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review 2018-04-25 16:13
Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford  
Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford

How much do I love these? You can find me sitting in a bookstore or library, unwilling to check out because I'd have to put them down for a few minutes. Surprisingly, the PandaBat didn't really burn out on them.

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review 2017-04-18 16:12
Movie and Book together
Arsenic and Old Puzzles: A Puzzle Lady Mystery (Puzzle Lady Mysteries) - Parnell Hall

I have never seen the movie "Arsenic and Old Lace," and in this book, there is a strong connection to the movie. An old man is killed by poisons (3) in Elderberry Wine served by two spinsters running a boarding house. Cora is called to come and help by the Sheriff because the old man is carrying a Sudoku puzzle and another puzzle is found on the porch. As the time passes, more people are murdered for various reasons, but the movie connection starts to blur. Cora causes trouble and stirs up gossip and then figures out who the true murderer is, and holds a meeting to set out what is known, to help finger the suspect. 


The story is fun and at some point it is interesting. I would love to have had the puzzle in a paper format so that I could have tried them myself before getting to the solution (shown in the book), but I borrowed from the library in e-book format. 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/18933472-arsenic-and-old-puzzles
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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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review 2017-02-10 21:37
Shakesperian Conundrums
Henry V, War Criminal?: And Other Shakespeare Puzzles - John Sutherland,Karl-Heinz Engel,Cedric Watts,Stephen Orgel

I recently reread this book with the purpose of rewriting this review, however instead I wrote a blog post instead.


This book is a collection of essays that explores some of the problems that arise from Shakespeare’s plays, though the conclusions of most of these essays tend to come down to the fact that there actually isn't a problem if only we understood the way the play was written and Shakespeare's original intention (and the fact that he is simply using poetic license). However, to me, this sounds like the authors seem to think that Shakespeare can do no wrong, and any problems that arise from his plays have more to do with our limited understanding than with any internal flaw. My response to this is simply that Shakespeare is human, albeit a very talented human, but still a human. In this review I won't so much comment on their essays but rather touch on some of the problems that appear to have arisen. The main reason for this is that it has been a while since I read this book, and with the bulk of books for me to read and to reread, unfortunately this book will not be one of them (though, obviously, I have since reread it).


The first topic is whether Henry V was a war criminal. This argument is flawed in so many ways that to even consider this is simply anachronistic. Look, in today's world, he mostly would be, but remember, he lived over 500 years ago at a time that England was still technically living in the Middle Ages. Many people do not attribute England's entry into the modern world until after the end of the Wars of the Roses. Further, we may label Henry V as a war criminal, but weren't all the other kings and generals the same at that time. While there was a basic understanding of the rule of law and of human rights, he did not have a Geneva convention, nor did we even have any rules for war until after the conclusion of the Thirty Years War. Anyway, remember that history is written by the winners, and in this particular period Henry V was the winner.


There is also a essay about the age of some of the characters, such as King Lear and Juliet. I actually wonder what the point and purpose of this essay is. Why should we concern ourselves with Lear's age or Juliet's youth. I suspect that Lear was probably quite old, and the character seems to play this out quite well. He has elements of depression (and I actually wanted to run a depression test over him to see if we could diagnose Lear as such). He also has elements of dementia, and spends most of the play wracked with insanity. As for Juliet, my immediate guess would be that she would be in her early to mid teens. The reason I say that is because that is the age where well heeled women would be married.


Then there is the essay on Hamlet, though from the title I am not sure whether they are referring to Hamlet as being stupid, or the ghost, however I would suggest that the stupidity is resting with Hamlet. This is actually a good aspect of the play to look at, and it is something that I have considered as well. In those days, though I suspect that the original Hamlet (Amleth) occured during a pre-christian period. However, it is clear that the play is set after Denmark became Christian, so the question is, why did Hamlet listen to the ghost despite Christian doctrine warning us away from such spiritual entities. My immediate response is simply that the ghost, demon or not, appeared to Hamlet as his father. Further, Hamlet doesn't immediately trust the ghost, and decides to test the truth of the Ghost's accusations. That is why he staged the play, and was also hesitant in killing Claudius. It is only when he overhear's Claudius confessing his sin that he knew that the ghost was telling the truth.


Finally, I will look at the question of whether Cleopatra was a dead-beat mum. I have just finished reading Antony and Cleopatra, and my immediate answer would be yes. As I suggested in my commentary on the play, Cleopatra seems to play the role of a serpent who wraps herself around Antony and tries to bring him into her power, to be her king and emperor, and to raise herself to the position of emperess of the world. tn was the battle between Ceaser and Antony outside Alexandria that set the course of the future empire, and it was Ceaser who won. I would not necessarily say that Cleopatra threw her lot in with the wrong person. No, Antony was maleable, and exposed to her wiry charms, and it seems that he defeat and failure was pretty much predestined.


Oh, an here is a pretty cool image I found on the internet last night:




Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/333109261
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review 2016-10-24 00:00
Locked Room Puzzles
Locked Room Puzzles - Martin H. Greenberg,Bill Pronzini Locked Room Mysteries- 4 stars...

Vol. 3: Locked Room Puzzles consists of four locked room mysteries...

The Third Bulletby John Dickson Carr-5 stars
I liked it a lot. It's about a judge that's found murdered in his study which no one had access to. There was also 1 gun found, 1 suspect in the room & 3 bullets from 3 different guns so where did the other 2 bullets come from?? It was a fun locked room mystery and I didn't figure it out until the very end after all of the clues were pretty much announced already. : )

Booktaker by Bill Pronzini- 5 stars
This was a favorite of mine particularly because the setting was a bookstore. Some one had been stealing rare and valuable maps, prints & documents from the store during the hours of 11-2. The owner, Mr. Rothman, was at a loss to who was committing the thefts because the store had a faulty alarm system, sensors, locked windows and fire doors and he had taken back the two keys to the antiquarian room after the first theft occurred. So Mr. Rothman hires a private investigator to pose as an employee in hopes of catching the thief.

From Another World by Clayton Rawson- 5 stars
In From Another World, a very wealthy man that's been murdered and an unconscious psychic apport medium, are found inside his study which has been sealed from the inside. Merlini, the famous magician, was asked in by police to help discover how the murder was committed. I liked this one a lot because of its paranormal and magic undertones. It was pretty entertaining and a challenge to figure out.

Day of the Wizard by Edward D. Hoch- 2 stars
This mystery features one of Hoch's leading characters, Simon Ark, who is said to be a two-thousand year old Coptic priest. He is asked to "solve the mystery of a wrecked plane in the desert and its strange cargo, an enigmatic magician and a drugged blonde. This one started out pretty good but I didn't care for how it ended and the multiple threads weren't tied together very well it seemed like. I just felt confused when it ended instead of satisfied.

I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Locked Room Mystery~ square.
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