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Archive for January, 2015

My friend Dorothy and I ran an errand yesterday and true to form we had (had, mind you!) to go to at least one Thrift Store and look through boxes of books.  Dorothy found numerous books (25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for hardbacks) but since I have so many books at home I have become (somewhat) reluctant to pick up most of what I see so that "one day I will get to it".. heh.

Anyway  I did get 3 books… and one came in the mail. (hanging head in shame)….. And once again I bought two of the fifty cent books not know if I will EVER read them!…but.. in fairness… they were only 50 cents each!  Who know?! A miracle might happen!!!   Here is what I scrounged in the huge boxes to find……………………..

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.   Also, Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. One other from the fifty cent pile is below: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain….however this is a 1912 copywrite.

The Other book:  Books to Die For, edited by John Connelly & Declan Burke, I bought used from Amazon.  I can blame Cath for that one! (The blame is all about my "sis", about my sis, about my sis…. lol)

Amazon: Books to Die For….

The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:
Michael Connelly on The Little Sister . . .
Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs . . .
Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon . . .
Ian Rankin on I Was Dora Suarez . . .
With so many mystery novels to choose among, and so many new titles appearing each year, where should a reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems?
In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to champion the greatest mystery novels ever written. In a series of personal essays that often reveal as much about the authors and their own work as they do about the books that they love, 119 authors from 20 countries have created a guide that will be indispensable for generations of readers and writers. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Edgar Allan Poe to P. D. James, from Sherlock Holmes to Hannibal Lecter and Philip Marlowe to Lord Peter Wimsey, Books to Die For brings together the cream of the mystery world for a feast of reading pleasure, a treasure trove for those new to the genre and for those who believe that there is nothing new left to discover. This is the one essential book for every reader who has ever finished a mystery novel and thought . . .
I want more!

I don’t really read Stephen King.. I took this for his cover, it’s pristine condition and the price! lol

Below is the 1912 copywrite edition of Huckleberry Finn..

  This book plate was inside the cover. I can only think it must be someone who owned the book at one time, and found a book plate that would look as old as the book!

Below are two Illo’s that are in the book.

If anyone I know would like this old version let me know! ( it would be a freebee!) I just couldn’t leave it in the thrift store being tossed around like garbage.

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Mixing With Murder

Mixing With Murder by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (October 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0755320417

 

 

By Beverley Strong

Semi amateur PI and sometime actor, Fran Varady, receives a summons from night club owner and heavy man, Mickey Allerton, who wishes her to locate one of his pole dancers, Lisa, who has walked off the job and vanished, leaving him strangely distraught. Fran reluctantly accepts the commission, only because Mickey is holding her dog as hostage until the job is done, and travels to Oxford, where it’s thought that Lisa may be staying with her parents. Mickey has booked Fran into a B and B, owned by Beryl, one of his former employees, where she joins a curiously disparate group of residents which includes a Croatian woman who is working for Beryl as a chambermaid, in order to improve her English. Fran locates Lisa who agrees to meet her by the river, but as Fran waits for her arrival, the body of another Croatian, Ivo, the doorman at Mickeys’ club, floats to the bank of the river. Understandably alarmed, Fran conceals her knowledge of his identity from the police, much to the alarm of her buddy, Ganesh, with whom she has kept in touch by means of his mobile phone which she has borrowed. As Frans’ investigation progresses, Lisa proves to be very far from the innocent victim she has portayed herself to be to both her parents and to Mickey, and lots of action occurs before the satisfactory conclusion of Frans’ case.

This is my second Ann Granger book "starring" Fran Varady.  She reminds me of … well,  me.  If she didn’t have bad luck she’d have no luck at all! lol

Actually, I do like her character, and I do like Ann Granger’s writing.  It’s basic.  It’s simple.  And at the same time she can make you like her characters and story enough to keep reading.  You can’t ask for much more!  I think there is one more Fran Varady used book at Amazon that I will send for eventually,because she makes you want to know more about her characters.

This book was right for me , right now.  Not too complicated and yet interesting enough to make me keep picking up the book.

There’s not much I can say because the Amazon review pretty much says the whole story!

I do look forward to another of her books.

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The Complaints

The Complaints by Ian Rankin.

