Carlito was super-impressed with my efforts until I had to stop him from eating the card (he's tidying up after his aborted snack); once he realised I was not giving him a new chew toy, he became super UN-impressed.
MT and I wrapped up our Florida trip with 2.5 days in Key West. For those that might not be familiar with Key West, it is the southernmost spit of island off the tip of Florida; only about a mile wide and where the Atlantic meets the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba is only 90 miles south and it is claimed that on clear days you can see it (it's never been that clear when I've been). Key West is known for being the place that rogues, bootleggers, drug-runners (the none-ruthless ones that never got rich from it), and quirky people go to retire. It's beautiful, but a tiny bit seedy and they take great pride in their independent spirit.
Hemmingway owned a house in Key West and inherited via gift from a sea captain in port, a cat named Snowball. Snowball had 6 toes, wasn't fixed and had the run of the house. Snowball begat a line of 6 toed cats that continues to this day (albeit in a controlled and careful manner - most of the cats are neutered). Cats are revered at Hemingway House and currently there are 57 in residence (not all of them 6 toed or descendants of Snowball). All of them named after famous people.
The house and grounds:
Check out that palm tree in the center of the first picture - the one that's growing horizontally; that's what palm trees are famous for - they grow whichever way the wind blows.
His writing studio - note the cat under the footstool.
Embarrassingly, I read this inscription in a completely different manner than the one she probably meant. Or, maybe not. He was a rogue, after all. ;-)
Some of Hemingway's books (most of them are still in Cuba), and a very, very bad picture of his portrait, which I included so you could see the scar on his forehead, and (hopefully) be able to read the card underneath.
His study in the main house.
And finally, just a few - a very few of the 'famous' Hemingway cats:
And the one who sort of stole the show for being the friendliest, the only one whose name we found out... Babe Ruth. He climbed into MT's lap the second he sat down, and then tried to climb into my bag and go home with us.
Spoiler alert: We still have just 3 cats. But if we could have, we'd have taken Babe Ruth home. Total ham and attention hussy.
Holly Black does not mess about, she throws you into the dark straight off. I am not frightened of a vampire apocalypse, but as a metaphor about everyone having a darkside, oh yeah, she goes there. Fortunately I have cats.
Nothing could go wrong with companions like these.
Allow me to introduce Queen Luna Grey DeLisle. Luna doesn't much like Calder, but they both want very much to get all the attention.
Scarlett Eno is keeping a watch on the leaves being blown about.
I'm done now with the cat pictures.
Read for the Darkest London square.
Nicci French books are a counter to all those serial killer/women in peril books: there are women in peril, but the women are the protagonists, not some guy coming in to save them. More recent authors in the same vein would be Gillian Flynn and Carol Goodman. I love these sorts of books.
The Frieda Klein series is set primarily in London and one of the notable quirks of Frieda is that she walks when she can't sleep, which is often all night. There's an interesting parallel with Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series, in that both have the rivers of London running through them as a motif. Anyway Frieda spends a lot of time traveling around London, so the category brought it to mind immediately. That, and the books have a very dark side. But I love them because they also have a great warmth to them. Frieda is a therapist who ends up helping the police with their inquiries when one of her patients is murdered and over the next decade she is involved in other cases in various ways. Anyway, Frieda is a naturally solitary and intensely private one, but she is also very kind, consequently she has a large circle of friends and relations who care deeply for her, and get all up in her business. So despite having dark and brutal crimes, there is this woman on her own in a charming and snug little house, and the varied people who exasperate her with their drama but whom she remains helpful and available for. There is a balance between the two poles of alone and attached that pleases me and soothes me.
This book was a truly satisfying conclusion to the series. There's no attempt to tie up all tje loose ends, but there's quite a bit of resolution.
Highly recommended, and good for Suspence, Terrifying Women, maybe Modern Noir, Murder Most Foul, Amateur Sleuth, and arguably Slasher Stories. The first Frieda Klein novel , Blue Monday, is also the 13th Nicci French novel.