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Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle)
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Miss Silver Comes to Stay
Miss Silver Comes to Stay
by Patricia Wentworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MISS SILVER INVESTIGATES..., 10 April 2012
The author first introduced the character of Miss Silver, a retired governess turned private investigator, to the public in 1928, and she was an instant hit. So, many more mysteries, featuring this character, soon followed. This cozy English mystery was first published in 1949, and while Ms. Silver is visiting a friend in an English village, murder strikes, upsetting the equilibrium of the villagers.

When James Lessiter returns home to the English village of Melling after a hiatus of twenty years, he finds that his inheritance may be a bit short, due to the suspected pilfering by an old flame, who is now a tenant on his property. Moreover, his former fiancée may have a few bones to pick with him, and her nephew may also have a score to settle.

When he ends up dead in his ancestral home, there is no dearth of suspects, including a few who may simply have wanted a piece of his pie. So, when one of the suspects feels the heat of suspicion from the police, she immediately engages the services of Miss Silver, who does not let her down.

This is a well-written English mystery, reflecting the social mores of the time, and enjoyable to read, if one is a fan of this genre. This is my first book featuring Miss Silver, and it won't be my last.


Waiting for Snow in Havana
Waiting for Snow in Havana
by Carlos M. N. Eire
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHATTERED MEMORIES..., 13 Mar. 2012
This is an achingly poignant memoir, written with much feeling and angst. The author, who, at the age of eleven, took part in Operation Pedro Pan, which airlifted Cuban children to the United States from the hell that would become known as Castro's Cuba, remembers what it was like to be a child growing up in Cuba. His life would never again be the same.

The author's wistful, lyrical recollections of his life in Havana in pre-1962 Cuba are a birds-eye view into a bygone era and the lives that were dramatically changed by political vicissitudes. Redolent with vivid imagery and palpable longing, this book is a moving tribute to a way of life that has since gone by the wayside. It is a profoundly moving, beautifully written memoir that will linger in the reader's mind long after the last page is turned, as well as a brilliant testament to the deep love that the author still has for the land of his birth.


Red Water
Red Water
by Judith Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.70

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PUTTING THE SADDLE ON THE RIGHT HORSE..., 13 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Red Water (Paperback)
This is a compelling, well-researched work of historical fiction. The linchpin of the story is John D. Lee, a close personal friend of Brigham Young and a charismatic Mormon leader, who was tried and convicted twenty years after the fact for the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which over a hundred, non-Mormon immigrants to the West were slaughtered by Mormon settlers with the possible help of their Native-American allies.

The reader views John D. Lee through the eyes of three of his many, wives, Emma, his English bride, Ann, his thirteen year old child bride, and Rachel, his second wife, sister to his first wife. Told in three parts, each wife has her own distinct voice and personality. Each one presents her own perspective on life with John D. Lee and the effect that he had on each of their lives and how they each responded to his eventual disgrace.

It is a wonderful story of three women, each trying to come to terms with life and its vicissitudes, given their own needs, desires, and circumstances, as well as the nature of the time in which they lived. It is also a birds-eye view into frontier life in a polygamous household, at a time in which this doctrine was the status quo for Mormonism.

This is a well-written book, as engrossing as it is fascinating, taking the reader into a world that is foreign to most of us. It is a story about real women in a time that, to the modern reader, seems almost surreal. Those readers who like the historical fiction genre will most definitely appreciate and enjoy this excellent book.


The Diary of Mattie Spenser
The Diary of Mattie Spenser
by Sandra Dallas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.73

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEARTWARMING..., 8 Mar. 2012
This is a wonderful work of historical fiction. Vivid in its imagery and replete with period detail, it is a page turner of a book. I simply could not put it down! The book gives a first person narrative of what life was like on the frontier from the perspective of a young woman.

In 1865, twenty-two year old Mattie McCauley is living in a small community in Iowa with her parents, when the town catch, Luke Spenser, suddenly proposes to her. No one is more surprised than Mattie, when he does so, as she always thought he would be marrying Persia Chalmers, his longtime sweetheart. Not giving it more than a second thought, Mattie accepts his proposal, and before she knows it, finds herself headed to the Colorado Territory with her new husband.

Mattie records in her diary details of her trip by wagon train to her new home, as well as what happens once she gets there. Along the way she makes friends, learns some hard facts about her husband, as well as her marriage, and forges a life, one that reader will find to be of interest. Those who enjoy well-written historical fiction will love this utterly engaging book!


77 Shadow Street
77 Shadow Street
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars READ IT AND WEEP..., 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: 77 Shadow Street (Hardcover)
As a fan of the author, I was delighted to hear that he had written a new book. As I eagerly began reading it, delight turned to sheer disappointment. While it is a haunted house story, a genre that I normally enjoy, the stilted prose, the awkward, ponderous sentence construction, and one dimensional characters all serve to make this a book simply not worth reading. Moreover, the author's ultra conservative, right wing views come barreling out at the reader throughout the book.

