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review 2018-11-16 19:40
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 3, 21 and 24 - Books for Melbourne Cup Day, Kwanzaa and Epiphany
Field of Thirteen - Dick Francis
The Guards - Ken Bruen,Gerry O'Brien
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Diana Bishop,Patricia Wentworth


Dick Francis: Field of Thirteen

I've owned this collection of short stories since forever and decided our Melbourne Cup Day book task was the perfect occation so pull it out and finally read it.  Candidly, I'm not sure why Dick Francis didn't write more short stories: both his style of writing and his plot construction lent themselves perfectly to the short form, and I tend to view even some of his novels as short story constructs extended to novel length rather than books conceived as novels in the first place (even though they probably were).  Be that as it may, this is a very enjoyable collection featuring some of Francis's best writing, set in the world of racehorse breeding (and stealing and betting), and against the great race events of Britain and the U.S., from the Grand National, Ascot, Sandown Park, the Marlborough Racing Club Gallops, Cheltenham and Stratford to the Kentucky Derby, plus the odd imaginary racetrack (unfortunately, not also the Melbourne Cup).  Not all of the mysteries involve a death, and not all the deaths that occur are caused intentionally -- word to the wise, however, steeplechase racing is a hazardous sport for humans and horses alike, and Francis makes no bones about this particular fact.

 


Ken Bruen: The Guards
(Narrator: Gerry O'Brien)

Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series has been on my radar ever since I watched the first episode of its TV adapatation, starring Iain Glen.  The Guards provides as gut-punch an opener as is conceivable to the series; we see how and why Taylor is dismissed from the Gardaí Síochána, and though the motif of the loner detective who struggles not only at socializing but also with a range of other things, most notably including full-blown alcoholism, is a veritable staple in today's detective fiction, I can think of few other series where particularly the protagonist's addiction is explored this forthrightly (well, OK, Harry Hole comes to mind).  Taylor is -- literally -- not afraid to pull punches, but he is fiercly loyal to those to whom he feels loyalty is due ... and ready to take his loyalty all the way if necessary.  I've never been to County Galway, where the series is set, and I can't shake the feeling that I'd get even more out of it if I had, but even so, this is one series I'm glad to have finally added to those that I'm now following (and I'm not exactly sad I have a bunch of installments to catch up on first).  Gerry O'Brien's narration, too, did a stellar job in transporting the book's tone and atmosphere.

 

I listened to this for the Kwanzaa square (a book with a black cover). 

 


Patricia Wentworth: The Clock Strikes Twelve
(Narrator: Diana Bishop)

This came with high praise from both Tigus and Moonlight, so I knew I had a lot to look forward to -- and I was certainly not disappointed!  This is a New Year's Eve story and the "family patriarch publicly announces 'I know someone here has betrayed family interests and you've got until midnight to come forward and confess your sins'" classic mystery plot variant ... seriously, someone should have told those Golden Age family patriarchs not to do this sort of thing because it'll invariably get them killed.  Anyway, Wentworth had comfortably settled into her formula by the time she wrote this book, and I agree with Moonlight -- this is now my new favorite entry in the series, too.  Though written strictly to Wentworth's formula (cozy rural setting with bickering family [or village population], lovers to (re)bond, a reasonable but not impenetrable amount of red herrings, a perhaps not entirely unexpected villain, and an investigation by thoroughly compentent police inspectors who are, nevertheless, easily "bested" by Miss Silver), the characters and their various conflicts are finely and credibly drawn and jump off the page as real people ... and Miss Silver, as always, is a sheer delight.  Well done, Maudie!  And Patricia -- and Diana (Bishop), whose reading of the Miss Silver books I've thoroughly come to enjoy.

 

I'm counting this book towards the "Epiphany" square of "24 Festive Tasks" (a book with the word "twelve" in the title).

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review 2018-11-12 13:30
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 2 and 5 - Books for Guy Fawkes Night and Veterans' / Armistice Day
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter,Samuel West
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter


Georgette Heyer: Behold, Here's Poison
(Narrator: Ulli Birvé)

The first Georgette Heyer mysteries I read were her Inspector Hemingway books, which in a way meant I was starting from the wrong end, as Hemingway progressed to the rank of inspector from having been the lead investigator's sergeant in the earlier Superintendent Hannasyde books.  That doesn't impede my enjoyment of Hannasyde's cases in the least, however, now that I'm getting around to these, even though I found the first one (Death in the Stocks) seriously underwhelming.  But Heyer redeems herself in a big way with Behold, Here's Poison: Though a fair share of her mysteries have a sizeable contingent of 1920s-30s stock-in-trade bright young things and generally "nice chaps" (which got on my nerves enough at one point to make me decide I'd had enough of Heyer), when she did set her mind to it, nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did maliciously bickering families like her.  And the family taking center stage here must be one of the meanest she's ever come up with, only (just) surpassed by the Penhallows.  I'm not overwhelmed with the story's romantic dénouement (there always is one in Heyer's books), and while I guessed the mystery's essential "who" and had a basic idea of the "why" at about the 3/4 - 4/5 mark (the actual "why" was a bit of a deus ex machina), by and large this has to count among my favorite Heyer mysteries so far ... though not quite reaching the level of my overall favorite, Envious Casca.

