Welcome to my blog where I share book reviews
and life along the winding road

Friday, October 5, 2018

Death Line by Geraldine Evans

Death Line is another Rafferty and Llewellyn mystery by Geraldine Evans and was part of a "boxed" set for Kindle. These are the first four books, but I believe the series is up to 18 now.

I am surprised this hasn't been turned into a television series as the Rafferty and Llewellyn characters would be great on screen.

Note: You can upload the first four books free here 

From the cover:
Jasper Moon, internationally renowned ‘seer to the stars’, had signally failed to foresee his own future. He is found dead on his consulting-room floor, his skull crushed with a crystal ball and, all, around him, his office in chaos.
Meanwhile, Ma Rafferty does some star-gazing of her own and is sure she can predict Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty’s future.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Most of us are familiar with The Count of Monte Cristo story, one of Alexandre Dumas' masterpieces, but I don't remember ever actually reading it before now.
I found this copy in the clearance section at Half Price Books and decided to plunge into the 450 pages of extremely small print.

Alexandre Dumas was a prolific writer with an interesting past (he was once a scribe to duc d'Orleans who became King Louise Philippe). At the height of his career, in Le Port-Marly, he built Chateau de Monte-Cristo along with another building as a writing study which he named Chateau d'If. The property is now a historic museum.

The story begins during the time that Napoleon Bonapart was exiled to the island of Elba and those who fought for Napoleon were being persecuted. (Napoleon later raised an army and became emperor of France once again for a mere 100 days). During this time, two jealous men who knew Edmond Dantes was innocently given the task of delivering a letter to a Bonapartist, used the information to have him arrested. He was imprisoned at the Chateau d'If where he met a priest who gave him the means to exact his revenge. The main theme running through The Count of Monte Cristo is that of revenge and cunning and the Count/Dantes has many aliases as do many of the characters which can be confusing. Also, some of the characters have titles and they are referred to by these rather than their name. To help to keep them straight look at the Cliff Notes Character List which explains each character and the names used for them.

Despite the time this was written, it is still a gripping story.
Chateau d'If prison (if means yew in English)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

I normally don't read books out of series order, but in Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, Inspector Armand Gamache is visiting a friend in Old Quebec and as I had planned a visit to Quebec City I thought it would be a great read to take with me. Unfortunately, I didn't see the Morrin Centre Literary and Historical Society of Quebec where most of the events take place.
As always in Louise Penny's books, the mystery in Bury Your Dead is enticing to the reader and with lots of history and descriptions of sites around Quebec City it's even more entertaining.

In Bury Your Dead, Inspector Gamache is recuperating after a disturbing event and visits a friend, Emile, in Quebec City. Some of his time is spent walking his friend's dog, Henri. Some is spent at the Literary and Historical Society where the English residents congregate and dogs are welcome. It is here that a body is discovered - Augustin Renaud who had been searching for the remains of Samuel de Champlain and is himself discovered by a telephone repairman in the basement of the Historical Society building where there are remnants of the original 1700s prison. Of course, Inspector Gamache can't help but become involved in the murder mystery.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

I read Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend many years ago, but we are constantly dealing with difficult personality types and is worth reviewing again.

One of the things that is covered in the book is how to set limits instead of remaining a prisoner to the wishes of another. Boundaries is a book based on biblical principals and guides the reader in how to allow others to accept consequences for their actions and love others without rescuing them from destructive behavior.

Preventing us from setting boundaries:

  1. Fear of loss of love, abandonment
  2. Fear of other's anger
  3. Fear of loneliness
  4. Guilt
  5. Need for approval
  6. Overidentification of another's loss

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Tango School Mystery by Peter Bartram

As most of you know I love the Colin Crampton series and The Tango School Mystery was another enjoyable read. Brighton in the 1960s is where Colin Crampton, reporter of the Chronicle, finds himself on the trail of several mysteries. Colin's sarcastic sense of humor has no end of characters to throw zingers at. In particular, Mrs. Gribble, the widowed landlady, never fails to disappoint.
Rather than go into details of the story, and possibly inadvertently add some spoilers, I urge you to read the book (and series) yourself. Peter Bartram is a talented writer and I love reading about his stories set in the 1960s seaside town of Brighton. I find myself saying over and over again "I'd forgotten about that."

Friday, August 31, 2018

Bill Bailey's Lot by Catherine Cookson

I was an avid reader of Catherine Cookson novels in the 70s and they continue to be an enjoyable read the second time around. (I found this one at a used book sale).

Bill Bailey's Lot is the second book in a trilogy and while it doesn't have to be read in order, the characters might make more sense if you do read the first one.

From the cover:
Bill Bailey, the rugged Liverpudlian, was now a fully fledged Tyneside building contractor, as staunchly loyal to his squad of workmen as they were to him. He had also met and married Fiona, a young widow with her own lovable family, to which she and Bill shortly added by adoption the orphaned Mamie.
Life might be good but the economic climate was growing distinctly cloudy and it was vital that Bill land a contract for a major development scheme. Competition was fierce, and when his men came under attack, Bill was sure that someone was out to spoil their chances for the job.

You can find a list of Catherine Cookson novels (she was a prolific writer) here.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Suffragette by Carol Drinkwater

Suffragette by Carol Drinkwater is part of the My Story Scholastic collection. This story is An Edwardian Girl's Diary 1909-1913 when the women's suffrage movement (the right to vote) led by Emmeline Pankhurst was in full force in England. The Suffragettes were a militant group using force and destruction of property to gain notoriety. Carol Drinkwater also notes that there were suffragists who used less violent tactics to gain the vote.
Women who were arrested received cruel punishment in the English prisons and rather being treated as political prisoners (First Division) which would have given them certain privileges such as visitors, books, newspapers and writing materials, they were kept in solitary confinement with no exercise or companionship. Despite the 1689 Bill of Rights which states "It is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal" the treatment of the women suffragette's was barbarous including force feeding. This consisted of a rubber tube (often unsterilized) and a funnel. Women who were ill were allowed to leave prison but were then returned after they recovered - this was nicknamed the Cat and Mouse Act.
Women in New Zealand gained the vote in 1893 and Australia followed a year later.
It wasn't until 1928 that all women over age 21 gained the vote irrespective of property qualifications (previously voting was only given to those who owned property).

More about the history of voting in England here