Friday, January 31, 2014

Middle Sister's January Books

Well, January has been almost all book club books, all the time. I'm working on my second book club book this month (The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain--I've read it before, but it was my suggestion to the group, so I'd better read it,right?), with a third on order from the library. All in all, a very enjoyable month of reading. (And I'm still trying to slog my way through Lorna Doone, November/December's book club selection.)

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie I thought I'd read all the Agatha Christie novels that existed, but perhaps I've only read all the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple books. This title didn't ring a bell at all, and I enjoyed it immensely. I was completely bamboozled by the ending, and that rarely happens these days.Tthat's why Dame Agatha is still so popular. The social aspects of her early twentieth-century world may be vastly different than today (it was published in 1929, 85 years ago), but the characters and their human foibles are timeless. Suffice it to say, this book club's selection for next month is a Christie I now suspect I haven't read, and I can't wait. Highly recommended (library copy)

By Its Cover by Donna Leon Italy, rare books, rare book libraries, palazzos, contessas, impersonations, a mysterious murder--what's not to love? Usually I do not like police procedurals, but I like Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti series. That may be in part due to their setting (Venice), their main character (Guido Brunetti, an honest policeman in a corrupt department within a corrupt and lazy system that sometimes seems to not want to catch the bad guy), the relationships (Guido's marriage, his coworkers--all are so finely portrayed with just a few succinct sentences), but mainly it's the mysteries and the writing themselves. Guido investigates more esoteric mysteries, like this one about stolen rare books, and more urban  and gritty murders for more familiar reasons, so the series stays lively without falling into the traps series often do. Her writing is top notch--crisp, clear, yet evocative. I will admit here to a slight fictional crush on Guido, too.  Highly recommended (NetGalley)

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