As I plodded through this book, a total exercise in patience, I wondered whether it would ever end. It was a total slog. Bored out of my mind, I could only find complete satisfaction in the thought that I finally made it to the end of this totally worthless book. If, however, one is a believer in intelligent design and thinks global warming is some kind of government conspiracy, perhaps one might get some enjoyment from this total piece of dross. If you are not, save your time and money, as this book really stinks!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2013 12:09 PM BST


A Perfect Crime
A Perfect Crime
by Peter Abrahams
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST LAID PLANS OFTEN GO AWRY..., 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: A Perfect Crime (Paperback)
This is a page turning thriller with a host of quirky, interesting characters. When two unhappy marriages give rise to the adulterous relationship between the husband in one marriage and a wife in another, all hell eventually breaks loose, and murder is the end result.

When Frances enters into an adulterous affair with Ned, a radio show psychologist, little does she know where it will lead. When Roger, her brilliant, though socially clueless husband, discovers her perfidy, he sets out to construct the perfect murder. Enlisting the aid of an ex-con, who initially has no idea he is a pawn in a murder plot, thinks quickly go awry, as the ex-con proves to have his own ideas about things.

This is an excellent thriller, laced with humorous moments. Tautly written, with fairly well-fleshed characters, despite it being a plot driven book, it should appeal to those who enjoy mysteries and thrillers.


Mildred Pierce
Mildred Pierce
by James M. Cain
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL..., 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Mildred Pierce (Paperback)
Having loved the film, I looked forward to reading this classic novel upon which the film was based. I must say, just as the movie kept me riveted to the screen, the book likewise kept me riveted to its pages. Darker and even more compelling than the film, the author tells the story of Mildred Pierce, a divorcee with two children who is caught in the throes of the depression of the 1930s but manages to make something of herself.

Professionally successful, Mildred has a talent for picking the wrong men and an irrational devotion to her eldest daughter, Veda, who is morally twisted and totally monstrous. Unfortunately, Mildred does not see her daughter for what she truly is, until it is too late.

Masterfully written and thematically complex, the writing is intense, hard-boiled, and, though redolent of a bygone age, as relevant today as when it was first written. There is an undercurrent of a permeating malaise throughout the book that culminates in a shattering climax. Believe me, you will feel Mildred Pierce's pain, as she discovers how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child, when Veda delivers the unkindest cut of all. This book is a winner and a true American classic. Bravo!


The Help
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A NEW AMERICAN CLASSIC..., 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
This is a well-written novel that takes pace in the South during the early civil rights movement. It features a South in transition, as well as a series of complicated relationships between blacks and whites at that time. There are also glimmers of the feminist movement that resonate faintly throughout the book.

The story focuses on three intrepid Southern women from Mississippi. Skeeter Phelan is a young, college educated, southern white woman in her early twenties who, to the horror of her family, has not yet acquired a husband. Aibileen Clark, who works as a maid, is a quiet, intelligent black woman with a well-spring of bitterness that derives from having lived in the Jim Crow South for so long. Minny Jackson is a sassy maid with a troubled employment history, who also happens to be a friend of Aibileen.

Together, these three women will collaborate on a project that will change and shape them for years to come. Out of their collaboration will come a book that will reveal to all and sundry what it is like for a black woman to work as a maid in the Deep South.

The author weaves a spellbinding, poignant story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Written with a sense of humor that permeates throughout, the book is thoroughly enjoyable, as well as profoundly moving. It is a refreshing look at a bygone era that caused misery to so many and was fraught with so many complexities. I found myself riveted to its pages, until the very last one was turned. It is a stunning debut novel.


Blue World
Blue World
by Robert R. McCammon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WORLD BEYOND IMAGINATION..., 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Blue World (Paperback)
This is an entertaining and skillfully written collection of twelve short stories and one novella from a master of horror. They range in quality from very good to simply amazing. Those who are fans of the horror genre will delight in these highly imaginative and creepy stories, some of which are downright scary! ). There is definitely something for everyone in this collection, where the mundane is elevated to a sublime level of horror.

My special favorites are "Yellowjacket Summer" (a wrong turn off a highway), "I Scream Man!" (a special game of scrabble), "He'll Come Knocking at Your Door" (a frightening Halloween in a small town), "Chico" (an idiot savant with a special gift), "The Red House" (the significance of being different), and "Something Passed By" (the end of the world as we know it). So, if horror is your genre, do not pass up this collection of artfully crafted stories.


Dark Angel
Dark Angel
by Donna Ball
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW MAY KILL YOU...,, 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Dark Angel (Mass Market Paperback)
This is an excellent book of psychological suspense with a touch of romance. It is well-written with an excellent plot and characters that are fully fleshed. The storyline will keep the reader riveted to its pages with its twists and turns.

When Ellen Cox, a teacher of the deaf, is enmeshed in a death defying freak accident, she looks death in the eye and survives, aided by a young doctor who becomes enamored of her. She comes to national prominence because of the nature of the accident and gains her fifteen minutes of fame. Through a reporter, she discovers that her background is not what she thought it was. In fact, she discovers that there is no record of her existence.

Meanwhile, murders are occurring at an alarming rate. It seems that there is a serial killer on the loose, and this killer has Ellen in the cross-hairs. Moreover, in the recesses of Ellen's mind, there is something about this killer that is on the threshold of her consciousness. Just what it is, however, Ellen is unable to fathom.

Can FBI agent and profiler, Matt Graham, get to the killer, before the killer gets to Ellen. Just what is the connection between Ellen and the killer? Already eleven women have died at the hands of this killer. Will Ellen be the twelfth? Read this absorbing book for the answer.


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