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review 2017-09-04 20:50
An Expert in Murder
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

He suddenly had an image of his down-to-earth sergeant rushing home from the Yard every night to devour the latest thriller by his fireside. Better still, perhaps he was actually writing one of his own. The thought of Miss Dorothy L. Sayers turning out to be a portly, moustached officer of the law in his early fifties was priceless, and he made a mental note to mention it to Josephine when he saw her tomorrow night.

It appears I may have found that most rare of things: a literary tribute (a.k.a. fan-fiction) that worked for me!

 

Josephine Tey was a bit of a mystery. She was a private person, little is known about her, and that which is known seems to indicate that she deliberately kept her affairs separate from each other - i.e. she led a multitude of lives - one as playwright, one as a mystery writer, one in Inverness, another in London, perhaps quite another somewhere else.

 

Nicola Upson took what research she could get and jumped on the idea of making this mystery woman the star of a semi-biographical murder mystery. (The murder is no biographical...I think.) For me this worked really well. It had biographical fact mixed with imagined scenes, but because we know so little about Tey, these elements change over seamlessly in Upson recreation of the 1930s London West End theatre-land, which happens to be one of my favourite places, too.

In fact, I thought the whole scene-setting, which is the undoing of many (mystery) writers for me, worked really well in this one:

 

We're passing by Tey's compartment on the train south from Berwick, because we learn in Tey's own The Man in the Queue that there is no direct train from Inverness, yet, and that Tey would have had to change at Edinburgh Waverley. 

We get to see her being picked up by friends at King's Cross. 

We get to be in the crowd queueing for theatre tickets. 

We got go to the dress circle bar, mingle with the crowd outside the stage door after performances hoping to get an autograph. We get to go home with various actors and see behind the curtains. 

 

I thought Upson's writing had an easy and fun flow to it that made this quite an easy, cozy read. Yet, she tackles quite serious issues, amongst which I was delighted to read how characters dealt with the aftermath of the First World War. Granted these parts reminded me more of Dorothy L. Sayer's writing than Tey's, but hey, I have not read all of Tey's work yet and given that Upson was trying to re-create a distinct time period in the pages of this, her first, Tey mystery, I was drawn in from start to finish.

 

As soon as he saw the great Union Jack which had replaced the usual hanging at the front of the pulpit, Penrose realised that God’s representative – a sanctimonious bigot at the best of times, even if he was family – had changed his agenda. After preaching a terrifying sermon on the glories of battle, sanctifying maiming, slaughter and bloodshed with the blessing of a higher authority, the rector had urged all the young men to join the army, to sate the country’s appetite for soldiers who would defend the justice of the war. What he had failed to mention was that it was a cause for which thousands of them would be asked to give their lives, but his harvest sermon had done the trick: by the end of the year, every eligible man in the village had signed up to Kitchener’s new army, an exodus which was replicated all over the country, swelling the ranks by nearly a million in the space of just four months. Some expected garrison service at home while the real soldiers went off to do the real soldiering; most believed the papers when they said it would be a short war, over by Christmas at the outside. All had been wrong, and he was still sickened to the stomach when he thought of that call from the altar for young men to offer themselves for the glory of God and eight shillings and nine pence a week.

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text 2017-09-03 20:39
Halloween Bingo - Cozy Mystery
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

I seem to be on a Josephine Tey mission at the moment. I finished The Man in the Queue yesterday, but had only picked it up after starting this one on Friday, then setting it aside after a few pages because I felt I should read a Tey proper to get a feel for the original before diving into Tey-inspired fiction.

 

Anyway, I am reading An Expert in Murder for the Cozy Mystery square. I'm 120 pages in, the murder has occurred, but it was less descriptive than some Agatha Christie ones - so, to my mind, perfect for a cozy.

 

The story itself features Tey as a character. She seems to be based quite close on what we know of the real Josephine Tey/Gordon Daviot/Elizabeth Mackintosh and her circle of friends from her theatre life. I'm calling it like this because Tey kept her life strictly private and different aspects of her life quite separate.

 

So far Upson has done a very good job of bringing Tey and her surroundings (especially the thriving London theatre scene) to life.

