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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in coalboy's LiveJournal:

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Friday, December 30th, 2016
10:50 am
Happy birthday to
ndrosen, glad you had a good day. And thanks to stoutfellow, for the reminder.
Thursday, December 15th, 2016
11:32 am
Happy birthday
to sraun, & hat tip to stoutfellow for reminding me.
Thursday, December 1st, 2016
11:42 am
2016 reading, November

Only 17 books read, not telling you about all of them - distractions: WFMT pledge drive for 12 days, out-of town friends visiting - we went to Hyde Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House. Afraid I won't reach my goal of 300 this year - more than 25 to go.

A Death in Vienna – Daniel Silva 11/28/16 Gabriel Allon #4 He is an agent for Israel's Mossad, with cover as an art restorer. His mother was a survivor of Birkenau, tormented by Erich Radev & painted a picture of him, so Gabriel is able to recognize him. Another elderly survivor of Birkenau also recognized him & informed the Mossad, but was killed before protection was in place. SPOILER: Successful hunt. Intend to read more in the series.

The Shooting Party – Isabel Colegate 11/27/16 The fall before WWI. A house party at a country estate, with two rival excellent shots, and the host doesn't approve of competition. The usual company of infidelities, plus one relationship in which the woman doesn't realize the man is in love with her, though they have been seeing each other at parties for over a year. Her husband doesn't really care. From the setup, you know someone will be killed, but whether it's murder or a shooting accident isn't signaled until it happens. I felt rather sorry on the author's choice of victim.

The Corpse with the Golden Nose – Cathy Ace 11/25/16 Cait Morgan #2 Cait is a Professor of Criminal Psychology at Vancouver, called in with her boyfriend to determine who killed a vintner declared a suicide, but her sister refuses to accept it (because she killed her!) Several more murders & attempts. Well written, but didn't _like_.

Aunt Bessie Joins – Diana Xarissa 11/16/16 Aunt Bessie #10 Castle Ruthven on the Isle of Man is decorated for Christmas by 5 different benevolent organizations, with entry by paid ticket and an auction on Christmas Eve yet to come. Several days before the opening, a trophy wife imports a highfalutin' decorator from London to “make it more tasteful”, i.e. her expensive taste & his. He is killed the next night after offending everyone, no one is sorry, everyone is suspected as the death was overnight & no alibis for the whole period. Another decorator is suspected most, but he turns up dead a few days later. Suicide after murder? Probably not.

Love Is A Fallacy – Max Shulman 11/15/16 rec stoutfellow. Pre-law boy trades his father's raccoon coat to his roommate for the roomie's girlfriend, teaches Dumb Blonde about logic, she uses it to choose to date the roomie because he has a raccoon coat & is With It.

Death & the Dogwalker – A. J. Orde (Sherri S, Tepper) 11/14/16 Jason Lynx #2 Jason & his dog Bela find the body of Fred Foret, a long-winded pest in their local park. Said pest turns out to be a Very Nasty Man, a former physics professor, former authorizer of grants at the Department of Defense, manipulator and worse of his daughter. His body is found posed so it wouldn't topple & be recognized as dead, as was the body of a young woman in the same park 2 months earlier. Jason sees the connection, the cops don't. Fred's sister Marge's husband is Jason's broker, so Jason had met him & knew how tendentious he could be. Marge asks Jason to investigate, as she is his 10-years-elder sister & feels she ought to. The more Jason finds out, the more he is not regretting that Fred is dead, ditto the young woman. Lots more plot, no further spoilers.

Dead to the Last Drop – Cleo Coyle #15 11/10/16 Clare Cosi is in DC, opening a new coffeehouse, Mike Quinn her beau is working on loan to the DOJ, the President's daughter Abby is coming out as a jazz performer, to the disapproval of her mother & fiance (that she doesn't want), a State Department employee has been used to dig up & erase any unpalatable information about the President & is then killed, the coffeehouse was used as a dead drop for a flash drive, Quinn's boss is harassing him sexually & also using tainted evidence for drug convictions, Clare is framed for the State Department employee's murder. All works out well.

Once Upon a Grind – Cleo Coyle 11/3/16 Her books are getting longer without needing pruning – this one 100 pages more than when she started. Setup: Clare's employer/ex-mother-in-law Madame Blanche's friend has organized a fairy tale fair in Central Park, with Clare & Madame's son/Clare's ex-husband Matt to run the coffee concession. The actor playing Prince Charming calls in sick, Matt is drafted as substitute escort for Pink Princess Anya, who also is the babysitter for Clare's beau Mike's 2 children in the custody of his ex-wife Leila, an ex-model with caviar tastes. The kids go missing after Anya doesn't show up to meet them as planned, Clare & Matt find them but their collie is missing. Clare & Matt find the dog guarding Anya, who is unconscious but not dead. Mike has vetted her – he is on the NYPD drug squad, & she's clean. Matt is framed for Anya's drugging, and it gets Very Complicated very quickly.

A Little Neighborhood Murder – A. J. Orde/Sherri Tepper 11/1/16 Jason, Lynx, interior decorator, is the husband of Agatha, who has been missing for 8 years. Their 8 year-old son Jerry is just about a vegetable, brain-damaged in a car crash at age 9 months. Jason was abandoned at an orphanage at roughly 3 years old – no family other than Agatha & Jerry. His next-door neighbors have 2 champion Kuvascs & 1 puppy & go to dog shows often. When going next door to feed & water the dogs, Jason sees a brown paper package, correct name & address, but no sign of how it was delivered. The dogs are curious about it, Jason puts the dogs out in their run, & the bomb inside goes off. Police ensue, Jason is quite upset, the neighbors return, and are shot the next morning. The detective sergeant is a boor & a homophobe, his trainee-partner a wonderful young woman who is counting the days until the partnership is over, the detective sergeant is frustrated as all hell that he can't frame Jason for the murders, and Jason decides he has to solve the murders – the sergeant certainly won't. Lots of complications for such a short book – only 212 pages.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
9:32 am
election
I'm so depressed about last night I can scarcely breathe.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
3:57 pm
2016 reading, October
Not as many as last month - some of the books are longer, & I indulged in some rereads.

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess – Meg Cabot 10/19/16 Philippe's 2nd indiscretion is 12, Mia is about to be married. Olivia has been living with her aunt, step-uncle, his son & daughter, none of whom treat her well & are living on the money Philippe has been sending for her maintenance. The class (female) bully hits Olivia, & Philippe, Mia, & Clarice get custody. Off to Genovia! Also antidote to Positively 4th Street.

Positively 4th Street: The Lives of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, & Richard Farina – David Hajdu 10/29/16 Well-researched, but what a disillusionment for me. I had no idea Dylan & Richard Farina were such _users_.

Venice: Pure City – Peter Ackroyd 10/17/16 From earliest beginnings mostly to 1796 (Napoleonic conquest), with a little bit more current. History of dominance of area, sociological study of different economical strata, a little about music, not much detail about artists. Redundant in places.

The Traitor's Wife – Allison Pataki 10/14/16 Peggy Shippen Arnold. This is fiction, but was she really such a bitch? Sly & manipulative I can believe, but not that personally nasty. Story told from the viewpoint of her lady's maid. I also can't quite get my head around how subservient all the staff is – they aren't slaves. The age gap between Caleb & his aunt & uncle is too big.

Mistresses: A History of the Other Woman – Elizabeth Abbott 10/12/16 I started out enjoying this book's research & organization, but it left me with a feeling that it was a glorified People Magazine, which I abhor.

Come Hell or Highball – Maia Chance 10/7/16 Mrs. Alfred Woodbury, Lola, is at her husband's funeral on Long Island when the book opens. Alfie had been a drunk, a spendthrift, & a womanizer – she doesn't miss him at all. It's 1922, Prohibition is on, she too enjoys her highballs, but her brother-in-law Chisholm is the local president of an anti-saloon league & is very sanctimonious about everything. She is shocked to find that her house is still owned by her mother-in-law & her husband was greatly in debt, & because of her childlessness & lack of restraint on Alfie's wicked ways, Chisholm & mother-in-law are throwing her out after a marriage of 12 years. Most of the staff refuse to work for Chisholm, & the cook Berta becomes Lola's sidekick. Lola grew up in rural Indiana but moved to NYC with her parents & became socialites when her father's invention was patented. Lola went to a finishing school & made friends there, useful in her current predicament. Having only a little cash, she & Berta take the key to Alfie's unknown-to-Chisholm Greenwich Village love nest as their base, which they discover has 2 months' unpaid rent, but it'll do for now. Olive, another socialite, asks Lola at the funeral to come to a houseparty for the weekend – she has 2 movie stars for guests to entertain. (Not to entertain the guests.) (NYC still the movie capital, before the move to SoCal.) On reaching the love nest, she finds a private detective, Ralph Oliver, already there. He becomes major to the plot. Ruby Simpkin, Alfie's current mistress, came to the funeral & offered Lola $3K to retrieve a reel of movie film, which Lola assumes is pr0n, to use the LMB List's euphemism. Berta insists Lola take the job – Berta is owed 3 months' back pay, & Lola would have to go back to her parents otherwise, something she won't do – her mother would be sure to find her another wealthy but awful socialite husband. So they go to Olive's houseparty, Olive's husband is murdered, Lola finds the body after seeing him with another guest in what looks like flagrante delicto but isn't, the police see Lola as a suspect, and we're off. Gangsters, rumrunners, movie industry tycoons, gin mills, and Lola's very spoiled Pomeranian Cedric.

Pallbearers and Pepperoni – Patti Benning 10/6/16 Papa Pacelli's Pizzeria #1 Enjoyed, though a little underdeveloped. Eleanora Pacelli returns to the East Coast to run her deceased grandfather's pizzeria and live with her grandmother after losing her Chicago finance job and fiance. The restaurant has been losing money for the past 2 years, coincidentally the same amount of time that there was a new manager to help Nono (duh). Ellie goes on a date with her former high school date, he is shot at the back door of the pizzeria after their date, Ellie is of course the prime suspect until someone tries to drop the gun at Nona's house in a break-in & is shot while Ellie is at the restaurant. No further spoiler.

Booked for a Hanging – Bill Crider 10/5/16 Sheriff Rhodes #6 – I missed it 4 years ago. Rare book dealer found hanged, his business partners tear up house & office looking for a copy of E. A. Poe's Tamerlane, a very nasty neighbor ex-con rustles cattle & beats his wife, their twin sons might be salvageable if Paw is removed for a longer stretch. Paw & the twins are physically capable of the murder, but so are the business partners.


Rumours & Recklessness – Nicole Clarkston 10/4/16 P&P pastiche, pretty long – Mr. Bennet has a head injury from a riding accident the day after the Netherfield ball, Mr. Collins proposes & assumes consent in front of all the family the same day & is acting as if he were already the owner of Longbourn, Mr. Darcy interposes & says he is engaged to Lizzy. Collins writes Lady Catherine immediately in high dudgeon, sulks off to Lucas Lodge, proposes to Charlotte the next day & is accepted. Darcy summons Richard Fitzwilliam & Georgiana from London, Caroline gets tossed out of Netherfield for rudeness to Darcy > to London where she meets Lady Catherine & Anne, Lady Catherine's carriage is put out of commission by Darcy's people to keep her in London (on his instructions), so they all return to Netherfield in Bingley's coach & are denied admission > Lucas Lodge to batten on Collins' fiancee Charlotte's family. Wickham tells Lydia & Kitty about Georgiana but says it was Richard who misused her, getting Darcy & Richard & Richard's father the Earl & Colonel Forster (for desertion from the militia) after him. Darcy has by this time convinced Lizzy that he loves her, so she is no longer unwilling – she had felt coerced, & really couldn't get out of it. Lady Catherine knows too much about Georgiana & Wickham & tries to blackmail Darcy into marrying Anne, Anne refuses – says she can't marry her brother, which Lady Catherine tries to deny, but the Earl takes control & Lady Catherine is vanquished. She had been set to marry George Darcy, but he had eyes only for her little sister Anne, & when Anne was dying, mistook Catherine for Anne while drunk > Anne de Bourgh. (New wrinkle for me in reading various P&P knockoffs.) Wickham laid low in Meryton > couldn't find him in London > attempt on Georgiana, but it was actually Anne de B – half-sister looking remarkably alike > Richard & Darcy grabbed him while Lizzy berated him for all his sins > strings pulled > Australia, not military funeral & gallows for desertion, which I think a mistake. Mr. Bennet comes out of his unconsciousness while Darcy & Lizzy are agreeably occupied & asks Darcy about his sow flying past the window (when pigs fly), then goes unconscious again, but wakes up completely the next day > Darcy gets blessing, Bingley gets blessing, the boys have gotten special licenses, & the wedding is in 8 days.

Hilo, Goodbye – JoAnn Bassett 10/3/16 Islands of Aloha #8 & last Pali Moon has another bridezilla on her hands, but this one is also the star of a reality show, with very poor manners. Of course she's the one who gets offed, but I didn't see the perp coming until ¾ of the way through the book. Farrah, Ono, & their twins (from the previous book) figure largely. Pali finally gets married herself!

Moloka'i Lullabye – JoAnn Bassett 10/3/16 Islands of Aloha #7 Pali has another bridezilla from Los Angeles. Thsi one is in her late 20s, the groom is over 70 and uses a wheelchair, an art dealer who has recently been fooled by fake oils. His business partner is furious and nearly refuses to let the wedding take place on his gorgeous estate on Moloka'i. Pali has no contacts on Moloka'i, but the estate gardener's mother is also a wedding planner, so she can do all the local stuff for a split fee. Pali's distractions: her best friend since 2nd grade is pregnant with twins in her 34th week, is in early pre-eclampsia, and refuses to go to the hospital – she knows they want her to fly to Queen's in Honolulu & she's terrified of flying; Hatch, Pali's fiance, has quit his job with the Maui fire department & won't tell her why. A real tragedy occurs, but everything else works out.

Saturday, October 1st, 2016
12:27 am
2016 reading, September

I wish to point out that I put two lines of space between each book, but the software is eliminating them. Drat.

30 books! Ahead of schedule!

Plainly Murder – Isabella Alan 9/28/16 Amish Murder #0.5 (prequel) Evelyn, an elderly Amish woman has died, leaving a quilt to Angie's aunt Eleanor, whom Angie is visiting – Eleanor is dying of breast cancer. The quilt is to go to Lily, who had been quilting with Evelyn when Evelyn's son fell from a barn roof during a raising. Was it an accident, or was he pushed? No one believed Evelyn while she was alive, except the murderer. Angie & Eleanor find several suspects. Novella. Enjoyed also 4 other books in series - #5 just out.

The Final Curtsey – Margaret Rhodes 9/28/16 Autobiography of Queen Mother's niece, who also served as Lady-in-waiting. Nice.

The Bark Before Chirstmas – Laurien Berenson 9/28/16 Melanie Travis #18 She's drafted by her employer/private school principal to run the annual bazaar a week before it happens. A West Highland White terrier is dognapped during the bazaar, the dognapper dies of being tased, the police are totally uninterested in the dognapping (of course) & have no ideas about the death. The missing dog belongs to an alumna just starting a divorce. I suspected her husband from the beginning of using the dog as a bargaining chip against a prenup.

Calamity Jayne – Kathleen Bacus 9/25/16 Iowa country girl working 2 jobs finds body in what she thought was her car, the body & the money gone when she brings fuzz back to the car > not believed; her trailer & her sister's car trashed when she doesn't hand over the drug money she found, et cetera. Not funny enough.

Pie a la Murder – Melinda Wells 9/22/16 Della Cooks #4 Della's fiance Nicholas' daughter Celeste moves in with him after growing up in Vienna with her mother. Celeste wants to be an actress, Alec Redding (famous photographer) shoots a number of good pics and at least one salacious one, Celeste's mother Tanis and  father Nicholas go ape. Della goes to his house to try to get back the pic & finds Nicolas there, who has just found Redding's body. Nicolas is #1 suspect, but Della thinks Tanis & her lover Frederick, Celeste, Redding's wife Roxanne are equally possible, plus more that she doesn't know enough about Redding's life to think of. Great plotting, well written. Only one more book in this series, & I'm sorry.

Tom Sawyer, Detective – Mark Twain 9/19/16 Tom & Huck go to Uncle Silas via steamboat, encountering the identical twin brother Jake of the neighbor twin Jubiter and the pestiferous brother Brace, who is pissed because Silas' daughter Benny won't marry him. Jake has stolen 2 diamonds & is being chased by his partners. Uncle Silas had been pressured into hiring Jubiter as farm help; Jubiter is under instructions from Brace to be as annoying as possible. Uncle Silas loses his temper & hits him the same night Jake is caught & killed by his accomplices, Jubiter poses as Jake, Silas is prosecuted for murder of Jubiter. Tom figures it out.

Tom Sawyer Abroad – Mark Twain 9/19/16 Tom, Huck, & Jim go to Africa on a balloon, the Professors falls overboard over the Atlantic, they argue about longitude, time zones, & the Arabian Nights, & nearly get smothered in a sand storm. They reach Cairo & land Jim on the Sphynx's head, tour the pyramids & Cairo. Tom's corncob pipe breaks, he sends Jim home for it, but Aunt Polly catches Jim, who returns for Tom & Huck, & they go home awaiting Aunt Polly's wrath to break.

