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RIP X

It’s hard to believe R.I.P is  here for the Tenth year! and what great art by Abigail Larson to make it so perfect.  This year Carl is passing the "torch" to The Estella Society to run the reading challenge.

RIP is one of our favorite events, so when Carl asked us to host, we practically jumped out of our skins with excitement! 10 years is quite an accomplishment for any event, so we’re glad you’re here to celebrate with us!

Without further ado, pick your poison, won’t you? September 1st is here, and we’re ready to begin!

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

As time has wound on, we’ve discovered that simple rules are best:

1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

As Carl does each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have too many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.

R.I.P. X officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.

I have decided to choose Peril the Second to read 2 books pertaining to the list of types of books.

A few of the books I have to choose from are:

Wilkie Collins: The Haunted Hotel and Other Stories

Susan Hill: The Woman in Black

Susan Hill: The Various Haunts of Men

Marie Kiraly: Mina

and Charlaine Harris Dead in the Family

I have other murderous books so I am not sure I will read just from this pile.. but it’s a place to start!

 

 

So here’s to another R.I.P year!  Hope you all join in!

August Reads…

I am shocked at how many books I read! Very unlike me, but I do note that most are shorter books than usually read.

I was pleased with all the books I read this month and certainly hope the next months books are enjoyed as much! Which of course they should be since some will be for the RIP Challenge!

 

47..When Maidens Mourn…………..C.S. Harris………(341 pgs)

Regency England, August 1812: Sebastian St. Cyr’s plans to escape the heat of London for a honeymoon with his new bride, Hero Jarvis, are shattered when the murdered body of Hero’s good friend Gabrielle Tennyson is discovered drifting in a battered boat at the site of a long-vanished castle known as Camlet Moat. Missing and also presumed dead are Gabrielle’s two young cousins. 

Still struggling to define the nature of their new marriage, Sebastian and Hero find themselves occasionally working at cross-purposes as their investigation uncovers dark secrets at the heart of the Tennyson family and an enigmatic young French lieutenant who is concealing mysteries of his own.

Sebastian and Hero’s race to unmask a ruthless killer and unravel the puzzle of the missing children puts both their lives and their growing love for each other at risk as they’re threatened by powerful men in high places…and by a tall, dark stranger who may hold the key to Sebastian’s own parentage.

48..The Asylum……………………..John Harwood……..(272 pgs)

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

49..Aftermath………………………Peter Robinson……(400 pgs)

One phone call from a concerned neighbor has inadvertently led police to Terence Payne, the elusive serial killer known only as "Chameleon." Now the fiend is in custody, perhaps dying, and a long nightmare appears to be over at last. But is it? In Acting Detective Superintendent Alan Banks’s mind too many questions remain unanswered at the chamber of horrors the press will dub the "House of Payne." Because the darkness has not yet lifted, the casualties are still mounting…and there are still monsters loose in the world.

50..Strange Affair………………….Peter Robinson……(384 pgs)

Insp. Alan Banks nearly died when a serial killer set fire to his cottage in the Yorkshire village of Eastvale, and the melancholic detective remains understandably depressed as this superlative 15th novel in the series gets underway. Living in a rented flat, Banks is struggling to put his life back together when an urgent phone message from his younger brother, Roy—a successful, slightly shady London businessman—requests his help: "It could be a matter of life and death…. Maybe even mine." When he can’t reach Roy by phone, Banks travels to London to see what’s wrong and finds his brother’s house unlocked and no hint about where he might have gone or why. On the night of Roy’s phone call, a young woman is shot to death in her car just outside of Eastvale, and she has Banks’s name and address in her pocket. Annie Cabbot, Banks’s colleague on the force (and a former lover), is in charge of that case, and her investigation quickly intersects with Banks’s unofficial sleuthing into his brother’s inexplicable disappearance. The gripping story, which revolves around that most heinous of crimes, human trafficking, shows Robinson getting more adept at juggling complex plot lines while retaining his excellent skills at characterization

51..The Fate of Mercy Alban………Wendy Webb……….(337 pgs)

Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace’s aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years. Her mother intended to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died–could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? Grace soon realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the mansion’s secret passages.
With the help of the disarmingly kind–and attractive–Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

52..The Alienist……………………Caleb Carr……….(496 pgs)

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan’s infamous brothels.
        The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler’s intellect and Moore’s knowledge of New York’s vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology– amassing a psychological profile of the man they’re looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.
        Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian’s exactitude, The Alienist conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.