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books(November 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 031607876X

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the wake of Exit Music (2008), the concluding volume in his celebrated John Rebus series,Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox works for “the Complaints,” the despised internal-affairs division whose job it is to investigate other cops. Succeeding the Rebus novels, starring the quintessential maverick copper, with a series built around a cop-hunting cop seems akin to J. K. Rowling following Harry Potter with seven extra-thick novels about a classroom tattletale. And, yet, Rankin pulls it off, making Fox the fall guy in an elaborate police conspiracy and causing him to join forces with a detective under suspicion of peddling child porn. The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials.

This is my first Ian Rankin book.  From what I understand he’s very popular in England and seems to be up in the "rankings" now in America.

However, this was not his most popular character of Rebus, but the book was a good read anyway. I think I tend towards liking Historical mysteries better or stories from England, Scotland and Ireland from back in the 1800’s.  So again I say, this was an enjoyable book, but for me not top of the list.   It would be more to the liking of those who enjoy "basic" crime stories like a series on television.   (not including Mysteries of Laura or Forever!)

Briefly I will say that Malcolm Fox is a detective in the "Complaints Dept." which is to find "dirty cops" and the proof that they are indeed needing to be investigated. 

It was a good enough read that if I come across other Ian Rankin books at my thrift stores I would certainly pick them up.  I do have one other of his books called Exit Music which the back of the books states that it is Rebus’s last case before "retirement""… guess I should wait and see if I can find other Rebus books before I read about him retiring huh?!

Anyway It was a quick read, a book in which you can get side tracked and have no problem picking up where you left off even if it weren’t the beginning of a new chapter.

If you come across one of Ian Rankin’s books… give it a try!

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What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris.

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: New American Library(November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0451216695

 

From Publishers Weekly

Set in England in 1811, Harris’s riveting debut delivers a powerful blend of political intrigue and suspense. When Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is accused of the rape and murder of actress Rachel York, mistress to various members of Spencer Perceval’s wobbly Tory cabinet, Sebastian goes "on the lam," in the words of young Tom, his adopted companion and faithful servant, and must spend frantic days in clever disguises chasing "across London and back." Uncanny powers of sight and hearing help him to identify several suspects, including Hugh Gordon, Rachel’s fellow actor and ex-lover; shadowy French émigré Leo Pierrepoint; and even his own wayward nephew, Bayard Wilcox, who had been stalking the victim for weeks. Also implicated is portrait painter Giorgio Donatelli, for whom Rachel often posed nude, whose current patron, Lord Fairchild, is expected to be the next prime minister. Waiting in the wings to rule over this gathering chaos is dissolute Prince George (aka Prinny), soon to become regent for his incompetent father, George III. Backed by a blurb from Stephanie Barron, this fresh, fast-paced historical is sure to be a hit.

Historical Fiction, involving murder, and taking place in England…3 things I really like.

Knowing much less about Englands "mad king" and Vicounts, Lords and such, I have to admit, for me, this was a touch more political then I generally care for.  This is not to say I didn’t like the book, because I did.  And maybe it was how it was written.  I wanted to know all the usually questions in a mystery but I found that I didn’t rush back to it like some books.  

I did like the main character, Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr , and the story did keep you thinking about "who done it"… and so I still might try another book by Harris knowing he will use the same character.  At the moment I am not buying many books as I haven’t been to thrift shops, and the 4.00 shipping from amazon sometimes gets me down… which is good because I think I’ve actually made a small dent in my TBR mountain! (for now).

 

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A small tribute in photo’s.

The first 2 photo’s are of DeForest and Carolyn at the North Shore Animal League.  One of their favorite charities.  There is a Fund set up at North Shore in DeForest and Carolyn’s name.

Below is a favorite poster of mine.  The Artist is Drew Struzan.  An artist who actually caught him right.

..close up of his face .

Next are 2 photo’s I took of DeForest when he did conventions.

The next picture is one Carolyn took that De posed for next to a silly Wanted Poster I had made up for him for his birthday.  He enjoyed his cowboy years.

Next are 3 personal photo’s

And Lastly a photo I took of DeForest when he received his star on the Walk of Fame.

His Birthday is never forgotten.  I don’t always make many posts about De or Carolyn.. just because my heart has never healed, and never will.  Some days I can look at photo’s of them.. someday’s I cannot.   This year I wanted to "see him", and remember all the happiness they brought me.

Happy  95th Birthday De!

