal. Of course, Harry can't do that. He's got to get to the bottom of the corruption and evil. And he does. It's dark, and Harry may not make it out of the hole (get it? a play on this name? am I not a clever girl?) that he throws himself into after solving the murder(s).
Now I'm on to Old Goriot, as my copy calls Pere Goriot, The African Quest by Lyn Hamilton, and Mrs. Milburn's Diary. A classic, another archeology mystery, and a WWII diary.
BTW, can anyone recommend a WWII AMERICAN war diary? I've read several British ones and, undoubtedly, life during the war in Britain was a completely different experience from life in the United States. But we were affected, too, and I'd be interested in the diary / diaries of ordinary people and their every days lives in that time period. Anyone?