ATTENTION CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

2015 Editions of the Color Coded , Mount TBR and Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenges--as well as Read It Again, Sam (due to popular demand)-- have been posted. I am also introducing my newest brain-child: Super Book Password. Please check it out!

As in the past, I will post sidebar links for sign-up posts as well as review headquarters once the new year begins.


Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Week's Top Ten Tuesday List from The Broke and the Bookish: What are your top ten childhood favorites?
I just can't resist questions and lists about books. Here goes.....

1. Nancy Drew (all of the classic series--before Nancy went modern with leather mini skirts and all that other nonsense): Most particularly The Clue of the Broken Locket. This one just captures everything I loved about Nancy and I probably read it at least 50 times. Every time I ran out of new things to read, I went back to this. My mom (who gave me her set of 5-6 1950s editions) and Nancy are responsible for my irrepressible love of mysteries. It's the genre I always return to.

2. Trixie Belden (again, all of the classic series): But if I have to choose one then I'll go with The Secret of the Mansion--the first of the series and the one that introduces us to Trixie and most of the core group for the Bob Whites. When I was growing up, I wanted to be in the Bob Whites. Another mystery series, naturally.

3. The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. I wish I had known that there were more of this series about the Melendy family when I was young. My grandmother (who worked at the local school) often was allowed to bring home books that were culled from the school library from one reason or another. She brought this one to me and I fell in love with the Melendy kids. No real mysteries in this one, just a great story about a family of city dwellers getting used to their big, rambling house and life in the country.

4. Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith. This story about a boy who loves chocolate so much and eats it on everything who suddenly breaks out in chocolate spots always cracked me up.

5. Ghosts Who Went to School by Judith Spearing. This one is about the interactions of Wilbur & Mortimer, two ghosts who are bored with staying at home and decided to join the fun at the local school. This book marked my first acquaintance with the musical instrument called the glockenspiel. It's the instrument Wilbur, I think, wants to play in music class....

6. Clarence the TV Dog by Patricia Lauber. A rollicking good story about Clarence who loves tv and actually winds up on TV.

7. Harry Cat's Pet Puppy by George Selden. The stories by Selden about the animals who live in the Times Square subway station are classic, feel-good children's stories. I loved this one where Harry and Tucker Mouse take in the poor bedraggled puppy and then have to find a home for him when he outgrows the drainpipe where they live.

8. The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. Although the fairy tales and fables in his collections weren't actually written by Lang, he put together some great collections of the darker versions of popular stories (like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty). These aren't Disney's take on fairy tales, but I loved them.

9. Tom Thumb (not sure of the author on this one). Another one brought home to me by my grandma. An old version (like, 1909 or so...I don't have it in front of me), but no matter how many times I come across different versions, this one's my favorite.

10. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. I loved reading about this plucky, fearless girl and her wacky adventures. Made me want to have adventures of my own....not that I ever did, really.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten List from The Broke and the Bookish: Today's list is Top Ten Books I'd Want On A Desert Island!
I just found this new blog and couldn't resist trying to answer this. Of course, when one considers that I have read & loved thousands of books over the course of 36 years or so, it's gonna be really hard to come up with a top ten.

Okay...here goes:

1. The Bible...a must have. It has everything from mysteries (no matter what definition you use) to poetry. Proverbs to parables. End of the world prophecy.

2. The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I've got to have some humor and I never tire of Adams' British wit. And who knows, the Hitchhiker's Guide may have suggestions that will help me on the island. (I'll be sure and pack my towel, too.)

3. Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers...unless somewhere out there exists a complete works, then I want that. But Strong Poison shows Lord Peter off just as he's beginning to really grow and I love the scene when he visits Harriet in prison--particularly when he says: "I'm told I make love rather nicely--only I'm at a disadvantage at the moment. One can't be very convincing at the other end of a table with a bloke looking in at the door." And Miss Climpson is an absolute treasure. I couldn't do without her.

4. Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne. If only because I keep promising myself that I'm going to read it and I never do. If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd have to...'cuz the girl has to read.

5. The Complete French Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke...again unless there is a complete works of all his work. I love Rilke. I love his rhythm and the visions that he creates in me with his words. I could read these poems over and over. And have.

