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Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game 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.

Currently reading

Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics)
Martin Edwards
Progress: 105/410 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

Magic For Nothing by Seanan McGuire

Magic for Nothing - Seanan McGuire

I read this one for my Supernatural square. It would also fit for Monster, Ghost & Terrifying Women.


So, I'm all caught up on this series, and now I just have to wait for the next book.

I'd been waiting for a book from Antimony's POV for a while now. I love Verity, and am lukewarm on Alex, so I was curious to find out how I'd feel about the youngest of the Price siblings. Verity is still my favorite, but I enjoyed seeing the world from Antimony's grumpy, occasionally misanthropic, grudgy perspective.

McGuire is so imaginative and talented that when I stop to think about how many different series she writes, and how different each of those series are, I'm sort of blown away. This is still my favorite of her series, although I do also love the Wayward Children series.

The carnival setting is strangely effective here, and reading this book in October was serendipitous. I was reminded frequently of Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury, which is one of the books that most clearly signals autumn to me.

Amazon forums shutting down


I can't actually remember who I am friends with online that I originally met on the amazon forums. Obsidian Blue for sure, and maybe some of the rest of you as well. I think Grimlock and I originally met on amazon. While I've not posted on the forums for years as a result of the troll infestation, it's still bittersweet to see them finally shut down. They were the first places that I found a group of people to discuss books on the internet. From the forums, to GR, and from GR to here, it's a straight line for me.


Edit - I think I met Char on amazon, too! It's all jumbled up in my mind now - hard to believe I've known some of you for five years or so!

Mary Stewart's gothics are now available for U.S. Kindle

Image result for mary stewart kindleImage result for mary stewart kindleImage result for mary stewart kindle


Great news for U.S. fans of Mary Stewart. At long last, her gothic/romantic suspense novels have been published for kindle by Hodder.


And, unlike the Phyllis Whitney reissues, at least for today the prices are extremely reasonable



Madam Will You Talk 
Thunder on the Right
The Ivy Tree


This Rough Magic 
The Moon-Spinners 
Wildfire at Midnight


The Gabriel Hounds
Airs Above the Ground
Rose Cottage


Yes, for $20.00, you can acquire her entire backlist for kindle (in the U.S.). Link to books here.


Bingo Call: 10/3


Gothic: any book with significant gothic elements, a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. 

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

Half-Resurrection Blues - Daniel José Older

I read this one for Diverse Voices. It would also work for Supernatural, Ghost & The Dead Will Walk (there's a necromancer reanimating corpses).


I went back and forth on this book, but ultimately settled on 3 stars. I enjoyed the urban feel to this piece of urban fantasy and the Brooklyn setting was well-done. The narration is told from the (first person) perspective of Carlos Delacruz, whose internal dialogue switches between profanity-laced grit and self-deprecating humor. 


One of the weaknesses of the book was the weird, almost stalkerish, relationship between Carlos and the love interest Sasha. Carlos sees a picture of Sasha and is immediately "drawn" to her. There are major issues with this entire aspect of the plot, at least for me, starting with this attraction based on Sasha's terminal hotness, and ending with the resolution to their "relationship" at the end of the book. The whole thing made me uncomfortable. It was a huge part of the book, as well, so I can't just ignore it.


And, I'm not going to lie, nearly the entire ending of this book is confusing. I'm still trying to sort it out in my mind.  In addition, when I think about the UF series that I've really enjoyed, it's clear to me that I prefer my UF to revolve around women, such as Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, and Verity Price. So, I haven't decided if I will go on with this series or not, and now I've talked myself into knocking off another 1/2 star.

Murder in the Museum by John Rowland

Murder in the Museum (British Library Crime Classics) - John Rowland

A professor of Elizabethan literature dies in the reading room at the British Museum. 


The second book in my mini-exploration of classic crime fiction set in London, I'm pleased to report that I enjoyed this one significantly more than Murder in Piccadilly. While the cover isn't as aesthetically pleasing, everything else was better! 


This was a fast-paced mystery, sprinkled with red herrings directing attention to various characters. The good Inspector, Inspector Shelley, is helped along in the investigation by the mild-manner Mr. Fairhurst, who witnessed the death of Professor Arnell, and who ends up acting as a bit of a fairy god(father) to Arnell's daughter, Violet who is engaged to the prime suspect in her father's murder.


An enjoyable golden age read!


Buddy Read #2: Classic Horror

OB & I have been discussing putting together that second buddy read for Halloween bingo, to begin 10/10/17! I have two suggestions, and would love to get some additional suggestions going in the bingo group or in the comments!


Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le FanuCarmilla by Sheridan LeFanu:


This is a novella, although page counts seem to vary dramatically. Plot summary;


Before Dracula, there was Carmilla—the first seductive vampire to haunt readers’ imaginations 

This classic of Gothic horror follows Laura, a woman haunted by a girlhood dream of a beautiful visitor to her bedroom. Now, a decade later, Laura finds Carmilla, who appears to be her own age, on the side of the road after a carriage accident. The two recognize each other from the same childhood dream and become fast friends. Soon after, Laura begins to experience mysterious feelings and is once again haunted by nightmares. She finds Carmilla strangely irresistible and longs to be with her.

But as the two friends grow closer, Laura’s health begins to fail. It becomes apparent that her enchanting companion is harboring a sinister secret. To free herself from Carmilla’s grasp, Laura and her family must fight for their lives.


The Turn of the Screw - Henry JamesThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James:


Another novella, this one is around 87 pages.


A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls...

But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.

For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.


Both of these are very short reads! Let me know if either of these sound appealing, or feel free to make some additional suggestions in the discussion group. I started a discussion thread here!

Reading progress update: I've read 58%.

Murder in the Museum (British Library Crime Classics) - John Rowland

I started this one last night, once I decided to go ahead with a few more books set in London. It is a very quick read, and I am enjoying it a lot. There are a lot of characters, and Rowland has set up one of the characters, probably with some red herrings. If he sustains my enjoyment through to the end, this is shaping up to be a 3 to 4 star read for me!

A mini-project: Capital Crimes

Murder in the Museum (British Library Crime Classics) - John Rowland Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards Lord Edgware Dies  - Agatha Christie The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham

I decided to do a little mini-exploration of vintage mysteries set in London, to go along with my read of Murder in Piccadilly! I snagged this one, & also bought the "Capital Crimes" BLCC anthology edited by Martin Edwards.


I already own Lord Edgware Dies, which takes place in London, so I'm going to give that one a reread as well, and possibly Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, also mentioned by Edwards in the chapter on murders set in London, to round out the group.


In the middle of this, I'll also still be joining in the buddy read for Murder of a Lady late this week! Can't wait!



So, I've taken the call off-line because I set it for the wrong date to publish!


Sorry! ;0)

Greygallows by Barbara Michael

Greygallows - Barbara Michaels

This was really disappointing, actually. It had an interesting premise, but never really took off. The main character, Lucy, was so passive that she made me want to spit nails. The villain was cartoonish. The hero was passably attractive, but nothing special.


The suspense aspect of the book just fell flat for me. It took forever for things to get going, followed by an abrupt and convenient ending. If I were required to describe this book in one word, that word would be "meh."


It's not a bad book. It's just not a good book either. At least I can use it for Halloween bingo.

Reading progress update: I've read 46%.

Greygallows - Barbara Michaels

I am hoping that this one will work for Haunted Houses, otherwise I will use it for my second card! It's not very ghosty so far, but with a title like "Greygallows," there is probably still time!


This is a historical gothic by Barbara Michaels, and I'm pretty sure that it is the first one I've read in recent memory. It's set during the early Victorian era, and is quite reminiscent of Victoria Holt, whose gothics are mostly historical.


At this point, the main character, heiress Lucy Cartwright, is annoyingly docile. She had one spark of independence that was easily squashed, and became even more compliant at that point, which I didn't necessarily think was possible. She'd better buck up soon, because someone is probably trying to kill her.

Reading progress update: I've read 23%.

Half-Resurrection Blues - Daniel José Older

I am reading this for the Diverse Voices bingo square. The main character, Carlos Delacruz, is an "Inbetweener" who has been partially resurrected from a death - and life - that he remembers basically nothing about. It's set in Brooklyn, NY, which made me realize that New York is a setting that I don't see often in Urban Fantasy. That may well be a result of my reading choices, but now that I think about it, that's weird, right? I read series set in London, Atlanta, Chicago, California, but I can't think of anything else set in NYC.


I mean what could be a better setting for UF than NYC, with its rich and incredibly diverse population?


So far, the writing is breezy and engaging.

Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston

Murder in Piccadilly: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) - Charles Kingston

This was included in the Chapter 8 of The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books as a Capital Crime because of its London setting. It also could've been included in the chapter where Edwards discusses "inverted mysteries," as the murder doesn't occur until the 50% mark, and the reader pretty much knows the why and the who of it (the actual wielder of the dagger is unknown, but all of the conspirators are well defined) that the second half of the book centers around Inspector Wake, and whether or not he will, to adopt the vernacular, "get his man."


