Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Middle Sister's February 2015 Reads

Hi ho, book lovers! I haven't been shirking my reading (well, not too much), but after a near-killer, 3-month out-of-town work project, during which I could only read magazines because I was so tired at night, I am back in the reading groove. Alas, I have to report the death of my Kindle 2, but am awaiting delivery of my Kindle Voyage eagerly.

Old Age Can Kill You by Rita Laken Fifth in the series set in a retirement community in-where else?-Florida. The characters were cliched but still endearing, but the mystery left a little bit to be desired for this reader. C for effort, and recommend edonly to those who like squeaky clean mysteries with little action.

Death Times Three by Rex Stout Three novellas featuring Nero Wolfe that were originally published decades ago, then re-worked by Mr. Stout but never re-published. Nero Wolfe is always entertaining, but the introduction, which details the original stories and how they were reworked, makes this a winner. A all around

When William Came by Saki The favorite author of E.F. Benson, perhaps my favorite author, the book, originally published in 1913, presents an England that has lost a major war to Germany (note this was published before World War I) and is now living under a new German king. Written to warn England against its isolationism, there were some interesting parallels to modern society. The character of Joan Mardle could, with some embellishment, been part of Benson's Tilling society easily. B, and recommended only to those with an interest in Saki, Benson, or Britain at the turn of the 19th century

Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh One of the grand dames of the golden age of mystery and one of my favorite authors and favorite characters--what's not to love? Set in a small English village where a centuries-old mummers play is performed every winter solstice, this was a great read. Yes, I figured out whodunnit and partially why, but that did not detract from my enjoyment. A

Death in an Ivory Tower by Maria Hodgins Academics, Oxford, Shakespeare, King Arthur--it should have been an easy sell to this reader. However, I never warmed to Dotsy Lamb, the narrator and amateur sleuth, and the setting is only minimally present (disappointing, since I've been to oxford and would have been delighted to revisit in the pages of this book). Another where I knew whodunnit pretty early, although not exactly why, and that's where my major problem with the book derives. We learn the reason for the murder (blackmail) in the final pages, but how the blackmailer discovered the information they were using to blackmail was never revealed; at least, I searched several times for it and never found it. So it left me supremely dissatisfied at a murder with only a partial explanation. For this reason, a D.