Wednesday, August 31, 2022

My August 2022 Reads

A few new authors for me this month: Martin Edwards, a British mystery writer and expert, whose newest nonfiction work was just reviewed by the New York Times; Sonali Dev, with a modern version of Pride and Prejudice; and Sarah Stewart Taylor, a writer from Vermont who set her suspense novel in Ireland.

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie – What started off as a joke with seven alarm clocks turns into a sinister country house murder. My review.

The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards (2004) – When Daniel Kind and his girlfriend Miranda buy a cottage in the Lake District and decide to move there permanently, they do not expect to be drawn into the murder investigation of a cold case, originally led by Daniel’s estranged father.
The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards (2002) – In this second in the series, Daniel again gets involved in a cold case led by DCI Hannah Scarlett, his father’s former partner. Not as good as the first book and it was hard to keep straight all the characters with motives for murder.

The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier (2022) – Mercy’s beloved grandmother is getting married so Mercy has important bridesmaid duties that do not involve finding corpses. But once Mercy’s sleuthing instincts are aroused, she is incapable of turning back even when it would be sensible to do so. Parts of this book verged on slapstick, which I dislike.
Nightwork by Nora Roberts (2022) – Harry Booth trained himself to become a skilled international thief, originally to support his mother but later because he enjoyed the thrill. Then, just as he is about to settle down in a small town, a dangerous and vicious customer threatens to destroy everyone close to him if he refuses to undertake the biggest heist of all.

The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor (2020) – Many years after the disappearance of Maggie D’Arcy’s cousin Erin in Ireland, a new clue appears so Maggie returns to Dublin, determined that she will solve the crime this time. My review.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (2018) – One minute, Margaret has it all and the next she is in a hospital bed unable to walk. Her fiancĂ© is useless, her mother well-intentioned but annoying, so it is up to her estranged sister and her physical therapist to prevent her from giving up in this emotional yet amusing book.

What You Wish For
by Katherine Center (2020)(audio) – Sam is a librarian at an idyllic private school in Galveston, Texas when her former crush, unrecognizably changed, arrives as the new and somewhat hostile principal. This started out like the sappiest of YA novels but I got captivated by the characters.
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (2019) - Dr. Trisha Raje is an arrogant San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon who shows her disdain of a promising chef who is the brother of a challenging patient. My review.

Gerald and Elizabeth by D.E. Stevenson (1969) – Returning to England from disgrace in Cape Town, Gerald feels ashamed and alone in the world but his sister Elizabeth, now a successful actress, helps him regain his confidence in a typically amusing story. My review.
Postcards from the Past by Marcia Willett (2013) – Siblings Billa and Ed are sharing a peaceful middle-aged existence in their childhood home in rural Cornwall until they start getting postcards from a one-time nemesis.

Historical Fiction

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (2022) - Three young women fight for respect and their careers at a London bookshop in the 1950s.  My review

Across the Barricades (1972) and Into Exile (1973) by Joan Lingard – I started a reread of this series about Belfast’s Protestant Sadie and Catholic Kevin in May and then Lingard died in July, which inspired me to get the next two. A very funny scene when Kevin’s priest comes to call and Sadie is initially terrified to speak to him, then starts arguing with him about theology.

Children’s Books
Cousins by Evan Commager (1956) – An old-fashioned and charming (albeit very un-PC) story about a South Carolina family in the early 20th century. Evan was married to the great historian and wrote four books of her own. This was illustrated by one of my favorite artists, N.M. Bodecker, best known for his Edward Eager work.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961) – Milo is bored until he receives a magical tollbooth in the mail and sets off on a quest with a mechanical dog and a large bug. My review.


TracyK said...

Lots of interesting books and authors on this list for me to follow up on.

I do have The Cipher Garden by Edwards and will be reading that, soon I hope. But I want to read the first Rachel Savernake book by him also, so I will have to toss a coin. I have a copy of The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor, and want to try a book by Paula Munier also. My reading list is getting too long.

Cath said...

Wow, you had a good and varied reading month in August. Glad to hear you say that you had trouble keeping the characters and their motives straight in the Martin Edwards. I find he is like that sometimes and is by no means alone. I'm just reading The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers and having tremendous trouble keeping the suspects straight in my head. They're all male artists, 6 or 7 of them, and every time I read a name I have to think who he is and why he's a suspect. I'm actually not far from the end and I'm still not sure who one of them is! LOL

CLM said...

I got The Cipher Garden as an ebook from the library and I think that made it harder to keep the characters straight than if reading a real book, which I prefer. On the other hand, there's something satisfying about being able to download it the minute I feel like it.

Tracy, I don't know that other Edwards' series. He is certainly a busy guy!

I was in the mood to give Donna Leon another try but first there was a long wait for book 1 and then it was due before I had finished it.