Category Archives: Mysteries

Whiteout

This week I read Ken Follett’s Whiteout. He writes the most thrilling books, and this one was another stay-up-late-and-finish-the-book read. I didn’t think it was one of his best, but it was exciting and had humorous undertones to a story about a very serious chemical warfare crisis.

from the publisher:

A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Twelve missing samples of a deadly virus. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.

As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people, Toni among them, converge on a remote family house. All have something to gain or lose from the drug developed to fight the virus. As the storm worsens, the emotional sparks – jealousies, distrust, sexual attraction, rivalries – crackle; desperate secrets are revealed; hidden traitors and unexpected heroes emerge.

Although it had all the usual high tension intrigue that I like so much about many of Ken Follett’s books, this one seemed to me to have a bit of slapstick humor alongside the serious action. Nobody’s cell phone would work or was within grabbing distance. The burglary team had all kinds of trouble and things definitely did not work out the way they had planned. All of this, along with the usual thrilling suspense, made it fun to read, and I did indeed stay up really late to finish it.

 

This was another fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge.

 

 

It also another book read for my Holiday Reading this year.

 

Trouble in Nuala

 

I was looking for a new mystery series to become absorbed with and found Trouble in Nuala, the first book in a series by Harriet Steel. The setting is in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) during the 1930s, and I was fascinated to see if it is a series I’d like to follow. I immediately liked the main character and his wife, and enjoyed the glimpses of the culture of Ceylon at that time. The mystery kept me interested, and I thought that the author set everything in motion for an enjoyable series — good main characters that I will enjoy getting to know more about with each book, and good solid mysteries steeped in an interesting culture. I look forward to reading more from this author.

…from the publisher

When Inspector Shanti de Silva moves with his English wife, Jane, to his new post in the sleepy hill town of Nuala, he anticipates a more restful life than police work in the big city entails. However an arrogant plantation owner with a lonely wife, a crusading lawyer, and a death in suspicious circumstances present him with a riddle that he will need all his experience to solve.

Set on the exotic island of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) in the 1930s, Trouble in Nuala is an entertaining and absorbing mystery spiced with humor and a colorful cast of characters.

 

 

This was a fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge.

 

This book also qualifies for my personal challenge:  “Wanderlust” — an effort to read books that are from or take place in each country of the world. This was a book from Sri Lanka.

The House on the Strand

Many years ago, I listened to the audiobook version of The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier. It was narrated by Ron Keith (a favorite narrator of mine!), and I remember really liking it, although I didn’t remember much about the story except that there was time travel in it. So I decided to reread it for my R.I.P.-XIV challenge this fall. Perfect suspense/mystery/good book! Daphne du Maurier’s books are so good.

Short summary from the publisher:

In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present. Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his friend Richard Young and Young’s family to stay at Kilmarth, an ancient house set in the wilds near the Cornish coast. Here, Richard drinks a potion created by Magnus and finds himself at the same spot where he was moments earlier–though it is now the fourteenth century. The effects of the drink wear off after several hours, but it is wildly addictive, and Richard cannot resist traveling back and forth in time…

It was quite an addictive book to read…one of those that you just have to keep reading so you know what happens in the end. I thought du Maurier did a great job of the time travel transitions! I enjoyed it because I do like a good time travel book!

Click here to read a full review of this book on the Daphne du Maurier web page. 

This was another fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge.

September Reflections 2019

Have a told you that I love Septembers? This retired teacher finds particular pleasure in the warm and lovely freedom of Septembers without having to start a school year! I do miss the kiddos, but I am so happy to have time now to read, travel, volunteer and simply enjoy setting my own agenda for each day.

This September was full of books. I’ve been reading books that fit in with a variety of challenges that I either joined or created for myself. Mysteries have been the major focus of the month due to the annual Readers Imbibing Peril challenge, which I love. But I have read a book for my Official TBR Pile challenge, and read a few things that fit with my Embracing Seventy self-challenge, and my Wanderlust self-challenge. So it’s been a productive month as well as an enjoyable one. Here are some lists of books read in September.

Mysteries I read this month for R.I.P.-XIV:

  1. Christmas in Absaroka County, by Craig Johnson
  2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Religious Body, by Catherine Aird
  4. An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, by Helene Tursten
  5. The Case of the Famished Parson, by George Bellairs
  6. Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart
  7. The House on the Strand, by Daphne du Maurier (review pending)
  8. Trouble in Nuala, by Harriet Steel (review pending)

Other books I read in September:

  1.  Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside, by Edward Abbey
  2. Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam, by Huynh Quang Nhuong
  3. Legends of the Maori, by Witcombe’s Story Books
  4. The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter
  5. Lonely Road, by Nevil Shute

September was also filled with walking and exercise class, gardening, volunteering with Moms Demand Action, and a wonderful trip to the Washington Coast in celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary in August. Life is full and it’s a happy time for us. How nice to be able to say that. I hope your own September was a full and happy one.

Rose Cottage

I couldn’t help myself! I just had to read another Mary Stewart for my R.I.P.-XIV challenge! I do love Mary Stewart’s books, and Rose Cottage has been on my TBR list for quite awhile, so this weekend I picked it up and read it almost in one sitting.

from the publisher…

Rose Cottage, a tiny thatched dwelling in an idyllic English country setting, would appear the picture of tranquility to any passerby. But when Kate Herrick returns to her childhood home to retrieve some family papers in the summer of 1947, she uncovers a web of intrigue as tangled as the rambling roses in its garden. The papers are missing. The village is alive with gossip. Did her elderly neighbors, suspected of being witches, really see nighttime prowlers and ghosts in the cottage garden?

