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review 2018-11-12 13:30
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 2 and 5 - Books for Guy Fawkes Night and Veterans' / Armistice Day
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter,Samuel West
The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter


Georgette Heyer: Behold, Here's Poison
(Narrator: Ulli Birvé)

The first Georgette Heyer mysteries I read were her Inspector Hemingway books, which in a way meant I was starting from the wrong end, as Hemingway progressed to the rank of inspector from having been the lead investigator's sergeant in the earlier Superintendent Hannasyde books.  That doesn't impede my enjoyment of Hannasyde's cases in the least, however, now that I'm getting around to these, even though I found the first one (Death in the Stocks) seriously underwhelming.  But Heyer redeems herself in a big way with Behold, Here's Poison: Though a fair share of her mysteries have a sizeable contingent of 1920s-30s stock-in-trade bright young things and generally "nice chaps" (which got on my nerves enough at one point to make me decide I'd had enough of Heyer), when she did set her mind to it, nobody, not even Agatha Christie, did maliciously bickering families like her.  And the family taking center stage here must be one of the meanest she's ever come up with, only (just) surpassed by the Penhallows.  I'm not overwhelmed with the story's romantic dénouement (there always is one in Heyer's books), and while I guessed the mystery's essential "who" and had a basic idea of the "why" at about the 3/4 - 4/5 mark (the actual "why" was a bit of a deus ex machina), by and large this has to count among my favorite Heyer mysteries so far ... though not quite reaching the level of my overall favorite, Envious Casca.

 

Ulli Birvé isn't and won't ever become my favorite narrator, and she seriously got on my nerves here, too.  Since all of the recent re-recordings of Heyer's mysteries are narrated by her, though, I've decided I won't hold her mannerisms against the author, and I've read enough print versions of Heyer books at this point to have a fairly good idea of what a given character would sound like in my head if I'd read instead of listened to the book in question.

 

 


Colin Dexter: The Riddle of the Third Mile
(Narrator: Samuel West)

For Veterans' / Armistice Day I'm claiming the very first book I revisited after the beginning of the 24 Festive Tasks game: Colin Dexter's The Riddle of the Third Mile had long been one of my favorite entries in the Inspector Morse series, but Samuel West's wonderful reading not only confirmed that status but actually moved it up yet another few notches.  (Samuel West is fast becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators anyway.) The fact that due to the progress of medical research a key element of the mystery would have been much easier to solve these days does not impede my enjoyment in the least ... changing social mores aside, half the Golden Age crime literature, including many of the great classics by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and even, on occasion, Arthur Conan Doyle would be deprived of substantial riddles if they were set today. -- The book qualifies for this particular "24 Festive Tasks" square, because some of the characters' and their siblings' encounter as British soldiers at the battle of El Alamein (1942) forms the prologue to the book and an important motive for their actions in the world of Oxford academia and Soho strip clubs, some 40 years later.

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review 2018-06-01 00:00
Balam, Spring
Balam, Spring - Travis M. Riddle Balam, Spring - Travis M. Riddle I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

This was a really enjoyable read. It's set in a small town so it makes for a nice break from sprawling epic fantasies. In fact, I was actually starting to be afraid I was going to burnout on fantasy so reading something smaller, more personal, and more mystery driven was just what I needed.

The book centers around the small town of Balam where a mysterious epidemic is killing the town's residents. It started when the town's previous white mage died and continued as a retired mercenary, Ryckert aids the new white maage Aava in resolving this mystery. Along the way, the book also shows several of the other characters in the town as they try to process what was going on.

In some novels which center around a mystery, I have to admit (to my shame), that I would often glance at the ending so as to not be surprised. I didn't do that here. Instead, I kept reading to find out what happened. To say the least, the cause was actually something both beautiful, tragic, and outright terrible. There were tears shed near the ending, and there are some scenes which I found to be beautiful and poignant.

The characters here feel real in both their personalities, their relationships, and their lives. There are characters who are straight, bisexual, gay, and lesbian and each of them feel real and seamlessly integrated into the world. Their relationships are both beautiful and sad, or even ugly. There are familial relationships, friendly relationships, and romantic relationships, and each of them were depicted beautifully.

I enjoyed the small town setting. As someone who has lived in a city her entire life, I found it to be very charming, a kind of quiet setting, and a very good break from world-changing stories. A small town's struggle in the face of an unknown epidemic made for a compelling story which I really liked.

I highly recommend this book. It's nicely paced, more slice-of-life than epic, but contains a poignant story which I think anyone can enjoy.
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quote 2018-05-03 13:18
W małżeństwie tak jak na wojnie, w niektórych bitwach nie ma zwycięzców.
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quote 2018-05-02 16:46
Ludzie często mówią, że co cię nie zabije, to cię wzmocni. Bzdury. Po niektórych wydarzeniach człowiek nie jest w stanie się otrząsnąć. Nie czynią silniejszym, tylko słabszym, bez względu na to, jak bardzo próbujesz to ukryć i udawać, że jesteś silny.
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review 2017-11-19 00:00
Is Another World Watching? The Riddle of the Flying Saucers
Is Another World Watching? The Riddle of the Flying Saucers - Gerald Heard Started reading it a second time as the first time was very long ago (1953). Quit about half way through as the author seems more intent with talking of his own faulty (my opinion) ideas and not telling much about older sightings. If you are going to read period literature about UFO's there are much better books than this one.
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