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The Quilty 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.

Memorial Day Reading Update!

Faithful Place - Tana French A Pocket Full of Rye - Agatha Christie Wildfire at Midnight - Mary Stewart The Yard - Alex Grecian

Faithful Place by Tana French


For roll 18.1, I landed on the "Start" square, which gave me a free read! I decided to read the third in Tana French's rather brilliant Dublin Murder Squad series. Each of these books focuses on a different main character. This one centers around Frank Mackey, whom we met in the last book, The Likeness. While these books are nominally crime fiction, they are really more Irish ethnography. Frank Mackey grew up in the now rapidly-gentrifying Liberties, Dublin, child of an extremely abusive father and member of one of the most dysfunctional literary Irish families in recent memory. 


In 1985, when Frank was 19, he and his girlfriend Rose Daly, had planned to run away together, to England. On the night they were to leave, she never arrived at their meeting place. Assuming that she had gone without him, Frank left home. Twenty-two years later, the neighborhood is gentrifying, and Rose's suitcase is found in a derelict building, and Frank finally returns home to find out what really happened all of those years ago.


Frank Mackey and I are the same age - I was also 19 in 1985, so one of the most enjoyable parts of this book, for me, were the flashback scenes where Frank and Rose would talk about music. French nailed 1985. At 400 pages, this misses the $5.00 value by one measley page, and is worth $3.00!


A Pocketful of Rye by Agatha Christie


Roll 18.2 landed me on a #8, which called for a mystery. I had planned to read the newest Louise Penney, but, as it turned out, I needed a quick read for a challenge, so I grabbed A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie. 


I know that I've previously read this book, because I remembered much of the story. One of the things that I had never noticed before, though, is that this is basically the same story as Hercule Poirot's Christmas. The victim in both mysteries is a rather horrible, wealthy man who has been involved in some sort of a swindle out in India/Africa (in the Poirot version, the victim, Simeon Lee, made his fortune in diamonds, in the Marple version, Rex Fortescue was involved in some sort of nefarious dealing related to a Blackbird mine. While the solutions are different, the similarities are striking. I first noticed that Christie uses the same quote in both books, which put me onto the parallels:


"The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small."


Anyway, even when she's recycling characters and plot points, Agatha manages to make each mystery intricate, engaging and unique. A Pocketful of Rye is 256 pages long, and is worth $3.00


Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire


Roll 18.3: I am still reading Pocket Apocalypse, and expect to be done today. This one features Alex, who isn't my favorite Price, but I'm enjoying it!


Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart


For Roll 19, I needed to read something tagged gothic for Haunted Mansion #19. I decided to pick up an older Mary Stewart that's been on my shelves for a long while - Wildfire at Midnight. Set in the Hebrides, on the Isle of Skye, this was an enjoyable old fashioned gothic romance full of murder and mountaineering. Mary Stewart knew how to tell a story, and while this wasn't as good as Nine Coaches Waiting, it was a fast, fun read. Only 224 pages long, this one was worth $3.00.


The Yard by Alex Grecian


Roll 20 put me on Paradise Pier #28, which called for a book set during the Victorian period. The first book I started wasn't doing anything for me, so I abandoned it, and decided to read The Yard by Alex Grecian, which is set in 1889 London, right on the heels of the Jack the Ripper murders. This one was full of anachronisms, but it was reasonably entertaining, although not as good as I had hoped, and one of the subplots annoyed the hell out of me. I already own the second book in the series, so I'll read on at some point. This one is 422 pages long, so the reward is $5.00.


My bank is: $100.00!