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text 2018-11-25 22:02
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Task 4 (Characters Who Made a Career Change)
A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) - Ellis Peters
Poirot: The Complete Battles of Hastings, Vol. 1 - Agatha Christie
Washington Black - Esi Edugyan
Trial and Error (Arcturus Crime Classics) - Anthony Berkeley
The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown
Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth

1. Brother Cadfael: A career change can hardly get any more radical than going from crusading soldier to herbalist monk (with a sideline of detection).


2. Captain Arthur Hastings: From soldier in WWI to London detective (of sorts) to cattle rancher in "the Argentine".


3. Washington Black: From child slave on a sugarcane plantation to explorer to painter (supporting himself by working as a delivery boy) to scientist and scientific illustrator -- all in the space of barely 20 years.


4. Mr. Lawrence Todhunter: From philantropist and occasional literary columnist to murderer (which btw is not a spoiler -- it's the book's explicit premise).


5. Ed Hunter: From printer's apprentice / assistant to amateur detective to "carnie".


Special mention:


Miss Maud Silver: From governess to private investigator.


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review 2018-11-25 01:01
An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters
An Excellent Mystery - Ellis Peters

I love this series more every time I read further into it. This is the eleventh of the Brother Cadfael mysteries, and is set in the fall of 1141. King Stephen and Empress Maude are making war, as usual, when two strangers show up at the Abbey in Shrewsbury.


This mystery centers around a young woman, Julian Cruce, who has disappeared before entering a convent. As mysteries go, it's quite easy to figure out - and there are, as well, some pretty obvious difficulties with the plot. None of that hampers my enjoyment of the book, however, as these mysteries have become one of my go to comfort reads.


I picked up my copy at Wallace Books today, for a whopping $3.50 of my credit, and dove right in after I finished putting up some of my Christmas decorations. I was really wanting the next book as well, The Raven in the Foregate, because it is a Christmas mystery. I've been reading them in order, so I was happy that this one was available, since I had read up to the tenth, but disappointed that there wasn't a copy of the next one to buy as well. At this point, I think I will probably buy a used print copy on amazon, since the kindle book is priced at over $10.00, which is high for a book first published 30 years ago. Maybe Open Road will put the series on sale over Christmas!


I'm using this book for Day of Penance (book concerning a man of the cloth/Brother Cadfael is a monk).

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text 2016-06-11 08:47
Book Haul Part Two
The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things - Paula Byrne
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
A Small Unsigned Painting - Stephen Scheding
A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure - Marlena de Blasi
Brother Cadfael's Penance - Ellis Peters
At Bertram's Hotel - Agatha Christie
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie
O Christmas Three: O. Henry, Tolstoy, and Dickens - Leo Tolstoy,Charles Dickens,O. Henry

I forgot when I did my book haul post yesterday, about the book sale one of the local churches was putting on today.  This is the second of their sales I've been to, and I am now a fan - not a big selection, but lots of quality.


Books I've never heard of before but looked good:

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things - Paula Byrne 

A Small Unsigned Painting - Stephen Scheding 

A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure - Marlena De Blasi 

O Christmas Three: O. Henry, Tolstoy, and Dickens - Leo Tolstoy,Charles Dickens,O. Henry 


Books I've seen/heard of before and have been moderately interested in reading:

The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco 

Brother Cadfael's Penance - Ellis Peters 

At Bertram's Hotel - Agatha Christie 

Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie 


That last one, I bought not only because I'm eventually going to read all of Christie's work, but because the pulpy cover just called to me - I love it!


I'll admit, I got a bit mercenary this morning.  On one of the tables was a cache of 5 Ian Fleming James Bond paperbacks.  Old 60's editions in good condition, for .50 each.  I've read a few book articles lately about people searching for the old paperback editions, so I grabbed them.  Then, I had a fit of conscience, because I have no desire to read James Bond.  So I put them back and about 10 seconds later, a guy grabbed all of them and walked away, which made me feel both better about myself and like I wanted to kick myself too.  


I moved on, and on my last run of the tables (to make sure I hadn't missed anything), I found all 5 of the books again - the guy had changed his mind and put them back.  So this time, I grabbed them.  I'm not sure what the heck I'm going to do with them, but one of them is a first edition.  I am going to try to put my conservation lessons to the test and gently clean them up - then decide what to do from there.


