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Archive for June, 2018

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull: The Life and Times of an American Patriot by Robert M Utley.

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks;(April 29, 2008)
ISBN-10: 080508830X

 

 

Amazon Review:

The definitive, award–winning biography of the legendary chief and his dramatic role in the history of westward expansion

Reviled by the United States government as a troublemaker and a coward, revered by his people as a great warrior chief, Sitting Bull has long been one of the most fascinating and misunderstood figures in American history. Distinguished historian Robert M. Utley has forged a compelling portrait of Sitting Bull, presenting the Lakota perspective for the first time and rendering the most unbiased, historically accurate, and vivid portrait of the man to date.

The Sitting Bull who emerges in this fast-paced narrative is a complex, towering figure: a great warrior whose skill and bravery in battle were unparalleled; the spiritual leader of his people; a dignified but ultimately tragically stubborn defender of the traditional ways against the steadfast and unwelcome encroachment of the white man.

I’m not sure what to say.

If you are at all interested in Native Americans, and the Hunkpapa’s (Sioux) Then this is a very informative book.

I personally think he was a great leader and caregiver of his people. Yes, he killed.  But then again many were trying to kill him and his people.  I will keep this book along with a few others like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  To me, it’s just sad what “all the immigrants” along with the politicians, killed off the Native Americans.

For one small thing, I no longer get angry with my phone when it says “press one for English”. Because in truth.. it is NOT the “native language” of America.

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The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill.

Paperback: 437 pages
Publisher: The Overlook Press(April 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1590200276

Amazon Review:

 

When Susan Hill first introduced us to the city of Lafferton, to its meticulously crafted cast of characters, and to its chief police inspector Simon Serrailler, readers went wild. When it was released in hardcover, The Various Haunts of Men was named a BookSense Pick and was immediately on the must-read list of every mystery fan. Now out in paperback, Hill’s intricate and pulse-pounding novel will reach an even wider audience.

As the story begins, a lonely woman vanishes while out on her morning run. Then a 22-year-old girl never returns from a walk. An old man disappears too. When fresh-faced policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case, she runs the risk of getting too invested–too involved–in the action. Alongside the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrallier, she must unravel the mystery before events turn too gruesome. Written with intelligence, compassion, and a knowing eye–in the tradition of the fabulous mysteries of Ruth Rendell and P.D. James–The Various Haunts of Men is an enthralling journey into the heart of a wonderfully developed town, and into the very mind of a killer.

 

Strangely enough, the first 1/3 of this book I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I almost  set it aside. Then it finally got to the “mystery” and it got to be interesting reading.  Happily I read along trying to figure out how this would all end.  

All along I couldn’t figure out how the name of the book fit what I was reading.. and I never did figure that part out.

Near the end when you think you have it all figured out, (and mostly you do!) an unexpected happening occurs.  What the.. ?? And you read on thinking “this really didn’t occur”…  sigh.

One more thing that made no sense is that it’s listed as, “A Simon Serrailler Mystery”.. but there was very little of Simon Serrailler.  Huh?.

The final thing is this..  I think, for the most part, I enjoyed the book…. but I can’t be sure!

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Minding the Manor

Minding the Manor by Mollie Moran.

Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Lyons Press;(January 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0762796839

 

Amazon Review:

Born in 1916 in Norfolk, Mollie Moran is one of the few people still alive today who can recall working “downstairs” in the golden years of the early 1930’s before the outbreak of WWII. She provides a rare and fascinating insight into a world that has long since vanished. Mollie left school at age fourteen and became a scullery maid for a wealthy gentleman with a mansion house in London’s Knighsbridge and a Tudor manor in Norfolk.

            Even though Mollie’s days were long and grueling and included endless tasks, such as polishing doorknobs, scrubbing steps, and helping with all of the food prep in the kitchen, she enjoyed her freedom and had a rich life. Like any bright-eyed teenager, Mollie also spent her days daydreaming about boys, dresses, and dances. She became fast friends with the kitchen maid Flo, dated a sweet farmhand, and became secretly involved with a brooding, temperamental footman. Molly eventually rose to kitchen maid for Lord Islington and then cook for the Earl of Leicester’s niece at the magnificent Wallington Hall.

 

So.. sometimes one needs to read something “different”.. even if we don’t realize it!  This book was given to me by my “Sis” Cath Russell, some time ago.  As usual, it got lost among the other 130 books I haven’t read until now.  I began one book, read 100 pgs and tossed it aside.  Then I read American Lightening.. was not thrilled but I did finish it.  Not knowing what I wanted I searched thru ALL my unread books and found I was aghast that I hadn’t read this yet.  So.. I dragged it out.  Uncertain about it since I “thought” I wanted another Gothic Mystery.  Boy.. was I wrong!  I flew thru this book faster than any I have read in a long time!

