Friday, December 24, 2021

Friday, December 10, 2021

Book Beginnings: London Bridge Is Falling Down


by Christopher Fowler
December 2021


Opening Sentence
May in Regent's Park could put a spring in the step of a corpse. 


About the Book
When ninety-one-year-old Amelia Hoffman dies in her top-floor flat on a busy London road, it’s considered an example of what has gone wrong with modern society: she slipped through the cracks in a failing system.

But detectives Arthur Bryant and John May of the Peculiar Crimes Unit have their doubts. Mrs. Hoffman was once a government security expert, though no one can quite remember her. When a link emerges between the old lady and a diplomat trying to flee the country, it seems that an impossible murder has been committed.
 
Mrs. Hoffman wasn’t the only one at risk. Bryant is convinced that other forgotten women with hidden talents are also in danger. And, curiously, they all own models of London Bridge.
 
With the help of some of their more certifiable informants, the detectives follow the strangest of clues in an investigation that will lead them through forgotten alleyways to the city’s oldest bridge in search of a desperate killer.
 
But just when the case appears to be solved, they discover that Mrs. Hoffman was smarter than anyone imagined. There’s a bigger game afoot that could have terrible consequences. (Publisher's description)

 

Initial Thoughts

Well, my first thought was that this could be my last book for 2021. I have a couple of others I'm trying to finish up, and I'm not sure I'll be able to fit one more into the mix. But if I can, this would be a good choice to end the year with. 

My second thought was something about the creepiness of a corpse walking. With or without that spring in the step.

London Bridge Is Falling Down is number 18 in Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series, featuring the delightful investigative team of Arthur Bryant and John May. I read number 17 in the series (Oranges and Lemons) earlier this year; it was my introduction to the books and I loved it. So I'm really hoping this one lives up to my expectations.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!


Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Friday, December 03, 2021

Book Beginnings: Death in a White Tie



by Ngaio Marsh
First published 1938


Opening Lines
'Roderick,' said Lady Alleyn, looking at her son over the top of her spectacles, 'I am coming out.'


About the Book
A body in the back of a taxi begins an elegantly constructed mystery, perhaps the finest of Marsh's 1930s novels. The season had begun. Debutantes and chaperones were planning their luncheons, teas, dinners, balls. And the blackmailer was planning his strategies, stalking his next victim. But Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn knew that something was up. He had already planted his friend Lord Robert Gospell at the scene. But someone else got there first....(Publisher's description)

Initial Thoughts
 
Coming out? Well, all righty. Coming out of what, I wonder. Have to remember — this is 1938. So...?

I've read a bunch of Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn mysteries, over the years. And I tend to skip around rather than reading them in sequence. So I've managed to neglect some of the earlier books and this is one I'm just now getting to. Hoping it's as entertaining as all the others have been.


Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Book Beginnings: The Empty House


by Algernon Blackwood
First published 1906


Opening Lines
Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.


About the Book
Algernon Blackwood, one of the founding fathers of modern ghost and horror stories, inspired generations of writers from H.P. Lovecraft to Shirley Jackson.... Blackwood's 'The Empty House' is one of the most famous haunted house stories in the English language, with its carefully crafted gathering of tension and dread inference of terrors lurking at the end of every corridor, around every corner, through every half-opened door. This edition includes 'A Haunted Island', 'The Wood of the Dead', 'Skeleton Lake' and several other ghoulish tales.(Publisher's description)

Initial Thoughts
 
Well, I love that opening — the first sentence of this book's first story. Fortunately, I don't think I've ever experienced an evil house, but I do believe they probably exist. Do you?

I was looking around for something spooky to read for the Halloween season, and thought I'd give Blackwood a try. I've read the title story in this collection several times over the years, but not much of his other work. Which is a little odd, since I'm such a huge fan of ghost stories, and Blackwood is one of the masters of the genre. 

So far, I'm enjoying the book, although a couple of the stories are not quite as creepy as I expected. Still, I'm definitely turning all the lights on while I'm reading it, so I'd say that's pretty successful spookiness.

I should probably say something about that cover. It's not the cover of the book I'm reading, and I don't really know what edition it is. Just something I found on the internet. But it sort of grabs attention, don't you think?

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

WWW Wednesdays: 8 September 2021


It's Wednesday and that means it's time for WWW Wednesdays! This meme was originally hosted by MizB over at A Daily Rhythm, and then revived by Sam Stevens of Taking on a World of Words. Just three questions, once a week: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?


