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review 2018-02-22 16:45
E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
E is for Evidence - Sue Grafton

I read this book in about two hours. I don't think I can quite call it "amazing," as I reserve that rating for books that are a bit less ordinary, and this is, at the end of the day, a pretty ordinary mystery.

But it was a pacey, peppy read with a convoluted plot that sucked me right in and kept me going until the end. The solution relied on a technological world that no longer exists, but it was convincing for its time and entertaining as all get out. My favorite of this series so far!


I'll pick up Fugitive & Gumshoe sometime soon, as I'm thoroughly enjoying the series.

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text 2018-02-09 21:28
Friday reading: February 9, 2017
The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm - Juliet Nicolson
D Is For Deadbeat - Sue Grafton
E is for Evidence - Sue Grafton
Somebody at the Door (British Library Crime Classics) - Raymond Postgate,Martin Edwards




I'm still working hard on the Adventure Quilt - it has to be finished by the going away party next Saturday (2/17) because the recipient is leaving Oregon for parts unknown on 2/18. I'll post pics of the finished quilt.


Because of this, most of my reading is occurring through listening right now! I downloaded A Discovery of Witches as an audiobook because it sounded like an appealing reread. I'm about 5 hours in, and have about 18 hours left. I am still dithering on whether I will continue to listen to it, or move onto Crooked House by Agatha Christie, which I could probably finish this weekend.


I've barely dipped into A World Undone and I haven't even cracked This Rough Magic. I'm at about 20% in The Venetian Affair.




I just bought D is for Deadbeat and E is for Evidence to continue my Kinsey Millhone read over the next ten days or so. I also picked up The Last Summer by Juliet Nicholson, which is a non-fiction book about the summer of 1911, prior to the beginning of WWI in 1914. I am planning to blow through that one (it's a mere 325 pages) before really digging into a A World Undone. I'm loosely planning on following it with Nicholson's book about the time after the armistice, called The Great Silence. I also bought Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate, mostly because I wanted to buy a BLCC and I liked the cover. 


Total for the week: $34.90

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review 2018-01-31 13:28
Great characters and story
A Grave Search (Bodies of Evidence) - We... A Grave Search (Bodies of Evidence) - Wendy Roberts

Julie found dead bodies with divining rods. She had been doing this since she was a child. Now Julie has started a business called Divine Reunions. Then a broken hearted mother goes to Julie to find her daughter. The woman had paid the demanded ransom but had never got her daughter back.  The prime suspect was the woman’s boyfriend Rob who was also never seen again. But Julie is very hesitant to take the job as she would have to go back to her hometown where she has a lot of  bad memories. Julie’s grandmother had been very abusive to her. Julie’s inheritance allowed her to buy some property to settle down on. To make new friends and stay away from her triggers.  Julie now saw a therapist and was sober but her past had done a lot to Julie. Julie was seeing Garrett who was an FBI agent and twenty years older but both are broken souls trying to heal. Julie feels she should look for the girl and takes the job. Garrett will help her. As Julie investigates she uncovers dark secrets and she will have to rethink what she knows of  her past . But someone is now targeting Julie as both her house and car have been broken  into.  When working for a client the body of  a school friend turns up. Julie does have to use other detective’s clues to help her with  her work. Julie doesn’t just stop at finding the body she is compelled to solve the crime.

I loved this book . It was well written and had a good plot and pace that I liked a lot. I loved Julie and Garrett together the age difference didn’t matter. I liked Julie’s independence. I also loved Wookie her dog. I loved Julie’s determination. I would advise you to read the first book in the series first before this one. I felt like I was right there with Julie. I liked the introduction of  a different gift in this book. I would like to find out more about Julie and her boyfriend. I loved that Julie was working on herself and making progress in her life. I also loved how Garrett is protective of  Julie. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I highly recommend

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review 2018-01-10 00:00
Evidence of Things Not Seen
Evidence of Things Not Seen - James Baldwin
History, I contend, is the present - we, with every breath we take, every move we make, are History - and what goes around, comes around.

Δεν πρόκεται για ένα μυθιστόρημα που αφορά τις δολοφονίες παιδιών στην Atlanta, αλλά μάλλον μια εξέταση των θεμάτων που ήδη αναπτύσσει ο Baldwin σε προηγούμενες συλλογές του. Συγκεκριμένα, είναι ένας στοχασμός πάνω στα εγκλήματα της περιόδου 1979-1981, ένα σχόλιο πάνω στη δίκη και τον ίδιο τον κατηγορούμενο, W. B. Williams, που ξετυλίγεται ελικοειδώς σε μια τύποις καταγγελία των φυλετικών σχέσεων στην Αμερική και το διαχωρισμό των μαύρων σε κοινωνικές βαθμίδες, μεταξύ άλλων, κατά την εποχή του R. Reagan.
[...]the Black demand was not for integration. Integration, as we could all testify, simply by looking at the colors of our skins, had, long ago, been accomplished.[...]The Black demand was for desegregation, which is a legal, public, social matter: a demand that one be treated as a human being and not like a mule, or a dog. It was not even a direct demand for social justice: desegregation was a necessary first step in the Black journey toward that goal. It had absolutely nothing to do with the hope of becoming White. Desegregation demanded, simply, that Black people, and, especially, Black children, be recognized and treated as human beings by all of the institutions of the country in which they were born. Since, I have done the State some service and they know it, desegregation demanded that the State recognize, and act on, this irrefutable and irreducible truth.

