Moonlight Murder

Moonlight Murder

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Bingo host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Halloween Bingo is winding down!

We are winding down, fellow bingo friends!


Image result for halloween images


Can you believe that there are only 10 days left in Halloween bingo? Let's get an update from everyone who is playing along!


How many squares do you have left?

Do you plan to black out?

Have you had fun?


Comment below!


Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie

Oh, how I love a good Agatha!


So much, in fact, that one of my reading plans for next year is to finally read all of the Marples - but, I digress, because this is #36 in the Poirot series, and is a bright spot among the later books. Published in 1969, it is preceded by Third Girl (which is truly awful) and followed by Elephants Can Remember (which is slightly less awful than Third Girl, in my opinion, but still isn't very good).


I did quite enjoy this one, though - enough that I've read it a few times at this point. It is one of the Ariadne Oliver books, Agatha's most autobiographical character, who bumbles around in her usual scatterbrained fashion. By this time in the series, Christie is frankly tired of Poirot's affectations, as am I. Nonetheless, this one has an interesting mystery with a most un-obvious solution.


There are certain Poirot mysteries that I would only recommend for readers intent upon reading the entire series. This isn't one of those - it's a second tier mystery that stands on its own fairly well. Not one of Christie's first rate, most innovative stories, but a solid entry in her oevre.


I read this for the Pumpkin square, because of the cover!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

I listened to this book, in preparation for my vacation to California because we had tickets to visit Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Obviously, I needed a bit of Potter to get me in the proper frame of mind!



The handsome fellow with the red backpack (since you can't see his face, you'll just have to take my word for it that he is handsome) is my husband - we were looking for an owl for my daughter in the owlery.


Anyway, this one will work for the witches square. There are about eleventy-billion reviews of all of the Harry Potter books, so I'm not inclined to add another one to the masses, and will just make the following notes about this particular book:


This is the only book of the Harry Potter series that is 4th both in the series order and in order of MR preference. My preference order is:


1. Prisoner of Azkaban

2. Sorceror's Stone

3. Deathly Hallows

4. Goblet of Fire

5. Half-Blood Prince

6. Order of the Phoenix

7. Chamber of Secrets


Luckily, the first time around, I read the first three books consecutively, or I might've quit at Chamber of Secrets. That is the weakest link, I think.


I also maintain that this is the book where HP stops being MG and begins being YA. It is the book with the most gratuitous murder by Voldemort, the cruel, unnecessary and meaningless death of Cedric Diggory. With that one move, J.K. Rowling tells her fans that shit just got real, that Voldemort isn't a pretend villain, and the the darkest wizard to ever live really is the darkest wizard to ever live. Emotionally wrenching, it is one of the emotional high points of the series for me. Goblet of Fire is a turning point in the series, and begins that long climb to Deathly Hallows where the books really stop being individual stories and become one continuous narrative arc.


I'm not sure if I will read on right now, although re-entering the Harry Potter world makes it difficult to leave.

Jamaica Inn: Updates
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

Page 1:


This book has a pair of absolutely fantastic beginning sentences! Some of the best I have ever read:


It was a cold gray day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o’clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist.


How is that for scene setting? When the book begins, our heroine, Mary Yellin, is traveling along in a darkened coach, headed to Jamaica Inn. Du Maurier plunges us directly into the story, taking place under that "granite" sky.


I live in Oregon. I know a mizzling rain when I read about one!


This book walks right up to the edge of horror, and steps back into the category of suspense. 


"Respectable folk don’t go to Jamaica anymore. That’s all I know. In the old days we used to water the horses there, and feed them, and go in for a bit of a bite and drink. But we don’t stop there anymore. We whip the horses past and wait for nothing, not till we get to Five Lanes, and then we don’t bide long.”


“Why don’t folk go there? What is their reason?” Mary persisted.


The man hesitated; it was as though he were searching for words. “They’re afraid,” he said at last; and then he shook his head; he would say no more."


I read through chapter 5. Mary has just met Jem, brother of Joss Merlyn - the primary antagonist - who seems likely to be the love interest, although the first meeting demonstrated precious little reason for a woman to fall in love with him.