So, Anyway – John Cleese 9/19/16 autobiography, dwelling largely on childhood & education. Entertaining. In spots, guffawed.

Maui Widow Waltz – JoAnn Bassett 9/18/16 #1 Pali Moon owns a wedding planner business in Pa'ia, Maui. It has rained steadily for 2 weeks, the tourists have fled, and she & all the other tourist businesses are hurting financially between the rain & the economy downturn. Lisa Marie Prescott comes in to set up her wedding, as meek as a mouse, but her fiance has gone missing – the boat ran ashore without him, the Coast Guard gives up a week later, nothing. Since the wedding license application has to be signed by both bride & groom, Pali can organize the wedding – Lisa Marie has Kevin, Brad's business partner, to act as proxy, since he has Brad's power of attorney. Lisa Marie turns into a BRIDEZILLA the second day. Her father Marv is the sole owner of a national waste disposal company, so Lisa Marie isn't marrying Brad for his money. Software Company. Pali is behind on her mortgage and owes many suppliers and is not able to tell Tank, a local financial hooligan, where to stuff his lowball offer for her business. She is trying to clear enough on Lisa Marie's wedding to come out even on her debts, so that the rest of her friends aren't left holding her bags. Tank wants to knock down her building for a high-rise parking garage – Pa'ia needs more parking space, to which I can attest. All ends well, mostly on Haleakala, 10,000 feet up. Enjoyed, especially the Hawai'ian words thrown into conversation.


Livin' Lahaina Loca – JoAnn Bassett 9/20/16 Islands of Aloha #2 Pali is in the Witness Protection Program on Lana'i, (awfully close, to me,) hiding from the drug dealers she may have to testify against from the previous book. She gets a short term job running a bed & breakfast inn while the owners are off to Oahu to have their baby. Only two sets of guests: one a single man, Hollywood producer/actor who wants Quiet & Privacy but his fiancee wants the Four Seasons Lodge at Po'eke; the other guest a family with two young boys in destructive mode, which Pali is able to counter. The fiancee calls the tabloids, her fiance is furious & talks to Pali, and his fiancee is killed while he is with Pali. The time of death is originally not within the time Pali is with him, & she finds the evidence, to the annoyance of the detective, who also is trying to keep her hidden & threatens to ship her off to the mainland without clearing the fiance.

Lana'i of the Tiger – JoAnn Bassett 9/20/16Islands of Aloha #3 Pali is in the Witness Protection Program on Lana'i, (awfully close, to me,) hiding from the drug dealers she may have to testify against from the previous book. She gets a short term job running a bed & breakfast inn while the owners are off to Oahu to have their baby. Only two sets of guests: one a single man, Hollywood producer/actor who wants Quiet & Privacy but his fiancee wants the Four Seasons Lodge at Po'eke; the other guest a family with two young boys in destructive mode, which Pali is able to counter. The fiancee calls the tabloids, her fiance is furious & talks to Pali, and his fiancee is killed while he is with Pali. The time of death is originally not within the time Pali is with him, & she finds the evidence, to the annoyance of the detective, who also is trying to keep her hidden & threatens to ship her off to the mainland without clearing the fiance.


Kaua'i Me a River – JoAnn Bassett 9/29/16  Islands of Aloha #4 Pali finds out her father was rich & has left her & his widow his estate, stiffing the rest of his children & 5 ex-wives as already oversupplied in the past. Pali is more interested in what happened to her mother, who died when Pali was 5. Murder? Stroke? Death certificate says cerebral hemorrage. Someone is also trying to kill Pali now.

O'ahu Lonesome Tonight? JoAnn Bassett 9/29/16 Islands of Aloha #5 Pali goes to Honolulu to meet her mother's son for a vacation and also meets two of her father's sons. The elder of the two brothers is thrown into the AlaWai during a time when sewage overflow is also diverted there during several days' rain. He dies of a triple bacteria infection, Pali is convinced it is murder, not from sewage contamination, and finds the evidence. Not funny, but lightish.

I'm Kona Love You Forever – JoAnn Bassett 9/30/16  Islands of Aloha #6 Pali's latest clients at Let's Get Mau'ied are two 17-year-olds who have forged parental permission. Lili, the bride, also has a crumpled Xerox of a birth certificate, which turns out to be of a baby who died at 4 days, i. e., not hers. Both Lili & David were born on Hawai'i, so they all go to Kona to find out what's what. Lili was adopted by comparatively wealthy parents; David's family is not quite dirt-poor, but close. Pali finds the midwife who signed the dead baby's birth certificate & the death certificate, the woman is very hostile, David's mother's murder is faked as a suicide, and what are the connections?
Two more books in the series I've not read yet.

The Man Behind the Mask - Lorrie Bannett 9/17/16 awful


The Hot Rock – Donald E. Westlake 9/17/16 Dortmunder #1 Dortmunder is paroled from prison & is immediately roped into planning the theft of an emerald owned by a small African country but worshipped by its neighbor, from a traveling display at the NYC Coliseum. The caper goes astray: one of the thieves is trapped by the guards, he swallows it, and it takes 4 more capers to recover it. Sort of funny, but I didn't love it.

The Black Seraphim – Michael Gilbert 9/17/16 non-series. Dr. James Scotland, pathologist, is ordered to take at least a month's leave – exhaustion from overwork. He goes to his cousin, who is headmaster at Melchester's choir school. Melchester Cathedral is having financial problems & has an offer for land right across the river from the Cathedral, but fiddles are suspected: the widow of one of the canon's was swindled by the same man who proposes this land sale. The Dean is a former missionary with a 20-year-old daughter and somewhat ruthless, the Archdeacon was an accountant before taking orders and is equally ruthless. The Archdeacon is poisoned at the Dean's garden party at least halfway through the book – pages taken up showing motive for possibles. The autopsy would have had very different results had not Dr. Scotland coaxed the not really competent pathologist to take samples, for which the Dean's daughter upbraids him. Very good!

Whiskey and Soda – Nina Wright 9/16/16 #6 Silly book about Whiskey (Whitney), a high-end realtor in SW Michigan, 6 months pregnant by her ex-husband Jeb, who does want to remarry. She's not so sure. The headmaster of Bentwood, the local private K-8 school, is shot with an arrow right in front of her; the president of the school is the grandson of the founder & screws most of the mothers of the students; and the school is really run for the convenience of the Parent-Teacher Organization, all the members of which are spoiled and entitled and raising their children that way and affronted that the kids aren't going on to good prep schools, which is no wonder – Homework? What's that? We're going on a trip. Make up the work? What? Do you know who I AM? Whiskey is plagued by her escaping misbehaving female Afghan Abra, Jeb has brought his rescue dog, a female French bulldog named Sandra Bullock, and Abra attacks Sandra whenever she sees her. One of the locals teaches archery and is a pet psychic, among other woowoo businesses, and thinks she can get the girls to live together amicably. The local police chief Jenks is a childhood friend of Whiskey's & uses her as a Volunteer Deputy. Chester, the neighbor 9-year-old boy, is brilliant even though he goes to Bentwood and decrypts the encoded flash drive, giving Whiskey & Jenks the motive but not the name of the killer, who Whiskey stumbles on during a real estate consult.

Whiskey, Large – Nina Wright 9/17/16 #7 Whiskey is in her 40th week of pregnancy. She signed a contract with clients to sell their house; the next day the house blew up, there are two human bodies, and she has to identify them. One turns out to be not the male householder, but one of her competitors, whose widow accuses her of stealing the client – major sin in realty world. Whiskey has no Twitter account, something Chester, the 9.5-year-old next door says she must have for business, and someone tweets libel about her. Chester sets her up with one of his mother the celebrated pop artist/diva's publicity agents to counteract the bad press. Her Afghan hound Abra has a steady beau – Napoleon, a champion black standard poodle, but Abra has been spayed, so no Afghadoodles to come, though why Abra is still a sex fiend I don't get. We have murder, we have the pregnancy coming to term, we have Abra's mischief.

A TreacherousTrader – J. B. Stanley/Ellery Adams 9/15/16 #4 Molly Appleby goes to Burlington, Vermont, to set up her wedding. A local photographer is murdered - total sleazeball who deserted his wife & year-old daughter, became a registered gemologist & stole jewelry from his photographic clients. The ex-wife & daughter also come to Burlington – daughter's fiance wants a VT wedding. Daughter knows her father is there, but ex-wife doesn't. Very few in town like him – he hit on nearly all the women, regardless of age-appropriate. One of the exes is the owner of a bridal salon, so miserable about the breakup she alienates all her customers, including Molly, who is a size 14 & wants a vintage dress, which mostly aren't available that large. Betsy, the friend of Adele, a woman who just died at ninety, brings a dress to the shop to sell, but Molly buys it before Betsy goes in. Adele died of the shock of being burgled during her birthday party and also had a diamond & pearl tiara stolen. The photographer has a partnership with an antique jewelry dealer, with whom he is also breaking up. Lots of suspects: half the women in town, the bridal salon owner, the jewelry dealer, assorted men attached to the women he affronted taking offense at his behavior. The tiara is significant.

Girl in the Shadows – Angela Pepper 9/14/16 Abby Silver goes on a temp job with a private detective who turns out to be an insurance investigator. Shipping executive murdered, wife, daughter, former mistress, & CFO all have perfect alibis, so who? Didn't really care for, 2 stars.

Pen and Prejudice – Claire M. Johnson 9/14/16 Pride & Prejudice knockoff. Lizzie is a divorced-with-two-children former chef now a legal secretary mystery writer up for an Agatha, her ex also a chef, Jane her best friend from college a legal secretary who writes historical mysteries that get awards but don't sell well, her brother Theo (= Lydia) a professor at a small third-rank college in NYC, Charles another mystery writer, William a major publisher of mysteries. Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, the Agatha Awards all major things. LOVED it, 5 star, & I say that very seldom. I read it via Kindle Unlimited, and will actually BUY it. Necessary for rereads.

Death in the Old Country – Eric Wright 9/11/16 Charlie Salter #3 Charlie & Annie go to England for a long vacation; Charlie tries to stay incognito, but the hotel owner is murdered. Lots of changed identity, Charlie gets into a contest with Inspector Hamilton solving the murder. In my opinion, Charlie wins, but no further spoiler.

The Square Root of Murder – Ada Madison 9/11/16 Somehow I suspect the author's pseudonym's first name was devised to fit the math department. Professor Sophie Knowles #1 Sophie is an associate professor of Math at a small women's college about to go co-ed in Massachusetts, when Keith, a chemistry professor, is poisoned. Sophie's assistant Rachel is framed for the murder, but Rachel & 3 of Sophie's students lie about their actions, though none of them committed the poisoning. Sophie's boyfriend Bruce is a medevac chopper pilot who helps get the data to convict.

Cloche and Dagger – Jenn McKinlay 9/8/16 Hat Shop #1 Scarlett Parker's cousin Vivian insists she return to Notting Hill to the hat shop they inherited from their grandmother after a disastrous romantic breakup, but Viv isn't there when Scarlett arrives. Lady Ellis, a most demanding client, comes to the shop to pick up the hat for her garden party, & to mollify wrath at Viv's absence, Scarlett suggests she come with a photographer before the party. But Lady Ellis is lying nude except for the hat, stabbed, when Scarlett arrives. Viv has history with _Lord_ Ellis & would be a suspect, if she could be found. Scarlett is worried that something has Happened to Viv, and things keep happening at the shop.


Death of a Mad Hatter – Jenn McKinlay 9/9/16 Hat shop #2 Scarlett & Viv are hired to make hats for a family hosting a benefit tea with an Alice in Wonderland theme. The only son of his generation/heir of his house has the Mad Hatter's hat & is poisoned & dies during the party. A suspicion is raised that the Hat is the means of administration; Scarlett has to clear the shop's responsibility. A very messy situation: father deserted his wife & 4 children 30 years earlier & decamped to Italy with his mistress, wife goes mildly nuts & maintains that he is away on business, wife also will not recognize that Viv is not her grandmother & calls Viv her dear friend Ginny. After the son is killed, she insists that he too is away on business. Mistress shows up at the party demanding her share of the estate – father left her destitute as well.

Button Holed – Kylie Logan 9/5/16 #1 Josie was a theater major specializing in costuming, Hugh a classmate now a producer/director. He sends Kate, the star of his current movie, to Josie's shop for buttons for her wedding dress – marriage to a European prince. The morning of Kate's appointment with Josie two goons are waiting for her, having dumped everything on the floor looking for something. What? Josie can't tell before she resorts everything. 2 days later Kate returns early to make her final choices – Josie is out & finds Kate dead on the floor, a button not in Josie's inventory beneath her. Kate had a bad case of ego & made many enemies. Was her death related to the button, or other ego problems? Hugh is arrested, Josie has to clear him. New-to-me series. Enjoyed a lot. Set in Chicago.

Hot Button – Kylie Logan 9/6/16  #2 Josie is the chairman of that year's annual button collectors' con, dealing with a surprisingly ill-behaved guest of honor, Thad, the owner of the button Geronimo cut off his shirt nearly a century ago & sold to a collector, complete with a letter authenticating it. Thad is murdered the 2nd day of the conference, and other odd things keep happening: a woman has an argument with Thad but can't be found, the salads were canceled for lunch, 14 sets of buttons entered in the contest are missing, and so forth. Now were these other things related to Thad's murder, or is something else going on? And who killed Thad, and why?


Panic Button – Kylie Logan 9/7/16  #3 Josie appraises a charm string (1000 buttons) for Angela, who is strangled with it and the string broken. All but 3 buttons are found, showing that at least one of the buttons is a clue. Angela's town was drowned in a reservoir 30 years earlier and rebuilt faux Victorian, with a museum holding, among other things, the artifacts of the town bad boy 100 years earlier. Motive for Angela's death: the charm string, jealousy by her cousin who didn't get any of their aunt's estate, sexual jealousy from the woman who had been dating the man Angela was seeing, fear of prosecution from the woman who was pilfering from the aunt?

The Private Dining Room And other new verses – Ogden Nash 9/5/16 Light verse of Nash's particular lightness. Delightful. Found in the bookshelves in the living room of Ye Ship's Lantern (my father's family summer cottage) & given to me by its current owners.

Angels – Reba White Williams 9/2/16 Two sisters, Ida & Polly, living just above poverty level, rescue Ida's orphaned granddaughters Dinah & Coleman, ages 5 & 7. Coleman had been in terrible situations but had been taken into good programs – angels/gatekeepers for Head Start, the woman who rescued her from her dead father's girlfriend, then finally returned to family. Very smart, reading at 4th grade or higher level at age 5. Coleman turns out to be her other grandmother's heiress – not rich, but a bit more comfortable. She thinks of all sorts of improvements for their lives and how to work to afford them. Ida & Polly have catering & sewing businesses, the girls add to them – garden stand, preserves, take-out meals, & frozen food for the garden stand, which becomes a county destination. Thsi is #1 of at least 4.


Out of the Ruins – Sally S. Wright 9/2/16 Cumberland Island, Georgia, now a US National Seashore. Set mostly in 1961. Family disagreements about it being sold, either for development or the park. Euthanasia, more than one case. Another family feeling (wrongfully) that it was stolen from them. Jealousy, not really shown until the end, as a motive. Gentle manipulation/passive control/gentle blackmail for one's soul's good. Very well written.

Sunday, September 4th, 2016
7:12 pm
a simply lovely weekend
Yesterday I spent the afternoon & evening with the couple who bought my grandparents' cottage - my aunts sold it to the neighbors after my father died, the neighbors kept it mostly as a rental for 30 years. K&M have fixed everything that needed it after the rental wear and  upgraded a bit. I had gone down to Grand Haven to get 3 lampshades and a floor fan for the Stony cottage & decided to stop by, on a whim, on Wednesday. They had me come to dinner 5 years ago, having been put in touch by our neighbors. K was there with their golden doodle (golden retriever/standard poodle cross) Boomer, who is 2 years old and -very- friendly. We talked several hours, I invited them here for dinner last night, but she called back to say would I come there instead & we'd go out on Big Lake in their boat, which turned out to be a very plush ski boat. It was a gorgeous day, not much wind so no surf, but lots of waves from all the power boats, which we contributed to, going halfway to Port Sheldon at at least 50 mph, pretty fast for on the water, which was so clear we felt we could touch the bottom in 13 feet of water - the boat has a depth reader. My first extended sun exposure this year because of the skin cancers, so K slathered me in sunblock. Boomer practically attacked me with kisses after dinner - I think he likes the taste. They also gave me what was left of my grandparents' Wedgwood & Co. Guilford pattern - yellow, burnt orange, black, & white. (Not Josiah Wedgwood, different. Not listed at Replacements.com) Ironically, two of my cousins gave me 4 yellow placemats with bees for my birthday, with which nothing I had, went with. This earthenware does, so I'm taking it all back to Chi. Doesn't work in this house, which is red & blue. Amazing how much is left after at least 80 years. Going back to last night, there was a lovely sunset, visible from the dining room. The porch goes the entire width of the house, about 25 feet, is 9 feet deep then enlarges to nearly 16 feet deep. The porch here is 8 X 20. K&M spend lots of time on the porch, as we did there and as I do here. The sunsets are one of the things I really miss about that house, which is a lot bigger than this one - 6 bedrooms, sleeping 13, vs 4 here sleeping 8 plus a hideabed (2) plus porch twin beds, so technically only 1 more but no privacy at all for the last 4. All the bedrooms there are larger than the corresponding bedrooms here. If I had a gazillion $, I'd knock down this house & rebuild bigger - we don't all fit, so can't -all- be here with each other, even if we could get here at the same time/jobs in the next generation.
    It was a gorgeous day here today too - seems like everyone with a power boat or personal watercraft was out - skiing, tubing, generally cruising around the lake. The only sailboat I noticed, though, was the second-oldest Sunfish on the lake - mine is the oldest, now 56 years young. If my leg were whole, I'd have been sailing  and swimming too. Well, next year.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
9:38 pm
re August reading
I do not get what is happening with the formatting! It was fine before I pressed enter. Soory, guys, I can't fix it.
9:36 pm
2016 reading, August

30 books, nearly caught up to schedule.