This was a fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge. A very nice read for a rainy weekend.

The Case of the Famished Parson

George Bellairs: a bank manager, a talented crime author, part time journalist and Francophile. His detective stories, written in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, combine wicked crimes and classic police procedurals, set in small British communities.  Best known for his Detective Littlejohn stories, he is celebrated as one of Britain’s crime classic greats.

I always like to start a new mystery series at the beginning and read the books in order, but this time I decided to start with the book George Bellairs published in my birth year, 1949. The Case of the Famished Parson is somewhere in the middle of the Inspector Littlejohn series. I immediately liked this detective — Inspector Littlejohn is an older but very talented detective. His methods are more traditional than his newer counterparts, but he is very dedicated to his work, even when he is on bedrest recuperating from a gunshot would to the leg!

…from the publisher:

Dr. James Macintosh, the Bishop of Greyle, is a mysterious man; for a long time, nobody even seems to know his last name. But things suddenly take a turn for the worse when his body is found completely emaciated and battered having being pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff…

Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case and must figure out how to explain the savage murder of a gentle Bishop? Perhaps he know too much about the secretive citizens of Cape Marvin, the seaside resort and the place of his murder.  Or did it have something to do with the strange family he had left behind in Medhope?

Above all, why was the Bishop’s body so undernourished that death by violence won out by only a few days over death by starvation?

I liked George Bellairs’ writing style and can easily see why he is considered “as one of Britain’s crime classic greats.”  I enjoyed meeting this new-to-me detective and was involved with the search for answers all the way through the book. It’s a series I would like to continue, but will go back and start with the first book.

I read this book for both my R.I.P-XIV challenge and my year long celebration of turning Seventy!

 

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good is a series of five stories by the Swedish crime writer, Helene Tursten.

…from the Publisher

Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and… no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, but she likes it that way.

Over the course of her adventures–or misadventures–this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a murder in her apartment complex, will Maud be able to avoid suspicion, or will Detective Inspector Irene Huss see through her charade?

I laughed all the way through this fun little book. Maud is amazingly fit and mentally acute at age 88, and she has no problem taking care of Problems in a unique and lethal way!

 

This was a fun read for my PERIL the FIRST for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge. Highly recommend it!

 

This book also qualifies for my personal challenge:  “Wanderlust” — an effort to read books that are from or take place in each country of the world. This was a book from Sweden.

The Religious Body

 

The mystery author, Catherine Aird, first came to my attention when I worked at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City in the early 1980s. TKE is known for its wonderful mystery section, and I loved becoming familiar with the stock and reading as many of those books as time and money allowed me. I don’t know why, but I did not read any Catherine Aird at that time, although I sold many of her books. So when I was planning my reading for the R.I.P.-XIV challenge I decided to read the first book in her series and see how I liked it.

Her first book, The Religious Body, was about the murder of a nun inside the convent. Was the murderer one of the other nuns or had someone gained access to this highly secluded and protected place? Detective Inspector C. D. Sloan and Detective Constable Crosby were called in to investigate this mysterious death.

I liked the detectives and enjoyed this mystery and Catherine Aird’s writing, so I definitely will be continuing on with this series.

 

 

 

I read this book for the R.I.P.-XIV reading challenge.

 

 

Christmas in Absaroka County

Christmas in Absaroka County is a collection of short stories by Craig Johnson. He has added some novellas and short story collections to his Walt Longmire  mystery series, and they are a lot of fun to read.

from the publisher…

I am very fond of the character of Walt Longmire and am enjoying slowly reading through this mystery series. The extra glimpses of Walt that we see in these short “in-between” books give us a deeper understanding of the character and just add a lot of interest and fun to whole experience of this series.

 

I read this book for the R.I.P.-XIV reading challenge.

The Little Sister

“I used to like this town,” I said, just to be saying something and not to be thinking too hard. “A long time ago. There were trees along Wilshire Boulevard. Beverly Hills was a country town. Westwood was bare hills and lots offering at eleven hundred dollars and no takers. Hollywood was a bunch of frame houses on the interurban line. Los Angeles was just a big dry sunny place with ugly homes and no style, but goodhearted and peaceful.

~ The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler

Author Raymond Chandler…  and author Dashiell Hammett ten years earlier…  and Hollywood films of their books starring Humphrey Bogart playing their main characters, Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade… All this equals Los Angeles noir at it’s finest.

One of the books I chose to read for R.I.P-XIV was The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler. It had been a long time since I read any of Chandler’s books so I was fascinated by the hard, cynical, burned-out private detective character of Philip Marlowe. And I was equally fascinated by Raymond Chandler’s writing style and creative way of telling this story. It’s no wonder that Hollywood loved and still loves these types of stories. When reading them, they’re hard to put down. And Raymond Chandler was one of the best and someone who inspired many writers to follow in his footsteps.

from the publisher:

In noir master Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister, a movie starlet with a gangster boyfriend and a pair of siblings with a shared secret lure private eye Philip Marlowe into the less than glamorous and more than a little dangerous world of Hollywood fame. Chandler’s first foray into the industry that dominates the company town that is Los Angeles.

 

A fun read, The Little Sister is the fifth book in Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series. It was published in 1949, so I am also including it on my list of books read for my year-long celebration of turning Seventy years old!

It’s fun to think that The Little Sister and I are the same age!

I read this book for both my R.I.P-XIV challenge and my year long celebration of turning Seventy!