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Archive for April, 2015

Mystery Monday – Suicide Excepted

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Suicide Excepted by Cyril Hare

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

 

Hare takes chances in this 1939 outing, his third novel and the first to feature his series character Inspector Mallet. Hare ensures that we patient readers dislike two of the protagonists from the get-go. Coincidences abound, even for a whodunit. And Inspector Mallet neither plays a major role in the story nor is he accompanied by his usual foil, the exasperated Francis Pettigrew. Mallet solo worked fine in Tenant for Death, but less so in this outing.

Leonard Dickinson’s death was the result of an overdose of a prescribed medication. Inspector Mallet had talked to the victim and had been mildly distressed by Dickinson’s gloomy pessimism, which the jury thought was sufficient to conclude was suicidal ideation and that Dickinson had later done away with himself. The problem is that insurance company will not pay up in the case of a suicide. The victim’s son, daughter and her fiancé team up to prove it was murder committed by one of the other hotel guests.

The amateur trio bungles their investigation. Their solicitor you-peoples them with “You people took it upon yourselves to prove that the late Mr. Dickinson was murdered. I dare say he was … (but) you have gone about it in a way that I can only describe as imbecile.” However, they meet a variety of curious characters in interesting settings. Hare’s prose is not flashy but it’s always clear. I get a good feeling when a writer plainly assumes that the reader has a vocabulary of more than 500 words. The dramatic twist is a fascinating twist indeed.

This is very much a mystery from between the wars in that we have eccentric characters, little violence, and a countryish setting. So readers of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers will probably enjoy it. The solid prose, if self-consciously literary, calls to mind Rex Stout.

 

 

 

Free Book Friday! Flavia de Luce Winner!

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

FBF banner 2015 spring winner

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

by Alan Bradley

 
 

The Winner of this week’s Free Book Friday Prize is:

 

Tina B. (bookshelftreasures)

 

 

Congratulations, your books will be on the way to you soon!

 

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

 

 

Free Book Friday – Flavia de Luce!

Friday, April 24th, 2015

FBF banner 2015 spring

 

This week’s Free Book Friday Prize is:

 

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

by Alan Bradley

On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia?

Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office — and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit — Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

ISBN 9780385344050, Hardcover

To enter to win this Brand-New Hardcover Book simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.

 

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.


You have until Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

 

Good Luck to everyone!

 

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday – Florentine Finish

Monday, April 20th, 2015

 

Florentine Finish by Cornelius Hirschberg

 

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Mystery writers who have used their own personal or professional experience include Erle Stanley Gardner (lawyering), P.D. James (health care administration), Sarah Paretsky (insurance) and writing as “Emma Lathen,” Mary Jane Latsis (banking and law) and Martha Henissart (economics and finance).

Three years after publishing his autobiography, The Priceless Gift, Cornelius Hirschberg put his experience as a jewelry salesman to work in a crime novel, Florentine Finish. It is a fast-paced adventure of murder in the black market jewelry business. The story is about Saul Handy, an ex-police officer who sells jewelry. As the result of a private deal, he finds himself in the midst of three murders connected to the jewelry black market. He is being framed for the murders, so he decides to solve them himself.

The violence in Florentine Finish is contrived at times, according to Elmer Pry of Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers. For example, Handy has a bloody body hanging out of his back seat as he drives for blocks. Finally, a police officer stops him and asks, “Who’s your friend?” Overall, though, Pry was impressed with this novel. He wrote, “[Hirschberg’s] use of the commercial setting is as intriguing, as informed and informing, and as central to his story as Wall Street’s banking milieu is to any of Emma Lathen’s Judge Thatcher stories, although Hirschberg’s style is closer to the hard-boiled mode, with its colloquial language, violence, and isolated and cynical, but finally somehow sentimental, hero.”

This mystery won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1964. Hirschberg never wrote another book.

 

 

 

 

 

Free Book Friday – Curiouser and Curiouser Winner!

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

FBF banner 2015 spring winner

 

 

The winner of the 2 book bundle of Curious Hardcover Fantasy is:

 

Tabitha C. (tlcogdell83)

 

Congratulations, your books will be on the way to you soon!

 

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

Free Book Friday! Curiouser and Curiouser….

Friday, April 17th, 2015

FBF banner 2015 spring

 

This week’s Free Book Friday prize is a 2 book bundle of Curious Hardcover Fantasy

 


The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

Edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

 

The death of Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead in 2003 at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, revealed an astonishing discovery: the remains of a remarkable cabinet of curiosities.
A carefully selected group of popular artists and acclaimed, bestselling fantasy authors has been assembled to bring Dr. Lambshead’s cabinet of curiosities to life. Including contributions from Alan Moore, Lev Grossman, Mike Mignola, China Miéville, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, Greg Broadmore, Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, Michael Moorcock , Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Ted Chiang, and many more.
ISBN 9780062004758, Hardover

There are currently 12 Members wishing for this book.

 

 

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

 

Philadelphia. The late 1870s. A city of cobblestone sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages. Home to the famous anatomist and surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a “resurrectionist” (aka grave robber), Dr. Black studied at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts – mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs –
were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from his humble beginnings to the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts -dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus – all rendered in meticulously detailed black-and-white anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.
ISBN 978159474616, Hardcover

There are currently 46 Members wishing for this book.

 

 

To enter to win this 2 book bundle of Curious Hardcover Fantasy simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.

 

We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.


You have until Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

 

Good Luck to everyone!

Note: Both of these brand-new hardcover books show a bit of shelf wear, as if an overzealous book warehouse worker did not handle with care. Books sent out as prizes on Free Book Friday are “As Is”.

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

 

Fiction Review – Still Alice

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

 

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)

 

My book club recently read Still Alice by Lisa Genova and our discussion was a sobering and thought-provoking one.  Some of us found ourselves thinking about friends and family members who had been stricken with Alzheimer’s.  Some of us found ourselves over-analyzing every moment we were forgetful in recent weeks, especially while reading the book.  Some of us began wondering if we should consider early screening for the genetic markers for Alzheimer’s.  Genova’s book pushed us all to reexamine our lives and the lives of those we know.

Alice Howland is a psychology professor at Harvard University with an illustrious career giving lectures, writing textbooks and mentoring students. She is world-renowned researcher and educator of linguistics. When Alice finds herself feeling disoriented in familiar places and forgetting simple facts and appointments, she thinks it’s a side effect of menopause.  After testing, Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and eventually her grasp of her memories becomes harder and harder to hold on to. The changing dynamics of her relationships with her three children and husband create tension and heartache for everyone.

The novel is told from Alice’s perspective and this allows the reader to really experience Alice’s confusion and frustration while coping with Alzheimer’s.  Many of us know what it is like to communicate with and love someone battling Alzheimer’s but I think Alice provides us a window into the mind of someone diagnosed with the disease.  I believe Genova intelligently delivers Alice’s struggle with respect and sensitivity without shirking away from the reality.