Writing All Wrongs – Ellery Adams 8/1/16 Books by the Bay #7 Olivia & her husband Sawyer the police chief go to Palmetto Island for their few-days honeymoon, to be joined by the rest of the local writers' group at a pirate festival, which has a Guest of Honor Silas, the star & writer of a tv show about pirate exploits called No Quarter. Stressing the violence of Exploits in all senses! But a number of unhappy events building up to Silas' girlfriend's murder take place, and another friend of Olivia's is nearly made scapegoat.

Murder in the Paperback Parlor – Ellery Adams 8/3/16 Book Retreat #2 Jane Steward is the Guardian of her family's library of very rare books, kept where no outsider is supposed to be able to get at them, at their hotel in North Carolina, where she holds interest-based conventions. The current one is called Romancing the Reader, featuring a costume ball, a Male Cover Model contest, and an auction with one prize giving the winner naming rights for a major character. Four authors are to be present, but two are deadly rivals, and one of the two is poisoned with castor beans. The obvious killer didn't, but several have motive.

Miss Julia Stands Her Ground – Ann B. Ross 8/4/16 Hazel Marie, Miss Julia's first husband's long-time mistress and mother of his 9-year-old son, has an uncle Brother Vern, who has thought of another way to get his paws on her son Little Lloyd's inheritance: he has suborned perjury from his deacon Lonnie Whitmire. Whitmire has stated & Vern has notarized his claim that Little Lloyd is his son, and unfortunately Whitmire looks terribly like Wesley Lloyd Springer. Julia & her new husband Sam struggle to get incontrovertible proof that Brother Vern & Whitmire are lying scumbags, Hazel Marie is not, and the only way is DNA evidence. Unfortunately Wesley senior has been dead for 3 years; Julia was so furious when Hazel Marie & Little Lloyd showed up at her door that she got rid of everything personal of her adulterous cheapskate husband's, and lest Little Lloyd find out, who already has identity issues, she doesn't tell Hazel Marie of this new threat. The possibility of an exhumation order stands over everything, with the gossip that would arise. Fortunately Lillian, Julia's cook/housekeeper, saved Wesley Lloyd's pocket watch, to which he had attached a gold-plated extracted wisdom tooth: DNA!

The Waters of Eternal Youth – Donna Leon 8/4/16 Brunetti #25 15 years earlier, the granddaughter of a Venetian contessa was pulled from a canal, unfortunately after she had suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen, giving her the mental capacity of a seven-year-old. The grandmother is a dear close friend of Brunetti's mother-in-law. Nonna is now 86 & wants to know what happened, to ease her own mind. The man who pulled Manuela out was & is still a hopeless drunk, unable to remember much -unless- drunk, a poor witness even then. Manuela nearly drowned at age 4, has been terrified of water, and would not willingly have walked near the edge, ergo someone pushed her. Who & why?


London War Notes, 1939-1945 – Mollie Panter-Downes 8/8/16 Edited by William Shawn from her fortnightly posts to The New Yorker. My history knowledge is almost good enough to get the references, but I hadn't realized the frustration of the British public with the amount of time it took to get the invasion of Normandy going, post-Dunkirk. 3 bloody years, in all senses. I was au fait with the shortages, having read the wartime diaries of Nella Last, Mass Observation Chronicles.

The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos – Patrick Leigh Fermor 8/11/16 Mostly Bulgaria and Rumania, beautifully written, recommend 5 star.

Halloween Murder – Shelley Freydont 8/5/16 Lindy Haggerty #4 Lindy returns to her home in New Jersey in time to be drafted as part of the organizers of a Halloween festival to raise funds for a restoration of a local farmhouse to be used as a teen center, with a time limit: if the funds aren't in place by January 1, the farm is passed on to a local man with a greedy daughter who has already tried to get him declared incompetent because of his lifestyle. Complications: a fundamentalist church leader from NYC and his parish picketing the “Satanist” goings-on, a drug dealer infiltrating, the local clean-cut high school kids vs the ones who have already been nailed for possession at least once trying to stay clean who also are the cast of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a spoiled-rotten & psycho daughter returned with a very charming but rotten man, the high school English teacher dying of cancer & her replacement who is doing the tough-love thing with the Crucible cast, and two murders. Lindy ropes in her friends from the dance company she works with, all NYCers somewhat out of their element in the wilds of suburban NJ.


A Very Merry Murder - Shelley Freydont 8/6/16 Lindy Haggerty #5 & last: misleading title: Chirtmas has very little to do with it. The annual Professional Ballroom Dance competition is at Atlantic City this year, Lindy's boss Jeremy has accepted a gig to perform, so she's there as rehearsal director. Bill, her platonic friend for the past 2 years, is also there for a vacation. Bill is retired from NYPD and teaches college-level criminology, but he still has ties with everyone he went to the police academy with, and Andrew, a classmate, is with the Atlantic City PD. Lindy's friend Rose knows well a number of the dance school teachers/owners, as she used to do costumes for them before switching to legit theater. A number of Russian dancers are cleaning up in the professional awards categories with their ballet backgrounds and are resented by the Americans. Shane, one of the Americans, is killed, dressed in his Russian partner's dress made by Enrico, who had a meltdown 4 years ago & retreated to Italy but is now returned with a new (probably FANTASTIC) collection to be unveiled the night after the murder, but the collection is cut up in small pieces, most vindictively – poor security in the hotel. Katja, Shane's partner, vanishes. Dawn, her employer/instructor, melts down, confesses to the murder but is not believed, obviously protecting Katja, whom she treats as a substitute most-cherished daughter. Junie (probably Junius, but never stated) is Dawn's ex-partner in dance, love, & business, has a competing studio less than 5 miles away; they fight (verbally) nonstop. Junie was hiring Shane away & had a new dance partner, Felicia, for him. Enrico literally rips Felicia's dress off – it is a botched copy of the dress Enrico made for Katja. 1. Who killed Shane & why? 2. Who stole the design of Enrico's dress? 3. How did the murderer get Katja's dress, and onto Shane's dead body? Many of the dancers are strong enough to wrangle it on. Lindy is also dealing with the breakup of her 20-year marriage, Glen, her husband won't talk to her, and Bill is referred to by Jeremy's dance company as the wannabe, as in her lover.


Foul Play at the Fair – Shelley Freydont 8/13/16 Celebration Bay #1 Olivia (Liv) is a former event planner in Manhattan tired of the bridezillas & has moved to far-upstate NY to run festivals in her new small town. A local verybad boy has returned after 30 years now in  disguise as part of a juggling troupe – the troupe didn't know his past & doesn't much like him, any more than the town did. Of course he turns up dead, but he is found in his brother's apple press. Brother is taken in for questioning but hadn't even recognized him, so has no motive. Lots of other people did – blackmail. The town trustees are afraid the town's reputation will suffer as a tourist mecca if this isn't cleaned up pronto & threaten to cancel all festivals, so Liv has to find out. But, as a non-local, she has a hard time getting information that everyone else has known for years.

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials #2 – Ovidia Yu 8/13/16 Aunty Rosie Lee is a rich elderly widow in Singapore keeping busy with her lunch cafe/catering business. But when a client & her son are poisoned during a party Aunty Lee is catering, the business is shut down. Mabel, the client, owns a law firm & is a law professor, Henry, her husband, is a surgeon retired by his Parkinson's disease, their son is returned home to die of AIDS & is a thoroughly unlikable person, their daughter Sharon has just been made a partner in the law firm – another thoroughly unlikable person. Mabel is also setting up illegal organ transplants to fund their lifestyle and get a new heart for the son. Someone tries to frame Aunty Lee for the poisoning – who?

Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge #3 – Ovidia Yu 8/15/16 Aunty Lee's business partner Cherril was involved in a pet rescue group; Allison, a Brit expat adopter, had her puppy euthanized for chewing the furniture, contrary to the adoption contract, which specified that the dog would be returned if unsatisfactory, then lied to the agency trying to cover up and was vilified online, then fled back to the UK. Her marriage broke up; 5 years afterward she returned to Singapore to sue the members of the agency for alienation of her husband's affection because she became bipolar from the stress. (Huh? It doesn't happen that way.) She was murdered while her sister Vallerie was meeting Cherril & two other members at Aunty Lee's restaurant. Vallerie is terrified, refuses to go back to the hotel, Aunty Lee offers to house her & becomes very involved in the investigation, as usual. And this is only the beginning.


Nursery Crimes – Ayelet Waldman 8/16/16 Mommy Track #1 Juliet Applebaum, former federal public defender and now stay-at-home mom of 1.7 children, flunks nursery school entrance interview with 2.5 year-old daughter Ruby & husband Peter. The school principal is killed hit-and-run that night, & Juliet can't leave the investigation to the fuzz. Funny.

The Big Nap – Ayelet Waldman 8/16/16 Mommy Track #2 Juliet's 4-month-old son does not sleep. She thinks she's slept 15 minutes in 4 months. On a visit to a kosher grocery store, the
proprietor's niece Fraydle is dragooned into babysitting, turns up the next day, Juliet sleeeeps for 2 hours, & arranges for Fraydle to return the next day, but Fraydle doesn't come. She's missing. Juliet finds herself in the midst of a very Orthodox situation – Fraydle is betrothed to a rabbi in Brooklyn, not completely willingly. Her rabbi father is capable of forcing her, her mother not so much, but Juliet takes her two kids to her own parents in NJ to suss out whether Fraydle has been hidden by her prospective in-laws. No further spoilers. Not as funny as the previous one, but with light touches.

A Playdate with Death – Ayelet Waldman Mommy Track #3 8/17/16 Juliet's trainer at the gym is shot, police & his family conclude suicide – he is a recovered meth addict with a fiancee also an addict, but he has recently been told he is adopted. Adoptive family: parents & one sister M.D.s, brother & other sister equally achieving. He is a carrier of the Tay-Sachs gene, well known to be found in the Ashkenazi group. Has succeeded in tracing his biological parents, mother rejects him but he is stubborn. So suicide? Or murder, & if so, why? Tay-Sachs turns out also to run in Irish & Cajun families, which I didn't know. 3 more in this series, then the author switches to serious fiction, in which I am NOT interested.

Bruno, Chief of Police – Martin Walker 8/18/16 #1 in series, Bruno is the only policeman in the village of St Denis, in the Dordogne. Two men who were in the Resistance but in different factions still won't talk to each other after 60 years. They march in parades with the two most honorable flags, that of France and of Lorraine (for de Galle). Hamid, an elderly Algerian man is murdered & ha a swastika carved on his corpse after the May 8 parade – his son teaches math at the lycee, his grandson is the tobacconist and most valuable player on the rugby team. Town very upset, parade in support of no racism is disrupted by Front National thugs, Bruno makes national & European news in defense of several women. Suspects: the local doctor's just-turned-17 son & his girlfriend, who use the area near Hamid's cottage for sex. Girlfriend also is involved in Front National (tres conservatif, anti-immigrant). But when Bruno & the police inspector raid her house (they've been truant from school) they find Major International Drug Complications. So is Hamid's death connected with drugs, or something else? Writing very good, also plotting & characterization. 4 star!!! Will read more – this is 2009, at least 4 more books. Writing style more polished, like Sayers.

Die Like an Eagle – Donna Andrews 8/1816 In which Josh & Jamie, age 7, take up baseball, Michael is coaching, and the league president is Biff Brown, who has a shady construction company and has anger management issues while coaching teams in 2 age groups. He also makes up rules to suit himself, including one prohibiting unofficial practices at other locations which Meg immediately circumvents by having a picnic for all the members of the boys team, resulting in parents being afraid to protest lest he take it out on their kids. On Opening Day his brother is found shot dead in one of Biff's porta-potties. Now was Shep mistaken for Biff, or killed as himself? Many reasons to off Biff, a few for Shep. Definitely up to Donna's usual standard.

A Nice Murder for Mom – James Yaffe 8/18/16 NYC detective moves west as a public defender. His mother has figured out a number of his cases before & he's only had to find the evidence. In this, a bullying professor is killed. If Mom explains it to Davie, a number of people will be miserable, & he deserved it. I don't care for this format & won't read any more.

Rivers of London: Body Work – Ben Aaronovitch, etc 8/19/16 Graphic novel, not really meh, but no more for me. BMW is possessed.

Murder for Treasure – David Williams 8/23/16 Mark Treasure #4, the one I had missed. Mark is in West Wales, asked for '2 reasons: 1) his host knows another of Marks friends, for whom he cleared up a murder, there was a body that went missing, and 2) an American firm wants to buy a Welsh one, his host own 51% & feels nothing but contempt for the buyer, and Mark's bank is acting for the buyer, so he is supposed to -persuade-. En route, Mark shares a train compartment with a man obviously in disguise, who later is attacked. Mark nearly captures the attackers and the -victim- does a runner. Huh? And then it gets even more complicated.

The Charm Bracelet – Viola Shipman 8/26/16 for library reading group. Sweet book, 3 living generations plus grandmother's mother & grandmother's stories, attached to each charm. Grandmother is starting dementia, mother is having job trouble, daughter a senior in college with a major she hates but took for financial security prospects & should have majored in art. Set in Glen Arbor, MI and Chicago.

The Night the Gods Smiled – Eric Wright 8/25/16 Charlie Salter #1 (1983) Detective in Toronto. A professor of English is killed at an annual conference in Montreal, but he & his 3 colleagues are all from a college in Toronto, Charlie is stuck with the interviewing. Possibly a hooker in Montreal, or intradepartmental conflict, or random? Two of the three professors are disagreeable to the reader (& Charlie, who is not a terribly likable man)

Smoke Detector – Eric Wright 8/27/16 Charlie Salter #2 A second-hand store has a fire, its owner dies of smoke inhalation, and the murder squad is overwhelmed, so Charlie gets the case. The owner was a chiseler but not a fence, but his wife was a business partner only, not a lover. The third floor of the building was set up for his trysts – he liked women & was good-looking enough to have no trouble getting sex. Suspects: his bisexual assistant, whom he razzed; his wife, for the money; a plumber whom he disagreed with about a bill; his current mistress, who had another lover; et cetera. Lots of character analysis by Charlie.

The Man Who Changed His Name – Eric Wright 8/28/16 Charlie Salter #4 – missed one, ordered used but not here yet. In this, Charlie's ex-wife of 25 years ago comes to his office to prod about the case of a friend of a friend, a woman separated from her husband in Winnipeg, killed in Toronto. She had advertised in the looking-for-a-relationship column and was a social worker, so the police looked among her clients and in the letters responding to her ad, found nothing, and were concluding that it was a weirdo, with no hope of solving. Charlie cracks a faked alibi, after clearing a number of suspects.

Killer Mousse – Melinda Wells 8/28/16 Della Cooks #1 Della is the widow of an LAPD detective. Also a former high school English teacher and the proprietor of a small cooking school, she is just starting to tape a cable cooking show. Mimi, the fired cook she is replacing is sprung on Della as her first taster-from-the-audience and dies on-air – someone has added ground up peanuts to Della's chocolate mousse > anaphylactic shock, obviously murder. Della had never met Mimi until right before the taping & didn't know of the allergy. Many other suspects – Mimi was a very nasty woman, and things keep escalating. 4 stars.

Death Takes the Cake – Melinda Wells 8/29/16 Della Cooks #2 Della's boss Mickey' s son Addison has the idea of a Reality TV cake contest between Della & 4 professional chefs, using the awful cake mix made by Reggie's food products company. Reggie is a very unfriend of Della's from college. Reggie had been a thief (though very rich), Della exposed her, & Reggie vowed to kill Della if their paths ever crossed again. Reggie is murdered soon after the contest is set up. Bill, one of Della's good friends, is framed. His wife Liddy is Della's very best friend. Suspects are people whom Reggie had had investigated to find a vulnerability of Della's.