6. Any of the North books by Richard & Francis Lockridge. I love each and every one of these madcap mysteries. The Pam & Jerry North have Nick & Nora Charles beat hands down when it comes to sleuthing couples. I guess if I can only take one, I'll just close my eyes and take the luck of the draw.

7. The Night Is Large (essays) by Martin Gardner. This is a tough book. Challenging and I'm quite sure I didn't get all that I could out of it the first time. Terrific essays on a variety of topics.

8. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson...another poet that I could not do without. She packs so much into so few words.

9. Persuasion by Jane Austen. My absolute favorite by Austen (and, of course, I'd be open to a complete works, if it exists...I don't mind huge books).

and.....how in the world do I choose just one more? How?

Um.....

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I really like the character study of Dorian Gray. And I love Wilde in general...did I mention that I'd like to take "complete works" of all these authors?

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Masculine Ending

Just finished up A Maculine Ending by Joan Smith. This is one of many books that I've snatched up because it has an English professor (or other academic) as the central character. In this one (from the back of the book) Loretta Lawson, English professor at London University, is annoyed when she discovers a sleeping stranger in the supposedly empty Paris flat she has borrowed. When she returns from a feminist literary conference to find the stranger gone but his bed sheets bloody, Loretta doesn't need an encyclopedia to figure out her mysterious roommate has been murdered. With urgent business calling her home, Loretta heads back for the start of the term with one precious clue--a book that must have belonged to the victim--and more than an academic interest in discovering exactly what happened to a corpse with a penchant for literary criticism.

This is a good debut novel. The writing is solid and overall it makes for a good story. I gave it three out of five stars on Visual Bookshelf. I would have rated it higher, but I absolutely HATE those open-ended endings. The kind where you find out who did it (I guessed but didn't know exactly why), but you don't know if s/he gets caught or not. Does Loretta turn the culprit in? Considering that she doesn't notify the police about any of her discoveries along the way, who knows? I sincerely doubt it. And there is no evidence at all that the police are anywhere near the right answer.

There's some good by-play among the academics. Working in an English Department, I can say that she's gotten the tone of things right. I look forward to reading another by her. (And I just happen to have another sitting on my To Be Read shelf....) But next up is Willa Cathers' The Professor's House.



Friday, June 25, 2010

A Very Peculiar Particular Murder

Wow. S. T. Haymon has provided a double-twist ending. And I didn't see either one of them coming. I certainly wouldn't have guessed that.....(sorry, don't want to spoil the ending) or that.....would happen next. It's been a long time since an ending has surprised me like that (Ten Little Indians [And Then There Were None] by Christie?? That may be the last one.) The writing is a bit convoluted at the end...otherwise, I would have rated this one higher in Virtual Bookshelf (FaceBook). [I gave it 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5.] And I might have been even more surprised if I hadn't had to reread certain sentences to make sure I got what Haymon was trying to say. I also deducted points for the physicist bits. A bit much when all one wants is a good read. Every once in a while I DO want to read about science...but I head to the non-fiction section for that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Very Particular Murder

Currently, I'm reading A Very Particular Murder by S. T. Haymon. For the curious...yes, this is one of my book-binge treasures. I've read both of Haymon's previous books (Death of a God and Death & the Pregnant Virgin) which titles give one the idea that Haymon has a religious theme going. But not really...all of the novels do have a hint (the current book has an odd little reverend among the suspects), but that's not the focus. This one caught my eye at first simply because I've enjoyed the other books. But, once I read the back and discovered that a professor was the victim...well, there was no way this one wasn't coming home with me.

I've had a hard time getting through this one. Not because it's a bad story--on the contrary, it's quite a nice little puzzle. Was the poisoned orange juice meant for the Professor's adopted son as it seems or did the poison reach the intended victim after all? And, in either case, who had the chance to do it? My trouble lies in in not having time to get through it. I've been sidetracked by the real-life mystery called "Can we get my son to the rank of Eagle Scout before his 18th birthday (Aug 15)?" We'll have to see.

In the meantime, I've been stealing time to read this evening while we're in a bit of an Eagle Scout Project lull and have come across this little gem: "A man was dead--the wrong man, it seemed; which must have given those ruddy physicists no end of joy, the random universe behaving randomly."

Booking Through Thursday Response

Today's question on the "Booking Through Thursday" Blog: Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?

