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review 2019-12-24 17:22
An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good - Helene Tursten
An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good - Helene Tursten

This is exactly the kind of murder I'm in the mood for. More stories about women upwards of "a certain age" who can get away with murder. That's much more fun than solving one.

I've been a fan of the Christmas murder story nearly as long as I can remember: there was a tiny book of four short stories put out by Reader's Digest in the early 70s. It had a white cover and four images in black one of which was a bishop and another was a sprig of holly. One story was about a man who had planned the perfect crime to murder his wife before taking a sabbatical in the US for a year. One was a locked room mystery about a chess player. Well, that's what memory says and it is of course always so precisely accurate.

Only one of these stories is about Christmas, "An Elderly Lady Seeks Peace at Christmastime" as do we all. But they all share a calm, quiet, unhurried feel. Maud isn't a stereotypical granny. Now, having just learned that there is a book about Audrey Hepburn in wartime as a member of the resistance, I have a strong longing to read about Maud as a college student during the war.

 Library copy, but something I'd like to own and revisit annually.

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review 2019-12-16 01:48
Christmas at High Rising - Angela Thirkell
Christmas at High Rising - Angela Thirkell

I was mildly disappointed that it wasn't a book of Christmas stories, but only very mildly. Lots of Laura and Tony, which I find hilarious and poignant. The last story has Laura going to London to shop during wartime. I think I mentioned elsewhere that I didn't like Thirkell so much during wartime: she depresses the hell out of me. So Laura is going to London, and the train is cold and other people smoke in the non-smoking car, and there's this enormous list of things they need and the department store where she has long been a customer doesn't have any of those things...and it was depressing as hell, but I was nearly done with the book, so I finished it. And now I am charmed because most prosaic Christmas miracle ever (it's not specifically set at Christmas, but I am highly susceptible to titles apparently).
I may have to reconsider the earlier decision to avoid the wartime books.

We'll see.

 

And an aside, how beautiful is that cover?

Personal copy.

 

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review 2019-12-07 18:16
A Company of Swans - Eva Ibbotson
A Company of Swans - Eva Ibbotson

Harriet is the daughter of the worst professor at Cambridge, a man who doesn't mind teaching her Latin, but won't even consider the possibility of her attending university. Her aunt, Louisa, keeps house for them and is the cheapest person ever, so were Harriet to hack them to pieces with an ax, no one would be surprised. fortunately, Harriet is offered the opportunity to join the corps of a ballet troupe headed up the Amazon for an extended stay among the insanely wealthy rubber barons of 1912.
It's a delightful book. Just as in [book:A Countess Below Stairs|714569], the heroine isn't brilliant at everything, but she is charming and kind. The hero is a good man, which we know because of his efforts to protect a native tribe (or two). Sure he's a colonial making a fortune, but he treats his workers well, and cares about their long-term interests (if not their land rights).
In addition, we are treated to the amusing characters of the ballet company, a buffoon of a suitor for Harriet, an entrancing young boy, a scheming Scarlett O'Hara type, and quite a lot of natural history. Fleas get their due, as does a coati.
The magic of the book is that Ibbotson tells an Edwardian love story in a way that mostly feels authentic and also progressive. Perhaps it's because when the author brings in a <i>deus ex machina</i> she proclaims it as such. Maybe it's because our leads are enjoying everything unabashedly. I don't know, what the magic is, but I bet you anything you like that Ibbotson had FUN writing this book.

Library copy.

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review 2019-12-07 16:47
Wild Ride - Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer
Wild Ride - Jennifer Crusie,Bob Mayer

Next time I decide to read this it will probably be for Halloween bingo, because this hits a lot of squares, including Halloween itself and carnivals.

It's fall in small-town Ohio, and Mab is almost finished restoring the old rides and statues in a small amusement park that's being refurbished. Mab unwittingly sets free a demon, and then all Hell is breaking loose. There's a little murder, a lot of mayhem, sex, beer, demon-possessed teddy bears, and a nice array of weapons.

Crusie and Mayer work so well together: it's witty and clever and exciting and sweet, and flows smoothly through all of its moods without a false note.

In a perfect world, Crusie and Mayer would write more of this kind of thing, and they would all be optioned for Netflix. In a pretty good world, other writers would mine the same vein. Who doesn't want more banter and brawling with a side of hellmouth?

 

Library copy

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review 2019-12-06 07:28
Audio Review: The Fadeaway (Smart Jocks #2) by: Rebecca Jenshak
The Fadeaway (Smart Jocks #2) - Rebecca Jenshak

 

 

 

Jenshak brings to life a world where two focused people discover that when it comes to the heart, nothing proves to be easy. The Fadeaway is a journey of false starts, heartbreaking interruptions and hard won finishes. Keeping your head in the game means staying true to your heart. The Fadeaway is drowning in heart.

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