1. Currently reading?

by Nicholas Meyer
(coming in November, from Minotaur Books)


(Quilting Mystery #9)
by Mary Marks


2. Recently finished?

(Maggie Hope Mystery #10)
by Susan Elia MacNeal

(Dorothy Martin Mysteries #5)
by Jeanne M. Dams


3. What's next?

Really too many to choose from, but most likely....

(Pendergast series #20)
by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child


Or maybe something completely different!

Anyway, happy reading, everyone! And have a great Wednesday.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Reading Report: Jerusalem Inn

Jerusalem Inn
(A Richard Jury Mystery)
Written by Martha Grimes

First published 1984

Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Richard Jury is spending a dreary Christmas in Newcastle when he unexpectedly meets an interesting woman in a snow-covered graveyard. Helen Minton is beautiful, unhappy and mysterious, and Jury thinks she could easily brighten up his sagging holiday spirits. Unfortunately, the next time he sees her, she’s been murdered. 

Meanwhile, Melrose Plant, Jury's aristocratic sidekick and unofficial assistant, isn't faring much better. Snowbound at a stately mansion owned by critic Charles Sealingham and his wife Grace, Plant mixes with a group of artists and idle aristocrats. There he encounters another lovely lady, romance writer Beatrice Sleight. But shortly afterward he stumbles over her corpse in the snow. She’s been shot while wearing a distinctive ermine cloak belonging to her hostess, Grace Sealingham.

Seeking clues in Helen’s murder, Jury eventually arrives at the mansion, discovers Plant, and the two friends team up for the rest of the investigation. Both murders seem to be linked to a remote country pub – Jerusalem Inn –where the game of snooker, a Nativity scene, some fairly complicated family histories, and an old secret will all play their parts in helping Jury uncover a killer and solve a murder that has come to feel much too personal. 

I’ve heard so much praise for Martha Grimes’s series of Richard Jury novels, I was really expecting to enjoy this one more than I did. It’s number five in the series, but the first one I’ve read and I think I definitely would have benefited from reading at least a couple of the earlier novels first. I was a little lost at first – and while I liked the parts of the book that concentrated on Jury and his investigations, I had a hard time warming up to Melrose Plant and his ditzy Aunt Agatha and all their madcap friends and relations. 

At first, the “Jury” part of the book (which I liked) and the “Melrose” part (which I didn’t, much) really seemed like two completely different tales, one having nothing to do with the other. After they finally came together and I understood what was going on and how they matched up, I warmed to the story and characters a little more and actually enjoyed the last third or so quite a lot. But there’s a lot of needless “drawing room” chatter and more info than I really needed about the game of snooker. It diverts attention away from the mystery and sort of bored me. So, just an "OK" read and not one of my favorites of the year, but it certainly hasn’t put me off the idea of sampling more from the series. 

Rating: ✭✭½

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Qualifies for the following reading challenges:

2021 Category Challenge at LibraryThing
2021 Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge
2021 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Reading Report: 1066 and All That

1066 and All That
Written by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman
Illustrated by John Reynolds

First published 1930

This classic satire on textbook history was first published in 1930, in Britain's comic journal Punch, and it's laugh-out-loud inspired British silliness. I've had it on my TBR pile for decades now, and finally pulled it out to read this year back in January. Why ever did I wait so long? I really loved it and it's one of those books I'm sure I'll read again. A lot of it reminded me just a bit of those crazy monologues Ronnie Corbett used to do on The Two Ronnies TV show.

A few very random samples:
"Canute had two sons, Halfacanute and Partacanute, and two other offspring, Rathacanute and Hardlicanute, whom, however, he would never acknowledge, denying to the last that he was their Fathacanute."

"Robin Hood was a miraculous shot with the longbow and it is said that he could split a hare at 400 paces and a Sheriff at 800."

"There was also in Queen Victoria's reign a famous inventor and poet called Oscar Wilde who wrote very well but behaved rather beardsley; he made himself memorable by inventing Art, Asceticism, etc., and was the leader of a set of disgusting old gentlemen called 'the naughty nineties.' "

The book even includes several helpful "test papers" at regular intervals, with such pithy questions as:

What would have happened if (a) Boadicea had been the daughter of Edward the Confessor? (b) Canute had succeeded in sitting on the waves? Does it matter?

Have you the faintest recollection of
(1) Ethelbreth?
(2) Athelthral?
(3) Thruthelthrolth?
What have you the faintest recollection of?

Did anybody say "I know that no one can save this country and that nobody else can"? If not, who did say it?

What is a Plantagenet? Do you agree?

The book's subtitle (in part) states that it's "A Memorable History of England, comprising all the parts you can remember...." And that's probably very true. It's certainly one of the funniest histories you'll ever read. 

