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review 2018-06-22 03:55
Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson
Death from a Top Hat - Clayton Rawson

Series: The Great Merlini #1

 

When an occultist is murdered in an impossible locked room mystery, a magician is called in to consult on the case. I was interested in how the murder was done, but I found the writing to be pretty sloppy. For example, Rawson has his Merlini character enumerate theories or possibilities several times and in one case dispenses with any approximation of dialogue and just writes numbers on the page with the corresponding item. And Merlini could get pretty tedious even when Rawson gave a nod towards actual dialogue.

 

Between Merlini and the POV character Harte's meta-ness, I don't think I'll be reading any more of these mysteries.

 

Previous update:

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review 2018-06-20 03:33
Death of a Cozy Writer by G. M. Malliet (audiobook)
Death of a Cozy Writer: A St. Just Mystery - G.M. Malliet,Davina Porter

Series: A St. Just Mystery #1

 

This was another audiobook that I picked up from the library to have something light to listen to. I wasn't impressed though. It's a modern-day mystery but a lot of the attitudes of the family seem like it would make more sense to be taking place in the 50s or 60s. It's a modern day country house murder, basically.

 

I don't think I'll be reading another one in this series because the inspector had some eyebrow-raising opinions concerning women dressing professionally and the author took so long setting up the family dynamics that we didn't meet the inspector and have the murder investigation until we'd gotten at least a good third into the book. Possibly more, I can't remember exactly.

 

Oh well, it passed the time.

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review 2018-06-20 02:25
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine -- she really actually is gonna be just fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
I liked this because I could relate to a lot of parts, but I don't think my star rating should count as a recommendation for just anyone. It's pretty much like a "beach read" - an easy book where everything is obvious, but it got to my heart. I saw every single plot point coming from a mile away, and the only reason I kept reading is I found her charming in the way that something horrible becomes funny ten years after it happens. (This is a coping skill of mine: "Right, life is falling apart, but in ten years, this will make a really funny story." That's sort of how you have to take Eleanor.)

Thanks, Book Club - because I'd not have touched this without you guys outvoting me once again! And I just made the cut-off for actual discussion time too. 

Seriously, this is a decent look at trauma through a non-victim lens. Eleanor Oliphant can be a difficult woman. She's sure she's right about everything, so has no clue why you might be irritated with her lack of tipping, total candor, rudeness, judgmental attitude, etc. It's clear she has some "issues" and the book is basically about how just a little human contact can go a long way toward healing even horrific damage. She really will be completely fine I'd bet.
 
(Yes, of course that's simplistic - that's why it's a beach read and not a psych textbook.)
 
 

 

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review 2018-06-18 14:31
Another good mystery by the author...hard to put down.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Ruth Ware, Author; Imogen Church, Narrator

A young woman named Harriet Westaway works on a pier in London, reading the Tarot cards to gullible people. She is 21 and lives alone. Three years ago, her mother died in a tragic accident, and she was forced to leave school and take up her mother’s place in the booth on the pier, reading the cards in order to support herself. Her bills soon piled up, forcing her to borrow money from an unscrupulous source. The interest fees were huge and as her balance grew, it became harder and harder to keep up with the payments. When the debt collector came to demand more money, he threatened her with bodily harm, and refused to renegotiate the terms of her loan. He left her in a state of terror. She had no idea how she would get the money to pay him.

Then, out of the blue, she found a letter she had misplaced and discovered that she had been named as a beneficiary in the will of someone who professed to be her grandmother. Hester Westaway, had died and named her specifically in the document. The lawyer confirmed this. Still, she knows that her real grandmother died years ago. Since they shared the same surname and her own mother had the same first name as Hester’s deceased/missing daughter, she decided to try and impersonate the heir. She knew, after carefully checking the documents that she had, that she was not the real granddaughter, but she was desperate for money. She traveled to the funeral of Mrs.Westaway, and then she went to a place called Trepasen House, the mansion where her supposed grandmother had lived. Although it had not been kept up in recent years, the size of the property and house were beyond her wildest dreams. Soon, however, it was destined to also turn into a nightmare.

At first, she discovered relatives that she never knew of, naturally, since she knew she was not the real Harriet Westaway. They were so welcoming and kind, that she was overwhelmed with the desire for a family. She hated being so alone in the world. With no knowledge of her father, and her mother gone, she felt totally adrift,  Soon, because of their gracious acceptance of her, she was consumed with guilt about her deception, as well as fear for her life from the debt collector.

When the lawyer revealed that she had inherited the lion’s share of the estate, the family was in shock. She fainted dead away and realized that she could no longer pull off this deception. She had only hoped for a small amount of money to repay her debts and move on with her life. Now, as the family overcame their shock and were still exceedingly kind to her, she believed that she could not go on with the charade. Still, her fear of the man who had threatened her, if she could not repay her debt, overwhelmed that shame and each time she hoped to confess, she weakened and continued the pretense.
As the situation grew more complicated, she discovered that her new “uncles” all had secrets. She wondered why the housekeeper was always angry, especially with her, and she began to feel threatened by her attitude toward her. She even began to wonder if someone wanted to harm her, but she could not fathom a reason for that.

Suddenly, she realized she that she did have some connection to this house and family, and she set out to discover the secrets of Trepasen House, and the Westaways. She needed to find out who she really was, who her father was, and why she was named in the will. In her effort to solve these mysteries of her background, many untold secrets were revealed, and she soon discovered that she might be in grave danger.

As the twists and turns continued without abating, the skilled pen of the author keeps the reader guessing until the very end when she ties up everything neatly, except for what happens to the debt collector! I was left wondering if justice was done and the lenders were punished for their exorbitant interest rates and threats to their clients. It was a thread of the story, a small detail, that probably few others will be bothered by, because the rest of the story was complete.

 

 

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text 2018-06-17 23:13
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 338 pages.
Visions in Death (In Death, #19) - J.D. Robb
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