I read reviews in blogs and those left through Virtual Bookshelf in FaceBook. But I rarely let a review make or break a book choice for me. Usually, I'm just curious to see what a blogger has said in their reviews or, in the case of FB, I tend to see the reviews when I'm entering a book in my "Read" list. It's a little late then. The "reviews" that mean the most to me are those given to me by friends who know my reading tastes. If one of those folks tells me that a book is good, I'll probably put it on my "to be read" list. This almost always turns out well because my friends know me well. I can only think of two books that I just didn't get into that a trusted recommender had steered my way.

I absolutely do NOT pay attention to professional reviewers. The closest I come is reading the blurbs on the back of books. And I do that more for amusement than anything else. I'm going to choose a book based on the synopsis, not because some famous so & so said it was "an awesome read" or whatever.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Lost Gallows

Unfortunately, my book-binge vacation is drawing to a close. In way too few hours I'll be back to work. But before the binge ends...I've added one more to the tally (that makes 31 books grabbed up this week)--and read another two.

Just finished The Lost Gallows by John Dickson Carr. Carr was a true master of the detective novel. Locked rooms are his specialty, but he shines in other mysterious realms as well. This one features Bencolin, his French detective. These books are always full of a bit more atmosphere than his other two series. In this one the shadow of Jack Ketch (an early, sadistic British executioner--as well as a by-word for the devil himself) hangs over every page. "Jack Ketch" is stalking his victims and it's up to Bencolin to discover his identity and foil his plans. Just when I was sure (for the fourth or fifth time--I lost count) who Jack was, Carr pulled out another twist and proved me wrong. Absolute pleasure for the mystery fan! Three and a half stars out of five.

Just before this I squeezed in The Truth Machine--a children's Star Trek book from the '70s. It was a very cute story. The best part was the graphics--the crew are especially well done...if you disregard Spock's expression on the last page. (I did cringe a bit at the purple skinned ape/mugato type creatures dressed in loincloths with belts and black leather boots that look suspiciously like regulation starfleet boots. In case you don't know, the mugato is a creature encountered on one of the Star Trek episodes. Mugato body shape with ape-like face.) Naturally, Spock saves the day by telling the truth....but not ALL of the truth.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book-Binge Reading

So, all this week I've been on a book-binge vacation. Stopping at used book stores hither and yon and grabbing up all the interesting mysteries I've seen. Result: pretty much stayed home the last day and a half and have started working my way through the little gems. In that time, I have knocked out Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (I always love me a good Agatha Christie. Even when I've read it before. It was just a pleasure to sit and read one of the SEVEN pocket book editions I found. Has anyone noticed how much I love those little editions?). Followed that up with Gently Floating by Alan Hunter. This was an early book (maybe the second) in the Inspector Gently series. I normally like these British police procedurals, but this one just didn't do much for me. The style seemed off and I really couldn't get into Gently's investigative process in this one. Then I read four Lee Harris books. She writes a clever series starring an ex-nun who has a real problem with holidays and special days. I whipped right through The Yom Kippur Murder, The New Year's Eve Murder, The Happy Birthday Murder, and The Bar Mitzvah Murder. While I always enjoy following Christine Bennett Brooks in her investigations, the best of the four were The Yom Kippur Murder & The Bar Mitzvah Murder. Chris has a way of getting people to talk to her when they won't talk to the police and also has a way of seeing old murders from a different perspective. I've read about ten from this series and even though they might appear a bit formulaic, they always reel me in. And I rarely figure out whodunnit before Chris does.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Booking Through Thursday Response

Today's Booking Through Thursday Question: Do you prefer reading current books? Or older ones? Or outright old ones? (As in, yes, there’s a difference between a book from 10 years ago and, say, Charles Dickens or Plato.)

Bev's Answer: I'm very picky on current books. I probably read one current title for every 20 or so older books. My general range is Golden Age mysteries (1920s-1940s) & literature from the same period and anything on back from there. I'll take a good Golden Age or classic lit book over anything that's been written recently.


Two for One

Here we go--two reviews for the price of one.

