Author: ThemisAthena

Literature Music Reviews

May 2021 Reading Recap

Still a lot of work on the back end of the blog, including on my “featured authors” pages (see the right column on the main Literature page and the introduction of my April 2021 recap post).  So, contrary to plans, still no new posts in my alphabet blogging series in May.  However, the time-consuming back end […]

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Literature Reviews

Marcie R. Rendon: Murder on the Red River

When I took a look at Native American authors whose work I might want to explore, next to Joy Harjo (whose memoir Crazy Brave I read last month), Marcie R. Rendon quickly stood out as another obvious candidate.  A member of the (Ojibwe / Minnesota Chippewa) White Earth Band, she is a resident of Minneapolis; […]

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Literature Reviews

Marcie R. Rendon: Girl Gone Missing

Given how much I liked Rendon’s debut novel, reading her second book, too, was pretty much a given for me.  Again she writes from the heart; in this instance, about the trafficking of young girls and women for sex purposes, the victims of which trade formed a large part of her day job before becoming […]

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Literature Reviews

Graeme Kent: Devil-Devil

This book (and series) had been on my radar ever since I first started to put together reading lists for my Around the World project.  A mystery set in the Solomon Islands, with a Lau policeman as one of the major characters — and set in the time period immediately prior to the end of […]

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Literature Reviews

Nora Ephron: I Remember Nothing

As already mentioned elsewhere, if at all possible I try to combine my Diversity Bingo and / or Around the World reads with my (Dead) Author Birthday reads: In January, that combination yielded Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, in February, Toni Morrison’s Sula, in March, Gabriel García Márquez’s El coronel no tiene […]

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Literature Reviews

Graeme Kent: One Blood

My experience with book 1 of the Ben Kella and Sister Conchita series was encouraging enough to move on straight away to the second book, which started vigorously enough with the death (murder?) of an American tourist — or was he? — in the tiny church of the Gizo Island mission where Sister Conchita has […]

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Literature Reviews

Katherena Vermette: The Break

Big sigh.  Oh, this book had so much going for it. The Break is set in a uniquely Canadian — well, OK, Canadian and Canada / U.S. border region — community; that of the Métis, descendants of the union of European (mostly French) settlers and their Native American partners; one of three groups of Indigenous […]

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Literature Reviews

Georges Simenon: Les vacances de Maigret (Maigret’s Holiday)

The Appointment with Agatha group’s May 2021 “side read” theme took us to France yet again, and who better to read in this context than Simenon?  Like Poirot in our main (Christie) read, Simenon’s commissaire Maigret has also taken himself to one of the country’s manifold vacation spots in this particular installment of the long-standing […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Mystery of the Blue Train

Agatha Christie hated this book.  While she was trying to write it, her little daughter kept distracting her and demanding her attention.  The plot is not an original idea but, for the first time (of what would eventually be multiple repeat occasions), she had chosen to expand an idea first used years earlier in a […]

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Literature Reviews

Joanna Cannan: Murder Included

Joanna Cannan was chiefly known, until her death in 1961, for three types of books: her novels examining British interwar society, the mysteries she published from the early 1930s onwards, and her pony books for young readers.  A keen horsewoman herself, Cannan passed her love of all things equine on to her daughters Josephine, Diana […]

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Literature Reviews

Joanna Cannan: They Rang Up the Police

They Rang Up the Police was Joanna Cannan’s first-ever mystery.  It is one of only two books featuring Inspector Guy Northeast, an investigator forming, as indicated in my review of Murder Included, the polar opposite of that book’s D.I. Price: Of humble rural origin, Northeast is the perpetual, quintessential outsider in Scotland Yard; he is […]

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Literature Reviews

Harriet Rutland: Bleeding Hooks

Harriet Rutland (real name: Olive Shimwell née Seers) fell out of favor with publishers and the reading public even more than Joanna Cannan in the decades after WWII (or at least after her 1962 death); it would take over half a century for the three books that constitute her entire literary output to be republished, […]

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Literature Reviews

Daphne Du Maurier: My Cousin Rachel

Oh, I wanted to like this so much better than I ultimately did; for its glorious Cornish and Italian (Florence) settings alone, as well as for the fact that Du Maurier (as she herself insisted) apparently identified so much with this novel’s first person narrator, Philip Ashley, that at times she almost felt like she […]

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Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Winter of Our Discontent

John Steinbeck’s final novel was one I had never gotten around to in my Steinbeck fangirl binges of yore — I knew it was reputed to be “bleak”, and after I’d seen what Steinbeck can do along those lines in The Grapes of Wrath (never mind that that actually is one of my favorite novels […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes

My May 2021 reading included one totally predictable binge: It’s Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth month, and I still had the complete Sherlock Holmes Canon as read by Stephen Fry that I’d acquired long ago sitting in my Audible app, waiting for the perfect moment to indulge … well, I figured this was it.  However, I […]

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Literature Reviews

Martha Grimes: The Man With a Load of Mischief

Until not so very long ago, Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury series used to be one of my standard “go to” mystery series; it had everything that I’m looking for: well-constructed puzzles, great characters and settings, snappy dialogue, and plenty of sardonic humor.  (Also, if you thought that Elizabeth George was the first American novelist to […]

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Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: Lavinia

The final six books of Vergil‘s Aeneid (half the epic’s length, until its abrupt and arguably premature ending) deal with Aeneas’s arrival in Latium and the hostilities ensuing after the Latian king, obeying a prophecy, promises his only daughter Lavinia’s hand to the Trojan warrior.  Now, this being a heroic epos setting out to chronicle […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sir Nigel

I didn’t quite want to limit my “birthday boy” look at Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to the predictable Sherlock Holmes binge, so I decided to take a look at one of his historical novels in addition.  Well, I suppose I have to hand it to Sir Arthur for mastering, with panache, genres as diverse as […]

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Literature Reviews

Martha Grimes: The Old Fox Deceiv’d

The Old Fox Deceiv’d was the first-ever book by Martha Grimes that I read, and whatever other details of its contents I subsequently forgot, it opens with an image that instantly grabbed me and stayed in my mind as vividly as when I first read it decades ago, and it’s in fact the one pictured […]

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Cats Literature Music Reviews

Catherynne M. Valente: Space Opera

Catherynne M. Valente wrote Space Opera as a dare, after a publisher (Saga) had said it would accept a novel from her based on the Eurovision Song Contest sight unseen.  The novel had been sitting on my TBR pretty much ever since it was published, and what with May being both the month in which […]

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