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

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Qualifies for the following reading challenges:




Reading Report: Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Nemesis (A Miss Marple Mystery)
by Agatha Christie

First published 1971

It's been quite a while since I posted any reviews here on the blog. I've been reading, and posting reviews in other places, but for some reason I've been neglecting the blog. So I thought I might start trying to do a little catch-up work and just say a few words about some of the books I've read during the first half of this year.

And I suppose a good place to start would be at the beginning, with the first book I read back in January. 

In this next-to-last Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie, Jane Marple receives a posthumous request from recently-deceased millionaire Jason Rafiel to investigate a mystery. If she accepts the job and solves the mystery, she'll receive a legacy of £20,000. She's met Rafiel before — they worked together on an earlier mystery (which you can read about in Christie's A Caribbean Mystery, from 1964), so she knows he's eccentric but reliable.

Problem is, Mr. Rafiel doesn't leave any information about the mystery — no clues, no suspect or suspects, no advice about where to start. All she knows is that he wants her to go on a coach tour of English gardens and country houses, which he has arranged and paid for. Now in her eighties, Miss Marple is a bit reluctant at first, but ultimately can't resist the intriguing challenge.

This was a fun read and a good book to start the year with. And though it's hard to improve on Agatha Christie, I think this would have been an even better read (maybe even 5 out of 5 stars) if there hadn't been so much repetition throughout the book. It seemed like every few pages, we'd get another summary of the story so far, or  recap of the assignment Miss Marple was working on. That got very tedious very quickly. But any Miss Marple is better than no Miss Marple, and I'm very sad to realize that I've almost finished the series! (Well, finished with the novels, anyway.) Guess I'll have to start over from the beginning.

Rating: ✭✭✭✭
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Qualifies for the following reading challenges:



Friday, July 02, 2021

Book Beginnings: Smilla's Sense of Snow

by Peter HΓΈeg
First published 1992


Opening Lines
It’s freezing — an extraordinary 0° Fahrenheit — and it’s snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik — big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost.


About the Book
Smilla Jesperson, who lives in a world of numbers, science and memories, is a stranger in a strange land.  And now Smilla is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime...
It happened in the Copenhagen snow.  A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building.  While the boy's body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident.  But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn't fall from the roof on his own.  Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow.  For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice. (Pubisher's description)

Initial Thoughts
 
I've had this one on my TBR list ever since I first heard about it back in the '90s. It caused quite a sensation when it was originally published, and became an international best-seller. Sorry it took me so long to get to it, because I'm really enjoying it so far. And even though I'm not a cold weather lover, it's been sort of comforting to read about all that ice and snow in this triple-digit heat we've been having lately. Snow is so lovely...if I don't have to be out in it.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Friday, June 04, 2021

Book Beginnings: A Body at the Tea Rooms

by Dee MacDonald
May 2021


Opening Lines
No matter how great a holiday was, it was always good to come home, Kate thought, as she got her first glimpse of the wild Cornish Atlantic coast again at close quarters. It was January and the sea was grey and surly, in contrast to the blue of the Pacific which they’d left behind.


About the Book
In this third book in the Kate Palmer cozy mystery series, Kate has another mystery to solve when a body is discovered in the cellar of the new tea rooms her sister Angie is renovating.
If the village gossip is to be believed, the unfortunate dead man was connected to the wealthy Hedgefield family. Kate is reluctant to get caught up in the investigation but a curious card in the victim’s jacket pocket sparks her interest. Not to mention the worrisome rumor that Angie is somehow involved! 
Keen to clear her sister’s name so she can finally eat cake in the charming tea rooms, Kate teams up with handsome retired Detective ‘Woody’ Forrest to untangle the baffling case. 

Initial Thoughts
 
One of the books I read last month — this was my introduction to the Kate Palmer mysteries, and I enjoyed it even more than I expected to. And now I want to go back and read the earlier books in the series, which means more books added to the already-ridiculously-huge TBR list! But I love that, don't you?

Have a good weekend, everyone.
And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Monday, May 31, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Wow, this month has gone by really fast! Hard to believe the year is almost half over. Hope everyone is having a lovely spring (if it is spring where you are). 

I think time is moving a little faster for me because we’ve been a little more active this month. Now that the hubby and I are fully vaccinated, we’ve been venturing out a bit and trying to recover some of that “normal” life we can just barely remember. Haven’t been to a restaurant or theater yet, but we’ve been doing a little more "real world" shopping instead of ordering everything online. Actually, what we’ve mainly been doing is spending lots of time in doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Somehow we’ve managed to get most of our annual checkups and screenings scheduled in April and May — so that’s been taking up a lot of our time. Not exactly FUN, but at least it’s been getting us out of lockdown. 