 

53..The Lavender Garden……………..Lucinda Riley…….(399 pgs)

La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions . . .
Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.
As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

 

I think my 2 most favorite of these books would be:  The Fate of Mercy Alban and The Alienist.  But then again…………….

The Lavender Garden

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Atria Books;(June 11, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476703558

 

 

From Booklist

When Emilie de la Martinieres, the sole surviving member of an aristocratic French family, returns to her childhood home to settle her mother’s estate, she expects to confront a number of long-buried memories. She never expects to meet Sebastian, a charming young art dealer with an all-too-perfect connection to her family. As Emilie’s relationship with Sebastian deepens, more questions about her family’s history begin to surface. With sections alternating between Emilie’s discoveries in 1998 at the family estate and the time her grandmother spent in 1944 in Paris, The Lavender Garden is a sweeping, engrossing work. Riley is talented, delighting in the small details of aristocratic luxury and the pastoral countryside. The sections focusing on Emilie’s grandmother, a young clerk working as an undercover agent for the Allied cause in Nazi-occupied Paris, are particularly engaging. The heroines of The Lavender Garden struggle to master circumstances seemingly beyond their control, a common thread in Riley’s work. A tale of family secrets, wartime espionage, and loyalties gained and gambled, The Lavender Garden will appeal to fans of historical fiction, Kate Morton, and Helen Bryan.

 

Well.. my first book (other than History ) that takes place in France (but a tiny bit in England!).

I do like when family secrets are the main story.  Some include murder, some do not.  This book consisted of the "now", 1998, and her family history being told to her, 1944 .  A number of things that happen along the way you can figure out right away and sometimes I wondered if I should continue with the book.. I did… and I am glad because in the end it was a feel good book.

The strange thing for me is that I never did get a "picture in my mind" of France.  But of course the descriptive parts of the War were pretty clear. A few very interesting characters are flushed out nicely so that you have your distinct likes and dislikes!

This is my second book by Lucinda Riley. I have read The Girl on the Cliff, which was enjoyable also.

I guess it’s safe to say that this is the last book for August!  I finished it yesterday and have begun yet another book.  There’s always "another book"!  Thank goodness!

The Alienist

The Alienist by Caleb Carr.

Publisher: Hardcover (December 15, 1994)
496 pages
ASIN: B006HUFWQY

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan’s infamous brothels.
        The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler’s intellect and Moore’s knowledge of New York’s vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology– amassing a psychological profile of the man they’re looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.
        Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian’s exactitude, The Alienist conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.

Wow! I do believe I’ve just read a book from the 1800’s based in New York but everything about it reads like a book written in the 1800’s in England!

The book reminds me of the Program Criminal MInds, where they build the character of their killer by profiling things they find about the murder.  In this case it was a group of people from a reporter to a psychologist (alienist) to the police and commissioner, who at this time is Theodore Roosevelt.

Really well written.  If I didn’t know better I might think Dickens himself wrote this!  Many bits and pieces to find out what this person is like and why. Along with much sadness of the serial killing of young boy prostitutes, so brutally murdered it was hard to read what was done to them.

This was a surprise of a book for me and I enjoyed it, gruesome though it was.  

The Fate of Mercy Alban

The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Hachette Books (February 5, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1401341934

 

 

 Amazon Review

Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace’s aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years. Her mother intended to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died–could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? Grace soon realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the mansion’s secret passages.
With the help of the disarmingly kind–and attractive–Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

Hooray! Finally found a book that is one that has "family secrets" to uncover and not just a murder!

Written in a gothic type of book, this one takes place in a family estate by Lake Superior. True, most of my readings take place in the UK but the sound of this one made me take a chance… and I’m glad I did!  In this book, even the house has secrets!!

I love, where there is a family history to unravel, and Wendy Webb did it very well in this novel "The Fate of Mercy Alban".  There were shocks and surprises right up to the end!   And even a bit of witch-craft, which is another thing that’s NOT my thing.   Somehow she made it all work and I found myself only putting the book down because my eyes begin to blur even with my glasses!

Poor Grace Alban.  Coming home after so many years to have to bury her mother. It should have been a rather simple matter. "Should have been", bit it sure wasn’t,  it escalates so fast it will make your head spin!  Yep, this is a good read people!  If you like finding out family secrets this is a book you will enjoy.