I'm really not a huge fan of inverted mysteries, so that's one strike against the book from my perspective. Even so, I enjoyed the way that the author developed both setting and character. The main character, young Bobbie Cheldon, is gentry-in-waiting, while his uncle, Massy Cheldon, occupies the estate with a life interest. As is so often the case in these British mysteries, we know going in that Massy is not long for the world. He is an ungenerous uncle, making Bobbie's mother a small allowance, but largely complaining bitterly whenever he needs to spend any money. When Bobbie moans about his prospects, his response is for Bobbie to buck up and get a job in the family business, at the bottom, and work his way up.


“Bobbie’s got to realise the unpleasant fact that he must take off his coat and forget his gentility. It’s useless his thinking that I’m going to die to suit his convenience. The Cheldon estate has been his curse. Waiting for dead men’s shoes always is. I’m good for another twenty years at least, although there are moments—”


Bobbie has gotten himself tangled up with a bad crowd, the denizens of a London nightclub called "The Frozen Fang," and has fallen hard for the delectable dancer, Nancy Curzon. Nancy is dumb as a box of hammers, not that great of a dancer, extremely attractive, and fully convinced that she deserves wealth, position and all of the trappings thereof, as soon as possible. She is not interested in being married to Bobbie Cheldon, the clerk at 5 shillings a week. Bobbie Sheldon the lord of the manor at ten thousand a year, on the other hand, is mighty fine. Nosey Ruslin, a small-time crook and swindler, sees in Bobbie the chance at a bit of blackmail if he can bring about Bobbie's ascension to the manor and hand him the lady on a silver platter. All good so far. The writing was solid, and more fluid than is often the case in these Golden Age mysteries.


A murder is planned, a murder in Piccadilly:


Now if we lived in Sausage-cum-Chips we’d spend the evenings talking about a strange chap we saw standing outside the Pig and Whistle or inquiring the shortest cut to the farm where hours later the body was found. If he asked us a question or passed the time of day we’d make conversation out of it for a fortnight, and if there was a murder we’d be able to tell what the stranger looked like, and he’d be copped inside an hour. If he wasn’t a stranger we’d know all about his quarrel with his wife’s sister-in-law’s uncle and the whole village would turn out to give evidence about the knife he sharpened on the stone above the river near the church. No, <***removed name***>, if you want to do a chap in do it in London where nobody takes no notice of nobody and it ain’t anyone’s business to talk about everybody’s. If I wanted to commit murder,” the articulation was barely audible. “I’d do it in the middle of Piccadilly when there was a big traffic jam worrying the peelers. I wouldn’t go down to Muck-on- the-Ridge and have the fifty inhabitants talking of nothing else but my visit. London has always been good enough for me, and don’t you forget it.”



And a murder occurs.


At the very instant of the murder of Massy Cheldon the Piccadilly Underground was a microcosm of London.


Inspector Wake is on the case. I quite liked the good inspector - he's in the mold of Superintendent Battle, I would say. A bright detective with good instincts. Not a bumbler. He target locks on the right investigative course and makes some solid discoveries.


So, why only 2 1/2 stars? 


Everything was fine until 85%, at which point the author decides to introduce a twist, with an event that is so out of character for one of the characters, it just annoyed me. Why bother with all of that character development if one is just going to toss it out the window for a plot twist? Why? Why?


In addition, I know that the golden age mystery writers aren't really concerned about justice, but there were aspects of this book that really bothered me. I'm putting this part in spoiler tags, although it doesn't completely spoil the mystery, it does spoil a significant plot resolution.




In the end, Inspector Wake got the actual knife-man. But the co-conspirators - without whom Massy Cheldon would not have died, were apparently able to swan off into the sunset. When a person solicits someone else to murder on their behalf, that person is JUST AS GUILTY OF MURDER as the actual murderer. In fact, some people might say that person is EVEN MORE FUCKING GUILTY OF MURDER than the person who does the deed, since the doer would be home in bed if he wasn't murdering for hire. So, that annoyed me mightily, and I would've expected more of Inspector Wake.

(show spoiler)



I dithered between 2 1/2 and 3 stars, but in the end, the fact that it was set in London - one of my favorite settings - and was overall pretty enjoyable, just couldn't make up for the fact that I don't really enjoy inverted mysteries, a main character behaved irrationally just to provide an unexpected plot twist, and the ending was unsatisfying.

Bingo Call: 9/29


Aliens: beings from outer space.

Reading progress update: I've read 82 out of 314 pages.

Murder in Piccadilly: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) - Charles Kingston

The titular murder has still not occurred.


This is shaping up to not be a whodunnit, or even, really, a whydunnit, since it appears that the murder is to be motivated by greed, and an heir who doesn't want to wait around for his rich relative to shuffle off the mortal coil by natural causes.


Which begs the question that so often arises in these golden age mysteries. Was the murder of rich old relatives in England as common as one would think from reading these books?