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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.

Holy sociopath batman

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

Whoa. Tom Ripley is shocking, disturbing, compelling, inspired. More on this book tomorrow, once I have a chance to process. My initial thoughts are that if Shirley Jackson and Patricia Highsmith had conspired to achieve world domination, there would have been no stopping them.

Reading progress update: I've read 217 out of 285 pages.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

It was senseless to be despondent, anyway, even as Tom Ripley. Tom Ripley had never really been despondent, though he had often looked it. Hadn’t he learned something from these last months? If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful, or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.


Tom Ripley is a deeply disturbed individual. I keep flashing to various eps of Criminal Minds/CSI while I'm reading.


Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 285 pages.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

Welp, things have really started to disintegrate for Tom. 


This book is terrifying. The amount of tension that Highsmith has created is really astonishing.

Reading progress update: I've read 103 out of 285 pages.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

Holeeeeee shit. That escalated quickly.

Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 285 pages.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

About thirty minutes later—just the right time later, Tom thought, because the Greenleafs had kept insisting that he drink another and another martini—they went into a dining room off the living room, where a table was set for three with candles, huge dark-blue dinner napkins, and a whole cold chicken in aspic. But first there was céleri rémoulade. Tom was very fond of it. He said so.


Image result for chicken in aspic




I'm on page 78, and Tom has made it to Italy and found Dickie Greenleaf. Things just got super weird, with

Tom vividly imagining strangling Marge while wearing Dickie's pants.

(show spoiler)

Ghosts! Haunted Houses! Romantic Suspense! (Contemporary) Gothic!

Reblogged from Linda Hilton:
The Looking-Glass Portrait - Linda Hilton

I am terrible at self promotion.  I feel queasy even doing this much.


But I'm screwing up my courage, because yes, this is my book and it fits a whole bunch of Halloween Bingo squares.  (And if I do say so myself, it's a fun read, with no graphic violence or sex.)  (And I never read the reviews!)


The Looking-Glass Portrait


When Thomasina Ryder inherits her grandmother's house, she expects to quickly arrange for the sale of the estate. She soon learns the disposal of her legacy will be a more complicated process than she expected. And nothing could complicate matters more than the return into Thomasina's life of a forbidden love from the past.

The further she delves into the secrets of that past, the more she is made aware of something sinister and hidden, never to be spoken of even in whispers. She begins to suspect this secret is connected to the silent forms she has seen moving in the old house, from the corner of her eye or in the distorted reflection of a mirror. Then, as her investigations bear fruit, the shadows in the mirrors become more threatening.





For players having trouble with their card formats

Because of the way that the discussion groups work, it isn't possible to upload directly into the threads. I have to upload the cards to a photo hosting site and then drop them into the post using a direct link.


I assume that this is why some of you are struggling with getting your card downloaded to your computer. 


I don't know if it will be helpful at all, but my imgur account contains nothing private at all - mostly .gifs and pics that I've used here and/or on GR. The link to the account is here. I *think* you can access it, if not, reply in comments and I will try to figure out permissions to open it up. Once you open your card, you should be able to right click on it to get it to download to your computer.


Now for the bad news! There are something like 45 bingo cards on there, and I didn't name them. So, you'll need to scroll through the images to find yours. They are arranged by upload time, so you should be able to sort of guess where yours might be based on the order of creation.



The Crime Coast by Elizabeth Gill

The Crime Coast: A Benvenuto Brown Mystery - Elizabeth Gill

This is one of three golden age mysteries published by Elizabeth Gill, a largely forgotten author who published her first book - this one - in 1931. She published only 3 mysteries because she passed away unexpectedly at 32. All three of her books have been reissued by Dean Street Press, and are available from amazon for only $1.99.


I was, frankly, lukewarm about her main character, Benvenuto Brown, amateur sleuth and brilliant artist. Perhaps he will grow on me during the course of the remaining two books.


However, while I didn't really become attached to Ben Brown, I really liked Paul Ashby, a young London lawyer who finds himself embroiled in a mystery. He is trying to locate a young artist, Adrian, on behalf of his father, whom he has met and who gave him the strange commission before leaving London for the French Riviera. Paul meets and falls in with Adelaide Moon on the train from Paris to Marseille, an alluring young woman who is known to associate with Adrian.


As the story progresses, Adrian is accused of murdering his former lover, who is discovered completely nude except for a whole bunch of jewels. Shortly thereafter, Adrian disappears, and Ben, Paul and Adelaide attempt to solve the murder to clear Adrian's name, while Paul becomes increasingly enamored of the fair Adelaide. 