First up: The Sonnet Lover by Carol Goodman. I picked it up at the library book store because it was a scholarly mystery--my weakness. Meh. Not nearly as enchanting as I was led to believe by the book blurb. "Did Shakespeare pen a series of passionate sonnets, unknown to modern scholarship, ardently praising a mysterious dark-haired beauty?" The better question is: Do we care? Not so much. The best part of the book? The very first line: "The most thankless job on the planet may well be teaching Renaissance love poetry to a group of hormone-dazed adolescents on a beautiful spring day." If only the rest of the book had been as good. Predictable. Not nearly as exciting as anticipated. Not even a decent mystery to help out with the total lack of connection to the characters. I'm really torn on whether to keep this or not....anyone who knows me knows how hard it is for me to give up a book. AND it's got an academic setting and a scholar as the main character. But I think this one is destined to be re-donated to the library store. Two stars out of five.

Next: The Casino Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine. I can always count on Philo Vance to deliver the goods in his detectin' (his lack of "g," not mine). The saddest part about having found & read this very hard to find Golden Age story (one of the treasure trove from this week's book bonanza) is that I think I only have two more Philo Vance stories to read before I'll be all done. Another great series finished. I'll be in the same state as when I realized I'd read the very last Lord Peter Wimsey. "What do you mean there aren't any more???" The casino story has a whiz-bang finish (to keep in line with the American genre of the time), but knowing Vance, I wasn't nearly as surprised as his companions were at how things wound up. I will say this (without giving too much away, in case anyone out there is dying to try this one out)...it's an interesting twist on the poison murder. Or at least an interesting twist on what the murderer wanted you to think had happened. I actually got the method before Vance did this time--unusual with these stories. Glad I had this one to read and take the bad taste of the sonnet book out of my mind. Three and a half stars out of five.

Oh, and by the way, updating the book-binge tally: 7 used bookstores and 30 books so far (in three days). Included in that book total is 7 pocket size editions!

Monday, June 14, 2010

June Thomson Duo

Finished up two mysteries by June Thomson today: The Dark Stream and No Flowers, By Request. The first one was not up to her usual standard. I just really didn't care about the characters much...except for the guy who was going to open up a second-hand bookstore. But then at the end it looks like he won't. Boo. And the "culprit"? (If you read it, you'll realize why the quotes.) Just didn't sell me on that one. Not enough drama; not believable. Two stars out five. The second one was more in line with what I'm used to from Thomson...I've read 3 or 4 others by her. I got involved with the characters and she kept me guessing till the end. I always like that in a mystery. Three stars out of five.

Not sure where I'll go from here. Did go to a bookstore today and picked up a Pocket Edition Agatha Christie (What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!) and a first edition of the very first Inspector McKee novel by Helen Reilly (McKee of Centre Street). Will probably have more bookstore reports this week--we're on vacation and plan to make strategic day trips to places that just happen to have used bookstores.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Veiled Detective (or This Ain't Your Mama's Sherlock Holmes)

Just as a warning this is full of spoilers.
This is a deer in the headlights book. A watching an accident and just can't take your eyes off of it book. I hated it but just could not stop reading it. It sucked me in and kept me there, watching all sorts of absolutely WRONG things happening to some very beloved characters. So---I'm supposed to believe that just about everybody of importance in the Sherlock Holmes stories was in Moriarty's pay or connected to his diabolical organization in some way??? That Watson and Mrs. Hudson and MYCROFT are all on the Professor's payroll? That Moriarty OWNS 221 B Baker Street? Right. Yeah, I'm swallowing that one (or three or however many impossible things I'm supposed to believe--before or after breakfast). And, yet, I could not put the thing down. I finished it off in one afternoon. I suppose so I could have the dreadful thing done and off my hands. If you want a book you can't put down, then this may be the book for you. If you're looking for a good Holmes and Watson story that works well with what you know of the canon, not so much. Two stars out five.

All Sung Out

Finished up Death's Old Sweet Song last night. I wound up being correct on my theory, but Stagge kept me guessing (and guessing wrong) about the culprit right up to the end. A pretty good feat when you consider that with such a high body count he was running out of suspects.