When Cath sent me the book she said, “Since you liked Downton Abby so much I thought you’d like this.”  It turns out my Sis knows me well!

I really enjoyed this book! Here was a woman who began work at 14 yrs old as a Scullery Maid.  Nothing many woman of today would want to do!..  Her story was a true life tale.  Growing up with very hard work, going thru all things a young female goes thru, dreaming of meeting boys and dancing and enjoying life with what little time a job such as she had would give you.

It just sucked me in.  I felt what it was like (maybe because of Downton Abby). But also how ones mentality of what she was dong affected her life.

Super good read, when you feel you need a change!

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American Lightning by Howard Blum.

Paperback: 339 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press;(October 6, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0307346951

 

In this masterpiece of narrative history, acclaimed author Howard Blum evokes the original “crime of the century” and an aftermath even more dramatic than the crime itself–a seminal episode in America’s history that would spark national debate and draw into its orbit master sleuth William J. Burns, crusading lawyer Clarence Darrow, and industry-shaping filmmaker D. W. Griffith.

 

Generally, I enjoy a historical read about things like the beginning of Hollywood.  Add to it a mystery and it should be right up my alley.  But I can’t say I enjoyed the way this author wrote.  At times it was a bit confusing, and it seemed like he would jump from the mystery to the history and then back again instead of it being smoothly integrated.   Rarely am I critical of the writing more than the story.. but this time, although I read the entire book.. it didn’t do much for me.

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The Drop

The Drop by Michael Connelly.

Hardcover: 388 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company;(November 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780316069410

 

Amazon Review..

Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two.

DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? The latter possibility could compromise all of the lab’s DNA cases currently in court.

Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics. Councilman Irvin Irving’s son jumped or was pushed from a window at the Chateau Marmont. Irving, Bosch’s longtime nemesis, has demanded that Harry handle the investigation.

Relentlessly pursuing both cases, Bosch makes two chilling discoveries: a killer operating unknown in the city for as many as three decades, and a political conspiracy that goes back into the dark history of the police department.

 

Once, a long time ago, I read another book by Connelly using Harry Bosch as the main character… I liked that one.. and I liked this one!  This one takes place near Hollywood CA and when they mentions towns and streets I remember them all.  So it was a combination book and some memory involved.

I enjoyed the fact that Bosch and his partner were actually taking care of a cold case crime and a recent  death, which might be suicide .  I also liked that when you think you know what’s next.. it isn’t! lol.

This was an easy read and short chapters, which is always a way to get me to read more!

The one thing I missed though.. is all the ambience of the Victorian 1800’s.. and England! lol  I need to find more Gothic Mysteries!!

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Cover of Snow

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman.

Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books(December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345534220

Amazon

Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide.

The first few hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling her late husband’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds a bewildering resistance from Brendan’s best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . and its darkest secrets hidden.

 

This was a good little mystery.  No major detective solving the “crime” but the wife of the victim herself.  Although there is murder involved, this was a nice break from the normal detectives.  This was a good book with background being told a little at a time. And yes, there is lots of snow!

Quite a few surprising things happen along the way of her trying to find out why her husband committed suicide.  Obviously things are not always as they seem. But asking questions can be a dangerous business.

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By Gaslight

By Gaslight by Steven Price.

Paperback: 752 pages
Publisher: Picador;(October 3, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1250141206

Amazon Review:

By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting novel about the unending quest that has shaped a man’s life.

William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William’s father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.

Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried.

A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective, and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

Steven Price’s dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

I really enjoyed this book!  You can trust that statement because I read ALL those pages!

The book is basically about William Pinkerton, Edward Shade and Adam Foole. The are very good other characters surrounding them.  It does a lot of background chapters which tells you much more of when Pinkerton is searching for Edward Shade. 

It takes place in the 1800’s in London and in America. So there is some history tossed into the mix.

It kept my interest through the whole book, which in this case (752 pgs), is saying a lot!  I have the hardback which was rather heavy to hold, but I found that 2 small square pillows brought it up to eye level and took the weight of it! If you find a paperback it may be a tad better.  (maybe)

If asked if I would read it again… I would say probably not.  Although I like the book it wasn’t as good as “Drood” which was 800 pgs and I’ve read it twice!  But if you like mysteries and the 1800’s you will enjoy the book.

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