“As leading ladies say on first nights, this is the happiest moment of my life,” he murmured, watching blue smoke vanish into the blue air. “It’s the sort of thing one dreams about on a wet, grey day in London—only better. I’ve never had the imagination to dream of such a day as this or such a boat, or—or you,” he added, only so low that he thought perhaps she hadn’t heard.


Gill has a gift for descriptive writing, evoking the beautiful turquoise sea of the Riviera with gems like this:


“Can you dive with your eyes open?” she said. He nodded, and in a second she was a red bird skimming through the air, a moment later a goldfish in the translucent depths. It was a good dive, and Paul pulled himself together—she was watching him. He went in neatly and for cool moments of silence saw the green world slide past his eyes, saw the smooth stones of the ocean bed, and fish that flickered and vanished mysteriously, before he shot up into the dazzling sunshine.

There is a classic reveal at the end of the story, with Ben explaining all to his rapt listeners. The mystery relies on a great deal of coincidence, as these golden age mysteries often do, but it is an enjoyable, and surprising, whodunnit, nonetheless.

Classic Noir Group Read

Some preliminary book ideas


I've certainly not made any final decisions about what I'm reading for bingo, but I do have some ideas percolating!


Chilling Children: I am definitely reading something by Lois Duncan for this square. I bought several of hers when they went on sale several years ago because my daughter was the right age and devoured them. Down A Dark Hall was one of my favorites back when I was the right age for Lois Duncan, so I think that'll probably be the one I pick.


Classic Noir: I am strongly leaning towards Cornell Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black. It's available for $4.99 on kindle & I've never read anything by Woolrich. I will also be participating in the September group read, so I'll either use that read for classic noir (if it fits) or as a wild card for a different category.


Romantic suspense: This one is looking likely to be This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart, which is on its way to me even as I type!


Gothic: this will likely be a Phyllis Whitney or a Barbara Michaels. I already have Blue Fire by Whitney.


Supernatural: I bought The Revenant of Thraxton Hall last year to read during Halloween bingo and I never got around to it! This year it is in!


Diverse voices: Same with Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older, which would qualify under supernatural or ghosts, so I can read it for diverse voices.


Witches: Since Alice Hoffman is releasing a prequel to Practical Magic this year, called Rules of Magic, I'm planning to read Practical Magic for this square.


Magical Realism: And then I will read Rules of Magic for this square, once it is released on October 10th.


Haunted House: I may reread The Little Stranger for this one. It's been about four years since I read it the first time and I really liked it. I think it would hold up well to a reread.


Ghosts: The final book of the Jackaby quartet, The Dire King, is scheduled for publication on 8/22. One of my favorite fictional ghosts, Jenny, is featured in the series. This one is already pre-ordered & may be the first book I read for the game!


That's my first ten ideas! I'm so excited for this round, I can hardly stand it!

Bingo Card Tutorial

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

So, Linda was asking about filling in the bingo card with images, so I thought I would do a little tutorial of how PicMonkey works. This is my favorite photo editing site because there is so much fun stuff available to play with - pretty much all of my images come off of PicMonkey.


PicMonkey has a free version and a premium version. I have the premium version, but the free version will work fine for this.


So, to begin - I download the bingo card to a folder on my computer. I reuse the image and when I'm done modifying it, I resave it under the same name so I'm always using the most current (i.e., filled in) version.


When you open PicMonkey, this is what it looks like:



You want the edit function, not the design or the collage. Although the collage function is awesome for making book cover collages and the actual bingo card itself, soI use it a lot!


When you click on edit, it opens up some options to choose an image, including computer. Browse and find your bingo card on your computer and upload it.


It will look more or less like this:



You find the overlays under either the butterfly or the apple. The apple has the themes, which is what is showing over on the left hand side. There are tons of available themes, including 6 Halloween-style themes and at least 3 Christmas-style themes. That is where you will find your cute overlays for your bingo markers.



These are under the Trick or Treat theme. You click on them, and then drag them into place. Super simple! Sometimes they need to be resized, which is easy to do!


Anyway, I hope that helps! Have fun!

Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth

Grey Mask - Patricia Wentworth

I was so busy creating bingo cards that I haven't really had a chance to put my thoughts in order on this buddy read. 


I finished this one last night, blasting through the last 25% or so of the mystery. The "criminal mastermind" trope, honestly, isn't one of my favorites, but even knowing that, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. And while I generally acknowledge Agatha Christie to be the Queen of Everything, Patricia Wentworth did the criminal mastermind better than Christie in The Big Four.


