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review 2018-11-07 01:36
Historical Romance
Going Rogue (Ribbons and Rogues Book 1) - Jessica Jefferson

Going Rogue by Jessica Jefferson is an entertaining second chance historical romance.  Ms. Jefferson has delivered a well-written book.  The characters are entertaining.  Meredith leaves her home and Derek, against her wishes, to live with her aunt in London.   Meredith and Derek's story is filled with drama, humor and spice.  I enjoyed reading Going Rogue and would happily read more from Jessica Jefferson in the future.  Going Rogue is book 1 of the Going Rogue Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2018-11-04 23:10
No. 17
No. 17 (Ben the Tramp Mystery) - J. Jefferson Farjeon

Once more the inmates of the room missed something through lacking eyes in the backs of their heads. The passage door slowly and softly opened, and a figure crouched in the aperture. A big, broad-shouldered figure, with one shoulder higher than the other.

‘Now, then, don’t pretend you don’t know anything about these diamonds,’ rasped Brant. ‘The telegram mentioned them—’

‘Oh, what’s the use?’ muttered Henry.

Oh, what's the use indeed. This one was pretty bad, but it was made even worse by knowing that Farjeon was actually a terrific writer as evidenced by his other books Mystery in White and Thirteen Guests.  

 

This book, however, ... If the convoluted plot about a jewel robbery hadn't been enough to make my eyes roll, then the really insipid conversations between the characters which seemed to consist mostly of catch-phrases and idioms but no clearly articulated trains of thought, would have been enough to make me reach for the wine. 

 

And of course, we also have the main character, Ben the Tramp, the former merchant seaman, to whom I just couldn't warm up to. There is nothing I could see that makes him out as rounded character - he seems to remain a caricature throughout the book.

 

This is one 1930s mystery series that I am going to give a miss.

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text 2018-09-22 20:19
Reading progress update: I've read 140 out of 287 pages.
Thirteen Guests - J. (Joseph) Jefferson Farjeon

So, we have several crimes

including a slashed painting, a dead dog, and two bodies,

(spoiler show)

and it seems the puzzle-solving is just getting underway.

“Well, Mr. John Foss,” said Nadine, as she sat on the pouffe that had been waiting for her all day, “shall we pool our knowledge and see whether we can make anything out of it?”

  “I’m afraid my own knowledge is very incomplete,” answered John.

“So is mine. So, I believe, is everybody’s. Just bits and pieces which they’re trying hard not to give up. Even Mr. Taverley.”

She paused, and added suddenly, “I don’t know whether you can feel it in here—this room is a sort of backwater—most reposeful—but the atmosphere in the rest of the house is positively—what?”

   “Secretive?” he suggested.

“Gives one the creeps. Yes, even quite apart from the fact that two dead people are lying in the studio. We’re all on guard against each other. Split up into small parties. That’s why I want to form a party with you. I wasn’t born for just my own company.”

   “I shouldn’t have thought you ever had to endure loneliness.”

“I don’t often. Perhaps that explains why I object to it so strongly when it happens. We’re all divided into groups of fours and twos and ones, and I refuse to be one of the ones!”

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text 2018-09-22 11:30
Reading progress update: I've read 76 out of 287 pages.
Thirteen Guests - J. (Joseph) Jefferson Farjeon

Many things stirred that night. The golden retriever, Haig, restless in his kennel near the locked studio and sniffing sensitively with his cool black nose, was not alone in sensing uneasy happenings. The stag destined to be roused by harbourers on the morrow from his entanglement of fern and briar, lifted his head from the ground as though momentarily conscious of his new danger as well as his new dignity. He was in his fifth year, and had just emerged from the raw designation of young male deer. Then he lowered his head to invisibility again, with antlers laid back almost parallel with his body.

The cock-pheasant in the little wood near Bragley Court suddenly fluttered for no reason his sleepy mind could fathom. No stoat was near. Had Death itself, that unbelievable conception, cast a transitory shadow over the bird’s wing while seeking a location for its next victim? The sly old fox, back in his burrow at Mile Bottom after a pleasant meal of mice and beetles, took longer than usual to settle in his earthy den. He missed the badger whose house he had stolen. It was a pity the badger had not taken it kindly, and that they had quarrelled over the possession of a hen. They might have been pals.

Oooh. Could this be a nice bit of foreshadowing?

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text 2018-09-21 07:06
Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 287 pages.
Thirteen Guests - J. (Joseph) Jefferson Farjeon

Coming back to the fabulous Mr. Farjeon's writing after the two excursions into Mary Stewart's work of "romantic suspense" makes me appreciate his writing even more. 

 

If we must have an insta-something romance among the threat of blackmail and murder, then let it be written like this:

“You’re not going to ask me what I know about you that would make you wince?”

   “No. You can tell me that voluntarily, if ever you want to. May I put the question?”

“Yes.”

   “Well, here goes. It’ll show you, anyhow, that I’m not idealising you.” She wondered. “When you kissed me just now, did you feel as though you were beginning another ‘affair’?”

   For an instant she almost decided to cheat. But for his reference to David Garrick, she might have. That reference had weakened her defences, however, for she doubted now, as she saw his eyes watching her for every informative little sign, whether she could cheat him. For once in her life, she had the sense that she was being beaten.

“Would you like to withdraw the question?” She gave him that chance, but he did not take it. He shook his head.

“No, I didn’t feel I was beginning an affair,” she answered. “So now where are we?”

   He found, to his dismay, that he did not know. The exact significance of a kiss has baffled countless intelligences. His expression gave him away, and as she felt her power returning she was urged by an intense desire to use it kindly.

   “Listen, John,” she said. “And you can call me Nadine. That doesn’t mean anything these days. I’m not a silly, impulsive woman, though a few fools sometimes imagine I am, but I do react quickly to a situation when it develops. That’s my true nature. I even remember the day when I found it out—consciously, I mean. A pretty foul beast kissed me, and spoilt his chance of a repetition by saying, ‘If you can’t be good, be careful.’

I slapped his face, but I took his advice. I asked myself whether I was ‘good.’ I refused to hedge. I found I wasn’t. But—you may or you may not understand this—I refused to desert myself—to become twisted, or dull, or insignificant—by living the life of some one else. It wouldn’t have been life to a person like me. It would have been death. So I decided to be careful, to stick to a few rules I made, and have generally kept to, and to go through with it.”

She paused suddenly. Then gave a little shrug, and continued: “Rather funny, telling you all this after only a few hours’ acquaintance, but somehow I feel I owe it to you. And then one of my rules is to be frank—although I admit my frankness with you has been unusually rapid.... I wonder why?”

   He restrained an impulse to make a suggestion. Her self-analysis fascinated him, and he did not want to interrupt it. His eyes were on the contours of her shoulder, but his attention was on the contours of her mind.

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