"Mary watched the little stinging rain blur the glass of the parlor window, and as she sat there, alone, with her chin in her hand, the tears ran down her cheeks in company with the rain. She let them fall, too indifferent to wipe them away, while the draft from the door she had forgotten to close ruffled a long torn strip of paper on the wall. There had once been a rose pattern, but it was now faded and gray, and the walls themselves were stained deep brown where the damp had turned them. Mary turned away from the window; and the cold, dead atmosphere of Jamaica Inn closed in upon her."


At this point, I finally had to shut down the kindle for the night, and go to sleep.

Jamaica Inn buddy read
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

I am trying to decide if it is even worth bothering to try to do the Jamaica Inn buddy read on Booklikes, or if the site issues make it an exercise in futility! It took forever to even access the book catalogue to add the book to this post!


We were meant to have started the read on Saturday, but I am ready to jump in today. Now, the question is, here or Goodreads? I put up a post over in the expats group as well, so if you can’t get the comment section to work here, post there with your preference. If BL doesn't speed up, and soon, I'm not sure how much longer I can take using it!

B-I-N-G-O card





I am finally able to update my bingo card! Hopefully there will be more posts coming, but BL has been infuriating since I returned home from my vacation! So, so slow!



Only four squares left to fill!






  1. Vampires vs. Werewolves: Mayhem by Sara Pinborough (9/2/16)
  2. Reads with Booklikes Friends: Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels (9/2/16)
  3. Genre: Mystery: Death In The Tunnel by Miles Burton (9/3/16)
  4. Free Square: The Redbreast by Joe Nesbo (9/3/16)
  5. Creepy Crawlies: Libriomancer by Jim Hines (9/4/16)
  6. Grave or Graveyard: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (9/8/16)
  7. Gothic: Snowfire by Phyllis Whitney (9/8/16)
  8. YA Horror: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (9/8/16)
  9. Scary Women (Authors): Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  10. Set in New England: Maplecroft by Cheri Priest
  11. Fall Into A Good Book: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  12. Supernatural: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  13. Locked Room Mystery: Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
  14. Read by Flashlight or Candlelight: The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  15. Black Cat: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  16. It Was A Dark and Stormy Night: Falconridge by Jennifer Wilde
  17. Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses: The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
  18. Full Moon: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  19. Witches: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  20. Pumpkin: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
  21. Diverse Authors are Spooky Fun: Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho
Starting November 1, 2016

Don't forget that we are beginning the Mary Stewart Merlin readalong on

November 1st!


Start acquiring your books now so you are ready to read!


The Jamaica Inn Buddy Read?
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

When do you want to start this one? Would October 15 through the end of bingo work for people? That's the day I return from my vacation!

The second half (or slightly less) of Bingo!


My plan for the remaining squares:


Classic horror: Dracula by Bram Stoker (started)

Pumpkin: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie (started)

Set on Halloween: One Night in the Lonesome October 

Diverse Authors: Sorceror to the Crown

Witches: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (started in audiobook)

Horror: A Taste For Monsters

Magical realism: something by Alice Hoffman or Sarah Addison Allen

Oh, those crazy Baskervilles
The Hound of the Baskervilles -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Perry

This is not the first time I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles. I'm not sure what number re-read I am on, but I find it just as engaging every time I read it.


I agree with some of the other buddy readers that this particular book rather lacks in the Holmes-time, but my love of Watson carries the day for me. Sometimes I actually prefer the bumbling sidekick to the primary character - and Sherlock Holmes is occasionally difficult to like.


However, the thing I love the most about this book is the setting. I simply cannot get enough of the moors. Someday, I am going to have to plan a literary pilgrimage to Devonshire, the location of Dartmoor, which is the location of so many fantastic books.


Grimpen Mire is modeled on Fox Tor, Dartmoor:



Doyle's descriptions of the landscape never fail to thrill me:


“It is a wonderful place, the moor,” said he, looking round over the undulating downs, long green rollers, with crests of jagged granite foaming up into fantastic surges. “You never tire of the moor. You cannot think the wonderful secrets which it contains. It is so vast, and so barren, and so mysterious.”




Every minute that white woolly plain which covered one-half of the moor was drifting closer and closer to the house. Already the first thin wisps of it were curling across the golden square of the lighted window. The farther wall of the orchard was already invisible, and the trees were standing out of a swirl of white vapour. As we watched it the fog-wreaths came crawling round both corners of the house and rolled slowly into one dense bank on which the upper floor and the roof floated like a strange ship upon a shadowy sea.


And then we have Holmes himself:


One of Sherlock Holmes’s defects--if, indeed, one may call it a defect--was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfilment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants.