I have already looked in Amazon to find she has 2 other books out that seem more mystery than murder.. so they went on "ye ol’ wish list"!  Hooray, another new author for me.. just what I needed… not!  *grin*

Strange Affair

Strange Affair by Peter Robinson.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow(February 15, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0060544333

 

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his last outing (Playing With Fire), Insp. Alan Banks nearly died when a serial killer set fire to his cottage in the Yorkshire village of Eastvale, and the melancholic detective remains understandably depressed as this superlative 15th novel in the series gets underway. Living in a rented flat, Banks is struggling to put his life back together when an urgent phone message from his younger brother, Roy—a successful, slightly shady London businessman—requests his help: "It could be a matter of life and death…. Maybe even mine." When he can’t reach Roy by phone, Banks travels to London to see what’s wrong and finds his brother’s house unlocked and no hint about where he might have gone or why. On the night of Roy’s phone call, a young woman is shot to death in her car just outside of Eastvale, and she has Banks’s name and address in her pocket. Annie Cabbot, Banks’s colleague on the force (and a former lover), is in charge of that case, and her investigation quickly intersects with Banks’s unofficial sleuthing into his brother’s inexplicable disappearance. The gripping story, which revolves around that most heinous of crimes, human trafficking, shows Robinson getting more adept at juggling complex plot lines while retaining his excellent skills at characterization. The result is deeply absorbing, and the nuances of Banks’s character are increasingly compelling

Second book in a row for Peter Robinson and "Inspector Alan Banks".

This time not only was the secondary story about Alan Banks himself, but now we had more than one murder going on. Seemingly having nothing to do with each other, and yet sooner or later… one clue at a time.. we find out that indeed, they do  have something to do with each other.

The author is putting his protagonist, Banks, through the mill.  He isn’t over one bad thing when another happens to him.  His wife divorces him… when he finally finds a lover she leaves him… then his home burns down and now, one of the murders is Alan Banks own estranged brother. (hear the creepy music in your head?!)

I have to admit, knowing many of the characters from before, one seems to meld into the other like an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time.. you just pick up where you left off!

I have begun to think that Peter Robinson could probably write some really good "cold case" stories as well as current crimes.  

A few of the books I’ve been reading lately have come too close to the "now time".  I don’t like to hear that they are using the Internet  and such.. good old fashioned , find the bad guy is much more interesting to me.  But once again, this is an enjoyable, quick read, keeping your interest in finding the next clue at all times.

Aftermath

Aftermath by Peter Robinson.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow(October 2, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0380978326

 

From Publishers Weekly

Dark, darker, darkest endless shades of ebony seem to envelop Acting Det. Superintendent Alan Banks in this grim, compelling, character-driven mystery .As the head of the North Yorkshire half of a two-county joint task force, Banks is helping look into the disappearances of five young girls. As the title implies, the answer comes early on in an explosive scene where the girls’ grisly fate is discovered. But Banks is left with the aftermath: a cop facing possible charges for excessive force, a woman who may be a victim or may be guilty of monstrous crimes, an "extra" body and one that isn’t where it ought to be. Banks also faces plenty of personal challenges as his wife, Sandra, still pressing for divorce, finds a new way to shock him, while sometime girlfriend and colleague, Annie Cabbot, seeks to change their relationship. Robinson’s never tackled darker themes: child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, torture and murder. And while he never indulges in needlessly graphic descriptions, it is still horrific stuff. Introspective, thoughtful and plagued by uncertainties, Banks battles to maintain focus as the investigation plods on. As always, the author scrupulously details the police work, from the forensics to the efforts of a consultant psychologist (i.e., a profiler), who delves into a past case that may be related.

Wow!  Well I’ve read murders before and even books with more than one murder.. but this one goes from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 to 6!  Gruesome, horrible teenage murders!

The author of this book I have read before (Close to Home) using the detective Alan Banks.  His writing is really good. His knowledge of forensics makes me think he should be working in them instead of writing about them.  

Although this series takes place in England (like most I read) the surroundings are not a major player in this particular book.  It could be anywhere that this story took place.  But Robinson’s writing is compelling as he dribbles out a crumb at a time for you to try to piece together what happened and how and when.  He leads you down a number of roads with "possibilities" which sound logical.. but then the twists and turns enter.

Another good detective book.. I have one more by him I will read next called Strange Affair, before I head off to another author and another book.  I do wish I could find more gothic, family secrets, type books instead of the steadfast detectives.  Although I’ll admit, many of the authors have really given their protagonists personalities and make you want to keep reading them.

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