The Proof Is In the Pudding – Melinda Wells 8/30/16 Della Cooks #3 Della is roped in as a judge at a celebrity cooking contest, a charitable event at Gene Long's fabulous hotel in Beverly Hills. A smoke bomb goes off, Keith Ingram – another judge, who makes female conquests and videotapes the encounters - is murdered. John O'Hara, Della's husband's police partner, had decked Ingram earlier, in revenge for threatening John's daughter Eileen, and of course cannot investigate, nor can his partner Weaver – he's #1 suspect but didn't do it. Manny Hatch is given the case, but he hates John and Weaver for having cleared a case he failed on, and will ignore any evidence clearing John. Della has a late coffee with Roland Gray, another judge who also writes Len Deighton-type thrillers. Gray is shot at during their meeting, & since John has an alibi during that event, Hatch insists it wasn't related. Really? /immense irony/ Duh.

Code of Silence – Sally S. Wright 8/26/16 Ben Reese #0.5 He is the Archivist at Alderton University in 1957, having been a US Army Ranger in WWII Europe. Carl Weber is a professor of languages at OSU who has been keeping watch over Susannah, a woman who worked at the predecessor to the current NSA and has to vanish again. Carl had been in love with Miriam, who suspected someone was spying for Russia in 1944, but Miriam was defenestrated before she could give Carl the proof. He found it years later – the book is about the spy trying to get back the proof & killing anyone in his way.

Sally Wright's writng style much more polished than all of the cozies I've been reading.

Publish & Perish – Sally S. Wright 8/26/16 Ben Reese #1 8/26/16 Ben's good friend Richard West, also a professor at Alderton, but a nitpicker to the nth degree, calls Ben to say he has found a grievous injustice and intends to set it right. He dies that night – angina, but his pills are handy. So why didn't he take any? A French professor also chokes on her vomit after telling Ben that Richard confirmed to her about the injustice but didn't say what it was. Several academic problems make possible motives for murder. Ben is Richard's executor, so he has to get it cleared up lest an heir profit.

Pride & Predator – Sally S. Wright 8/30/16 Ben Reese #2 Jonathan, a Scots landowner/clergyman, is stung by several bees > anaphylactic shock. Murder or accident? Suspects: his wife Ellie's distant cousin who nearly married her before she met Jon; one of his oh-so-righteous parishioners, who has been misbehaving; the man he was about to sell his house to under the condition that the buyer would not turn it into a conference center but would have; the woman who loved him since she was 9 & he 14, madly jealous of Ellie; Alex, his best friend, who only dolts think had a yen for Ellie; his brother, who everyone says couldn't possibly. Alibis are made to be broken.


Pursuit & Persuasion – Sally S. Wright 8/31/16 Ben Reese #3 Georgina, the widow of a Scot who owned a tyre manufacturing company and still has a more than controlling interest, is also a professor of English literature at (fictional) Aberdeen University and is teaching a summer course at Oxford. Ben's apprentice archivist (at Alderton University in Ohio) Ellen is the daughter of Georgina's best friend and is stunned to find out that she is Georgina's principal heir when Georgina dies suddenly in Oxford. The death is ruled accidental - something made her nauseated and she aspirated the vomitus. No cause has been found for the vomiting, after eliminating several possibilities. Ben is still in Scotland waiting for the trial of Jonathan's killer in the previous book; Ellen requests his help as someone she knows she can trust. #1 problem: what caused the nausea? It wasn't standard poison. Motives are plentiful: neighbor objecting to the noise of the quarry G. had reopened, tenant wanting to open a falconry, nephew wanting her stock in the tyre company, tenant whom she discovered collected books without scruple, and several others. Ben has to figure out who had the means to make/derive/whatever the poison, then had an opportunity to administer it. I was confused throughout and still am after finishing the book and rereading the administration scene – no ties between the person who gave it to her and the person who admits making it. Major plot hole, but still fascinated by Ben's doggedness.

Thursday, August 11th, 2016
4:20 pm
Bah, humbug.
I regret to report that I can't read during the commercials, even using the mute button, and watch the Olympics. Tried last night, didn't absorb what was on the page, and accomplished maybe 20 pages in 3 hours As Wolfe says, pfui.
Monday, August 1st, 2016
3:33 pm
2016 reading, July
Lots of distractions this month - family wedding, so I only read 23 books.

To Brew or Not To Brew – Joyce Tremel 7/31/16 Brewing Trouble #1 Max(ine) O'Hara has learned brewing in Germany after getting her BS & Masters in Chemistry. She is the youngest of 6 with 5 older brothers, father a homicide detective. She has come back to Pittsburgh to open a brewpub with a good friend from Germany who is killed in the first 12 pages. The murderer took the implement with him, the police & the Medical Examiner aren't convinced it's murder, despite all the minor vandalism that has been occurring. Max gets another chef, her next-elder brother's good friend Jake, who has retired from professional hockey because of a series of concussions. Vandalism continues. Perp: someone who resents that Jake didn't play for the Penguins, or someone who wants Max out of the building? Enjoyed!

Foreign Eclairs – Julie Hyzy 7/30/16 White House Chef #9 Ollie thwarted a plot by terrorists several books ago, and now they are targeting her. End of series

Blood Orange - Susan Wittig Albert 7/29/16 China Bayles #24 Kelly Kaufman, a guest in China's b&b at the back of Thyme and Seasons, disappears then asks China for a meeting about a murder. Kelly has been a nurse at the local hospice, and the patients there are dying anyway – why murder one? Then Kelly & her borrowed van are hit-and-runned, no brake marks, China's b&b is ransacked, and the only clues are the contact marks on the van and footprints in the b&b. Then Kelly's computer is found, and we're off.

Malice at the Palace – Rhys Bowen 7/2816 Lady Georgie #9 Georgie is drafted by Queen Mary to help Princess Marina get acclimated to London before the wedding to Prince George. Georgie finds one of George's old girlfriends dead in a courtyard of the Aunthill, aka Kensington Palace. Up to Bowen's usual standard of funny.

Manners and Mutiny – Gail Carriger 7/22/16 Finishing School #4 Sophronia, Agatha, & Dimity are finished. At their school, which turns young ladies into spies, this means killing someone who deserves it. Steampunk England, 1854: werewolves are scheming against vampires, and both are in danger from traitors called Picklemen, the chief of whom wants the Throne for himself. The school is a huge dirigible, suitable for transporting a large number of mechanicals which do not have Isaac Asimov's Three Rules in their protocols. It is based over Cornwall's moors, and moves slowly, taking at least 3-4 days to get to London. The Picklemen hijack it, but Sophronia manages to get back on board before lifting off. The headmistress and a professor/vampire are hostages – can she save the Empire?

All the President's Menus – Julie Hyzy 7/22/16 White House Chef #8 The White House is in sequester mode, Ollie is coping with reduced staff, and a female candidate for president of a totalitarian country will be visiting in 2 weeks. 4 chefs from her country are also visiting the white House kitchen for those 2 weeks and several are behaving suspiciously. One is openly hostile to Ollie as a female wielder of authority, but he's not the one that ends up dead. 2 others persist in speaking their language privately, despite the order of their chief to speak English as a courtesy to Ollie & Bucky, so Ollie gets a mini tape recorder, which prompts a mugging to retrieve it before a translator can work on it. Plot to discredit the US and/or kill the candidate?

The Ides of April – Lindsey Davis 7/21/16 Flavia Albia #1 (out of order) I don't remember reading of Albia's marriage in the Falco books, but she's already 8 years widowed in this one, now aged 28. She's been an informer (detective) for 12 years. At the start, she is hired by Salvidia, another widow running her husband's construction business, to prove she isn't liable for the death of a little boy run over by one of her drivers. Salvidia dies within days of unknown causes, her stepson hires Albia, I am suspicious of poison immediately, several other people die equally suspiciously within days. The aedile sends a runner, Tiberius, to do his legwork, the Temple of Ceres' archivist Adronicus is a freedman of the same household and resents greatly that he wasn't made the aedile's secretary. Adronicus is a real charmer and gets away with too much & always has, according to Tiberius. The title refers to Albia's birthday and also to the period of a festival for Ceres, which the aedile has to organize, a major distraction from the investigation of the deaths. Albia is nearly seduced by Adronicus, leaving them both frustrated at the interruptions, but she is glad by the end of the book.

Miss Julia's School of Beauty – Ann B. Ross 7/20/16 Miss Julia #6 In which Miss Julia returns from her honeymoon with Sam & discovers their Dollywood wedding chapel minister might not be licensed > they're not really married. AAACK! She is a very moral Presbyterian & makes Sam move out of her bedroom until a) they find out and b) they get really married. Her best friend LuAnne is all bent out of shape that there were no engraved announcements mailed nor reception nor proper announcement in the newspaper & wants to spring a reception on them, but her housekeeper Lillian tells Julia, so she sends Sam out of town to hunt down the “preacher” during the week that LuAnne wants to hold the surprise reception, and since Sam isn't around, there can be no party. There is also a beauty pageant happening to earn money for more snifferdogs for the sheriff's department, organized by Hazel Marie, who lives with Julia. HM is the mother of Julia's dead husband's illegitimate son, a co-legatee with Julia. The girls for the contest are sponsored by the various departments of the sheriff's office & have little to no talent, only looks & shape, except for one girl, a dowdy but excellent guitarist, who happens to be the niece of the fake minister, who blackmails Julia into trying to sway the judges.

My Life in France – Julia Child, with (Paul's grandnephew) Alex Prud'homme 7/19/16 Much more than that – post-Paris in Marseille, then Bonn, then back in D.C., then Oslo, then Cambridge. Writing MtAoFC, testing recipes, working out what to leave out after Houghton Mifflin declined as too long > Knopf.


Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously – Julie Powell 7/18/16 Cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one year. I also saw the movie a few years ago & enjoyed it too.


A Madras Miasma – Brian Stoddart 7/15/16 Christopher Le Fanu is an inspector in Madras' crime unit, tasked with solving the murder of a British woman, Jane Carstairs. He has to deal with the Commissioner, Jepson, a horrible boss determined to get him out but is protected by the Inspector-General, Wilson, who appreciates his abilities. Le Fanu, aka LF, and Jepson clashed at another location over an Indian sergeant. Carstairs' best friend Virginia Campbell came with her to India as part of the fishing fleet, seeking husbands – both are nearing 30 in the early 1920s. Indians have been seeking independence from Britain since before WWI, the Presidency's Governor wants to liberalize, but the financiers are very conservative & want to turn the political clock back at least 40 years. Carstairs & Campbell had been staying with Sir Roland Wark, a most prominent local businessman, and his wife, while fishing in the unattached British male pond, going to several parties every night. LF is vulnerable: his wife returned to England several years ago & wants a divorce, & he has taken up with his Anglo-Indian very beautiful & intelligent widowed housekeeper, supposedly very quietly & discretely, but the other servants notice & talk. The British community shuns anyone who goes “native” and would refuse to speak to him even in the course of his duties.

Dora Bruder – Patrick Modiano 7/14/16 Modiano's attention was caught in 1988 by an entry in a Paris newspaper about a missing person advertisement – 15-year-old Jewish girl in 1941 sought by her parents, not at that time by the police or Gestapo. Modiano is also Jewish, and the parallels are striking.

Enemies at Home – Lindsey Davis 7/14/16 Flavia Albia #2 A newlywed couple is strangled in their bed, their 10 slaves all deny having heard anything, a magnificent silver wine set is missing. The slaves claim burglars stole the wine set & killed the couple & seek asylum at the Temple of Ceres. The aedile for that area is Tiberius Manlius Faustus, stuck with proving their innocence or guilt, so he hires Albia to get the evidence. He has worked with her and Falco before. The newlywed husband was divorced 20 years before & has an ex-wife and 3 grown children – the ex-wife is determined to get as much possible for their son and is hard enough to have paid for assassins. Or did the burglars do it? Albia sets off a gang war – the Temple of Ceres is in another part of Rome than the murders, and the vigiles there were paid off, but not Faustus, who is too honorable to be paid off, and doesn't release the suspect, whose family, shall we say, resents that the gang leader failed him.

Flesh & Bone – Jefferson Bass 7/12/16 Dr. Bill Brockton, forensic anthropologist, professor, & chief scientist at The Body Farm, helps getting Garland Hamilton, the Knoxville medical examiner suspended. Unfortunately the ME didn't lose his state license to practice medicine. The ME from Chattanooga, Dr. Jessamine Carter, covers Knoxville while Hamilton is on suspension, she starts to fall in love with Brockton & he with her. They work together on a case in which a man is found mutilated, another police officer finds evidence that man was a pediphile, and Jess is murdered. Now whodunit? One of the pedophile's victims or a relative, some other criminal who Carter and/or Brockton helped convict, a fundamentalist in revenge for Brockton's teaching that creationism is baloney, or someone yet other?

Primates of Park Avenue – Wednesday Martin 7/10/16 Very entertaining. Martin's memoir/anthropological study of trying to fit in on NYC's Upper East Side, for her son's benefit in school, then help coping with the miscarriage of her daughter at 6 months.

Yes, Mr. Darcy – Joy Dawn King 7/7/16 P&P Elizabeth is instructed by her father to marry Mr. Collins to secure hir mother & sisters' future, is unwilling, goes to Derbyshire with the Gardiners as a last pleasure jaunt, meets Georgiana & consoles her after Wickham's betrayal, Darcy tries to find her & fails but sees her while visiting Netherfield & comes up with a scheme to save her from Collins and get Lady Catherine off his back.


Mrs. Jeffries on the Trail – Emily Brightwell 7/2/16 A flower seller, the illegitimate daughter of a rich shipbuilder, is bludgeoned on the Strand. Papa. Once he was sure she was his daughter, he wanted to take her to San Francisco & start over. Lots of motives: his business partner, his (deceased) wife's nephew & nephew's wife, his widowed sister-in-law with designs on him, his solicitor, the man who loved the flower seller. Mrs. Jeffries organizes the household staff to solve the case and drops hints to Inspector Witherspoon to keep Scotland Yard headed in the right direction.

Accusing Elizabeth – Jennifer Joy 7/5/16 While Elizabeth & Maria Lucas are visiting Hunsford, Anne de Bourgh's diamond earrings go missing. The parsonage is searched, finding nothing, but another search near the end of the book finds the earrings, prompting a revelation of a number of things.

Mayhem in Christmas River – Meg Muldoon 7/4/16 Arsonist dressed as Santa torches ornament shop, then the florist, trying to disrupt the Xmas in July tourist draw, but that's not all. Cinnamon Peters takes the role of Mrs. Claus to ease her best friend Kara's mind – Kara owned the ornament shop that burned. Cinnamon's boyfriend Daniel, a deputy sheriff, gets upset that she can't stay out of the investigation, especially after she can't answer yes or no when he proposes.


Shadows Over Longbourn – Jann Rowland 7/4/16 Widowed Mr Bennett dies too quickly, leaving the girls to Darcy as wards – his mother was Darcy's aunt. His cousin Thadeus Collins inherits, determines to marry Jane to his son William, but is foiled by Darcy's arrival. Uncle Phillips and Uncle Gardiner are trying to fend off Thaddeus, bu he is illiterate and stubborn, doesn't believe Darcy can take the girls to live at Pemberly. Some idea of revenge via them on their father. Jane & Bingley marry as soon as mourning is over, as do Major (not Colonel, in this book) Fitzwilliam and Mary. Lizzie & Darcy take about 4 years. Caroline Bingley is even more horrible, Wickham's attempt to elope with Georgiana is foiled by Lydia, who writes Lizzie at Bingley's house in London – she has moved there in frustration that Darcy doesn't have a clue about her feelings, much less his own. Lizzie is nearly trapped by Thaddeus, who says he'll get another heir on her since his son declines to force her, William gets into a brawl with his father & burns the house down - log rolls out of the fireplace, they both are killed in the fire. Fortunately. Jane inherits the remains of the estate as there are no more Collinses.

The Blood Spangled Banner – Barbara Schlichting 7/3/16 Olivia Anderson lives in Minneapolis and owns/runs a doll house shop. The specialty is models of the White House, during each presidency, complete with dolls of the Presidents and First Ladies. She sews the costumes of the women, the men's are purchased. She is descended from Dolley Madison's sister. Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was four. Raised by her mother's parents, she still lives with them. They have been keeping certain inherited treasures secret. A NYC collector also descended from Dolley's sister comes to the shop examines the dolls closely and asks if Liv knows the family secret, Liv doesn't even know that there is a secret. Murder and mayhem follow, to get possession of Grandpa's cufflinks, which had been James Madison's, but the cufflinks are only another clue to a bigger secret.

Mr Darcy's Secret – Barbara Silkstone 7/1/16 Mr Darcy & Georgiana live in a Major Real Estate high rise development with enormous security. Wickham is about to inherit the small hotel next door and has taken payment to tear it down and build another high rise, funded by Russian mafiosi. Bunbury is an architect who has ethics about building where the foundation is insufficient. The land beneath is too marshy and tunneled to support great weight. Someone tries to eliminate Bunbury to foil Darcy's attempts to get planning permission refused.