The mystery itself is quite pedestrian, in my opinion, when held up to today's standards. But back when Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles, it must have caused a sensation, indeed. And even after all of these years, it still holds up.

Death in Cyprus: A Novel - M. M. Kaye

"Twaddle" said Mrs. Blaine angrily, watching her go.

"What is?" inquired Amanda, startled.

"Her books. Silly, sloppy, sentimental twaddle with a nasty streak of sex. I can't think why anyone reads the stuff."

"Escape," said Amanda, promptly. "Just think what life must be like for millions of girls. A deadly, boring grind. Then they read something by Persis and think "that might be me!" and feel a lot better!"

"Do you mean to say you read them?" demanded Mrs. Blaine incredulously.
"I used to. My last headmistress banned them on the strength of one about a poor but honest hat-check girl who got mixed up with racketeers, dope peddling and white slavery. She emerged spotless of course - all Halliday heroines do -- but the ban was enough to make us smuggle them into the dormitories by the dozen."


Lol! And that, my friends, is why banning books is a bad idea! If people didn't want to read it before the ban, they certainly will after!

Baskerville Buddy Read
The Hound of the Baskervilles -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Perry

How is everyone doing? 


I just started Chapter 5 - Three Broken Threads. 


This is by far my favorite of all of the full-length Holmes books. Well, at least, I think it is. I've actually never even read The Valley of Fear.

The Baskerville Read-Along

I'm so excited! I've been crazy busy and also just totally demoralized by the crazy that is the presidential election here in the U.S.A. I don't want to get political, but suffice it to say that this election has illuminated some dark corners of the American electorate that I would have preferred didn't exist. Not only do they exist, but they are emboldened.


So, I'm happy to start The Hound of the Baskervilles!


My dream vacation

Someday when I am really rich, I am going to buy a piece of property in the middle of the woods and I am going to build about five of these retreats:



They will be scattered across the property, strategically placed so that from the windows, you won't see anyone else.



Each will have a bathroom, and a small kitchenette. The beds will have homemade quilts on them, and will be lovely and warm and cozy. I will live in a log cabin on the property, and I will deliver warm homemade muffins to my guests in the morning, and soup in the evenings. You'll all be welcome to come and read all day long!


Link to Original article.

Sunday Soup #3


Mushroom barley soup with Agatha Christie!


Ready, set, delicious!

Kindle daily deal
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts

This book is on sale for $1.99 today. It sort of looks like the shizz to me, so I thought I would share!


Plot summary:


Crime and punishment, passion and loyalty, betrayal and redemption are only a few of the ingredients in Shantaram, a massive, over-the-top, mostly autobiographical novel. Shantaram is the name given Mr. Lindsay, or Linbaba, the larger-than-life hero. It means "man of God's peace," which is what the Indian people know of Lin. What they do not know is that prior to his arrival in Bombay he escaped from an Australian prison where he had begun serving a 19-year sentence. He served two years and leaped over the wall. He was imprisoned for a string of armed robberies peformed to support his heroin addiction, which started when his marriage fell apart and he lost custody of his daughter. He arrives in Bombay with little money, an assumed name, false papers, an untellable past, and no plans for the future. Fortunately, he meets Prabaker right away, a sweet, smiling man who is a street guide.


He takes to Lin immediately, eventually introducing him to his home village, where they end up living for six months. When they return to Bombay, they take up residence in a sprawling illegal slum of 25,000 people and Linbaba becomes the resident "doctor." With a prison knowledge of first aid and whatever medicines he can cadge from doing trades with the local Mafia, he sets up a practice and is regarded as heaven-sent by these poor people who have nothing but illness, rat bites, dysentery, and anemia. He also meets Karla, an enigmatic Swiss-American woman, with whom he falls in love. Theirs is a complicated relationship, and Karla’s connections are murky from the outset.


Roberts is not reluctant to wax poetic; in fact, some of his prose is downright embarrassing. Throughought the novel, however, all 944 pages of it, every single sentence rings true. He is a tough guy with a tender heart, one capable of what is judged criminal behavior, but a basically decent, intelligent man who would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially anyone he knew. He is a magnet for trouble, a soldier of fortune, a picaresque hero: the rascal who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. His story is irresistible. Stay tuned for the prequel and the sequel.


It's 946 pages long! Holy doorstopper, Batman!