Murder in the Afternoon

Murder in the Afternoon, by Frances Brody, is a quaint English countryside mystery teeming with sexism and classicism. Kate Shackleton is asked by her birth sister to come investigate her husbands disappearance. Immediately, Kate butts up against the local police who cannot understand how a woman could help them. Kate also must deal with that perception from her father and boyfriend, even though her instincts and her decisions further the investigation more than anything else.

Overall, an easy fun read.

Read December 2018


Silver Girl

Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl is a fictional account based on the Bernie Madoff’s fleecing of his investors. In this world, Freddy Delinn plays the evil mastermind, but it’s his wife that the story centers around. Meredith Delinn hides from the public after her husbands arrest and seemingly knows nothing about any of her husband’s financial schemes. After loosing everything and about to be kicked out of her home, she begs her childhood friend to let her stay with her. Connie Flute, a widow, has know Meredith her entire life, but after  a falling out, they haven’t spoken in years. Connie agrees to allow Meredith to stay with her on Nantucket for the summer.

To Meredith is seems the whole world lost money on her husbands investment and she isn’t allowed to talk to her sons until they’ve all been cleared of wrongdoing. She and Connie work to rebuild their own relationship as Meredith is attacked from outside as a conspirator of her husband. Trying to lie low is harder than it seems, and Hilderbrand shows the anguish that Meredith is suffering at the loss of what was her whole world. Connie, while trying to help her friend, also suffers after the loss of her husband 2 1/2 years ago. Both woman need to find a way forward on their own, but aren’t yet sure if they can trust one another.

A great, emotional story of loss and friendship. And this novel has, like so many others, a friend who loves to cook wonderful meals without any help or resentment. I don’t know why so many novels have this “friend” in them, but I sure would want to go on vacation with someone like that!

Read April 2017

How to be a Woman

How to be a Woman is part memoir and part feminist educational material. Caitlan Moran is a British journalist and she uses this memoir to explore her relationship with her own womanhood and help define feminism for woman who may be uncomfortable with that term. She sums it up basically saying if you have a vagina and want to  be in charge of it, you’re a feminist! I can’t disagree but was surprised that it took this comedic look at feminism to admit that they were feminists. A little disappointing in some friends, but at least they learned.

Anyway, this was a funny look at all things woman: from waxing, periods, pregnancy, how society views women, aging, and so much more.

I was amused throughout the book and thought Moran’s personal history was worthy of a book by itself. Her relationship with her sister cracked me up!

Great read!!

Read February 2017

The Lost Girls of Rome

Donato Carrisi’s The Lost Girls of Rome tells the story of a secret Vatican investigative department that uses questionable techniques and highly trained priests to uncover evil in the world. Someone is arranging crimes to allow victims to have either vengeance or justice, depending on what they need.

A forensic investigator helps uncover these mysteries while investigating her husband’s mysterious death. Through secret codes, her husband’s final pictures leave clues that Sandra can follow.

There’s a bit tangled together in this novel, but Carrisi lays everything out for the reader to follow. The crimes and investigations travel the world, but mostly stick to the streets of Rome.

Well told mystery.
Read January 2017

The Cold Song

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song tells the story of a family unravelling. Siri, a well known chef; John, a novelist with writer’s block; Jenny, Siri’s mother; young kids in the house and neighborhood; and the nanny. The stories of the characters intertwine and change from blaming themselves to blaming each other. What happens to an already disruptive family when the nanny, a beautiful young woman, ends up missing after a birthday party for Jenny. A party Siri plans but no one else wants.

Is it the philandering husband? The jealous wife? The alcoholic grandmother? One of the children? Or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time? The narrative weaves the guilt of each person and their relationships until we finally learn what happened.

This was a slow read for me, but I think the pacing of the book is meant to mimic the coldness in the family. When no one can trust or talk to one another, a frigidness and slowness seeps in.

Read November 2016.

The Dead of Summer

Its been a hectic time here in my life. This and the next couple of books were read slowly, in between lots of homework and crazy schedules. I couldn’t find the time or head space to read very often, so each of the next 3 books were read over weeks, which is unlike me. I blame me, not the novelist.

The Dead of Summer, by Mari Jungstedt is about murders that are well planned and executed for an unknown reason. At first, assistant Karin Jacobsson is given the job to begin the investigation, but her boss, Anders Knutas returns from vacation to take over. There is some resentment, but that doesn’t deter Jacobsson from her investigation. Intermingled with the present day investigation, is the story of a German family who vacationed on the Baltic Sea many years ago.

It isn’t until the motive for the murders is revealed can we understand the reason for the backstory. This was a good mystery with all the clues planted in plain sight, but it isn’t until the final connection is made can we, and Jacobsson, understand what happened.

Read November 2016.

A Trick of the Light

In Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light, we are brought back to Three Pines for Chief Inspector Gamache to solve another crime. This time, after Clara Morrow’s opening of her art show, an old rival is found murdered in her garden. All the town are suspects, along with many members of the Montreal art community that came to Three Pines to celebrate with Clara.

Penny dives into the lives of many artists, dealers, and gallery owners in this novel and shows how long some one can harbor resentment. After the woman is identified, it seems almost everyone who knew her had a motive to kill her. She was a beast of a woman for those who knew her 20 years ago, but a kind, generous woman to those who knew her more recently. Can someone change that dramatically? Was the murder revenge for an old wrong, or maybe one a little newer?

Great read. Great characters. In this novel, Gamache and his sidekick Beauvoir are also dealing with the aftermath of a police raid gone horribly wrong. They continue to deal with this in the next couple of Penny novels, and I should try to get the novel when the raid happens in order to help piece all this together.

Read June 2016.