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Cats Literature Reviews

June 2021 and Mid-Year Reading Recap

Sigh.  Well, I think posting a monthly (and even half-year) reading recap a full three weeks into the next month has to be some sort of record, even for me, but here we are.  And I admit that at this point I’d even been contemplating holding off another week so as to combine this with […]

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Literature Reviews

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Five Red Herrings

Dorothy L. Sayers is occasionally accused of having gotten too caught up in her research for a given book; and the two mysteries that routinely come up in this context are The Nine Tailors (bell ringing, published in 1934) and, well, The Five Red Herrings (1931), which, although chiefly concerned with fishing and painting, also […]

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Literature Reviews

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun completely bowled me over when I read it a few years ago.  Purple Hibiscus, too, took me in, though never as absolutely, when I read it the following year; for a first novel, it’s very impressive indeed.  I seem to be doing somewhat less well with Adichie’s […]

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Literature Reviews

Agatha Christie: The Seven Dials Mystery

The Seven Dials Mystery marks our second (and in Bundle’s case, alas, final) meeting with Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent and Scotland Yard Superintendent Battle, both of whom we first encountered in The Secret of Chimneys.  While they both were (key) supporting characters there, here Bundle gets star billing, and that’s a very good thing, because […]

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Literature Reblogs Reviews

Georgette Heyer: Duplicate Death

This is the penultimate of Georgette Heyer’s Inspector Hemingway mysteries, and while in other books Hemingway and his former boss, D.I. Hannasyde — as whose sergeant Hemingway appears in the first four novels of the eight-book arc — occasionally make reference to previous cases they’ve been involved in, outside of the fact that the four […]

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Literature Reviews

Leonard Gribble: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

I’d set this as my book to accompany the England vs. Germany match during this year’s European football / soccer championships but I should probably make it clear that it wasn’t the fact that Germany lost (deservedly) in a major tournament match against England for the first time in decades that made me lose my […]

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Literature Reviews

Dorothy L. Sayers: Clouds of Witness

June being Dorothy L. Sayers’s birthday, a revisit of her books was in the cards anyway — and speaking of which, the topic of this year’s summer reading project pretty quickly also determined which books I would be picking: Clouds of Witness, where card sharping is a key plot element, and The Five Red Herrings, […]

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Literature Reviews

Ellen Wilkinson: The Division Bell Mystery

The Division Bell Mystery is one of my favorite BLCC republications to date — though not on account of the actual mystery, which, setting (The Houses of Parliament) aside, doesn’t have much going for it: the “locked room” / impossible crime scenario has (as even series editor Martin Edwards acknowledges in his introduction) a plot […]

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Literature Reviews

Gary Corby: The Ionia Sanction

The Ionia Sanction is the second book in Gary Corby’s mystery series set in the Athenian Republic of Pericles and the great philosophers, and I picked it as an introduction to the “actual” book I’d been planning to include in my Summer Games reading project — the series’s third book, which is set during the […]

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Literature Reviews

John Steinbeck: The Moon Is Down

My final venture into John Steinbeck’s oeuvre in the context of the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge, and once more I found confirmation of everything that made me a fan of Steinbeck’s all the way back in my teens: vision and prescience of judgment, exquisitely fine characterization and, perhaps most of all, infinitely great humanity. […]

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Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea

While my first two Le Guin reads for the (Dead) Authors in Residence challenge were both taken from Le Guin’s final years, for my last book I went back to her very beginning and picked the first book of her Earthsea Cycle.  And, while I know that this is an awardwinning milestone of (YA) fantasy […]

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Cats Literature Reviews

Mystery Writers of America Presents: Odd Partners

A few years ago, I read a Mystery Writers of America short story compilation named Face Off, which featured short stories where two different authors’ series detectives / protagonists teamed up to solve a given crime, with each of the authors writing part of the respective story.  I thought that was an interesting (and surprisingly […]

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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

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

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

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

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

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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