Next up: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Veiled Detective--a look at the earliest days of the world's first consulting detective. From the back of the book: It is 1880, and a young Sherlock Holmes arrives in London to pursue a career as a private detective. He soon attracts the attention of criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty, who is driven by his desire to control this fledgling genius. Enter Dr. John H Watson, soon to make history as Holmes' famous companion.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Singin in the Rain (well, reading, actually)

It's gearing up outside for a real humdinger of a storm. Thunder rolling all over the sky. Lights have dimmed once or twice. And I've been reading Death's Old Sweet Song, a 1940s American Golden Age mystery. It's not bad...not exactly a "golden" Golden Age book, but typical. And, at least, it's not hard-boiled, even though there is quite a little murder-spree going on. At the moment, five victims and counting....

I always find it interesting when an author uses an old song or poem or nursery rhyme (or some such thing) to set up a string of murders. Agatha Christie used this method to good effect in several of her novels and short stories. The question, as always, is do we have a lunatic on our hands who just happened to go batty with this song in his head and now just "has" to go out and kill people to suit the song...or do we have a perfectly sane villain who is trying make the police think he's mad while he bumps off the key victim in the midst of the red herrings? Generally speaking, it's usually the latter--but it's a good writer who can keep you guessing till the end. I have my theory, but I'm still not certain at page 182 out of 239. Ol' Jonathan Stagge's doing a pretty good job so far.

Friday, June 11, 2010

All About Beauty

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is all about beauty. A beautiful and elegant book; it is about the beauty of language (so well-written!), the beauty of now. And the questions: What makes a life beautiful? What gives life meaning? How do you find beauty in a senseless death--a death that comes when the person has just begun to discover the beautiful possibilities of her own life? I think Paloma sums it up on the very last page of the book:

"...maybe that's what life is about: there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never."

The beauty of Renee Michel's life is brought into focus when she becomes the answer to Paloma's plea: "I implore fate to give me the chance to see beyond myself and truly meet someone." When she "truly" meets Renee, Paloma has her first "always within never"--her first real moment of beauty in a life that she planned to end in suicide.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elegant, Elegant, Elegant

I am SO enjoying The Elegance of the Hedgehog! Half-way through and I feel, having read thus far, as the concierge, Renee, felt when she saw Mr. Ozu's painting--awestruck. I just want to murmur, "It's so beautiful." Perhaps more coherent commentary will be forthcoming once I'm finished.

From "Booking Through Thursday"

I follow a couple of book/reading related sites and this question appeared on "Booking Through Thursday" today:

Do signed copies excite you? Tempt you? Delight you? Or does it not matter to you?

Here's my response (revamped, just a bit):

Most of the signed copies that I have come from dear friends who also happen to be the authors. Not only are the books terrific, but having the signature of authors who are my friends means a lot (Richard Nash, David Wojahn & Scott Sanders to name a few). The most treasured is the inscription and signature from Richard on his Wild Enlightenment.

I have a couple of books that I found in used book stores with signatures that did seem to make the find a little more exciting. On the other hand, there are very few (if any) current "big name" authors for whom I would stand in line just to get their autograph. And there are very few authors that I would get extraordinairly excited about finding a signed copy...Dorothy L Sayers would be one. But I doubt I could afford to buy a signed Sayers if I actually found one.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Parker Pyne Investigates

Dame Agatha always reels me in. Although I must admit that her title is a bit misleading. Parker Pyne is not (as he will quickly point out) a detective. He's more of a "heart specialist"--working his magic to make people happy. Or to help people make themselves happy. These stories are no where near as good as those that feature Poirot or Marple, but they have a charm all their own and made for a quick read while I was waiting to get myself to the library and get my hands on the Hedgehog book. Parker Pyne done--and the Hedgehog book has made its way to my home. I'll be settling down with it tonight.

Monday, June 7, 2010

And The Saint Goes Marching Out...

Coming to the end of my little jaunt with The Saint. I wondered if perhaps his methods might wear on me after a while (like the madcap mysteries with "Bill Shakespeare"), but happily they have not. He continues to charm me right up to the last of the stories contained in this gem of an omnibus. I'm so glad I picked this up on a whim at one of the Red Cross Book Sales a few years ago.

>We interrupt this blog post for a commercial: If you are a book lover and live in Bloomington and have never been to the Red Cross Book Sale which takes place over the first weekend of October each year, then you need to mark your calendar and not let anything keep you away from the next one. There's nothing like it....They take the largest building out at the fairgrounds and stuff it to the gills with books, loads & loads of glorious books. I never come away with less than twenty finds of all sorts.