 

 

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url 2017-04-05 09:18
Author Expert Interview about Mindfulness Books with Nataša Pantović Nuit (Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training Series of 9 books)
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Author Expert Interview about Mindfulness Books with Nataša Pantović Nuit (Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training Series of 9 books)

 

Nataša Nuit Pantović brings us her ninth book, TREE OF LIFE, as part of the Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training series. She considers the Alchemy of Love Mindfulness a spiritual rather than a religious endeavor. TREE OF LIFE is poetry— spiritual not religious—that is an “inspirational and motivational encounter with various spiritual journeys into Love, Consciousness, Bliss.”

 

Nataša Nuit Pantović has traveled widely and currently lives in Malta with her two children. At the moment she is working on her next book, “Conscious Creativity.”

Source: strandssimplytips.blogspot.com.mt/2017/03/what-experts-say-natasa-nuit-pantovic.html
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text 2017-02-04 15:13
January Roundup
The Keeper's Price - Marion Zimmer Bradley,Jacqueline Lichtenberg,Jean Lorrah,Diana L. Paxson,Kathleen Williams,Elisabeth Waters,Linda Frankel,Susan M. Schwartz,Linda MacKendrick,Patricia Shaw Mathews,Cynthia McQuillin,Penny Ziegler,Paula Crunk,Eileen Ledbetter
Affaire Royale - Nora Roberts
Bay of Sighs (Guardians Trilogy) - Nora Roberts
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
One Week in the Library - W Maxwell Prince,John Amor
Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
Mistletoe and Murder - Carola Dunn
The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston
The Witches of New York - Ami McKay
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

So January's books... 33 in all

 

Fiction: 

The Keeper's Price by Marion Zimmer Bradley et al. Reminded me of a lot of what I enjoyed about Darkover, I kinda want to revisit...

 

Nora Roberts featured a few times, Affaire Royale, Command Performance and Playboy Prince were actually a 3-in-one copy; Bay of Sighs is a newer book and I found it interesting. 

 

Small Gods the Graphic Novel made me want to revisit the book.

 

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon was a good read, interesting to read a story set in China.

 

The Discerning Gentleman's Guide by Virginia Heath was a good historical romance, though the title did make me snigger a little.

 

 

One Week in the library was somewhat underwhelming, I wanted more.

 

Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood was not the best Phryne Fisher story but not bad either, you learn more about Phryne's past.

 

Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn, the framing story was a bit strained but an interesting murder mystery.

 

Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter is an interesting twist on the long-lived supernatural, for a change set in England.

 

Awakening the Shy Miss by Bronwyn Scott was an okay historical romance.

 

House of Shadows by Jen Christie was a time-travelling paranormal romance.

 

Captivating the Witch by Michele Hauf was a paranormal romance between a demon and a witch.

 

Witches of New York by Ami McKay took a long time for me to get into and then left me a little underwhelmed.

 

The Lie by C.L. Taylor was a story of learning about real friendship, and how things can go terribly wrong.

 

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson was an interesting murder mystery featuring Josephine Tey and her friends.

 

Scarlet Widow by Graham Masterton featured some problematic sex.

 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: Terry Pratchett does the Pied Piper.

 

Bound by Duty by Diane Gaston was a good historical romance.

 

A-Force Presents volume 1 - the first new introductions to female superheroes. Very mixed but interesting.

 

Lucifer - Mike Carey Volume 1 - I prefer the TV series

 

Lady Emma's Revenge - Fenella J Miller - a murder mystery wrapped in a historical romance.

 

A Match for Marcus Cynster - Stephanie Laurens A man discovers that he doesn't need to belittle a woman to be strong, enjoyed this one a lot.

 

Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke - interesting world with a cleric discovering a dagger has a mind of it's own.

 

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart - based on fact it's an interesting read.

 

Non-Fiction:

Sink Reflections by Marla "Flylady" Cilley I found underwhelming.

 

Not my shame by T.O. Walker almost broke my heart, a woman facing up to her abuse.

 

The Awakening by Colm O'Connor was a very reflective piece and I found it made me think a lot about living.

 

Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak was charming, illustrated unusual words from around the world.

 

Healing Fatty Liver Disease - exactly what it says.

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