Aunt Dimity & the Buried Treasure – Nancy Atherton 7/1/16 Lori finds a piece of jewelry in her/Aunt Dimity's attic, asks her about it: Badger, a young man Dimity met in London, post-war, post-her fiance Bobby's death, who was a dear friend but wanted more and ran off when she couldn't get over Bobby. Lori is to find him & explain; Dimity knows somehow he isn't dead yet. There are also new residents in Finch, former schoolteachers who are metal detectorists. The village goes nuts with the detector, find lost things that became sources of argument and bad feelings, of course resolved by the end of the book.

Friday, July 1st, 2016
9:52 pm
2016 reading, June

  1. Mr Darcy's Christmas – Barbara Silkstone 6/28/16 Cute, but no biggie. Lizzie & her sisters find a 7-year-old girl & her dog on London's streets in a sleet storm. She's a runaway because her drunken mother doesn't want the dog. Darcy organizes a Father Christmas party for the 8 children after taking all the Bennet girls & Georgiana to Harrod's to shop for them.

  2. Aunt Bessie Invites – Diana Xarissa 6/27/16 Aunt Bessie, having grown up in the US, enjoys Thanksgiving, getting turkeys from Niall, a farmer who raises a few birds early for her, everyone else wanting them for Christmas. Niall has Alzheimer's & has been moved to a home; his daughter Fenella & son-in-law Eoin have taken over. Bessie is always asked to come up to approve the birds a week before slaughter. Fenella finds a skeleton in one of their barns while Bessie is there & is afraid Niall knew about it.The skeleton is wearing a distinctive watch, which identifies the man. He dated all the young women of marriageable age, so who ? Jealous boyfriend, worried father?

  3. Penric and the Shaman – Lois McMaster Bujold 6/27/16 Penric is sent to help a Locator of the Father's Justice seeking a Royal Shaman who has killed another shaman. The shaman is trying to find another shaman to cleanse the spirit animal from the man he mercy-killed: the dead man's soul cannot go to his god before the spirit animal is cleansed. The man sought can't get into his trance to cleanse – Penric has to re-teach him how. But the third shaman is also dead, killed in an avalanche 2 months earlier.

  4. Aunt Bessie's Holiday – Diana Xarissa 6/27/16 Aunt Bessie's friend Doona wins an all-expenses-paid holiday at a family resort, convinces Bessie to come too, and is furious to find her ex-husband Charles is a partner in the business & hoped to persuade her back to him. He is stabbed to death the next morning, she's the prime suspect as she's not really divorced from him, and there are at least 7 other candidates with very plausible motives: his mistress, her husband who is also a business partner, another business partner, the former general manager of the resort displaced by Charles, a secondary girlfriend, and the operators of a French restaurant.

  5. Aunt Bessie Goes – Diana Xarissa 6/26/16 #7 Inspector John Rockhill's marriage has run aground, his wife & children moved back to Manchester, and he is looking for housing in Laxey, taking Bessie to get the history of what the realtor from the previous book shows him. In Nancy King's house (fifth book) a wall has been moved, John finds a skeleton behind it, & we're off.

  6. Aunt Bessie Finds – Diana Xarissa 6/26/16 Aunt Bessie's friend Bahey lives in a flat in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man. She is concerned about little odd things that keep happening in the building,none of which are deserving police attention, so Bessie moves temporarily to find out.

  7. Aunt Bessie Enjoys – Diana Xarissa 6/26/16 Aunt Bessie has a circle of acquaintances in their seventies who are very close to each other, all widows who had had children, all but one of whom are off-island. Two members had died more than 5 years earlier, but suddenly the rest start dying – the first poisoned, the rest seemingly accidentally. Aunt Bessie and the police are very suspicious of the “accidents”, and have to find out about the poisoning.

  8. Aunt Bessie Decides – Diana Zarissa 6/25/16 Aunt Bessie #4 A troupe that does Shakespeare is entertaining at a Manx castle; one of their former members is in the audience & is stabbed. All of the members had motive, but which one actually did it?

  9. Aunt Bessie Considers – Diana Xarissa 6/24/16 Aunt Bessie #3 Aunt Bessie is a speaker at a Manx archaeology seminar. Mack, a visiting archaeologist, is murdered via a peanut-laced brownie – he's very allergic and always carries 3 epi-pens just in case. The culprit has to be someone he trusts enough to get close enough to take them. Unfortunately there are a number of possibles, all former girlfriends – he didn't believe in fidelity.

  10. Aunt Bessie Believes – Diana Xarissa 6/24/16 Aunt Bessie #2 Aunt Bessie helps solve the originally thought to be natural death of Moirey, a very disagreeable woman with a heart condition, – her parents spoiled her rotten because of it. Someone switched her pills. Motive: money: the woman whose father had been Moirey's father's steward was unable to keep up her cottage's payments, her recently-fired housekeeper might be turned out of her tied cottage, possible spouse of a new boyfriend that only two local kids had seen her with (& no one else could believe she actually -had- a boyfriend – too nasty). But the actual is something else.

  11. Aunt Bessie Assumes – Diana Xarissa 6/23/16 Aunt Bessie #1 On the Isle of Man, “Aunt” Bessie, a spinster of 80+ years who has become courtesy Aunt to all the children of the island's neighborhood who are 20 years younger or more than her, finds the body of a man who has summered there for years, stabbed. She walks on the beach nearly every morning. His brand-new wife comes running, dressed only in a white silk nightgown and full makeup, in pouring rain & wind. The couple and his parents and brother have a McMansion up the beach. The brother's girlfriend is also at the house, making quiet but snarky comments about the new wife, who doesn't seem terribly bereaved when no one is paying attention to her. 2 days later the girlfriend is also stabbed, and Bessie finds her too. Police stumped, 2 different CID inspectors having a minor turf war, one is sure the motive is drugs, the other is willing to listen to Bessie's local knowledge.

  12. A Gentleman of Means – Shelley Adina 6/23/16 Steampunk #8 In which Lady Claire breaks her engagement to Andrew, is fired from Count von Zeppelin's factory for too much initiative, and returns to London to hide Alice from the Doge's assassins and find Gloria, whose father is her worst enemy.

  13. A Lady of Integrity – Shelley Adina 6/22/16 Steampunk #7 In which Lady Claire decamps to rescue one of her now-grown flock of waifs. Venice's islands are movable by means of a series of gears, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece of defense, but the catch is that convicts in diving bells have to clean the weeds and skeletons from the gears. Their guardian keepers are a school of krakens trained by the Master of Prisons to chase & eat any escapees. Enough try it and fail to keep the krakens fed. Venice has a Justice system bent to keep the number of convicts sufficient to the job.

  14. Murder on the Ghost Walk – Ellen Elizabeth Hunter 6/22/16 Ashley Wilkes (her mother was a GWTW fan, named her other daughter Melanie) is a newly-graduated (Parsons!) historic preservationist in Wilmington, SC. Melanie is a high-end realtor, also practicing in Wilmington. Mama has Alzheimer's & graduates to a nursing home after getting lost. The Campbell House has recently been sold by Melanie to Mirabelle Mason, a total bitch television cook, who gives Ashley the contract for redoing it – the former owners supposedly decamped to Europe 6 years ago. However, Ashley & crew find their skeletons in the house, with many broken bones and a bullet. Mirabelle moves up the contract date, despite the police keeping Ashley out while they process the crime scene – she has a new contract with a network. The local union goes on strike, putting Mirabelle off the air – once the house is finished, she plans to tape there with scab labor, & SC is a right-to-work state. Mirabelle turns out to be a blackmailer, so it's no surprise when she too is murdered – the question is whom among her victims.

  15. Aunty Lee's Delights – Ovidia Yu 6/18/16 Rosie Lee is an elderly Singaporean-Chinese widowed lady with a stepson & his wife. A stepdaughter, & her husband live in England. The steps were relieved when Rosie married their father, though she was 20 years younger – they didn't have to worry about his daily life & needs. Aunty Lee owns & runs a small cafe, the Delights of the title, serving mostly lunches but having recently started serving wine tastings with dinner jointly with her stepson, whose wife Selina is a major pain. Aunty Lee has lent them fairly large sums of money for failed businesses, money which Selina refers to as “gifts”. Not. The latest wine dinner has 3 guests from Oz: one couple supposedly tourists, another a single man looking for business opportunities, all of whom turn out to be anti-gay. One of the organizers, Laura Kwee, has texted that she can't come, another woman, Carla, is trying to find her as a lead to her friend Marianne Peters, whose parents Aunty Lee knows well. A body turns up on the beach, is unidentified for several days, and is Laura Kwee, obviously murdered. Several days later Marianne Peters' body turns up, also murdered. But someone had used Laura's phone to text days after she was dead, and the phone is found near Aunty Lee's restaurant. The detective becomes one of Aunty Lee's fans, as is the police chief.

  16. Death of a Modern King - Angela Pepper 6/17/16 Stormy Day #4 The king is town's richest man aged 75, Dieter Koenig = king in German. Two sons in their 40s, a brand-new girlfriend age mid-20s who addressed him as Deets, to the distress of his staff. Logan, Deets' new lawyer, & Stormy have a breakfast appointment but find the staff around the swimming pool trying to revive him. DNA tests very important.

  17. Death of a Batty Genius – Angela Pepper 6/17/16 Stormy Day #3 Stormy's ex-fiance very rich Christopher shows up hallucinating while she is having dinner at a restaurant with her possible new boyfriend; her roommate also is hallucinating. They have shared a contaminated smoothie; a number of other people across the country drinking the same product are also hallucinating >FDA involvement > bankruptcy of the manufacturer, whose owner turns out to be a local man-made-good but also prone to experimenting chemistry on himself as the lab rat. Christopher's cousin Butch is opening a new destination spa up in the mountains with his wife as chef & has invited Christopher to come up for the weekend to test the facilities, Christopher see this as an opportunity to woo back Stormy & invites her & her roommate to go too, partly to compensate for the hallucinations. Butch's wife has also invited her 3 best friends from high school, one of whom she never got over romantically but who is now involved with his business partner's much younger sister; another is the owner of the smoothie company. The boyfriend turns up dead, part of me says good riddance – nasty man. A rainstorm causes a mudslide; they are isolated; Stormy has to figure out if he was murdered – the body was moved twice.

  18. Death of a Crafty Knitter – Angela Pepper 6/16/16 Stormy Day #2 Failed actress Voula becomes the gypsy fortuneteller she was always cast as in Hollywood, using fraudulent means, but is killed, framing a local woman who believes in karma.

  19. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin 6/16/16 Loved it. But as a former bookseller, I am quite biased. Bookstore owner's wife dies, he gets a new publisher's rep who likes lit fic & leaves him a galley which he doesn't read for 4 years, a young woman leaves her 2-year-old in his store then drowns herself, he adopts the little girl, all turns out well, sort of. He dies of a brain tumor just like Diane Echelbarger's.

  20. Death of a Dapper Snowman – Angela Pepper 6/15/16 Cute. Stormy Day, a young woman who burned out in real estate in a major city returns home to make a less-stressful life, buys a gift shop & duplex but fails to do due diligence & is taken, badly. Her father Finnegan Day (aka Fine Day), a retired cop, is getting a hip replacement & is away. His bossy girlfriend Pam tells Stormy to take Dad's cat to the vet to be fixed, never having noticed that the cat was male, not female. Stormy goes to the house to capture the cat, who climbs up on an ice-covered snowman. Stormy gets the cat, takes a selfie, notices the snowman's head isn't straight, tries to fix it, and finds the next-door neighbor's frozen body inside. In shock, she has a weird conversation with the mailman, who thinks she's the murderer, calling 911. Someone accuses her father of the murder, so she has to clear him and herself. Sort of funny.

  21. 1959: The Year Everything Changed - Fred Kaplan 6/15/16 Vietnam, The Pill, the microchip, JFK, Sputnik > Lunik, Norman Mailer, the Beats, Kerouac & Alan Ginsburg, the Cold War, Herman Kahn, Cuba, USCCR, Elijah Muhammad & Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Happenings.

  22. The French De Ception – Jennifer Girardin 6/8/16 Too muddled to continue the series. Horrid woman reporter Marjorie who can't stop talking & is always wrong gets her best friend Rosalin, Rosalin's husband Hugo, & her boyfriend Barry to go to Alsace to find who killed a local woman, beaned another but not fatally, supposedly to find out why a local statue illumined itself – Hugo is a scientist.

  23. Magic and Manners – CE Murphy 6/7/16 another P&P, with the Dover (Bennet) family able to do magic. 2.5 stars

  24. Sunday in Hell: Pearl Harbor Minute by Minute – Bill McWilliams 6/2/16 Aside from punctuation & spelling errors, plus redundancy, quite readable. Extracts from personal diaries new to me.

Monday, June 27th, 2016
12:16 pm
Happy birthday
nlbarber, may the Birthday Tixie have really good filk for you.
Monday, June 6th, 2016
2:25 pm
2016 reading, May tried several times to reformat with line spacing to separate the books, fail
I'm just back from my 50th high school reunion, didn't dare use the internet en route or back for fear of malware - not at the school, no _time_ there. So, here you are, 6 days late.

Dreams of My Father – Barack Hussein Obama 5/29/16 Very good. Should have read it years ago.
Going to read The Audacity of Hope.

False Profits – Patricia Smiley 5/27/16 Tucker Sinclaire, an associate at a Los Angeles business consulting firm living in Pacific Palisades, has an impossible client, a neurologist who wants to broaden his patient base. Unfortunately he sees them more as customers to be milked. Tucker has to deal with him, keep her boss happy (she's up for partner,) her boss has to keep happy his fraternity brother/entrepreneur like Warren Buffet but much shadier, and it all goes kerfluey. An investor says the business plan was rigged, blames & sues Tucker, also citing her in fraud > federal charges, so she has to figure it all out. A most unexpected villain, to me.

Mr. Darcy's Dogs – Barbara Silkstone 5/25/16 Modern P&P rewrite: Darcy has 2 bassets, Caroline Bingley is the society reporter for the BBC, Lizzy has a doctorate in animal behavior & is a dog whisperer. Darcy sets up Caroline to expose a fox hunt on camera, she puts Lizzie on a stallion not to be ridden kept only for breeding but L manages him via animal psych. Wickham poses as an Interpol investigator/spy to get the dirt on Darcy but says to Georgiana that he's a colonel in the RAF (which Lydia swallows whole) and sets up a wedding bridesmaided by Lydia & Kitty, officiated by Mr. Collins, who has lost Lady Catherine's favor, foiled by Lizzie & Darcy. Jane & Bingley are introduced, love at first sight, but not engaged yet.

Yours Forevermore, Darcy – KaraLynne Mackrory 5/24/16 Darcy writes letters to Elizabeth without intending them to be mailed ever, to relieve emotional frustration, but at about 50% of the way through the book, a new housemaid upsets the book in which they are hidden, the butler finds them & mails them. Lydia elopes with Mr. Denny, who gets a special license. 2nd son, but wealthy father.
This author's first name irritates me no end. What was her mother thinking?!!!!! Carolyn, not KaraLynne! I spent too much time at work writing down people's names for autographings, so the authors would get the personalization correct & not spoil the books, to have any tolerance for truly weird spelling.

Haunting Mr. Darcy – KaraLynne Mackrory5/23/16 Totally spoilered On returning from a Meryton assembly with Jane, Elizabeth's carriage is overturned, she has a concussion & is in a coma. It's New Year's Eve wish time, she wished for Mr. Darcy to want something he can't have, he wished to see her again, and she finds her spirit in his London house, only he can hear or see her, she cannot be more than 20 feet away, he thinks he's going nuts, she that she's dreaming, they fall truly in love, he finally believes Jane loves Bingley & tells him to try again, Bingley writes of the accident, they return to Longbourne & have to figure out how to reunite Elizabeth's spirit with her body, succeed, she doesn't remember the London sojourn at all, he gives up & hides at Pemberly, Georgiana & the Colonel roust him out, Colonel Fitz & Darcy go to Rosings it seems for over 2 months, Elizabeth remembers > double wedding with Jane & Bingley. Wickham didn't call even once while Elizabeth was in the coma & is told off by Lydia that he is no longer welcome a month after Elizabeth's recovery, which surprised me greatly.


Murder on the 18th Green – Federico Maria Rivalta 5/22/16 Riccardo Ranieri, an Italian financial news reporter and a golfer, finds himself a target when his golf partner, a gynecologist, is found murdered in their club's sauna after a foursome with a spoiled brat of 20.. The gyny said to Ric that he would have to speak to the brat's father, and texted the message “wrong blood”, which to me instantly sets up the idea of misattributed paternity. Four more deaths, one nearly Ric's. Irony, satire, generally funny, despite the murders. Unfortunately the only book by this author translated into English so far.


Falling for Mr. Darcy – KaraLynne Mackrory 5/20/16 Pride & Prejudice rewrite: Elizabeth is in a grove near Longbourne, a tree falls in high wind, she dodges it but falls & turns an ankle, Mr Darcy puts her on his horse & gets her home. Mary marries Mr. Collins at Mr Darcy's implication that Elizabeth will be too lively for Lady Catherine. An interesting variation on the Wickham situation, Lady Catherine tries to trap Darcy into marrying Anne.

