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review 2017-12-26 18:52
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 15 - Boxing Day: Well-Served with Murder
Tied Up In Tinsel - Ngaio Marsh
Tied Up In Tinsel - Ngaio Marsh,James Saxon

Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.


Well, I guess one could count Roderick Alleyn as a public servant, seeing as he's a policeman, but the actual pièce de résistance in this book are the servants at the North Country estate where his wife Troy is staying for Christmas (having been commissioned to paint the owner's portrait) -- because they are, every man jack of them, murderers.  Or, well, at least homicides, whose sentences were commuted to something less than the gallows or life in prison because they had some pretty convincing "provocation" for their deeds, or who were let out early because of a successful appeal.  So of course, when their employer's Christmas party ends up with the disappearance of the manservant of an elderly guest couple (who is soon suspected to have been killed, even though nobody can find his corpse, either), they duly consider themselves in more than a bit of a pickle: all the more so as, in the days preceding the death, a number of pranks of questionable taste have occurred, each one of which seems to mirror the particular circumstances or modus operandi of one of their bloody deeds. -- And it doesn't make one iota of a difference that Mr. Alleyn, originally having arrived from London to keep his wife company and escort her back home, but soon enough (and very unwillingly) put in charge of the case, assures them that suspicion does not lie their way solely because of their past history.


This was a revisit of a favorite Golden Age mystery, courtesy of James Saxon's audio narration, which I enjoyed very much.


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text 2017-11-21 21:40
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 8 - Hanukkah - and Square 3 - St. Martin's Day
The Shaman Laughs - James D. Doss
The Devil's Acolyte - Michael Jecks
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
A Darker Shade: 17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense Including a Short Story by Stieg Larsson - John-Henri Holmberg

Tasks for Hanukkah: Light nine candles around the room (SAFELY) and post a picture. –OR– Play the Dreidel game to pick the next book you read.

Assign a book from your TBR to each of the four sides of the dreidel:

נ (Nun)
ג (Gimel)
ה (He)
ש (Shin)

Spin a virtual dreidel: http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
– then tell us which book the dreidel picked.


OK, here we go:

נ (Nun)     =  James D. Doss: The Shaman Laughs
(Gimel)  =  Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte
ה (He)
      =  Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World
ש (Shin)
   =  John-Henri Holmberg (ed.): A Darker Shade



Alright -- Ishiguro it is.  And this will also give me my book themes for St. Martin’s Day (square 3): Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).


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review 2017-06-09 16:48
Invisible food, shadow people, and a door with no obvious purpose
The House of Months and Years - Emma Trevayne

This book follows a little girl named Amelia Howling who is uprooted from her 'perfect' house into the home of her cousins who have just experienced a tragedy. If you're anything like me, you'll have little sympathy for this bratty little know-it-all but that thankfully doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of this book. There's a mystery enveloping this new house which is strangely put together with doors that lead to nowhere and different climates for each floor (don't go in the basement!). Amelia is stubbornly determined to remain aloof from the rest of her family and instead gets swept up in things far more sinister than she at first realizes (despite her assurances of being so clever). For those who like a bit of darker fantasy now and again then this is sure to hit the spot. I'd say the ideal age range would be anywhere from 10-14 (although this is more of a suggestion instead of a rule). For me, I found the fantasy/mystery elements quite good and the imagery excellent. Amelia was the worst but you can't win them all. A solid 8/10.



PS The cover artist's website: Péah aka Pierre-Antoine Moelo (the artwork is GORGEOUS)


PSS I just went to the author's website and I've decide to check out another book that she's written (in the hopefully near future) titled The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister. Stay tuned for further developments. ;-)


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-04-09 16:42
The Lost House - B. B. Cronin
The Lost House - B. B. Cronin

Grandad lives in an Edwardian house with a great deal of stuff around, in astoundingly fluorescent rooms. I loved the contrast between the detailed period architecture of the rooms and the postmodern colors. Fun.


Library copy  .

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