Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eight is Enough

No, I'm not referring to the circa 1977 show starring Dick Van Patton, but if you know what I am talking about, welcome to my world. I AM referring to my apparent inability to put down a new book long enough to write about the one I've just finished, leaving me with this pile of eight:

I submit that there is nothing wrong with me that a deadline wouldn't cure. Or a threat. So I'm telling myself, through sheer strength of will, that I will NOT read another word until this post is done. Since I'm also my own editor, I can make it as short or long as I like. I can also ignore myself. Ha. Let us begin.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal

This is the fourth book in the Maggie Hope Mystery Series, and I'm liking them more with each new addition. Maggie starts out in the first book as a secretary for Winston Churchill, but, as you can obviously tell from the title, in The Prime Minister's Secret Agent she has become much more. If you like mysteries, moral dilemmas, interesting fictional and non-fictional characters and WWII history this series is for you. Keep Calm and we'll Carry On...

O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King

Another great story of Sherlock Holmes and his young apprentice Mary Russell, presuming that Sherlock was real, Watson wrote the stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was his literary agent and Holmes retired to keep bees next door to the brilliant young Mary. Fortunately the writing of Laurie R. King makes this all pretty easy to imagine. O Jerusalem finds Sherlock and Mary in 1918 British-occupied Palestine for two reasons.  One, some really bad people in England want them dead. Two, Mycroft Holmes needs their help in said Palestine. This is the interesting part for me, as I am woefully uneducated in Middle-Eastern history and conflict. Our story finds the tenuous peace between Muslim, Jew and Christian disturbed by the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.) With the common enemy gone all bets are off, and  now a game of political manipulation is afoot. But not to worry, with vintage Sherlock technique all is eventually revealed.

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

Next we have the delightful, entertaining, fluff-a-licousness that is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. In Top Secret Twenty-One, a Trenton used-car dealer goes missing and those close to him start dying. Bond agent Stephanie has to find him to make rent money, but various bad guys and a feral pack of chihauhaus keep getting in her way. Throw in her hot policeman boyfriend Morelli and the mysterious and steamy Ranger, and you will soon forget everything bad you saw on CNN today. Huzzah for Janet Evanovich!

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellows

Yes, THAT Julian Fellows, so all you fans of Downton Abbey may commence the celebration. Past Imperfect is the story of a group of friends, their experiences during one debutante season in late 1960's London, and their lives forty years later. It is a testament to the brilliance of Julian Fellows that I just now realized the narrator, one of this group of friends, is never named. Or, perhaps that just proves I wasn't paying attention. Anyway, pull up your long white gloves and enjoy this perfectly fascinating look at the not-so-distant past.

Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri is a man. He is also a prolific Italian novelist. Angelica's Smile is the seventeenth installment of his Inspector Montalbano mystery series which makes me very happy, because I now have sixteen new books to look forward to! But back to Angelica's Smile...Inspector Montalbano is dealing with a rash of peculiar burglaries in his little slice of Sicily, and heads will roll if he doesn't solve the case. In between lover's spats with his girlfriend and delightfully long lunches he starts to make progress, but foolishly falling in love with one of the victims is not helping his detective skills. Will he pull his head out of the clouds long enough to make sense of it all? Si!!  Ciao, bella.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

If you've never read Carl Hiaasen you're in for a treat. All of his novels are set in Florida, a place where crazy things seem to naturally occur. So, the fact that Andrew Yancy, disgraced sheriff and current reluctant health inspector ends up with a human arm in his freezer is really not shocking. It's everything that happens after that, including the appearance of a very bad monkey. Read this book! There's nothing like a good literary romp in the Florida Keys to brighten up one's day.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

In case you haven't noticed, I love mysteries and crime fiction, and this debut novel by Robert Galbraith made me very happy:) -- Private detective Cormoran Strike is ex-military police and ex-one lower leg, but that doesn't stop him from being a first-rate investigator. (If only he had clients who would pay their bills.) When the lawyer brother of a supermodel hires him to investigate her death, Cormoran thinks he may finally be able to shake off his creditors, but it won't be easy to prove that she didn't commit suicide three months before. The London Police aren't going to cooperate as they were the ones who ruled her death a suicide in the first place. Witness' memories have become hazy, and the "crime" scene has long been wiped clean. Cormoran's sense of honor almost prevents him from taking the client's money in a seemingly futile attempt to prove foul play, but in the end he agrees, and Pandora's box is opened. Peppered with fascinating characters and sub-plots, The Cuckoo's Calling will call to you until it's finished. Then you can read:

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Did I forget to mention that Robert Galbraith is the pen name for J. K. Rowling? Minor detail...no wonder these books are so good! Moving on...The Silkworm is the second in the Cormoran Strike series, and I CAN'T WAIT for more!! -- Owen Quine may not be a very good novelist and he may be impossible to live with, but when he disappears for an extended period of time Cormoran is hired by Owen's wife to track him down. It seems Owen has written a VERY nasty book libeling almost everyone he knows. Gruesome events are discovered, and things don't look at all good for Mrs. Quine, but Cormoran is treating everyone as a suspect. This book is better than the first. Write faster, Mr. Galbraith/Ms. Rowling!

Ta ta for now...TBC