Ready, Steady, Dig! - Rosalind Winter 5/19/16 Rook Ridge #1 Vera Rookwood, a 12-year-old girl breaks her arm near the remains of a Roman villa in Britain, one of the household gods of the villa is summoned by its Genius Loci to aid her. He finds that she is a descendant of the original Roman Family, he tells of the villa, she calls in the County Archaeologist, who gets a dig-it-up TV program involved. Funny, delightful, recommended.

Gnome or Mr. Nice Guy – Rosalind Winter 5/20/16 Rook Ridge #2, Four years later. The Rook Ridge Museum & Centre is established, Hob is very frail at over 90, a young man, Ned, appears who declines to give his surname but sees that the Lares are alive & speak to him, he & Vera are most attracted to one another but she is only 16, the distantly-related Corvo family members from the first book are involved in the Museum Centre. Christmas is coming, the Centre is having a Saturnalia Shopping Night with gladiatorial contest, Bony Jay's non-Corvo half-sister is making garden gnomes for the Shopping Night, the Lares Hate the gnomes, and a Roman coin goes missing. Hob's non-Corvo nephew Jim (can't interact with the Lares) thinks Ned took it. Again, very funny & delightful. Can hardly wait for the 3rd book.

Plucking the Moon from the Bottom of the Sea – Audrey Pearce Winter 5/19/16 The title comes from mahjong & means winning against terrible odds. Mrs Winter's book is an autobiography starting with her parents' childhoods & continues in detail through Indian Independence, with brief notes about life thereafter, plus extracts from her husband's war reminiscences. Her husband was an agronomist for the Indian Tea Association until he volunteered a few months after WWII started. Very good.

The Marriage of Mary Russell – Laurie R. King 5/18/16 Short story about the shenanigans of getting Holmes' cousin out of the house that Mycroft & Sherlock own to marry in its chapel.

The Spook Who Spoke Again – Lindsey Davis 5/18/16 short story: Postumus, age 12, Falco's adopted son possibly sired by Geminus, Falco's father, visits his birth mother Thalia, who runs a menagerie and circus. Postumus thinks her python Jason killed his Ferret,. Investigating this, Postumus discovers much that shouldn't happen, innocently comments, & all Hades breaks loose. Reading a 12-year-old's report is wearing.

Bluebells in the Mourning – KaraLynne Mackrory 5/17/16 Pride and Prejudice again rewrit: Lydia falls from the top of a hill, dies while Lizzy is at Hunsdon with the Collinses, Darcy & Col. Fitz bring her & Maria back to Longbourne, Papa asks Darcy to find out whether Wickham had anything to do with fall, initial inquiry no, final murder – she was pregnant, Wickham is court-martialed for deserting militia & sent to Australia but dies en route. Darcy & Lizzy have -series- of misunderstandings about feelings for each other, Georgiana brings them together, Anne DeBourgh marries Fitz after pointing out that she had inherited her trust of Rosings a year earlier & would Lady Catherine like to go live in the dower house, Mr & Mrs Bennet reconcile & have another baby – BOY! No Mr. Collins.

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy – Jenetta James 5/16/16 Pride & Prejudice rewrit,: at the Netherfield ball, Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Darcy bending down to speak softly in Lizzy's ear, says he kissed her, insists he marry her, Mr. Bennet believes her instead of Lizzy who denies it, F & L are married 4 days later by special license. Darcy later reveals to Lizzy that he loved her -long- before the ball & was eager to marry her. She wasn't & felt humiliated by father's disbelief. All in first person singular, her viewpoint. Enjoyed.

Toxicity – Libby Fischer Hellmann 5/15/16 Very confusing plotting. Seemingly unrelated deaths ultimately tied to a real estate development over a not-cleaned-up-enough toxic waste site. Police department hamstrung by non-fraternization rules. 2 stars.

Death on the Cherwell – Mavis Doriel Hay 5/15/16 The Bursar of a women's college at Oxford is found drowned but replaced in her canoe by person or persons unknown. Many people disliked her intensely, but not enough (generally) to kill her. Several of the students decide to solve. Not as well written as Gaudy Night, but still 3 star.

Murder Underground – Mavis Doriel Hay 5/14/16 Miss Euphemia Pongleton, a nasty old woman found strangled with her pug's leash on the long stairs to the Underground platform. First suspect: Bob, the boyfriend of Nellie, the housemaid working in her boardinghouse, who gave Nellie a brooch from a burglary, which Postle recognized. Second suspect: her nephew Basil, an impecunious writer seeing one of the young things also living in the boardinghouse – Aunt Phemia Did Not Approve. Neither guilty, both idiotic. Sort of funny.


It's Murder, My Son – Lauren Carr 5/12/16 Mac Faraday #1 D. C. homicide detective finds himself divorced and the next day discovers he is the illegitimate son of a famous mystery author, heir to 240 million. He leaves D.C. to go to his ancestral home, finding there that a former neighbor's wealthy husband had been killed 3 months after the wedding, she remarried quickly, she is murdered within a year, her new husband remarried within a month and the scumball nearly succeeded in having the German shepherd nearly killed defending her put down, Mac's mother kept extensive notes on her writing and a journal on daily life giving lots of clues on local goings-on, et cetera. Liked, but only 3 stars.

Dead Ringer – Sarah Fox #1 5/11/16 A ringer is a substitute player in an orchestra. Jeremy, a cellist, was also a blackmailer. Midori Bishop, a violinist living in Vancouver, finds the body in a church basement hall where the orchestra is rehearsing temporarily. Lots of suspects: the maestro of the orchestra, a drug dealer, the minister of the church, and more.

Death in A Major - Sarah Fox #2 5/10/16 Violinist/teacher Midori witnesses threatening conversations, nasty very rich guy gets offed. Drug dealer son also offed – he had beaten up Midori but denied killing his father. His grandson, Midori's pupil, confessed falsely to shield his mother, who had a secret from him, making him think her guilty. Actual guilty party left no hints until very end.

Banking on Murder – David Williams 5/9/16 Mark Treasure #17 The chairman of a soccer team is found dead of cyanide. Murder or suicide? He also was a director of a Cayman Islands bank found to be a drug money launderer. Also an adulterer. Was he murdered as an adulterer (one of the directors is a fundamentalist), or as someone involved in the drug trade?


Planning on Murder – David Williams 5/7/16 Mark Treasure #16 Aging peer wants to sell his ancestral home to a historical homes trust but hasn't the money to endow it unless planning permission is given also to a golf course/hotel. One of his part-time secretaries and his assistant are murdered, assistant looks like suicide but isn't. Possible motives: prevent the sale, as the public uses the Park for recreation/ Labour party general obstruction, jealousy between secretaries, etc.


Treasure by Post – David Williams 5/2/16 Mark Treasure #15 Mark gets involved in the possible dissolution of a trust indirectly benefitting an Anglo-Catholic convent. The only 3 nun lefts are over 85. The trust was given by a man hoping to receive a peerage, 3 of his 6 daughters became nuns there. Set up to evade possible confiscation by the Church Commissioners, the benefits go to 3 honest (men, originally), who are bound but not by the terms of the trust to distribute the interest to the local church, the convent, and to charitable institutions fostering the precepts of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Established Church. One of the nuns is an excellent teacher of the business of printing, especially engraving. The convent in the past was the official engraver of postage stamps for one of the Crown Colonies, and some of these are being forged, and sold for Major Money > Fraud Squad investigation.


Keys to Death – Emily Toll 5/1/16 Booked for Travel #4 Lynne Montgomery, travel agent, & her daughter Jenna are in the Florida Keys partly scouting for business, mostly visiting Rick & Penny, good friends who have bought a family resort as a retirement project. A trailer park is next door, tightly woven into the activities. Darcy, a resident of the park, is an organizer par excellence, so it is even more terrible when she is found dead on the resort's boat ramp. Other nastinesses have been happening for the past month, as though someone were trying to discourage tourists. I would have edited out any mention of Gloria, Rick's brother's wife, who contributes nothing to the plot.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016
11:40 pm
2016 reading, April

Am now caught up to current output for several still-writing authors and  finished the works of several others! TBR list getting shorter. However, next month I have to work on needlepoint for a family wedding and will only have my kindle, which has many Amazon freebies of dubious quality on it. I'll keep the numbers honest, but expect more than one title to be meh at best.

Rebel Without a Cake - Jacklyn Brady 4/30/16 #5 Rita Lucero's mother-in-law Miss Frankie (also partner in her bakery in New Orleans) gets Rita an interview for catering a high society ball, without telling Rita that the woman making the decisions is difficult and had been a candidate for co-mother-in-law. Miss Frankie's next-door-neighbor Miss Bernice sees what she thought was a ghost & turns out to be her cousin Eskil, who has been missing overnight. He lives in the bayous, a gator could have gotten him just like his father, and the area is searching. Rita drives Bernice & Frankie to Baie Rebelle to help cook for the searchers, Eskil turns up just fine, but his enemy Silas is found dead in the drainage ditch less than 100 feet from Eskil's house but wasn't killed there. Eskil is being framed, & Rita is roped in to clear him. Silas was a rebel in several senses, Rebelle is a most apt name for the bayou, also for the area.

How to Moon a Cat – Rebecca M. Hale 4/30/16 Cats & Curios #3 Monty Carmichael is the SF mayor's apprentice Life Coach, the mayor having been traumatized by a plague of frogs in the last book. Monty is deputizing for the mayor in ribbon-cutting stages of a Tour of California bike race. Oscar's never-named niece lives across the street from Monty and has to keep confiscating his keys to her/Oscar's antique store – apparently he had made numerous duplicates. Niece's two cats are major characters, in both senses. Streakers upset the start of 3 legs of the bike race. I'd forgotten how confusing this author's writing is – shifts of viewpoint, many in first person. And purple prose. What I can't figure out is whether Uncle Oscar can ever come back into his niece's life, having been declared dead & his estate probated. He's obviously still alive, pulling the puppet strings.

Clobbered by Camembert – Avery Aames 4/28/16 It's Winter Festival in northern Ohio, Charlotte Bessette's family cheese shop is participating, her old fiance comes back to town and refuses to believe that she is Done With Him, a Local Girl Made Good also returns and shows her true nastiness: blackmail, attempts to put rivals out of business. No one regrets that she's dead, but there are way too many suspects.

Finished Business – David Wishart 4/28/16 Marcus Vallerius Corvinus #16 In which Gaius (Caligula) finally gets offed, though it's not until the end. A nice man who refused to take part in politics is murdered, Marcus gets roped in by the dead man's battleaxe of a niece whose spirit control is Alexander the Great, and Alexander hasn't been wrong yet. Conspiracy within conspiracy, graphic description of torture with Marcus' presence required by Gaius, who enjoys directing it when the victim doesn't/can't tell what Gaius wants to know.

Tevye the Dairyman, and the Railroad Stories – Sholem Aleichem 4/25/16 liked the Tevye stories, the Railroad not so much. Perhaps I am in the wrong mood.

Death of the River Master – Allana Martin 4/25/16 Texana Jones #6 & last. The River Master was an engineer specializing in hydrology, the stepson of a major drug cartelist, and hated him. Texana Jones' husband Clay is framed for the murder. What no one can see easily is why Clay.

Murder and the Mad Hatter – Barbara Jaye Wilson 4/24/16 Brenda Midnight #6 & last. Brenda gets caught up in a bet between her boyfriend & his agent Lemmy that the agent can't get Brenda to marry him. He tells her a Tale that INS is after him & she -has- to marry him so he can work on getting another show for Johnny, whose previous was canceled. She falls for it, then finds out, steals his brassiere collection, Lemmy won't sign the divorce papers until he gets the bras back. While stealing the bras, Brenda heard the noise of something heavy hitting the floor in the apartment above, then is nearly knocked over by a man running down the stairs – she thinks (later) leaving the scene of a crime. ID the man, solve the murder? Maybe, but not that simple.

Solid Citizens – David Wishart 4/23/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #15 Corvinus is visiting his step-daughter & her husband when a Senator from a neighboring village calls him in to investigate the murder of a censor-elect, who had been about to investigate a case of possible arson and theft. Several possible motives: an arson & theft case, a swindle of antiques, and a family member on the other side disinherited. And it's Winter Festival next week, the bought help are having a jurisdictional dispute, his mother & step-father arriving – mother is vegetarian and brought her cook....

A Hatful of Homicide – Barbara Jaye Wilson 4/22/16 On Brenda Midnight's birthday, one of her friends is kidnapped, calls Brenda to get the ransom money & meet the kidnapper, which she thinks is a set-up for a surprise party. Nope, the kidnapping is real. But Dweena is released soon. However, this gives the kidnapper an alibi for a murder, and then it gets very complicated.

Capped Off – Barbara Jaye Wilson 4/21/16 Brenda Midnight #4 In which Fuzzy, also a milliner, sends Brenda to see Doreen Sands, the millinery buyer for a department store in lower Manhattan. While Brenda is sitting in the waiting room with lots of other designers, Doreen is shot, the perp escapes, and a gun is put in Brenda's hatbox while she is reading a tailoring manual & doesn't notice. The two detectives are her former nemeses, she is sure that she is being set up, and here we go.

The Story of Christianity – Jean-Pierre Isbouts 4/20/16 Published by National Geographic, the maps are excellent, the pictures too, but don't try to read this unless you have bright light. The regular text is legible, but not the sidebars, nor many of the map labels, which are very illuminating. Well written.

Rape in Medieval England: An Historical and Sociological Study – John Marshall Carter 4/16/16 waste of time: should be titled in the Servile Classes, anecdote, not data, because taken from judicial records 1208-1321, omitting ecclesiastical court and any court for nobles, omitting instances where the woman could not identify her rapist or was too humiliated to undergo examination by a series of men or could not come to a succession of courts or did not follow a very strict word order in making her appeal, making her guilty of false appeal & therefore liable to punishment.

Trade Secrets – David Wishart 4/16/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #17 (out of order, would have been overdue with another patron waiting) Marcus' stepdaughter & her doctor husband find a man's body stabbed in a park – husband says he was already dead, ergo the Watch isn't interested, but she is very persistent. Another man's sister and his widow want Marcus to investigate a different stabbing: this man too was no loss: the first borderline criminal, the second adulterer, major nono in Rome at that time – any husband who refused to divorce his wife could be fined majorly, plus be shunned socially – both men were import-export businessmen, the first more fraudulent than the second. Marcus doesn't find the connection between the two until the very end.


No Cause for Concern – David Wishart 4/16/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #14 Not as complicated, funnier. Marcus gets collected by a local very powerful crime boss Eutachticus' thugs to find his stepson Titus, whom he is insisting on adopting over Titus' protests, not wanting any part of the business. Titus wants to be an actor like his own dead father, over Eutachticus' dead body. Titus is found dead in the garden. Who, why? Eutachticus' former partner, his son – possibly Eutachticus' own son, but he divorced the mother when 5 months pregnant, who promptly married the former partner, et cetera.

Bodies Politic – David Wishart 4/15/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #13 In which Marcus gets a letter supposedly from Macro, who is now dead 3 months, saying he was framed, please clear him. Gaius Caesar (aka Caligua) has been emperor a year and a half but isn't completely insane yet. Marcus discovers a plot to roil the Jews and the Greeks of Alexandria which coincides with another plot between the two commanders of the Upper and Lower Rhine to keep their posts though incompetent, plus more. Even more complicated than usual.

Illegally Dead – David Wishart 4/14/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #12 Marcus and his wife Perilla are called to visit her great-aunt Marcia, age 84, because there -may- have been a murder. Aunt Marcia is one of the old Roman matrons who sat on a stool, not a chair, so that she wouldn't be tempted to lean back on it. Since the death wasn't certified as a murder, both Marcus & the president of the local senate are reluctant to investigate – the dead man's slaves would be tortured for evidence, no way around it. Then one of the dead man's slave's body is found, so he can go ahead. Hostilius was a lawyer who was going insane; a number of people could have killed him as a kindness, including his wife, his brother-in-law, & his partner. Very complicated and good.

In at the Death – David Wishart 4/15/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #11 The boss of the Roman racing team the Greens hires Marcus to investigate why the grandson of his patron has committed suicide. Actually murder. Very involved, and not clarified until the very end. Plot inside plot inside plot.

Food for the Fishes – David Wishart 4/14/16 Marcus Valerius Corvinus #10 Licinius, the owner of a fish farm, is in the habit of taking the leftovers from his dinner to feed the moray eels. His remains that the eels haven't already eaten are found in the morning. Suspects: his thirty-years-younger bitch of a second wife, his two sons and daughter, all older than the wife, his doctor, & the manager of the fish farm. Oh, and Trebbio, a local fisherman who had just been evicted from his hovel on the farm Licinius had just bought. Marcus decides to investigate, to prove Trebbio's innocence.