We have been doing a little gardening, though — and that definitely is fun. Well, it’s fun for me because I mostly just pick out the plants at our local nurseries, and then the hubby does all the planting and upkeep. But he enjoys it and I like watching everything bloom. So, win-win. 

And even though time seems to be slipping away from me, I did manage to read a few books in May. Last week I finished several I've had going...

(A Kate Palmer Mystery),
by Dee MacDonald

by Camilla Sten

by Nicola Lisle

This week, I'll be continuing with one of the ARCs I'm trying to finish up...

by Nekesa Afia


I've also been reading Jane Eyre this year, off and on, and I'm hoping to finish that this week as well.

Up next...

(Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes #17), 
by Laurie R. King


Happy reading, everyone!
Happy Memorial Day, if you're in the US.
And have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs. 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

 


Once again, it's been a while since I posted a reading update. But I have been doing a bit of reading lately, even though I haven't been doing much blogging. In the last few weeks I've finished these...

(Chief Inspector Barnaby #5),
by Caroline Graham

(Harbinder Kaur #2),
by Elly Griffiths



(Charles Lenox Mysteries #11),
by Charles Finch

A couple of classic Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene:

The Clue of the Tapping Heels (#16)

and...

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall (#22)


As well as...

by Angela Youngman


I also read a few children's books, and (best of all!), a memoir written by my hubby:

by Michael L. Hall

Actually, I've read that last one many times by now, since I helped copyedit and proofread it. 

For this week, I'll be reading a new cozy mystery:

(Kate Palmer #3),
by Dee MacDonald

And I've got a few ARCs I should try to get started on, too. So, back to the books!

Happy reading, everyone! And have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs. 


Friday, April 23, 2021

Book Beginnings: The Postscript Murders

The Postscript Murders
by Elly Griffiths
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021


Opening Lines
Prologue

The two men have been standing there for eighteen minutes. Peggy has been timing them on her stopwatch.


About the Book
The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in the account of Peggy Smith's death given by the woman's carer, Natalka.
But then Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her. And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant' who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to. 
Then, after a masked gunman shows up in Peggy's apartment while Natalka is clearing it out, DS Harbinder Kaur begins to think maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

Initial Thoughts
 
I read The Stranger Diaries — the first book in Elly Griffith's Harbinder Kaur series — a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was very glad to find that she's written a second one. And so far, I'm enjoying this one even more. Lots of twists and turns, and some wonderfully quirky and appealing characters. Hoping to finish it up and maybe even get a review written (imagine that!) in the next day or two. 

Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Monday, April 05, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Wow, it's been quite a while since I posted my last Monday reading update — sometime in January, I think. And that's mostly because I just haven't been doing much reading this year. Too many things going on and claiming my attention and taking up the time I'd ordinarily spend on reading. But I'm trying to change that and get back to the books now that I've got most of that other "stuff" attended to. I usually get quite a lot of reading done during the spring, so things might be looking up.

So far in 2021 I've only managed to finish eleven books. And several of those were children's books, which means I've been doing even less reading than it seems. 

Of all the books I've read this year, I think I enjoyed Christopher Fowler's Oranges and Lemons the most. 


It's the 17th book in Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery series, but it was my introduction to the books. I'll definitely be reading more of the series in the future.

At the moment, I'm trying to finish two ARCs I should have read back in February or March: The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths; and The Lost Village, by Camilla Sten. 




Looking forward to both of those, and they should keep me busy for a while. Now I'm off to see what ya'll are all reading this week. 

Happy reading, everyone! And have a great week!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs. 

  

Friday, March 12, 2021

Book Beginnings: A Guilty Thing Surprised


First published 1970


Opening Sentence
When Quentin Nightingale left home for London each morning his wife was always still asleep.


About the Book
The discovery of Elizabeth Nightingale's broken body in the woods near her home could not have come as a bigger shock. Called in to investigate, Chief Inspector Wexford quickly determines that the Nightingales were considered the perfect couple - wealthy, attractive and without an enemy in the world.
However, someone must have been alone with Elizabeth that night in the woods. Someone who hated - or perhaps loved - her enough to beat her to death.
The case seems straightforward. But Wexford soon learns that beneath the placid surface of the Nightingales' lives lie undercurrents and secrets no one ever suspected(Description from GoodReads)

Initial Thoughts
 
Well, for many years I would go off to work, leaving my husband either still asleep or just waking up. And I must admit, there were times when I thought I might actually feel perfectly justified in bonking him on the head as I was hurrying out the door. I got over it, but maybe Mrs. Nightingale's hubby just got pushed over the edge?