Thunderball - Ian Fleming  Dr. No - Ian Fleming  Octopussy - Ian Fleming  Moonraker - Ian Fleming  Casino Royale - Ian Fleming  

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review 2015-10-21 22:59

Finished the first Cadfael book. Have heard of this series (of course) but never read any of the books. It was great! Will definitely pick up others in time – like when waiting on another series book to come out, or just nothing in the old TBR pile is sparking.  Apparently there are 20 books in this series, and everyone recommends reading them in order, so this is where you start.


Fantastic story, wonderfully written.  No wonder Brother Cadfael is one of the most popular historical mystery series, even spinning off a television series (I think).  I may need to track those down too.  


Within the first few pages of this first book of the series, I knew Brother Cadfael would be a character that I’d want to follow through many more stories.  


What I liked:
Peters captures what I suspect to be a lot of historical/ cultural nuances in simple, effective ways.  There’s a huge amount of research behind this, but we’re not drawn out into these huge sweeping encyclopedia entries in an attempt to build this distant time and place around the modern reader.  We jump straight in as a fly on the wall, watching and listening, wholly transported.  I also liked that the religious aspects of the story were handled in a sympathetic, but I think also very honest way.  The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated, but that’s part of what made it ring true to me.


Brother Cadfael is also a very interesting character.  Peters obviously wrote this with an eye toward several more books, with many hints and winks at his colorful past.  

A big recommend from me if you’re into history, mystery, or even books like Game of Thrones.

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review 2014-11-28 16:59
Combined review: the Second and Third Chronicles of Brother Cadfael
One Corpse Too Many (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 2) - Ellis Peters
Monk's Hood (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael) - Ellis Peters

I know that I previously mentioned that I had signed up for scribd. One of the big reasons that I decided to take the plunge and pay the $8.99 per month for the subscription was that the entire Brother Cadfael series was available. 


I read the first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones, years ago when I checked it out from the library. I was interested, but it really wasn't the right time for me to get into this series. Right now, though, is apparently the right time.


I have this thing about gorgeous world-building. It doesn't matter to me if a world is real, historical, or fantasy - but authors who can create a fully-realized universe for their characters that immerses me so deeply that I can see it have my deepest respect and admiration. Ellis Peters has that in spades in this series. Set during The Anarchy, the period of succession conflict that occurred between 1135 and 1154, the series addresses issues of both secular and religious justice.


I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books. In One Corpse Too Many, we are introduced to Hugh Beringar, a young man who swears allegiance to King Stephen, and who becomes the representative of the Crown's justice in the district. Beringar is an extremely likeable character, upright and with a deep well of integrity.


We are also introduced to Godith, a resourceful young woman who takes refuge at the monastery by pretending to be a boy. I know that Beringar reappears, I'm not sure if we ever see Godith again, although I am hopeful that at some point in the series she will make an appearance. Peters does some interesting things with star-crossed romances, particularly in this outing for Brother Cadfael. He has a penchant for match-making that is pretty funny in an older, celibate monk.


Monk's Hood is set during the winter, and has a nice little set piece about Christmas. In addition, Cadfael's first love, Richildis, reappears and Cadfael has to save her son from a wrongful accusation - and likely execution - for the murder of her second husband. She further humanizes Cadfael, and, thank god, she doesn't turn out to be a silly woman. I hate, hate, hate it when an author takes the first love of one of his/her characters and turns her into one of those silly caricatures of an older woman who never grew up and remained exactly the same level of young and silly (usually 30 pounds heavier, but with the identical, now inappropriately youthful, hair style) her entire life. It pisses me off endlessly.


Hugh Beringar has been named Deputy Sheriff. He reappears and is cemented as Cadfael's secular partner-in-justice, which will presumably put him at odds, from time to time, with his superior the Sheriff, as well as, potentially, the king. The deceased, Gervase Bonel, certainly doesn't come of as a particularly good guy. He is bent on worldly destruction, lording his wealth, and using it as a method of power and control, over everyone around him. He's basically a total douche, and no one is particularly sorry that he's dead. Peters does a brilliant job of showing how an otherwise decent person can be driven to murder by unremitting social injustice. In Monk's Hood, the murderer is much more sympathetic than the victim.


The Fourth Chronicle is St. Peter's Fair. There are twenty of them all together.

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