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The Misbegotten

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb.

Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1409131467

Amazon Review:

Dark truths. Beautiful lies. Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband’s connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Rachel’s arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained.Shattering truths lurk behind Bath’s immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.

This book begins in Bath England in two time slots, not that far between, 1803-1821.  In England this is still the time of servants and upper class.  Although in this book the servants are few, mystery surrounds the girl named Alice, who is being "cared for" by the Alleyn family.  She knows not who her parents are/ were she only knows she is bound to the the eldest Alleyn grandfather for all she has.

Eventually she meets his grandson and although it is not allowed they fall in love.  Alice is told nothing can come of it as he cannot marry below his station in life and he has been betrothed from the time of his birth.

After the war Jonathan Alleyn comes home wounded and traumatized from the war and from a letter he received from Alice telling him she loves him but they can never be together.  For 12 years survives in hell in a house with his mother and few servants, all of who are afraid of Jonathan.

Rachel enters the picture as she marries a man trying to make his fortune in wine selling.  It is discovered by Startling (a kitchen worker, who was raised by the now missing Alice) that this woman, Rachel, looks quite a bit like Alice.   Could there be a connection?   Would her being seen by Jonathan drive him more mad?   And where is Alice?  Did she run off with another ?  If so why?  Was she harmed?    Many family mysteries begin to come to the surface when Rachel comes to the Alleyn house.

This was a good read.  Though a bit of a "past romance" the mystery parts to discover just got better as the book went along.  The print was a big larger than normal (but not LARGE) so it was easier to read and probably wouldn’t have been so many pages had the print been smaller.

I enjoyed this book and was a bit sorry when it ended, even though the length was more then the average book.

I’ve read this author before: A Half Forgotten Song, The Unseen and The Legacy.  I can’t say I searched the author out but see seems to write the type of books I search for.

If you like period pieces with family mysteries this book would suit you!

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Rattling The Bones

Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2007)
ISBN-10: 0755320468

From Bookcover:

Fran Varady is walking through Camden one day when she notices a familiar figure shuffling ahead of her.  It’s "mad Edna", the bag lady who had, in a manner of speaking, been her neighbor when she’d been living in a squat in Rotherhithe a few years ago.  Now Edna is in a hostel and still roaming the streets, but before Fran can find out more, Edna becomes agitated and hurries away.  What could have spooked her? Surely the young man watching them could not possibly be interested in this harmless old lady?  Fran’s instinct tells her something’s wrong and, sure enough, when a dead body turns up she has every reason to fear the worst…

Determined to protect Edna from harm, Fran finds herself digging into the past, and the tragic story of a love affair and a family quarrel comes to light.  But, by rattling the bones of Edna’s earlier life, Fran’s detective skills uncover far more than she’s bargained for.

Oh my, but this book grabbed me so fast I’m not sure what hit me!

I have never read any books by Ann Granger (and she is very prolific! having written more then one series of crime books) and, par for the coarse I picked this up at a thrift store, noting the price on the back indicated it was sold in England and a sticker for a Canada price but no American price. (hmm, a mystery in itself?!)

Anyway.. I love the characters and loved the way this author writes!  It’s more like your friend sitting next to you chatting then some high literature person using words you aren’t certain of. 

When she described "mad Edna" in the early stages of the mystery I knew she had me… I laughed out loud and thought… OMG!  just call me "mad Edna"! lol  I have to quote if from the book:

Fran was talking to Mad Edna and Edna mentioned that she thought she was engaged once… but couldn’t remember..

"It was impossible to tell how she once looked.  The general shape of her face was round but her chin was pointed.  Heart-shaped, they call that.  Only in Edna’s case the whole thing had sagged.  Her eyebrows had fallen out and were represented only by a sparse scattering of grey hairs.  She’d compensated by growing a few hairs on the chin.  Her eyes were deep set and heavy-lidded and the eyelashes had gone the way of the eyebrows. Yet, I noticed for the first time that her skin was very fine, like a piece of crumpled silk."

If Ann Granger had not become a writer she would be a stand up comic I am sure!

The book lines are not cramped, the chapters are not long…and it’s very fast reading, along with a nice mystery and very good characters.  I understand there are a number of other "Fran Varaday" novels so I will be seeing if I can get another used one.  I totally enjoyed this book, and the author.

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