These golden age mysteries are just such a pleasure for me to read that I often forgive them for quirks that would really bother me in a modern mystery. Margot, aka Greta, would've made me pull my hair out by the roots in a new release. Yes, she was TSTL. Yes, she was so ridiculously naive that no one could possibly be that dumb. And the idea that she would marry Archie, who is very nearly as stupid as she is, would be terrifying if it weren't so improbable.


I do think that the relationship issues between Charles and Margaret were solved rather too neatly. In addition, Margaret was written as a character of brains and integrity, so some of her decisions seemed decidedly unlikely. I'm curious to see the development of Miss Silver in later releases, and I enjoyed Patricia Wentworth's tidy prose. She has a lot of books available including a lot of non-Miss Silver books that have been re-issued. 


Tigus posted a list of favorite Miss Silver novels, so I'm pretty psyched to check those out! It looks like this isn't really a series that needs to be read in order?

The Bingo Group Reads


Obsidian and I are proposing two group reads as part of the bingo game. These are optional, but are usually really a lot of fun! We're planning for one in September and one in October. 


We'd like to read some sort of a classic mystery - pulp, noir, hardboiled, etc., for the September read. Think Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Cornell Woolrich and the like. I've opened a nomination thread in the discussion group here.


The great thing about a group read is that it is a wild card for any square! So, if you realize along the way that you aren't going to be able to find a book for a square, come and buddy read with us & you'll be able to check that off your list. 

All caught up!

Whew! I have created 26 bingo cards today! 


It's not too late to request one, obviously, I'm just so excited to be all caught up! If I missed your card, post on the discussion thread or PM me!

Halloween bingo 2017: the spaces


This is the bingo card I created for myself, by way of example. Each card has 24 spaces, with a free space in the middle. Readers can fill the free space with any book that qualifies for any of the 31 squares listed below. You don't have to wait for the call to fill that space!


The 31 spaces:


  1. Locked room mystery: A subgenre of detective fiction in which a crime—almost always murder—is committed under circumstances which it was seemingly impossible for the perpetrator to commit the crime and/or evade detection in the course of getting in and out of the crime scene.
  2. Country house mystery: A closed circle mystery, occurring at a gathering like a house party. 
  3. Classic noir: A subgenre of mystery that includes authors such as Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich. Anything that also qualifies as "hard-boiled" will work for this square.
  4. Murder most foul: any murder mystery!
  5. Amateur sleuth: this mystery will have a main character who is not a member of law enforcement.
  6. Romantic suspense: any romance which has a significant sub-plot that involves mystery, thriller or suspense.
  7. Serial/spree killer: any book that involves a serial killer or a spree killer, no matter what genre/sub-genre it involves.
  8. Cozy mystery: a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
  9. American horror story: horror, set in the USA.
  10. Genre: horror: this seems obvious.
  11. Gothic: any book with significant: a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance.  
  12. Darkest London: any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book set in London.
  13. Modern Masters of Horror: horror published in or after 2000.
  14. Supernatural: mystery, suspense or horror books which include elements that defy current understanding of the natural world, including magic, witchcraft and/or crypto-zoological aspects.
  15. Ghost: any mystery, suspense or horror which involves a ghost, or a character who believes that the events involve a ghost.
  16. Haunted houses: any structure or location that is, or is believed to be, "haunted" qualifies - it doesn't need to be a house.
  17. Vampires
  18. Werewolves
  19. Witches
  20. Demons
  21. Classic horror: horror that was published prior to 1980
  22. Chilling children: any book tagged horror, YA horror or MG horror that includes a child or children as a main character.
  23. Aliens: beings from outer space.
  24. Monsters: any crytpozoological or mythological creature that isn't a vampire, werewolf, or demon. Or zombie.
  25. The dead will walk: basically, zombies.
  26. 80's horror: any horror published between 1980 and 1989, or which is set in that time period.
  27. In the dark, dark woods: a mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book in which a forest/woods plays a significant role, or which has a forest/woods on the cover.
  28. Terror in a small town: horror/murder which causes fear, set in a small town.
  29. Magical realism: a genre which  expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements.
  30. Terrifying women: horror written by a female author.
  31. Diverse voices: any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book written by an author of color.


All card requests will be taken on the "card requests" thread in the bingo group, which you can find here. I will be posting the spaces on that thread once I get up - this scheduled to drop at 5:00 a.m. my time, since I am the west coast.


You can identify up to 7 squares that you don't want to have included on your card. If you want to be surprised, let me know, and I will create an individual card by randomly excluding 7 squares.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Grey Mask - Patricia Wentworth

I will have more on this tomorrow!


I wasn't at all sure what to expect with this one, but I really liked it and I'm sure I will read more Patricia Wentworth! I'm really glad I decided to participate in this quick buddy read!