Ο Baldwin καταδεικνύει την πιθανότητα αθωότητας του W. B. Williams βασίζοντας αυτή τη σκέψη του στις συσπάσεις της λευκής δικαιοσύνης, των λευκών μέσων ενημέρωσης, της λευκής κοινής γνώμης και στη συστηματική αποφυγή λήψης μέτρων για τη δυσάρεστη κατάσταση της μαύρης κοινότητας. Σύμφωνα με το συγγραφέα ο ρατσισμός δεν αποτελεί εκτροπή ούτε απρόοπτη παρενέργεια του Αμερικανικού Ονείρου, εντούτοις είναι θεμέλιό του. The real meaning and history of Manifest Destiny, for example, γράφει ο Baldwin, is nothing less than calculated and deliberate genocide.
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review 2017-12-31 18:51
A great book about a fascinating historical period and one of the forefathers of forensic science.
Fatal Evidence: Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor & the Dawn of Forensic Science - Helen Barrell

Thanks to Pen & Sword, particularly to Alex, for offering me a copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

As a doctor, a writer, and an avid reader of crime fiction (and spectator of crime films and TV series) when  I read the description of this book I knew I had to keep on reading. Although my studies in Criminology included a basic history of the discipline, this book offers a very detailed look into one of the main figures in the early times of forensic science, Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor. The author, Helen Barrell, uses her expertise in history and genealogy to research his biography and investigate the legacy of this fascinating man. As she states:

This is both Taylor’s biography and the story of forensic science’s development in nineteenth-century England; the two are entwined. There are stomachs in jars, a skeleton in a carpet bag, doctors gone bad, bloodstains on floorboards, and an explosion that nearly destroyed two towns. This is the true tale of Alfred Swaine Taylor and his fatal evidence.

I found the book riveting. Not only the biographical details (and, as a doctor, I was intrigued by his studies, and by how complicated it was to study Medicine at the time. In fact, becoming a surgeon and becoming a medical doctor involved a very different process in the early XIX century, and although now the degree combines both, their origins were completely separate), but, especially, the in-depth study of his close involvement with forensic science, his passion for the subject, and his total dedication to ensure that forensic evidence was rigorous and given the importance it deserved in criminal trials. He produced books on the subject that were updated and continued to be published well into the XX Century and his expertise as a chemist, photographer, and defender of public health made him a well-known and respected figure. On the other hand, he was not the easiest of men, he did not tolerate fools gladly, he was a staunch supporter of unpopular measures (banning certain products containing arsenic, for instance, or introducing a register of the purchase of poisons), and he held grudges that found their way into his writing, and perhaps made him not receive the recognition others did (he was never knighted, while some of his peers were).

The book follows Taylor’s life in chronological order, and although it delves more into his professional life (the cases he gave evidence in, other cases of the period he advised on, his teaching, his books), it also talks about his wife, and how she was fundamental to his books, as she helped him organize and compile the cases, about the children they lost, his friendships and collaborations… We get a good sense of the person behind the scientist, but it is clear that he was a man dedicated to his work, and it is not so easy to differentiate the public from the personal figure.

The book is written in an engaging way, it flows well, and the author provides enough detail about the cases to get us interested, making us experience the tension and the controversies of the trials, without becoming bogged down in technicalities. And, despite her historical rigour, the author’s observations showed subtle hints of humour on occasions.

The chronology and all the cases he worked on help give us a very good idea of what crime was like in the period. Having recently read some other historical books (many published by Pen & Sword as well) about the era, it manages to create a great sense of how easy it was to buy poison, how difficult it was to detect crime (even confirming if a red stain was blood was very complicated), and how dangerous everyday life could be (wallpaper contained colours filled with arsenic). Some of the cases are still remembered to this day, but Helen Barrell offers us a new perspective on them. This book would be a great addition to the library of anybody interested in the history of the period, especially the history of crime detecting and poisons, and also to that of writers of crime novels who want to know more about forensic science and its origins.

The last chapter includes a summary of some of the ways Taylor influenced crime writers, including Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers (who either created characters based on him or used his books as reference). I am sure many writers will feel inspired anew by this book, especially those who write historical crime fiction. There is also a detailed bibliography and notes that would help anybody interested in finding more information about any of the cases.

As the author writes in her conclusion:

Alfred Swayne Taylor is one of the ancestors of modern forensic science: he is part of its very DNA.

A great book, of interest to anybody fascinated by crime detecting and its history, to readers of the history of the period, and to writers (and readers) who love crime historical fiction. A fascinating historical figure and a well-researched and engaging book that gives him some the credit he deserves.

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