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text 2019-04-07 04:19
My reading plan for the week: 4/7/19
Silverhill - Phyllis A. Whitney
Double Sin and Other Stories - Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
Cyanide With Compliments (Pollard & Toye #5) - Elizabeth Lemarchand
Murder on the Nile - Agatha Christie
The Yellow Dog - Georges Simenon,Linda Asher
Going Wrong - Ruth Rendell

I have a big mystery week planned!


I'm going to finish Silverhill by Phyllis Whitney tomorrow, and I only have three stories left in Double Sin. From there, I will move onto a reread of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (yay) and the buddy read of Murder on the Nile, which takes place on Tuesday. 


I've also broken down and bought The Yellow Dog, which is the 6th Maigret, and - according to Tigus - is a good one! I am excited to read it. It should arrive tomorrow.


Last - but surely not least - is Cyanide and Compliments, which is the 5th in the Pollard and Toye series. This series is available through KU, and I've read the first 4 in a couple of weeks. They are silver age, first published in the 1960s, and are a lot of fun.


That's probably enough for a week, right? But if I make it through all of those, I'm going to read Going Wrong by Ruth Rendell, because I need a little psychological suspense in my life.

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text 2019-04-07 00:51
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Silverhill - Phyllis A. Whitney

I've been looking forward to sinking into a Phyllis Whitney, and this one is showing a lot of promise, with a plucky, scarred heroine with an explicable fear of caged birds, and a family mansion full of secrets in New Hampshire.

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text 2019-04-01 00:38
My reading plan for the week
The Floating Admiral - Helen Simpson,Agatha Christie,The Detection Club,Milward Kennedy,Margaret Cole,Henry Wade,Clemence Dane,John Rhode,Anthony Berkeley,Victor L. Whitechurch,Freeman Wills Crofts,Edgar Jepson,Ronald Knox,Dorothy L. Sayers,G.D.H. Cole,G.K. Chesterton
Decision at Delphi - Helen MacInnes
Death on Doomsday (Pollard & Toye #4) - Elizabeth Lemarchand
Silverhill - Phyllis A. Whitney

I am in the middle of Bleak House, which is a struggle for me - as Dickens always is. I don't know why, but he is the Victorian that I find the most difficult to read. I am behind on a buddy read that I am doing on twitter, with an old online friend.


I'm also in the middle of A Question of Upbringing, but that shouldn't take me long to finish. I'd like to wrap that one up in the next couple of days.


Then I am ready to start on my four main books of the week: The Floating Admiral by the members of The Detection Club, Silverhill by Phyllis Whitney, Decision at Delphi by Helen MacInnes & Death on Doomsday by Elizabeth Lemarchand.

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review 2019-02-20 02:01
Brief Thoughts: The Ebony Swan
The Ebony Swan - Phyllis A. Whitney

The Ebony Swan

by Phyllis A. Whitney



Susan Prentice is a woman alone.  In the past six months her father has died, she has called off her engagement to a cynical young doctor she no longer loves, and she has begun to question the ethics of the medical profession of which she is a member.

Now at a crossroads in her life, Susan decides to make contact with her maternal grandmother whom her father had forbidden her to see since Susan's mother's death from a tragic fall almost twenty-five years earlier.

There are so many questions she wants to ask--about her mother and her own dimly remembered childhood on Virginia's eastern shore.  Susan is also determined to get acquainted with her grandmother, a reputedly difficult woman, on her own terms.

Traveling across the country to the lush Southern land of her birth, Susan has no way of knowing that her entire life is about to change irrevocably.  Once there she discovers that her mother's death may not have been an accident and that her return has caused anxiety among people who fear what may lie dormant in Susan's memory.

Just as Murder by Death noted, this story is a slow trudge, with parts that dragged throughout.  There were moments when I just wanted the plot to get on with it.  However, the mystery itself is quite intriguing and the writing is excellent.  The characters are pretty one-dimensional, and I found I didn't really care for them one way or another--didn't like them, didn't hate them.

There were some thought-provoking anecdotes, even if the whole "white swan, black swan" thing felt a bit trite.  In the end, the book DID end up grabbing my attention and keeping it without me making too much of a fuss over any frustrations.  Truly, the only complaint I have is the slow pacing of the story's unfolding, but otherwise, this was enjoyable and entertaining enough to please me.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/brief-thoughts-ebony-swan.html
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review 2019-01-15 19:28
Some Thoughts: Lost Island
Lost Island - Phyllis A. Whitney

Lost Island

by Phyllis A. Whitney



Lacey, Elise, and Giles.  They grew up together on a mist-shrouded island off the Georgia coast.  Long ago, and without Giles's ever knowing it, Lacey gave birth to his son.  But Elise, the beautiful, domineering one, got Giles.  She got Lacey's child, too, to bring up as her own.

Lacey has tried hard to forget.  But in ten years she hasn't been able to.  So she's going back.  To see her son.  To confront Elise.  To exorcise the spell of the island - and of Giles.  Or perhaps to be trapped by them forever....

One star is the for the writing and the other star is for the atmosphere.  But otherwise, I can't bring myself to understand what was even going on in this entire tale of chaos.  It felt like a daytime soap, with birth secrets, dysfunctional family dynamics, and characters soaked in amorality.  The heroine was a clueless pushover who couldn't seem to figure out how to stand up for herself NOR fight for her life, and her antagonist really had way too much power, with everyone letting her get away with every misdeed.

The little boy seemed too old for his age, and none of the men really stood out aside from spending all of their time brooding and acting self-righteous.

I've been interested in Phyllis A. Whitney for some time now, after seeing her name surface in discussions of Gothic romance or romantic suspense.  I'm thinking that this book was probably NOT the best one to start with, but it happened to be one I came across at the library one day.

In all honesty, the fact that I DID get drawn into it in spite of the convoluted plot and dysfunctional character dynamics is a feat in itself.  So this isn't an entirely terrible book, and a younger Ani might have actually enjoyed it more a long time ago.

Here's a quote that I particularly liked, though, for whatever reason.  The writing, as I've mentioned, was probably one of the best things going for this book.


The smell of the ocean is something one never forgets.  I breathed it deeply as the wind came whipping into my face, tossing my hair.  The tide was part-way out and the sound of surf rushing in over the low shore summoned me to follow it.  I walked toward the sea wall.

And this particular paragraph managed to draw me into the book...



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/some-thoughts-lost-island.html
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