Saturday, September 19, 2015

August Reading

Looking back at August, I almost can't believe how many books I read.  Of course part of the time I was on vacation with lots of time to read.  The sad thing is that, years ago, I always read at this pace.  But the last few years my reading pace has slowed considerably.  But this year, once I got on a roll on vacation, I kept going.  Of course, a lot of my reading was genre (mystery) reading which I enjoy but find easy to fly through.  I can finish a book in a night if it is genre.

Here goes:

Phryne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood.  Yes, this series was on my list for July but I finished the rest of the series in August.  I really enjoy these mysteries.  Phryne doesn't take crap from anyone and is a thoroughly modern woman (for the 1920s and even for today).  In the later books I found some of the "skills" that Phryne has a little eye-rolling - it's almost like she is a female James Bond.  But it wasn't enough to stop me from enjoying them.  I look forward to her next adventure.   Recommended

Four Tana French Books:   The Secret Place; Faithful Place; Broken Harbor and The Likeness.   I began reading Tana French last month, starting with her first novel In the Woods.   The books are a series but unlike other crime novel series, she hasn't created a detective who solves all the crimes.   In the first novel our point of view character was a homicide detective in Dublin and we met his partner and other homicide cops.  The second novel is from the point of view of the partner, who is approached by her former boss from the undercover division for a job.  The third novel is from the point of view of the undercover detective and the fourth novel is from the point of view of a homicide detective we met in the third novel.  Her mysteries are good but it really her character development that makes these novels so wonderful.  These aren't light reading and yet they are page turners.  Highly Recommended.

Four Francis Brody Novels:  Dying in the Wool; A Medal for Murder; Murder in the Afternoon; and Woman Unknown.    After finishing Phryne Fisher I decided to look for another series set in the 1920's Post Great-War world.  Brody created an amateur detective, Kate Shackleton, whose husband was declared missing in action in the Great War.  A suburban widow who doesn't want to admit she is a widow, she assists people in finding loved ones lost in the War.  Then someone asks her to solve a real mystery and things get interesting.  I enjoyed these books. Recommended

Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis.   Lindsey Davis is one of my favorite mystery writers.  Her novels are set during the first century AD in Ancient Rome.  This new series features a woman detective, Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of long-time Davis detective Marcus Didius Falco.  These days Flavia is all grown up and a widow.  I always like Davis' depiction of the Rome of yesterday and I've always liked her characters.  It took a couple of novels for her to settle in with Flavia Albia as her main character but with this novel she hit her stride.  Recommended. 

A God in Ruins by Kate AtkinsonA "companion novel" to her wonderful novel Life After Life, this is the story of Ursula's brother Teddy who died (or not) in the first novel.  In this novel, he survives World War II - not an easy feat for a flyer.  The story moves back and forth in time between Teddy as a post-war survivor trying to figure out what to do now that he's survived and Teddy during the war when he was sure that he was going to eventually die.  I really liked this novel - although not as much as Life After Life.  Mostly because Life After Life was so unique.  My book club read this book and no one else liked it.  So maybe I'm an outlier.  Highly Recommended.

The Daisy Dalrymple Series by Carola Dunn.   After finishing Brody's Kate Shackleton series I again decided to look for a series set in the 1920'sThe Honorable Daisy Dalrymple has a title but no money.  Her father's estate was entailed.  With the death of her brother during the War followed by the death of her father in the influenza epidemic, a distant cousin inherited the title and the estate.  Rather than live with her mother in the Dower House (and listen to her mother complain about everything) Daisy decides to support herself.  She moves into a house with a school friend/photographer and convinces a magazine that her title will gain her entree into great country houses so that she can then write articles about them.  Unfortunately for Daisy, everywhere she goes she finds a dead body.  Carola Dunn has a sense of humor about this and how unlikely this would be.  In the first novel Daisy meets Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher and the two team up to solve mysteries - somewhat reluctantly on Alec's part.  I'm almost finished with this 22 book series - which seems hard to believe but the first 15 novels or so are pretty short, less than 200 pages each.  I'm enjoying them.   Recommended