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review 2018-09-26 17:15
Borderline by Joseph Badal
Borderline - Joseph Badal

This book was a delight to listen to! The story was easy to get into, the characters engaging, and the setting well used. Detectives Barbara and Susan are good friends as well as being good cops. In a mostly male profession, the ladies are more than driven to prove they are quite capable of solving this case that has handfuls of suspects. I felt it was very realistic for the ladies to feel pressure to out perform their male colleagues just to be seen as satisfactory workers.

I loved the setting but I’m a little bias being a New Mexico resident for most of my life. Some places noted in this book I know exist and others I would have to look up. It was great that the author included our Spanish and Mexican heritage that makes this state so very interesting.

The mystery itself was a wonderful chase of details and hunches. Victoria Comstock, the recently murdered, engendered love and hate in strong, broad strokes for many people. The more I learned about her, the more I was glad that she was dead! Badal does an excellent job of making the deceased the true villain of the tale while keeping us readers guessing as to who actually did the deed.

The story becomes even more engrossing when another body turns up. The two deaths are almost certainly connected but our hero detectives aren’t sure if they are after one or two killers. Susan’s angry husband complicates matters. Meanwhile, Barbara may have finally found someone to help her let go of her deceased husband – and that also adds some complications to the murder mystery.

At the end, there’s some foreshadowing that gave a hint as to who murdered one of the victims but who killed the other victim was a surprise to me. This mystery hit all the good points for me as it kept me engaged, had me rooting for our detectives, hating the villain, feeling sympathetic for some of the characters, and wanting more. Please let there be more Susan & Barbara murder mysteries! 5/5 stars.

The Narration: Pamela Almand was a great fit for this book. She had a slight accent for Barbara (as described in the story) and a clear, bright voice for Susan. Her Spanish was good and I feel that she captured the mild northern New Mexico accent quite well. All of her characters had distinct voices and her male voices were believable. There’s some real feelings in this story, especially for Barbara, and Almand was great at bringing these out in the narration. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Pamela Almand. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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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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review 2018-09-21 21:28
Baggy Literature: "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary - Joseph Conrad


There's nothing wrong with a bit of baggy. And certainly there's little or nothing 19th century without that touch of cellulite. And that's mostly where all the masterpieces live. No waste. But no bounty either. Conrad's prose is too parsimonious for anything to get very close to masterpiece status. I like him fine but he was a writer who tied his boots too tight almost on purpose. He wrote better about the sea than anything else and yet did relatively little of it. You're right (in a tiny, limited sense) in that the strangely neglected “The Secret Agent” is probably his best - full of surprises and real pleasures - does “Greenwich” like no one ever did.

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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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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