Scared Stiff – Annelise Ryan 4/13/16 Mattie is the assistant coroner of her county in Wisconsin. She is called to the scene of death of Shannon Tolliver, who has just had a spat with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Erik. Hurley, the lieutenant in charge, is convinced Erik did it, Mattie not. Shannon had been dating her pshrink. Mattie & Co. also get to clean up the mess of a very rich couple reported missing 2 weeks earlier, very decomposing. Their children fight _lots_ over who gets the money, with a funny denouement. In both cases Mattie gets decomp all over herself, her rival for Hurley's attention takes pictures that are printed.

The Mamur Zapt and the Camel of Destruction – Michael Pearce 4/12/16 Captain Owen,, who holds the office of Mamur Zapt, the head of the political police in Cairo in 1908, is dragged into an investigation when a minor functionary of the Deparment of Agriculture commits suicide. Blackmail? Over what? Poor Osman had been in the Department of Public Works, okaying the reclassification of land from industrial to farming (the Egyptian economy was heavily dependent on cotton then), consequently greatly increasing its value. There is also a plot to build a road through the Old City to modernize, but Owen is opposed because of the religious rioting that would be set off, not only because of the mosques that would have to be destroyed.

Pillow Stalk – Diane Vallere 4/12/16 Madison is a 47-year-old interior decorator, specializing in 1950s-1960s design, with a fangirl thing for Doris Day. Madison was her grandmother's surname, long predating the current popularity. Her go-to handyman for refurbishng her decorating finds was suspected of murder 20 years earlier, didn't do it. Madison is still recuperating from a skiing accident several years earlier when her right knee was screwed and swims daily as therapy. She looks a bit like Doris Day and dresses like her. A 27-year-old realtor who borrowed Madison's robe at the pool and looks a bit like her is smothered with a pillow from Madison's car – Madison has witnesses that she was in the dressing room at that time, fortunately. But several other women are killed the same way. Serial killer, no other connection, or someone else, and what's the connection?

Other People's Baggage – Kendel Lynn, Gigi Pandian, & Diane Vallere 4/11/16 The title, literally, & what happens. 3 mild mystery novellas. Enjoyed.

The Mamur Zapt and the Spoils of Egypt – Michael Pearce 4/6/16 The Mamur Zapt was the Head of the Khedive's Secret Police. In 1908, the office was held by Captain Owen, part of the British administration, still having to deal largely with politics. There is an American man licensed to dig at Deir el Bahari, who keeps saying he has a Deal to export whatever antiquities he finds; the head of the Cairo Museum says not what he doesn't approve, and a Bostonian woman comes to meddle, claiming to be a good guy preventing the general theft of Egypt's treasures. This book is sort of like Amelia Peabody Emerson-lite, not as funny, and much shorter.

Fall into Death – Emily Toll 4/4/16 Booked for Travel #3 Lynne's mother decides to open a bed & breakfast inn at age 82 in her home town in New Hampshire; Lynne & her 26-year-old daughter come on a scouting trip for a prospective tour at leaf-peeping season, the b&b's basement is being torn up/out for a plumbing problem, & Lynne finds a femur, hoping against hope that it was from a really big dog. No. The house had been a boarding house for workers at a knitting mill, then sold to a couple with 4 children of their own plus umpteen foster kids cycling in and out (NOT abused there.) Dental records identify the skeleton & alert the murderer.

Murder Pans Out – Emily Toll 4/2/16 Booked for Travel #2 Lynne Montgomery is a travel agent based just north of San Diego. This trip is to the gold-mining area of northern California, with 3 grade school teachers and their principal, and 2 high school teachers, entirely a hen party. Lynne is herself a Navy brat, as are 2 of the teachers, one of whom is also a Navy wife, who of course couldn't collect lots of things while being transferred from base to base, and now that her husband has retired, has become an antique nut. Lynne's van breaks a fan belt en route north, the antiquer buys an incredibly ugly lamp just like one her grandparents had owned (which wasn't supposed to be sold), the dealer has to get it back, and we're off.

Prescription for Murder - David Williams 4/2/16 Mark Treasure #14 Wearing one of his many hats as merchant banker, Mark is Chairman of Closter Drugs, which goes public on the third day of the book. Information about a new anti-migraine drug is leaked and a press conference called, disrupted by a group opposed to animal testing. The IPO goes very well; the next day one of the directors is kidnapped – no ransom, just all the directors' stock must be sold the next day, a million shares an hour, or he will be killed, with the usual don't tell the police. Panic selling by other share owners, & a competitor buys most of it. Did the competitor set this up? The animal rights group? Someone else?

Holy Treasure! - David Williams 4/1/16 Mark Treasure #13 A London church has run out of parishioners, its vicar has a new job, the bishop wants it closed, but the vicar's wife supports the neighborhood which still uses the basement as a gathering place. Mark is drawn into the mess by a client wanting money to redevelop, another company refused as a client because of conflict of interest, and his boss's sister – their grandfather built it as a High Church island in a sea of Evangelical (yet still Anglican) parishes. The vicar's wife is killed by a falling slate possibly helped by someone who saw financial gain in redevelopment.

Sunday, April 24th, 2016
9:52 am
Birthday!
Happy birthday, desert_vixen, and thanks to stoutfellow for the heads up.
Friday, April 8th, 2016
8:31 am
Happy birthday
to mmegaera, and thanks to stoutfellow for the reminder.

Meg, may your new travels be safe, and fun, and sources for another book.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
1:43 am
2016 reading, March

Please go to the last entry and read up. I"m afraid if I try to rearrange I'll lose the whole thing.


Treasure in Oxford – David Williams 3/31/16 Mark Treasure #12 Mark is in Oxford for a meeting of an architecture trust. Two of the trustees are art experts, another collects. Three examples of what -might- be Constable's work show up, with iffy provenance, and a murder is committed to get them.

Divided Treasure – David Williams 3/30/16 Mark Treasure #11 Mark & his wife are picketed outside their London home by employees & pensioners of a candy company in Wales under the misapprehension that his bank is in favor of the sale of the company, whereas the bank only has a member of its trust department as a trustee of the pension fund, but he is on vacation, so Mark is roped in. The buying company has as a condition of purchase its absorption of the excess money in the fund, nearly 3 million pounds. The pension rates have not been raised in proportion to the cost of living, aka indexed in Brit terminology. (Maybe US too.) One if the directors/trustees was killed a month ago while sailing, his slot as a trustee was filled by a new managing director whose object seems to be to run the company into bankruptcy and had previously worked for the buying company. Mark takes an instant dislike & tries to find a corporate white knight to save the candy company & jobs. Then the uncle/co-director of the sailor is killed horribly.

Treasure in Roubles – David Williams 3/29/16 Mark Treasure #10 Mark's wife inveigles him into going with her arts group to Leningrad. The first theft from the Hermitage museum happens the day before they get there; KGB thinks that a member of the group is going to smuggle the painting out, but it gets /much/ more complicated. The author has died, I have 8 to go, wish he had had time to write more.

Murder in Advent – David Williams 6/28/16 Mark Treasure #9 Mark goes to Litchester to cast the deciding vote on whether to sell the Cathedral's copy of Magna Carta to an American museum, but the opening chapter is about an American who has art stolen to order. The 4 members of the Chapter are divided evenly. Before Mark gets there, one of the canons is murdered and a fire started in the Old Library, the copy is presumed burned. The characters are well drawn, all with good reasons for their vote.

Wedding Treasure – David Williams 3/28/16 Mark & his wife Molly are to be guests at the wedding of the step-daughter of a Welsh client of Mark's bank. If the bride marries before her 21st birthday without the consent of both her parents, who are most unamicably divorced, her inheritance will be withheld until she is 31 and her dissolute convicted-of-fraud father will get the interest in that period, under her great-grandfather's will (mother's side. He disapproved of early marriages.) She's not pregnant, her fiance's new job isn't dependent on being married, so the Treasures can't figure out the rush. Her stepfather's business is going bankrupt, the fiance's idea is to stave that off with her money – a million pounds – and give Daddy a job, if he will consent to the wedding. Daddy is fatally hit by a golf ball after the rehearsal dinner – the young folks had a contest to see who could hit the ball closest to the hole, a pound per ball, 6 balls for 5 pounds. Daddy wasn't supposed to be there and is not a major loss.

Advertise for Treasure – David Williams 3/27/16 Mark Treasure #7 An American advertising agency wants to buy a London agency, the main brain there doesn't want to lose his independence. Both his co-share-owning directors want the money, several people call on him at his flat to try to persuade him; he falls down a 110-foot air shaft, ruled suicide. Mark doesn't think so.

Working Stiff – Annelise Ryan 3/26/16 Mattie Wilson is a now-former nurse living in the guest house next door to her former house – her surgeon husband David caught in flagrante delicto still lives in their house. The guest house is owned by the coroner, who has hired Mattie as his deputy; she is just starting the new job. Having walked out taking insufficient clothing 2 months ago, she goes next door to see if the nearly-ex is home, to see if the rumor is true that he is dating someone. She sees an argument between her husband and his paramour Karen, though not hearing the subject. The woman is later found shot – Mattie can't take part in the autopsy as she is acquainted with her and a possible suspect. “Karen” has stolen the identity of another deceased nurse 2 states away 7 years earlier, was merely an aide, and probably never went to nursing school. Mattie suspects more fraud – there is a rumor of a hospital supply company illegally partly owned by M.D.s , goes to investigate as part of the murder investigation, and finds another man's body with the same genetic illness as “Karen”, shot with the same gun. Writing is up to snuff, humor nicely fitted in.

Death in the Truffle Wood – Pierre Magnan 3/25/16 In Provence, some hunters use pigs to find truffles. Roseline is such a pig, and most successful. She will never become bacon. 5 hippies have disappeared in the area in the past 18 months; Commissaire Laviolette has been sent to find them or their bodies. He is a former member of the maquis and meets a dear friend who has had a party for 60 of their co-resistance fighters. (Written in 1978) Then the friend is killed. The hippies' bodies are found; all had been drained of blood. No, not a vampire story. Why??? Magnan has a light touch & wrote at least 30 books, but not that many were translated. My French isn't good enough.


Truffled to Death – Kathy Aarons 3/24/16 Michelle – chocolatiere, and her housemate/co-shop owner/best friend since grade school – bookseller Erica, are hosting a party at the shop to publicize the gift of Maya antiquities to a local museum by the Rivers, a local wealthy family. Erica is a former student of the museum's curator, who had preyed on her and others of his students. After the party, the security guard hired by the curator was ambushed, drugged, and robbed of the antiquities. A day later the curator is murdered. Motives: assorted women students including Erica, his homely females assistant who was nuts about him and believed his lies that all the girls had “started it”, smugglers/fences of stolen art, et cetera. Really nasty ruthless men are involved and nearly kill Michelle. Again. Possibly one of the Rivers is involved – the current CEO of the family is putting up any obstruction he can think of.


Treasure Preserved – David Williams 3/24/16 Louella is the American widow of an English peer, living in a village on the south coast. Louella is a gadfly preservationist wanting to stop the destruction of a simply awful house built from the plan of a major architect of the 18th century. Mark Treasure has just been to a luncheon celebrating the planning permission of a retirement community to be built on the house's site when she turns up in his chief's office – old acquaintance. She is killed by a gas explosion on reaching home. Motives for the construction company, the owners of the other buildings to be demolished, or was it an accident? Not a chance.


Copper, Gold, & Treasure – David Williams 3/22/16 Major Copper, retd., and Lieutenant Gold, retd., are two aging British Army veterans of WWII. Copper had been in the army since well before the war until 1949, then schoolmastered for another 10 years, living in residential hotels. Gold had been a cabbie pre-war & went back to it after, earning a decent living, wife, two daughters. Wife died, he sold the house, moved in with a daughter but felt the need to have his own quarters. They meet at the office of the Rudyard Trust, which funds 3 retirement clubs for officers-and-gentlemen. The Trust is going bust, the clubs to be dissolved. Pierre, the son of a former African country (fictional) president is one of Copper's tutees and decides to get money for his divorced mother in addition to the scheme Copper and Gold come up with to get more funds for the Trust: stage Pierre's kidnapping. It all goes very kerfluey, Copper and Gold become part of the Good Guy team with Treasure (Spoiler!) and it gets much more complicated, ending well.


Treasure up in Smoke – David Williams 3/21/16 Mark Treasure #3. The merchant banker is sent to a British Crown Colony in the Caribbean to work on the financing for a distillery to be owned by a corporation which nearly fully owns the small island, meeting there Peregrine Gore, a junior partner who habitually has a clumsy accident. Joe O'Hara has most of the stock of the corporation and is unmarried, as is his younger brother Paul, a thoroughly bad lot. Joe is murdered the night Mark gets there, having invited Peregrine up to the cabin several miles away from home after having the usual row with Paul. I expected Paul to have done it, but no. Nor did Perry, but he is such the innocent blunderer I thought it impossible.


Roman Games – Bruce Macbain 3/20/16 Set right after the Lindsey Davis books, Pliny the Younger becomes an unwilling investigator of the murder of Verpa, an informer for Domitian. Pliny tries to prove the innocence of 40 of Verpa's slaves, 5 of whom are “atheists”, as Christians were called at that period, because they refused to sacrifice to the Emperor as a god. The rest of the slaves kill them overnight, before Pliny can finish questioning Verpa's doorguard. Verpa's concubine who has been posing as his wife and his son Lucius are both suspects, but it's much more complicated than that.


Death's Autograph – Marianne Macdonald 3/18/16 Dido Hoare #1 She's an antiquarian bookseller with an emeritus Oxford professor father and a borderline-criminal ex-husband. Davey the ex reappears, wanting to help in her shop after a break-in for which Someone had a key. Dido can't understand the break-in – none of her stock is missing, though cash and stamps are. Then her flat is searched – again, nothing missing. Then Davey is killed. WHY?


Treasure by Degrees – David Williams 3/17/16 Warning: I'm on a David Williams spree, intending to read all but #4, in order. My library doesn't have it, & the used price is more than I want to pay. In this one, Mark Treasure, merchant banker, is drawn in when his boss is in Australia instead of U. K., boss is also a trustee of a very small college in Hampshire which is having major financial trouble, and a bailout is in the offing from the estate of an American who had been billeted there during WWI with major strings attached: he was agin all modern farm innovations: chemical fertilizer, machinery, et cetera, the college must add a graduate program in agriculture (it's now humanities only), and eschew food produced modernly. An Arab prince is a student, his Crown Prince father wants to contribute enough money to ensure he/his nominees get half the seats on the board of trustees to get back in his -own- father's good graces, and none of this is sitting well with the student body or the faculty. Trustees are too overwhelmed by finances to cavil. The American's widow and her co-trustee of the estate visit to size up the college, the widow is murdered, and off we go.


The Yid – Paul Goldberg 3/17/16 3 thugs arrive to collect an actor in the Moscow Jewish theater, but he is a former Red Army officer & kills them instead. The plot snowballs, ending in the death of Stalin. Much Yiddish, not all translated. 2 stars, funny in spots.


Crime Rib – Leslie Budewitz 3/15/16 Food Lovers Village #2 Erin Murphy's grocery selling mostly locavore/excellent food is the locale for this mystery. Set on Flathead Lake in Montana, there is a short tourist season > August Festival to draw visitors. The Chamber of Commerce has invited a Food Channel-type host to judge a cooking contest between 3 chefs with local restaurants. Trouble: the judge has a history with one chef, who is unaware of animus. The producer is killed in a hit-and-run, then the chef is clobbered with a meat tenderizer. His ex has motive, but who did for the producer?


The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court – Bob Woodward & Scott Armstrong 3/12/16 I didn't care much for two of the members before; now even less. Amazing revelations of the machinations -inside- the court.


Played by the Book - Lucy Arlington 3/8/16 A Novel Idea #4 Local boy made good returns to build a house as a setting for his landscaping/design TV show, launch his new book, and is roped in to judge the gardens at a garden walk. All the staff at A Novel Idea, the literary agency where Lila works as the mystery agent, are involved in planning the signing and following dinner. Then one of the contestants in the contest is murdered. Lila's boss puts Lila's neglected garden in the murdered woman's slot and nearly has a fit when the excavations to get Lila's garden up to par finds a skull, the police have a forensic anthropologist dig up the rest of the yard, and that takes too long for the yard to be an acceptable entry. The replacement is the garden of the office manager, who had been ejected from the club on trumped-up charges by the president, a ruthless woman in rose competition. Is the murderer the dead woman's most resentful stepson, or someone involved in her former career as a social worker placing foster children, or the president of the garden society?


The Best of Bob & Ray – Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding 3/04/16 humor, somewhat dated. Or I'm not in the right mood.


Blood Matters – Taffy Cannon 3/04/16 Roxanne Prescott #2 She has gone back to police work from
working in her aunt's travel agency & is now in the San Diego County Sheriff's department. The owner of a north-county San Diego adoption agency is murdered at home, his office at home trashed by someone looking for papers. Himself an adoptee who suffered from very bad placement, he also traced birth parents and adopted-out children. Only the murderer has a reason to kill him – everyone else was happy with him. Sheriff's department stumped until a trap is set. Cannon is good at developing most of the characters in her books, not just the majors.


