The third annual game of Booklikes Halloween Bingo starts 9/1/18! Join us and play!
I am not a fan of short stories, but these Marple stories were outstanding and thoroughly enjoyable. It was great to get a bit better acquainted with some of the characters in the novels, including the Bantry's, who are the primary focus of The Body in the Library, and Sir Henry Clithering, who is mentioned frequently in the Marple canon.
Some of the stories are better than others, but all of them were entertaining and show cased Miss Marple's curious method of crime solving. It was great fun.
As I mentioned, I've spent the last 12 days on a road trip. The route was:
Morrisville, TN - Nashville, TN - Memphis, TN - Clarksville, AR (lunch with a dear friend) - Elk City, OK - Albuquerque, NM - Phoenix, AZ (my parent's house) - The Grand Canyon (amazing) - Kingman, AZ - Las Vegas, NV - Reno, NV - home.
This was a loooong trip. To keep ourselves occupied on the trip, the three of us (husband, self, 18-year-old son) ended up having an Alex Rider-fest, which was great. We ended up listening to the final four books in the series.
Snakehead: as our recent introduction to Alex (we'd all listened to the earlier books YEARS ago, so I was partially guessing when I decided where to start with this trip), we really enjoyed Snakehead. Alex, as always, is dragged unwillingly into helping out a spy agency, in this case, the Australian version of the CIA. The book starts with him plummeting back to earth after fighting the villain from Ark Angel on a space station. It goes from there, with trips to Bangkok, an illegal organ harvesting hospital in the Australian outback, a preposterous kayak ride down a river, a major betrayal, and, finally, reunification with Jack Starbright, his "housekeeper" slash best friend slash caregiver.
Crocodile Tears: This one has Alex escaping from a murder plot at a house party in the Scottish Highlands, and then getting into big trouble at a school trip to a place that does genetic modification of plants. He manages to figure out a plot involving a fake charity, and is ultimately kidnapped, taken to Africa, nearly fed to crocodiles, and foils a plot to commit mass homicide for cash.
Scorpia Rising: Scorpia is back, and they are plotting against Alex. MI-6 and Alan Blunt fall for the trickery hook, line and sinker, and Alex is dispatched to a fancy school in Cairo, Egypt. He is captured (again), as is Jack Starbright, who has accompanied him to Egypt. The downside of this book is that it takes a long time to set it up - Alex doesn't make his first appearance until almost 40% of the book has gone by. Far too much time is spent with the two villains. It also has quite a shock ending.
Never Say Die: Based on the ending, and the six year gap between Scorpia Rising and the final book (to date), Never Say Die, I think that Horowitz intended Scorpia Rising to be the final book in the series. Someone must have persuaded him otherwise, because Alex is back, and tougher than ever. He is still dealing with the surprise ending of Scorpia Rising living with the Pleasure family in San Franciso when he receives a mysterious email that takes him right back into the shadowy world he thinks he has left forever. The last uncaptured members of Scorpia are at it again, with a ridiculously convoluted plot to make millions of dollars.
By the end of Never Say Die, there are no surviving members of Scorpia. Horowitz sets up the next stage in the series with a meeting between Mrs. Jones and Alex, where she points out that once he turns 16, he can be openly employed by MI-6, and a final tease about a new criminal organization that has started operating, Nightshade. Nightshade, the title for the 12th Alex Rider, is scheduled for release next year.
The series owes a lot to Fleming's James Bond series. The villains are always coming up with wildly implausible plots, and they cannot restrain themselves from telling the entire plot to Alex once they capture him. Instead of simply putting a bullet in his head, they come up with convoluted methods of killing that give him an opportunity to escape. One of my favorite characters, Smithers, is the analogue to Q, and is always coming up with great gadgets for Alex, disguised as things a school boy might naturally carry. Everyone loved the Rider-fest, and it made the miles disappear!
I used my wild card on Horowitz, since there aren't enough categories to really fit these books into, and filled four squares on the bingo board with Alex: Genre Suspense, Free Square, Shifter (wild card) and Doomsday (wild card).
I am reading this for Modern Noir, and it fits that square quite well.