This is Ruth Rendell's 5th Inspector Wexford mystery, and it's the first one of the series I've read since sometime back in the 1990s, I believe. I read several of them back then, but finally stopped because Rendell's characters are always so completely awful. (With the exception of Wexford himself, of course.) Believable and well developed, but definitely NOT types you'd want to spend a lot of time with. However, I'm really enjoying this book, so maybe I'm finally ready to continue with the series.

Oh, and these days I'm never the first one out of bed.


Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Book Beginnings: Oranges and Lemons

by Christopher Fowler
Random House Ballantine / Bantam, 2021


Opening Lines

Chapter 1: Old White Males
‘Everything I tell you is a lie.’


About the Book
On a spring morning in London's Strand, the Speaker of the House of Commons is accidentally killed by a van unloading oranges and lemons for the annual St. Clement Danes festival. It's an absurd way to die, but the government is more interested in investigating the Speaker's state of mind just prior to his accident.
The task is given to the Peculiar Crimes Unit—the only problem being that the unit no longer exists. Its Chief, Raymond Land, is tending his daffodils on the Isle of Wight and senior detectives Arthur Bryant and John May are out of commission; May is undergoing surgery for a bullet wound and Bryant has been missing for a month. What's more, the old unit in King's Cross is being turned into a vegetarian tapas bar.
Against impossible odds, the team is reassembled and once again what should have been a simple case becomes a lunatic farrago involving arson, suicide, magicians, academics and a race to catch a killer with a master plan involving London churches. (Description from GoodReads)

Initial Thoughts
 
Yet again, I'm starting a long-running series without reading even one of the earlier books. Even though I've actually got a copy of the first book in the series. Dumb, right? But this one sounded so good, I just couldn't resist requesting it when I saw it at NetGalley. I was thrilled to get it. (I'm always thrilled whenever someone gives me a book!) I'm a little late in getting it read, but so far, I'm loving it. Can't wait to finish it so I can start reading the series from the very beginning. Don't you love when that happens?


Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Back to the Classics Challenge 2021

Click HERE for guidelines and sign-ups.

Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2021


The goal of this challenge is (pretty obviously): read classic literature. To qualify for the challenge, a book must have been published at least 50 years ago (so, no later than 1971). There are twelve categories for the challenge, and three different levels for reading (you can read books from six, nine, or all twelve categories). See the challenge announcement page for more info. 

I will probably go for the first level ("complete six categories"). I don't yet have a set list of books I might want to read, but I never managed to finish Jane Eyre last year, so I should probably lead off with that. I've started it several times over a period of about forty years! It would be nice to actually finish it at last. 

I'm very late signing up for this — the deadline for sign-ups is March 31. I actually thought I'd already signed up. Yeah, the brain is getting softer all the time. Anyway, during the year I'll be tracking my progress and keeping all my reading lists over on my challenge blog (HERE). 


Friday, January 29, 2021

Book Beginnings: Jerusalem Inn

by Martha Grimes
First published 1984


Opening Lines

A meeting in a graveyard. That was how it would always come back to him, and without any sense of irony at all — that a meeting in a graveyard did not foreshadow the permanence he was after.


About the Book
A white Christmas couldn't make Newcastle any less dreary for Scotland Yard's Superintendent Richard Jury—until he met a beautiful woman in a snow-covered graveyard. Sensual, warm, and a bit mysterious, she could have put some life into his sagging holiday spirit. But the next time Jury saw her, she was cold—and dead. 
Melrose Plant, Jury's aristocratic sidekick, wasn't faring much better. Snow-bound at a stately mansion with a group of artists, critics, and idle-but-titled rich, he, too, encountered a lovely lady . . . or rather, stumbled over her corpse. What linked these two yuletide murders was a remote country pub where snooker, a Nativity scene, and an old secret would uncover a killer . . . or yet another death. (Description from GoodReads)

Initial Thoughts
 
OK, anything that starts with a meeting in a graveyard is definitely gonna grab my interest. I've been wanting to read one of the Richard Jury mysteries for years now, and found this one when I was looking for a book to read for the Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge. It has a word starting with "J" in the title, so it's perfect for a January read. Actually though, it'll work for a number of the challenges I've got myself involved in this year. 

Once again, I've jumped into the middle of a long-running series, but so far I'm enjoying it and don't feel too lost. (Well, maybe just a little.) Hoping to finish it tonight.


Have a good weekend, everyone.
Stay safe. Stay calm. And happy reading!



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.