 

Ulli Birvé isn't and won't ever become my favorite narrator, and she seriously got on my nerves here, too.  Since all of the recent re-recordings of Heyer's mysteries are narrated by her, though, I've decided I won't hold her mannerisms against the author, and I've read enough print versions of Heyer books at this point to have a fairly good idea of what a given character would sound like in my head if I'd read instead of listened to the book in question.

 

 


Colin Dexter: The Riddle of the Third Mile
(Narrator: Samuel West)

For Veterans' / Armistice Day I'm claiming the very first book I revisited after the beginning of the 24 Festive Tasks game: Colin Dexter's The Riddle of the Third Mile had long been one of my favorite entries in the Inspector Morse series, but Samuel West's wonderful reading not only confirmed that status but actually moved it up yet another few notches.  (Samuel West is fast becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators anyway.) The fact that due to the progress of medical research a key element of the mystery would have been much easier to solve these days does not impede my enjoyment in the least ... changing social mores aside, half the Golden Age crime literature, including many of the great classics by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and even, on occasion, Arthur Conan Doyle would be deprived of substantial riddles if they were set today. -- The book qualifies for this particular "24 Festive Tasks" square, because some of the characters' and their siblings' encounter as British soldiers at the battle of El Alamein (1942) forms the prologue to the book and an important motive for their actions in the world of Oxford academia and Soho strip clubs, some 40 years later.

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text 2018-11-10 20:23
Reading progress update: I've listened to 30 out of 636 minutes.
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer

I'm listening to this for the "Guy Fawkes Night" book task (a book set in the UK).

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text 2018-11-05 00:15
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie,Joan Hickson,Isla Blair,Anna Massey
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie

Revisiting, this time courtesy of the audio version narrated in turns by Joan Hickson, Isla Blair and Anna Massey, as my 24 Festsive Tasks / Día de los Muertos book.

 

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text 2018-10-31 07:02
ADVANTAGES OF HIRING THE PROFESSIONAL ACADEMIC WRIITNG SERVICES

Professional academic writing services are the services in which professional academic writers do the coursework and assignment writing tasks of the students in exchange of money. Such a best coursework writing service is generally affordable and it has become very common for the students to hire them. By hiring these services, students also get relieved and stress-free since their work is being done by the professionals.

 

If you are a student, below are the top three biggest advantages of hiring professional academic writing services:

 

1. Students save a lot of their time

 

Assignment writing consumes a lot of a student’s time. It really does not matter if the student is a bright one or a weak one, almost all the students take too much in writing their homework assignments. Because students off course are the novice and they cannot do such tasks at the high pace. So, the majority of the students take too much time in writing their homework academic assignment. For writing the assignment, you first have to gather the right material and research for it. Then you have to sit and brainstorm on the topic. Depending upon the nature of the assignment, you might have to do certain experimentation and devise results or do some kind of calculations. All this is impossible to do in a single sitting. A lot of time is required for writing a top-notch quality assignment. But the majority of the teachers do not realize the time management issues of the students and assign them with a homework writing assignment with a very short time span. This makes it further impossible for the students to do a high-quality assignment. But if the students hire professional academic writers to do their homework academic writing tasks, they are saved from all this hassle. The professional writers would use their expertise to write top notch quality assignments for the students at affordable rates.

 

2. Students get good grades on their coursework assignments

 

It does not matter if the students like doing writing assignments or not, getting good grades on them is necessary for the students. Some students do not take their assignments seriously but they then have to suffer the loss in the end, in form of a poor academic record. No matter how good your performance in the exams is, if the grades on your assignments are not good enough, your academic record surely is going to have a toll on it. But scoring good grades on the academic assignments is not as easy as it seems. The marking criterion that the teachers have set is very strict. They do not tolerate any kind of mistake. Actually, the education system in the developed countries like the United Kingdom is really very developed so they expect only absolute quality from the students, that is why the marking criterion is very difficult. However, students can hire professional academic writers. Professional academic writers are experts at doing these assignments. They have the experience to write top notch quality content on even the toughest academic writing assignments topics. So, by hiring these specialists' writers, students would have such top-notch quality assignments to submit to their teachers, on which scoring good grades is guaranteed. Thus, the students can maintain their academic record as well. Especially those students, who are weak in their studies or are bad writing assignments, they would benefit a lot from such services.

 

3. Students perform better in their studies

 

There is no denying to the fact that the academic assignment writing task is one of the most time consuming and difficult things that the university going students do. But this activity somehow also affects the performance of the students as well. In university, it is essential for the survival of the student that he revises his lectures daily because it is normal for the teachers to conduct surprise quizzes or tests. But if all the time of the students is consumed in writing the homework academic assignment, they are not left with any to revise their lecture. Students are busy with the lectures during the day and they spend their nights writing academic assignments. Hence, by not revising their homework lectures daily, they suffer great academic loss and their performance in the studies retards as well. Students must utilize their time in the activities that actually benefit them. So, it is wiser to hire professional academic writers for doing the lengthy and difficult writing assignments so that you may study and prepare your courses. Professional writers are qualified and experienced so you do not need to worry about how they would do the work. Also, by revising daily, you would prepare yourself for the final exams as well which means you would stress less about the exams.

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