And now back to our regularly scheduled post: So, as I was saying, my new love is The Saint. I want more of that blue-eyed, dark-haired dispenser of justice (his own brand, you must understand). I'll be on the look-out. For those who have not become acquainted with him, I highly recommend the tale of "The Sleepless Knight"--an ingenious method of making a heartless trucking company director see the light. And it made me wonder if "The Avengers" writers had this story in mind when they came up with the episode "Dead Man's Treasure." I certainly can see connections.

I have commissioned Brad to order up The Saint (with Roger Moore) on Netflix. I'm interested in how the character was handled in the 60s.

While I wait for an opportunity to pick up The Elegance of the Hedgehog from the library (thanks for the recommendation, Katie!), I am reading Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Ministers and Saints Defend Us"

As I posted on FaceBook, I have no idea why it's taken me so long to discover The Saint. I've long been aware of him. He's frequently mentioned in the mystery fact books that I've perused. I even know about the series starring Roger Moore. And I've had this omnibus of Saint stories for...as some of my British mysteries might put it...donkey's years. Just never cracked it open.

These stories are delightful. A modern-day Robin Hood taking from the crooks and swindlers and giving back to the swindled. The most recent story, "The Appalling Politician," is worth it just for the opening pontification by said politician. And Leslie Charteris swears that it's a verbatim rendition of an actual speech heard during the '30s with only a change of name, occasion, and the sport referenced. And in the story before that, "The Unblemished Bootlegger," no revenge was ever more suitable than that which the Saint visited upon Mr. Melford Croon.

The breezy, understated wit of these stories is what really reels me in. And, joy of joys, I sill have over half the collection to go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stevenson Continued...

Okay, so "The Beach of Falesa" wound up being a tad long-winded for my tastes. I know I said I like RSL's descriptive powers--and I do, but only when they are well-employed. This story took way to long to get to the point and the descriptions did not set the mood as well as had been accomplished in the previous stories. However, the "Story of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts" was bang on. Terrific, mood-setting descriptions and the denouement was perfect. And I love this quote: "There is every reason why I should not tell you my story. Perhaps that is just the reason why I am going to do so." As well as: "My acquaintance with French was sufficient to enable me to squander money in Paris with almost the same facility as in London. In short, I am a person full of manly accomplishments." Going from cream tarts to a Suicide Club is a superb move on the part of Mr. Stevenson. Following on the heels of the cream tarts story was "Adventure of the Hansom Cab"--a bit of a sequel and every bit as delightful as its predecessor. I have fallen for Prince Florizel and Colonel Geraldine. I hope that there are more stories out there that feature them. The final story, "The Isle of Voices," was a bit of a let-down. Good premise, but there's something about his stories on the Hawaiian Islands (and close neighbors) that I just don't get into. The best of his stories that revolve around this area is "The Bottle Imp"--but that one focuses more on the the story itself and less on describing the islands and inhabitants.

Next up: Another classic...classic mystery that is: The First Saint Omnibus.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

RLS: Master of Description

I've been working steadily on the Robert Louis Stevenson collection. I had forgotten how much I loved The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. This is Stevenson's classic tale of man's inner struggle between his "evil" self and his "good" self. The description of Jekyll's last few days and hours...how he tried very hard to get his old self back and vanquish the evil Mr. Hyde was quite effective. It showed exactly how difficult it is sometimes for our better nature to win out.
And I had forgotten Stevenson's descriptive powers--particularly showcased in the short story "The Merry Men." I could feel the sea spray on my face and hear the howl of the wind and mad, chanting of the "merry" waves. "The Body Snatcher" (the most recently finished) is a tale worthy to be included in one of Hitchcock's spine tingling collections...perhaps it has been. It has one of the best surprise endings so far.

I took a little break form RLS today...after the weekly visit to the library book sale--I of course came away with "new" books in hand--I sat down and re-read Murder in a Mummy Case by K K Beck. This light mystery set in the 1920s was just what was needed as I waited for Brad to pick me up after work, to read on the way home, and to finish up as dinner was cooking. As a bonus...I had forgotten that it has a bit of an academic twist to it, so picking it up to own (having read it many moons ago) was definitely a good idea.

Now, I return to RLS...next story: "The Beach of Falesa." I don't think I've heard of this one before.