Rowling is have a rollicking good time exploring the various conventions of the mystery novel. The London setting is a strength, and, as always, her characterizations are solid gold. The mystery is less than riveting, but it's engaging enough that I don't really care.
I am absolutely loving this book. I didn't realize when I checked it out, but it's set in the fiction Barchester of Anthony Trollope, and the author has done several call-outs to Trollope's creation. The main character lives in a converted cottaged created from two of the rooms in the almshouse that was at the center of The Warden, and Septimus Harding has been mentioned by name! It's just delicious!
Combining the Arthurian legendarium with the Chronicles of Barchester? The Grail at Barchester Cathedral? OMG, sign me up.
I am two away from bingo in two different directions - just gotta keep those calls coming!
Book titles link to relevant posts.
Classic Horror; Cryptozoologist; Cozy Mystery; New Release; Southern Gothic, Terrifying Women, A Grimm Tale, Modern Masters of Horror, Creepy Carnivals, Relics and Curiosities
Spellbound: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Modern Noir: Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Relics and Curiosities: The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett
Called + read (white cat)
Classic Horror: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
New Release: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Cryptozoologist: Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire
Southern Gothic: The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb
Terrifying Women: The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
Free Square: Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz
A Grimm Tale: Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Read + waiting for a call (yellow moon)
Diverse Voices: Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
Deadlands: Midnight Crossroads by Charlaine Harris
Creepy Carnivals: Madball by Frederic Brown
Slasher Stories: I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
Baker Street Irregulars: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
Ghost Stories: The Walker in the Shadows by Barbara Michaels
Genre: Suspense: Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
Country House Mystery: Penhallow by Georgette Heyer
13: The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie
Shifters: Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz (wild card)
Doomsday: Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz (wild card)
Since we listened to four Alex Rider books on my vacation, I am using Anthony Horowitz as my wild card author!
I am not quite sure what to say about this book. Adam Penhallow, the man who will eventually become the victim, like Simeon Lee from Hercule Poirot's Christmas, is utterly loathesome. He is the classic early twentieth century affluent male demanding that all of his relatives dance attendance upon him as they wait for him to die.
Heyer does a bang-up job sketching out all of the various characters, from Faith, Penhallow's long-suffering, mild second wife, mother to Cliff, to all of his children. Of them, only one, Char, has really managed to break free of her family, and that is because she inherited a legacy from a grandmother that has made her independent. Penhallow has seven sons, Ray, Jimmy the Bastard, Bart, Con, Eustace (or something like that), Aubrey and Cliff, who is the only son by Faith. He has decided that he wants all of his children at home, in his not-waning-nearly-quickly-enough years, so that he can psychologically torture them and hang their impoverishment over their heads, as he controls all of the money. I'm pretty sure there's another random daughter, but I don't remember her name. There is at least one daughter-in-law, who bitterly hates Penhallow.
It is only a matter of time before one of them breaks. One of them breaks.
One of the marvelous things about modern economies is that all of those children would have at least had the option of telling him to go fuck himself and set out to make their own way in the world without regard to the inherited wealth. He really needed to go fuck himself.
The murder doesn't occur until late in the book, approximately 64%, and it is no surprise, because we are in on the details. The only real mystery is whether or not the police will actually figure it out.
I read this one for the Country House Murder square.
So, our road trip has taken us from Knoxville area, Tennessee to Nashville, Memphis, a tiny dot on the map called Clarksville, Arkansas, Elk City, Oklahoma and now Albuquerque, NM, which is where I am posting from this morning.
Since we left Knoxville, we've managed to listen to books 7 & 8 in the Alex Rider series, which have entertained all three of us enormously. Anthony Horowitz's boy spy, Alex Rider, has had a rough year, for sure!
We have about a six hour drive into the Phoenix area, where we will spend tomorrow with my parents, and then head north to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon on Saturday. From there it's Vegas and then Reno and then home!
Next book up is the first in the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud!
I will be claiming Genre, Suspense and my Free Square with the two Alex Riders, and supernatural with Lockwood & Co, when I get some time to update. Right now, I'm having breakfast, and then we will hit the road.
Southern Gothic: mystery, supernatural, suspense or horror set in the Southern part of the United States.