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text 2017-08-19 23:30
Halloween Bingo 2017: My Reading Pool / Shortlist -- and My Bingo Marker!

 

Aaaargh ... decisions, decisions.  Ask a Libra to make a snap decision, and you'll be waiting 'till doomsday.

 

So, in true Libra style, I haven't managed to narrow my list down to a single book for most of my card's squares yet -- but I've at least come up with a pool from which to pick my reads, with several books that would qualify for more than one square and a resulting short list with a certain preference per square. Which still doesn't mean I won't end up reading something completely different for one or more squares eventually, of course, judging by how things went last year. -- My 2017 pool / shortlist list includes mostly books I have not yet read, though augmented by a few audio versions of books that I've read before, but where I'm really, really interested in the audio version, which I'm not yet familiar with.

 

Anyway, this is the plan for now:

 

Most likely: Donna Andrews: Lord of the Wings

Alternatively:

* Diane Mott Davidson: Catering to Nobody
* One or more stories from Ed Gorman (ed.): Cat Crimes
* ... or something by Lilian Jackson Braun




Most likely: Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights
(audio return visit courtesy of either Michael Kitchen or Prunella Scales and Samuel West)

Alternatively:

* Wilkie Collins: The Woman In White
(audio version read by Nigel Anthony and Susan Jameson)

* Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey
(audio return visit courtesy of Anna Massey)
* Isak Dinesen: Seven Gothic Tales
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* ... or something by Daphne du Maurier




Candace Robb: The Apothecary Rose




Most likely: Simon Brett: A book from a four-novel omibus edition including An Amateur Corpse, Star Trap, So Much Blood, and Cast, in Order of Disappearance

Alternatively:

* Georgette Heyer: Why Shoot a Butler?
* Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley
(audio version read by David Thorpe)
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Minette Walters: The Shape of Snakes




Most likely: Something from James D. Doss's Charlie Moon series (one of my great discoveries from last year's bingo)

Or one of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries

Alternatively:

Sherman Alexie: Indian Killer




Terry Pratchett: Carpe Jugulum




One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes




Most likely: Agatha Christie: Mrs. McGinty's Dead
(audio return visit courtesy of Hugh Fraser)
Or one or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes

Alternatively:

* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar, To Love and Be Wise, or The Singing Sands
* Georgette Heyer: Why Shoot a Butler?
* Peter May: The Lewis Man
* S.D. Sykes: Plague Land
* Arthur Conan Doyle: The Mystery of Cloomber
* Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte
* Stephen Booth: Dancing with the Virgins
* Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers
* Martha Grimes: The End of the Pier
* Minette Walters: The Breaker




One of two "Joker" Squares:

 

To be filled in as my whimsy takes me (with apologies to Dorothy L. Sayers), either with one of the other mystery squares' alternate books, or with a murder mystery that doesn't meet any of the more specific squares' requirements.  In going through my shelves, I found to my shame that I own several bingo cards' worth of books that would fill this square alone, some of them bought years ago ... clearly something needs to be done about that, even if it's one book at a time!




Isabel Allende: Cuentos de Eva Luna (The Stories of Eva Luna) or
Gabriel García Márquez: Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)




Most likely: One or more stories from Charles Dickens: Complete Ghost Stories or
Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills

Alternatively:

Stephen King: Bag of Bones




Terry Pratchett: Men at Arms




Obviously and as per definition in the rules, the second "Joker" Square.

 

Equally as per definition, the possibles for this square also include my alternate reads for the non-mystery squares.




Most likely: Cornell Woolrich: The Bride Wore Black

Alternatively:

* Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely or The Long Goodbye

* James M. Cain: Mildred Pierce
* Horace McCoy: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
* David Goodis: Shoot the Piano Player or Dark Passage
* ... or something else by Cornell Woolrich, e.g., Phantom Lady or I Married a Dead Man




Most likely: Ruth Rendell: Not in the Flesh
(audio version read by Christopher Ravenscroft, aka Inspector Burden in the TV series)

Alternately:

* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills




Most likely: Peter May: Coffin Road

Alternatively:

* Stephen King: Bag of Bones or Hearts in Atlantis
* Denise Mina: Field of Blood
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
* Minette Walters: The Breaker
* Jonathan Kellerman: When The Bough Breaks, Time Bomb, Blood Test, or Billy Straight