Unholy Writ – David Williams 3/3/16 How did I miss these 32 years ago? Delightful. London merchant banker visits his cousin & her husband; they have just sold their minor “country house” to an awful Scots oaf who is starting a conservative political movement. The house is the site of a monastery despoiled in the days of Henry VIII, inherited by a recusant cavalier of Charles I whose widow became one of Charles II's mistresses. Buried treasure in the grounds? The gravedigger is murdered before a funeral – did he find something? #1 in series of 19.


The Murder of Katie Boyle – Libby Fischer Hellmann 3/2/16 North Shore Illinois fitness instructor murdered, a client/video producer found her & figured it out. She and the policewoman become friends > new series.


The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared – Libby Fischer Hellmann 3/2/16 kindle short, set in Chicago 1934. Young Jrewish boys get involved in gangster-land, set-up for Hellmann's two series with Jewish women protagonists. !!


Murder Will Travel - Emily Toll 3/2/16 Booked For Travel #1 Lynne Montgomery, widowed owner of Booked For Travel agency, takes 15 tour members to Sonoma County, CA for a wine & sightseeing tour, staying at a bed & breakfast/winery whose previous owners went bankrupt & had to sell up. Lynne had stayed there in earlier years with 2 other groups. The new owners are reluctant hosts, really wanting only the winery, the husband a brilliant man wanting solitude for developing his ideas which have made him 3 fortunes. On the first evening of Lynne's group's stay, a son of the previous owning family drives up uninvited, mixes in with the group, obviously recognizes several of them, and makes insinuating remarks to the hostess, whose husband runs him off after Words. Lynne finds his body in front of the winery the next morning, and here we go. Each character is developed to a greater extent than in most mysteries, even those who obviously had nothing to do with the death. Really liked, will read more by this author, aka Taffy Cannon for other series.

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
1:17 am
2016 reading, February

The Other David – Carolyn Coker 2/29/16, published 1984. Andrea Perkins, a restorer of paintings at the Galleria dell' Accademia in Florence, is given a very old dirty painting by an elderly priest, who said it had been in his family for a very long time, he was the only one left, and it belonged with the other one. She didn't understand him very well – he kept lapsing into dialect. I don't understand why she didn't get his name, except it turns out not to matter. When she cleaned it, she thought it possible that it was a Michelangelo, who painted very little on canvas. She gets her boss to borrow a computer capable of analyzing much more than I thought a computer could analyze, but it's borrowed from a museum funded by an unscrupulous businessman/predator, and she's his prey. Major complications; liked the writing & plotting.

Between the Woods and the Water – Patrick Leigh Fermor 2/28/16 #2 in this travelogue, this one starts exactly where #1 ended – on the bridge over the Danube between Slovakia and Hungary. Patrick was amazingly fortunate in the introductions he received, passing him on like a parcel. Hungary > Transylvania in what was then Rumania, way away from the Danube, with deep looks into the ethnic history. I had no idea that so many areas were Lutheran or Uniats, thinking either Roman Catholic or Orthodox, but that's not important to the book.

Death of the Last Villista – Allana Martin 2/25/16 Texana Jones #5 A video company comes to Texana's Trading Post to shoot a documentary for the 40th anniversary of a movie about Pancho Villa. Only two of the stars are still living: Rosalinda Pray and Dane Anthony, who is suffering from post-polio syndrome. Texana had received an anonymous warning made from cut-out letters before their arrival, saying, keep the movie people away, or what will happen will be on you. The film's original advisor had been 9 or 10 when semi-drafted into Villa' revolutionaries 44 years earlier and was murdered 3 days before the end of filming. Texana can't keep from trying to find out who killed him even at this late date; there are too many links to the present.

Death of a Myth Maker – Allana Martin 2/24/16 Texana Jones #4 In Mexico, a myth maker is a polite term for a liar, per Martin. This myth maker is a serial con man, defrauding his wealthy wives then divorcing them, plus other victims. Julian Row met one of the seven rich Riley sisters, wooed and married her before the others found out. He turned out to have caused the death of a young wife of a Vietnam soldier/painter and their three children 40 years earlier; the soldier never got over it when he returned home, marrying later but painting nothing else, & the current wife got tired of it and took a lover, a married deputy sheriff and told her husband. A photographer is shot right in front of Texana's Trading Post during a (blessed) thunderstorm (drought); the new sheriff thinks he squealed or threatened to that Texana and/or her husband Clay – the county veterinarian - are drug dealers – NOT – because of all the trans-Rio Grande business they do, and Clay does have MEDICATIONS for his patients. The river is wadeable where they are because of all the upriver irrigation plus the drought, so mules do come across there, but not to do with the Joneses. Many more complications.

Death of an Evangelista – Allana Martin 2/23/16 Texana Jones #3 In northern Mexico/southwest Texas an evangelista can be any Protestant trying to make converts, or the little replicas of an injured part of the body now cured by the help of a saint. Texana's county has been invaded by a Protestant but non-denominational woman preaching, and buying saints' images, crucifixes, what have you that terribly poor people have stolen from their churches. The local major landowner's granddaughter has become one of her followers, to the great anger of her very lapsed Catholic grandfather. The evangelista is murdered after Texana goes across the river, finds a dead German in a taxi, is arrested for his murder but is released after she namedrops a local very rich man who has Connections. The taxi driver is kept for the murder; his cousin, whom Texana has known all their lives, refuses to believe she didn't betray the taxi driver and stirs up a division in their village of 125 people (north of the river – more south.) And then it gets complicated. Enjoyed, but unnerving for this tourist.

Nightmare in Burgundy – Jean-Pierre Alaux et Noel Balen 2/22/16 While on a tasting mission for his next Guide, Cooker is distracted by graffiti texts in Latin from the Old Testament (which les flics don't recognize – I'm shocked! I did.) and the murder of what is presumably a pair of perps. APG, this is for you.

Grand Cru Heist – Jean-Pierre Alaux et Noel Balen 2/21/16 Benjamin Cooker #2. His car is hijacked, he is concussed, his briefcase & precious notebook are stolen. He goes elsewhere to recuperate for a month and meets an Englishman who is amazingly knowledgeable for his youth, but something is Not Right. Elsewhere in France, several chateax are burgled; only very valuable wines are stolen. Connection? Air Pilot Grant, you might enjoy these more than I did, with your interest in wines.

False Premises – Leslie Caine 2/20/16 Domestic Bliss #2 Interior designer Erin Gilbert's client Laura has just been murdered after a life of fraud. She had Erin furnish her boyfriend's big house with over $100K of antiques, then replaced each one with a severely lacking copy. Her body is found in a burning storage unit where the good stuff had been stowed. Erin is devastated, having been thoroughly tricked, but feels that Laura deserves justice even so. Lots of suspects: one of Laura's blackmail victims, one of Erin's competitors, the man who had been stalking Erin & seemed to know Laura, Laura's boyfriend, his ex-wife, et cetera. Pretty good!

The Soul of the North: a Social, Architectural and Cultural History of the Nordic Countries, 1700 -1940 – Neil Kent 2/15/16
Too much about church history, the family and shortcomings, & the Arctic for me, but I found the sections on tropical colonies interesting/horrifying. I hadn't known the Danes and Swedes ran their own slave ships from their African colonies to their East and West Indies colonies, and that they had colonies in China and India.

How to Wash a Cat – Rebecca M. Hale 2/10/16 Niece (unnamed) inherits Uncle Oscar's antique shop in San Francisco. Nosy busybody neighbor across the street spreads word that she will open her own accounting firm there, but she hadn't decided that yet. Her firm fires her based on that gossip; she has to live on Oscar's money until things pick up. Oscar had been a maven of the gold rush period in SF and immediately prior; niece has to figure out what treasure someone else thinks he had found before she too is killed for it. The two white cats Oscar gave her are invaluable aides

Nine Lives Live Forever – Rebecca M. Hale 2/11/16 There is a plague of frogs at the SF city hall. The cats help find a) where they get in, and b) where they go. The enemy still thinks Oscar's niece and friends know where gold bullion is to be found, but it was spent in covering the dome. How to convince him? Still not solved at the end of this book, but there are several more.

Lending a Paw – Laurie Cass 2/8/16 Stan Larrabee, a rich real estate developer (local boy made good elsewhere) gave a bookmobile to his town library, shortcutting the financial objections of the director. Minnie (Minerva – what were her parents thinking?) Hamilton is associate director and drives the bookmobile. Her adoptee cat smuggles himself on, making friends and himself indispensable to the children en route. Minnie is afraid the director will fire her – suits for allergy/traumatization of allurophobes/whatever. At the next-to-last stop, cat gets out and finds Stan nearly dead, making Minnie late getting back to base after the police delay > director upset about late, doesn't give a chance for the why, & walks away, leaving him uninformed, a cardinal sin to him. Stan left most of his money to the library, none to his 6 sisters or their children who will contest. Director nearly prostrate with stress of upcoming legal battle > Minnie has to solve without his knowledge.

Guns and Roses – Taffy Cannon 2/6/16 Virginia tour with nasty pranks which have to be by one of its members. Great showing of interaction of members. Monica, Barbara, Dave Dunwoody from San Diego, Barbara's aunt Mignon from Atlanta – very Southern Lady, very uncouth Flanagans from St Louis who won lottery and his mother, Heather and her grandmother Esther Tichener, Blanche Weddington and her husband – Blanche's ankle was broken by one prank and they are gone by end of day 2; Larry and Josie Vanguard are newlyweds, Larry is a former bigamist and possibly current con man, she a wealthy (former) widow . Roxanne Prescott is the tour leader and niece of the tour company's owner, who is currently home in bed with chicken pox at age 50-plus and going nuts with boredom and itching. Roxanne is a former Austin, TX policewoman, fortunately very capable in preserving evidence and noticing things. Tour ends in Williamsburg – Heather at age 11 is very into history, grandmother Esther has made her several costumes of the period to go with her American Girl doll Felicity. Felicity is kidnapped, another member is murdered. Pretty good.

The Chessman – Dolores Gordon-Smith 2/4/16 Jack Haldean #9 Between WWI and WWII, Simon Varden, drug addict, his father Sir Matthew (nasty piece of work), cousin Alan Leigh also drug addict after very bad wounds/PTSD. Sir Matthew has stock in a gold mine and pressures Alan to sign over his equal share for a pittance or no drug when he's going through withdrawal. Adeline, Lady Varden, is his second wife and mother of Simon, and never treated Thomas, son of the first wife, well. Tom is a film producer in Hollywood. Sir Matthew dies of a stroke, making Tom Sir Thomas and Adeline Dowager. She doesn't really mind the Dowager part, just that Simon isn't Sir Simon (who doesn't care.) Edward (Ned) Castradon is a neighbor and the son of the partner of Sir Matthew and Alan Leigh's father in the gold mine, which was set up with tontine ownership – last survivor gets it all. Someone tries to frame Ned as the murderer of the body found in the church vestry, identity unknown. A chess man is found with each body; Ned plays. Very complicated, enjoyed.

Being Miss America – Kate Shindle (1998) 2/3/16 Economically shot, ethically challenged central organization – state and local much less so. Suggestions on how to fix.

Shunned and Dangerous – Laura Bradford 2/3/16 An Amish Mystery #3 Claire has a crafts store in an Amish/English village in Pennsylvania. She has Esther, a 19-year-old Amish woman as assistant. Esther is in love with Eli and he with her, but he is on probation by the community for his incompletely controlled temper, which has gotten him into trouble in the past. Claire's store is not making it financially, not having enough big-ticket items made by her Amish neighbors, but she hasn't told Esther or anyone else. Eli gets approval from Esther's father, proposes, and is of course accepted. It's late October, Esther's grandfather Mose has a corn maze – Claire is good at mazes. Esther tells her there is another more difficult maze, and Claire finds the body of Harley, with whom Mose has been venting anger for years – Harley is the only person in the community who refused to shun Mose's son Jakob, who left the community to become a policeman after his baptism to find the murderer of Harley's brother John. Harley kept talking up Jakob to Mose, saying what a good man Jakob is, infuriating Mose, for which Mose was shunned for a while. Jakob is in great anguish, trying to find another suspect than his father.

A Fete Worse Than Death – Claudia Bishop 2/2/16 Yes, this title has been used before. Inn at Hemlock Falls #16 Quill's husband is off on a mission for at least a month, so she, their 4.5 year-old son Jack, and his nanny/former head housekeeper at the Inn move back. The Autumn Fete will be in 2 weeks; Quill is on 3 committees and doesn't want to be on any. Carol Ann, an officious busybody, accuses Adela, the mayor's wife and chairman of the fete for 30 years, of stealing the funds already paid – over 100K, they get in a screaming match, Elmer the mayor accidentally hits Adela with his gavel, Adela quits and starts to file for divorce, locking Elmer out of their house. Brady Beale, a car dealer in the next town, is the stalking horse for a committee to get the Fete moved there so they get more of the tourist dollars. Elmer hires Linda Connolly, an expensive professional organizer, to run the fete; she antagonizes half the town in two days. Day 3: after a meeting organized by Carol Ann at Brady's dealership, Linda's body is found in the trunk of her car among other cars-to-be-sold. Whew! Another murder, federal investigations thereof sub rosa, Adela back in charge and the divorce off, and the home-made pie competition cancelled – the judge-who-quit threw some hot dogs under the tables and let loose the puppies from the Man's Best Friend competition, getting Quill out from having to judge the pies – Carol Ann was a competitor and accused another woman of store-bought crust. But I'm not telling whodunnit.

The Gentle Art of Murder – Jeanne M. Dams 2/2/16 Dorothy Martin & her husband Alan Nesbitt, Sherebury Chief Constable (retired), go to the local Art College to support a sculptor/new student teacher there. Gillian takes them around the very poorly designed building, up to the fourth floor, but Dorothy, having had both knees replaced, doesn't go down stairs easily, ergo elevator. It goes out of order with half a floor to go, Dorothy has a claustrophobia attack, and the firemen rescue them. Bad smell in the shaft --- the body of the head of the Fine Arts Dept, last seen at a meeting 6 weeks earlier & supposedly in Greece, found crushed in the elevator springs. Very hard to determine how he died, even with Alan's experience & an autopsy, a chisel in his back, but not a lot of blood. Then another professor, a print maker, goes missing and the prints in his studio trashed – a murder of his art. Then Gillian gets threatening phone calls and comes to live with Dorothy & Alan; it gets even more threatening. ENJOYED.

Dead Cat Bounce - Sarah Graves 2/2/16 Threnody is found dead in Jacobia Tiptree's storage room (with its own door to outside) with an ice pick in his forehead, her neighbor Ellie says she did it, no one believes her – obviously protecting someone, but the police have to charge her anyway because confession. Real suspects: Threnody's 6th or 7th wife Nina, his 2 grown  daughters, Ellie's parents Alvin & Hedda. Alvin & Thren were childhood > high school best friends, Hedda high school bombshell. Threnody went to NYC from Eastport, Maine to make good and became financier to the mob, Hedda chased him and became a dancer, Alvin stayed in Maine to run his family's lumberyard. Hedda had both legs broken by thugs to make her return home unable to dance, she married Alvin for her convenience though he loved her. Thren had one biological, one adopted daughter and treated both like dirt. Jacobia was a financial advisor who insisted to clients that she did not want to know where the money she invested for them came from so she couldn't testify against them. She had also been married to a brilliant NYC neurosurgeon with an ego the size of Manhattan, now divorced for at least 5 years; they have a now-16-year-old son. All of this is important, and Jacobia solves it with help from the island former game warden who loves Ellie.

A Simple Suburban Murder – Mark Richard Zubro 2/2/16 Tom Mason #1, published 1989.
A south suburban Chicago ex-Marine high school English teacher finds the body of one of the math teachers in his classroom. The math teacher, Jim Evans, was an evil man, screwing some of his female students for improved grades. He also often beat his two sons, one of them running away to hustle the day after the murder. Tom and his major league pitcher lover solve everything.

Tilt A Whirl – Chris Grabenstein 2/1/16 Police procedural with rookie as narrator. Hero is former US MP who opted out after Iraq, now in Jersey shore resort town where nothing is supposed to be allowed to unnerve the tourists. Multibillionaire murdered at kiddie fun ride with his 12-year-old daughter, supposedly by a drugged-out hippie/pusher. Not. Well written, will read more of the series – this is #1.

Dead in the Morning – Margaret Yorke 2/1/16 Housekeeper eats a dessert intended for her mistress Mrs. Ludlow and turns up dead. All of Mrs. Ludlow's children and both grandsons had reason to wish her dead, one son and daughter-in-law had reason for the housekeeper's death. Dr. (professor) Patrick Grant has one grandson in his college at Oxford and solves everything. Mildy funny.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
4:12 pm
I'm having the weirdest day - between being at church this AM for a meeting, then assorted ads for the SuperBowl (which I have no intention of watching even if a former Bear is the coach. which /might/ make me change my mind)( I know the advertising is more entertaining than usual, but I really don't want to see guys getting concussions, having had one last summer,) I keep thinking today is Sunday. And I have a Folkstage concert tonight that I don't want to miss by thinking it was yesterday. But I do know I haven't heard it yet, so that should help. Must Leave here in 75 minutes.
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