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Showing posts from August, 2016

Thoughts on reading

"There is something about reading which takes you beyond the constrictions of space and time, frees you from the limitations of social interaction and allows you to escape. Whoever you encounter within the pages of a book, whatever lives you vicariously live with them can affect you deeply – entertain you briefly, change your view of the world, open your eyes to a wholly different concept of living and the value of life. Books can be the immortality that some seek; thoughts and words left for future generations to hear from beyond the grave and awaken a memory of another’s life."
Joe Simpson, The Beckoning Silence.

Review: The Affair of the Mutilated Mink by James Anderson

Genre: Historical murder mystery; detective fiction.
Themes: Murder, secrets, false identities, false pretences, unexpected visitors, movies, young love. 
Reading challenge:What's in a Name 2016 Challenge book no.: 4/6, a book with an item of clothing in the title.

The titular mink (a coat) is the property of one of the characters in this frothy and funny country-house murder mystery. (You will have to read the book if you want to know how and why it got mutilated).


The Affair of the Mutilated Mink and the books that preceded it and followed it, The Affair of the Blood-stained Egg Cosy and The Affair of the 39 Cufflinks, have been justifiably called tributes to the Golden Era mystery, and one quickly realises that it doesn't take place in some unspecified version of the 1930s, but specifically the 1930s of the detective novels of Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Michael Innes, whose detectives, Wimsey, Alleyn and Appleby, are all mentioned in the story. Additionally, w…

Weekly Monday Round-up (August 29, 2016)

Book I finished reading last  week: The Affair of the Mutilated Mink by James Anderson.
(A review is in the works)


Book I started reading last week but haven't finished: Show Me the Magic: Travels Round Benin by Taxi by Annie Caulfield



Last week's DNF books:
The Bloodied Cravat by Rosemary Stevens. It always upsets me when I can't finish a book, but this one was boring, so I saw no reason to finish it after I gave it the 50 page test (see the Terminology Glossary).








Lord of Fire by Gaelen Foley started out wellbut I lost interest after three chapters and set it aside. I may pick it up later and finish it, as it wasn't so much the book itself but my mood that was wrong. I'm more inclined to read non-fiction than novels these days.


Last week's book haul:

Tulip had been on my TBR list since I first heard of it. The Canada guide book was a nice addition to my guide book collection (more of that anon).I decided to buy The Stolen Child after reading the blurb.The British Museu…

Reading status

Currently reading:
Title:Show Me the Magic: Travels Round Benin by Taxi
 By: Annie Caulfield
Challenge:What's in a Name 2016 
Challenge category: A book with a country in the title.
Challenge status: fourth of six books in this challenge







5 links on a Friday #2

The links are piling up! Here's the next batch - not all of them brand new, but hey, I just discovered them so they're new to me:

Fictional bookshops we love:
10 Fictional Bookstores We Wish We Could Shop In, Because Flourish And Blott's Is Too Magical To Not Exist.
I'm chuffed they included Parnassus on Wheels. BTW, he book's copyright has expired and it is available from Project Gutenberg.

Insight into the mind of a writer:
When Your Research Starts to Terrify You.
An interesting insight into the writerly mind, although the thought occurs that maybe she should be writing about something else if the subject frightens her that much.

A heart-warming news story about a young reader:
Utah boy reading junk mail gets thousands of books aftermailman's plea goes viral.
Awww!

A cook-book suitable for reading in bed:
The 100 best nonfiction books: No 30 – A Book ofMediterranean Food by Elizabeth David (1950).
I have an omnibus edition of this book plus French Country Cooking a…

Review: April Lady by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Historical romance; Regency romance.
Themes: Marriage problems, love, misunderstandings (big mis, no less), gambling, damsels in distress.  Reading challenge:What's in a Name 2016 Challenge book no.: 3/6, a book with the name of a month in the title.

First I must say that when I was looking for a picture of the cover of the edition I read, I found so many nice ones that I decided to post several. The one on the left is the cover I was looking for and you will find the rest below. This one and the next one (from the original hard-cover edition) are my favourites. 

If you know anything about fashion history you will soon spot the errors in some of the cover images (e.g. too early, too late), and if you have read the book, you will spot more (wrong hair-colour, events that did not take place in the story).


This is a story that hinges on one of those plot elements that I hate: the big misunderstanding. It doesn't help that there is also a spoiled, wilful and rather stupid young…

Review: Death on a Silver Tray by Rosemary Stevens

Genre: Historical detective fiction, murder mystery, cosy mystery.
Themes: Murder, social reputations, unhappy marriages,


I originally  chose the third book in the Beau Brummell mysteries as the book with an item of clothing in the title for the What's in a Name Challenge. However, I prefer, whenever possible, to read series books in the correct reading order, so I decided to read this, the first book in the series, as a preliminary to The Bloodied Cravat. I read this one through, but The Bloodied Cravat was a DNF for me (see the glossary)and I ended up with another book for the challenge.


This is quite a frothy mystery in the historical/cosy sub-genre. A loathsome old aristocratic woman is murdered by adding poison to her nightly drink of warm milk and the prime suspect is her lady's companion, a young gentlewoman recommended to her by the Duchess of York. Brummell is in love with the Duchess and will do just about anything she asks of him, but as she is married to a member o…

(kinda, sorta) Review: Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie

Alternative title:  Lord Edgware Dies (original British title)

Genre: Detective fiction, murder mystery.
Themes: Murder, identity switch, sociopathy.

When I finished reading Cards on the Table I realised I only had one book left to finish the five-novel Poirot omnibus it is in, so I sat down and read Thirteen at Dinner in order to finish the book. 

The plot (if you aren't already familiar with it, from book or film) revolves around a murder apparently committed by a woman who has no fewer than 12 witnesses to give her an alibi, and yet was seen at the scene of the crime at the same time. Poirot, having already become involved before the crime was committed, is commissioned by Inspector Japp of the Scotland Yard to investigate, and does so, aided by his friend Hastings and the police.

When I called Cards on the Table a proper mystery I was, of course, referring to the fact that I haven't touched a pure mystery novel in ages. Sure, I've read thrillers, romantic suspense, and even…

Weekly Monday round-up (including the week's haul of books)