* Greg Iles: 24 Hours




Most likely: Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills

Alternatively:

* Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers
* Greg Iles: Sleep No More




Most likely: Margery Allingham: The Crime at Black Dudley
(audio version read by David Thorpe)

Alternatively:

* One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Murder at the Manor: Country House Mysteries
* Georgette Heyer: They Found Him Dead
* Ellis Peters: Black is the Colour of My True-Love's Heart




Most likely: Something from Terry Pratchett's Discworld / Witches subseries -- either Equal Rites or Maskerade

Alternatively:

Karen Maitland: The Owl Killers




Most likely: Antonia Hodgson: The Devil in the Marshalsea

Alternatively:

* Rory Clements: Martyr
* Philip Gooden: Sleep of Death 
* Minette Walters: The Shape of Snakes
* Ngaio Marsh: Death in Ecstasy

* One or more stories from Martin Edwards's (ed.) and the British Library's Capital Crimes: London Mysteries




Most likely: Robert Louis Stevenson: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(audio return visit courtesy of Sir Christopher Lee)

Alternatively:

* H.G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau 

* ... or something by Edgar Allan Poe




Most likely: Something from Ovid's Metamorphoses

Alternatively:

* Robert Louis Stevenson: The Bottle Imp
* Christina Rossetti: Goblin Market
* H.G. Wells: The Island of Dr. Moreau




Most likely: Jo Nesbø: The Snowman

Alternatively:

* Val McDermid: The Retribution
* Denise Mina: Sanctum 
* Mo Hayder: Birdman
* Caleb Carr: The Alienist
* Jonathan Kellerman: The Butcher's Theater
* Greg Iles: Mortal Fear




Most likely: The Medieval Murderers: House of Shadows

Alternatively:

* Sharyn McCrumb: She Walks These Hills
* Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House
* Stephen King: Bag of Bones
* Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages

* Michael Jecks: The Devil's Acolyte




Ooohhh, you know -- something by Shirley Jackson ... if I don't wimp out in the end; otherwise something by Daphne du Maurier.




 Now, as for my 2017 bingo marker ... it's rather an obvious choice this year; I mean, how could I possibly not?!

 

 

Merken

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text 2017-08-19 21:36
Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 285 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

About thirty minutes later—just the right time later, Tom thought, because the Greenleafs had kept insisting that he drink another and another martini—they went into a dining room off the living room, where a table was set for three with candles, huge dark-blue dinner napkins, and a whole cold chicken in aspic. But first there was céleri rémoulade. Tom was very fond of it. He said so.

 

Image result for chicken in aspic

 

Gross.

 

I'm on page 78, and Tom has made it to Italy and found Dickie Greenleaf. Things just got super weird, with

Tom vividly imagining strangling Marge while wearing Dickie's pants.

(spoiler show)
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review 2017-08-19 01:11
The Crime Coast by Elizabeth Gill
The Crime Coast: A Benvenuto Brown Mystery - Elizabeth Gill

This is one of three golden age mysteries published by Elizabeth Gill, a largely forgotten author who published her first book - this one - in 1931. She published only 3 mysteries because she passed away unexpectedly at 32. All three of her books have been reissued by Dean Street Press, and are available from amazon for only $1.99.

 

I was, frankly, lukewarm about her main character, Benvenuto Brown, amateur sleuth and brilliant artist. Perhaps he will grow on me during the course of the remaining two books.

 

However, while I didn't really become attached to Ben Brown, I really liked Paul Ashby, a young London lawyer who finds himself embroiled in a mystery. He is trying to locate a young artist, Adrian, on behalf of his father, whom he has met and who gave him the strange commission before leaving London for the French Riviera. Paul meets and falls in with Adelaide Moon on the train from Paris to Marseille, an alluring young woman who is known to associate with Adrian.

 

As the story progresses, Adrian is accused of murdering his former lover, who is discovered completely nude except for a whole bunch of jewels. Shortly thereafter, Adrian disappears, and Ben, Paul and Adelaide attempt to solve the murder to clear Adrian's name, while Paul becomes increasingly enamored of the fair Adelaide. 

 

“As leading ladies say on first nights, this is the happiest moment of my life,” he murmured, watching blue smoke vanish into the blue air. “It’s the sort of thing one dreams about on a wet, grey day in London—only better. I’ve never had the imagination to dream of such a day as this or such a boat, or—or you,” he added, only so low that he thought perhaps she hadn’t heard.

 

Gill has a gift for descriptive writing, evoking the beautiful turquoise sea of the Riviera with gems like this:

 

“Can you dive with your eyes open?” she said. He nodded, and in a second she was a red bird skimming through the air, a moment later a goldfish in the translucent depths. It was a good dive, and Paul pulled himself together—she was watching him. He went in neatly and for cool moments of silence saw the green world slide past his eyes, saw the smooth stones of the ocean bed, and fish that flickered and vanished mysteriously, before he shot up into the dazzling sunshine.

 
There is a classic reveal at the end of the story, with Ben explaining all to his rapt listeners. The mystery relies on a great deal of coincidence, as these golden age mysteries often do, but it is an enjoyable, and surprising, whodunnit, nonetheless.
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review 2017-08-18 20:15
Much Better Example of Rule's Writing
Empty Promises - Ann Rule

I am starting to wind down with my true crime kick. I think I need to mix it up a bit, because reading about cases like this so much is a bit much for me right now.

 

These volumes always have a longer story that Rule focuses on and then some shorter true crime stories. The long one in this one is "Empty Promises" that follows the disappearance of Jami Hagel Sherer. Rule gives us great insight into a woman who is abused and what a toll it takes on her and those around her over time. She also gives us insight into Jami's husband Steve that stands accused of being behind her disappearance. I have to say that this one had a lot of things that I wish that Rule had went more into such as why in the world so many people kept covering for Steve. What about the other women that Steve abused. There also seemed to be some allusion that possibly Steve's father's suicide may not have been one and that he may have been involved with it.

 

I did love the look at the police and lawyers in this one since it was more organic how they were introduced in this book in this one. Usually Rule just throws out facts about these people and I find it just boring. 

 

The other stories in this volume really do get into love gone wrong. I thought that in each story there was a cautionary tale.

 

I thought that "Young Love," "Love and Insurance," and "The Gentler Sex" were the best of the shorter true crime stories. 

 

"Young Love" revolves around a boyfriend that is not willing to let his high school girlfriend go when she moves on to college. I am glad that this one had a somewhat happy ending.


"Love and Insurance" as really sad to me. A man we follow in this one we find out has cried wolf too many times to be believed when he should have been. I thought the backstory on this one was weird as well.


"The Gentler Sex" was messed up. Reading about two women who plan one of the women's husband's death in order to get his insurance would have been sad if it wasn't for the parts where Rule gets into what their ideas were for on how to murder. 

 

All together I think there were 10 stories, so definitely enough there and worth the price. 

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review 2017-08-18 19:51
Three Pines in Winter
A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny

I maybe said, don't leave me when I finished this book. I swear, the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series is becoming a fast favorite with me. We have Gamache reappearing in Three Pines again after the murder of a loathsome woman. I think that Penny, just like Christie, has a way for villains in her books. I was flat out over the woman that we get insight into after the first couple of pages.

 

"A Fatal Grace" follows Three Pines residents about a year after the murder that took place in the last book. Residents are still getting over the fact that a murderer lived among them for so long. They have a new family that moves in, but many of the residents are rightfully not that engaging with the family cause they are a grotesque family by name and blood. CC de Poitiers is a vapid woman who believes that she has the new big thing that millions will fall in line for called "Be Calm." She writes a book that she is sure is a best seller and seems to hate her husband and her daughter. Heck, she hates her lover as well. One wonders if there was ever anyone that CC did love, but that's a different book.


When CC dies in what looks to be an accident, Gamache is called onto the scene and quickly deduces murder. The problem is trying to remove people from their suspect list since it seems that CC ran afoul of everyone.

 

I think that what also made this a cool read for me was that we have Gamache's nemesis from the last book show up. I won't get into that here, spoilers and all, but there seems like there is something afoot that can end up hurting Gamache and boy oh boy was I yelling at him by the end of the book. Guess I will have to see how this plays out.

 

I will say that this book more than even the first gives you great insight into Gamache and what ultimately moves him. He lives by a different code that would not be out of place several hundred years before the time this book takes place. 

 

I loved revisiting Three Pines. It's starting to be a wee bit like Cabot Cove or one of the Midsomer villages though. Cause after this latest murder, have to wonder how many people from the first two books will be left. 

 

 Image result for falling snow on trees gifs

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