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Topics - Becke Davis

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What I'm Reading / MURDER INK by Betty Hechtman
« on: March 08, 2021, 07:09:49 pm »
I've read all of Betty Hechtman's yarn craft and crochet mysteries, and I'm excited about her new series, that starts out with book number one, MURDER INK. Her amateur detective, Veronica Blackstone, is an author and a writer-for-hire, whose current gig is writing a sort of memory book for the funeral of a wealthy young woman who died under mysterious circumstances. Veronica helped compose the wedding vows for the victim and her husband only the year before.

As the plot thickens, Veronica takes on other jobs that weave in with the original project, making the original plot more interesting and harder for the reader to solve. I like the additional touches like the meetings with Veronica's writing class and an addition to her household.

I liked this book a lot and I'm looking forward to more books in this series!

Welcome and General Discussion / Read two good ones this week
« on: February 06, 2021, 03:35:02 am »
It's been a good week for reading! I really enjoyed John Dunning's THE SIGN OF THE BOOK. I thought I'd read all of his books but I'd missed this one. Lots of good twists!

I also read M.J. Rose's THE MEMORIST. I found it fascinating, and I was intrigued by a cover blurb mentioning a TV series based on the author's books. It's called PAST LIVES. Have any of you seen it? I want to check it out!

What I'm Reading / AFTER SHE WROTE HIM by Sulari Gentill
« on: January 31, 2021, 11:47:52 pm »
Just started this one - I've read two other books by this author and liked them a lot.

Welcome and General Discussion / Interesting article about bookplates
« on: January 23, 2021, 09:15:45 pm »

My aunt in New Mexico sent me some books, bookends and bookplates with a New Mexico theme when I was about 12. For years I collected bookplates and I still treasure the books I saved with those first bookplates.

I had started reading a book that was quite good, but when this arrived in today's mail I had to drop everything and dig in. I'm not going to finish it tonight, but I made a good start. It's a lot of fun and I hope there will be more books in this series. I can definitely see this as a movie or a TV series.

What I'm Reading / DEADLINE by John Dunning
« on: January 15, 2021, 12:41:33 am »
I'm a fan of John Dunning's but I didn't realize I'd missed some of his earlier books. I was lucky enough to find some old copies, and I'm currently reading DEADLINE. Unlike the last book I read, I've been flying through this one. Here's the back cover blurb:

"When a circus tent fire calls Tribune reporter Dalton Walker into action, he's disturbed to find that no relatives have come to claim the body of a young victim. Dalton is also covering the story of a young Amish woman turned famous New York dancer. But not every story is what it seems, and soon Walker is heading down a terrifying seductive path toward the truth, and the unrelenting deadline."

I started reading this book this afternoon and I'm almost finished with it. It has really gripped me!

I was hooked by the circus fire, mainly because I remember hearing/reading about a similar fire when I was young. A few years back, I read a non-fiction book about that fire:

"Through firsthand accounts, interviews with survivors and a gripping collection of vintage photographs, author Michael Skidgell attempts to make sense of one of Hartford's worst tragedies.

Almost 7,000 fans eagerly packed into the Ringling Brothers big top on July 6, 1944. With a single careless act, an afternoon at the "Greatest Show on Earth" quickly became one of terror and tragedy as the paraffin-coated circus tent caught fire. Panicked crowds rushed for the few exits, but in minutes, the tent collapsed on those still struggling to escape below. A total of 168 lives were lost, many of them children, with many more injured and forever scarred by the events. Hartford and the surrounding communities reeled in the aftermath as investigators searched for the source of the fire and the responsible parties."

I'm not into true crime books, but I am drawn to books that depict events I heard or read about, like these:

What I'm Reading / BATS IN THE BELFRY, A London Mystery by E.C.R. Lorac
« on: January 14, 2021, 01:54:16 am »
E.C.R. Lorac was a pseudonym used by Edith Caroline Rivett. She also wrote as Carol Carnac.

I had high hopes for this book. It's a British Library Crime Classic, originally published in 1937. I like a lot of books written in mystery's "Golden Age," but I must admit this one was not a favorite. It took me forever to read, and it was only 231 pages long. It should have been intriguing, but it felt as if the author was trying too hard. Many characters vied for attention, with little to distinguish them but their beards or, in the case of the lead detective, his country of origin - Scotland.

I like a good twist, but this book had so many contrived puzzles and twists, almost every page contained a wordy explanation that didn't really clarify anything. Quoting one character, "The whole thing is so demented that its ingenuity staggers me!" I found it tedious rather than ingenious.

I was also put off by the number of racist and anti-Semitic comments.  I realize this is not uncommon in books of this period, but examples like this annoyed me: "Our researches revealed the appalling fact that he is a Jew."  There follows a discussion about whether to reveal this information to the woman who is planning to marry him, or leave her to find out after the fact since she is considered equally appalling. The speaker goes on to stress that "there is no room for prejudice" in his job.

Anyway. I don't like to leave negative comments but since this book is coming up to 100 years old (well, in the next 15 years or so), I assume most readers will expect the plot to be dated. I'd be interested to find out what any of you think of this book - if you should decide to give it a try. My copy was published by Poisoned Pen Press in 2018.

I'm very excited about this:

"There have been countless adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels and stories over the years, but now for the first time we have an entirely new production set within the fictional universe created by the Queen of Crime. Never before has Sven Hjerson, the fictional detective of Agatha Christie’s fictional writer Ariadne Oliver, been committed to the screen; but now, for the first time, a production will bring this meta adaptation to life. Agatha Christie’s Sven Hjerson is a thrilling, playful whodunnit with a contemporary twist.

Ariadne Oliver is a mystery crime writer who appears in a number of Agatha Christie novels, and who, according to Agatha Christie, bears certain similarities to herself. Ariadne has her own master detective: Sven Hjerson who loves crudités, cold winter baths and solving murder mysteries. In this new series Sven Hjerson is played by none other than Johan Rheborg.

The TV series began shooting in Åland on December 8th. It comprises four classic whodunnit murder cases and will be broadcast as a TV series in Sweden and Germany in autumn 2021."

What I'm Reading / Not That Kind of Place by Frances Fyfield
« on: December 19, 2020, 08:43:25 pm »

I've read other books by this author, but not for some time. The cover drew me to this one. I'm about halfway through it and so far I'm liking it a lot. It's kind of Agatha Christie style, slightly more gruesome (a body buried in the woods) but it has the flavor of a Christie mystery.

Welcome and General Discussion / R.I.P. Parnell Hall
« on: December 17, 2020, 03:14:57 pm »

I was sad to see this. I've read a few of Parnell Hall's books and I met him once or twice at Magna Cum Murder, a cozy little conference. It used to be held in Indiana, not sure if it still is. Probably not this year, I guess.

What I'm Reading / The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
« on: December 17, 2020, 02:50:58 pm »
Yay - I've been looking forward to reading this book. It's getting fabulous reviews. I'm only a few chapters into it but I love the premise and I'm excited to see where this goes. My daughter wants to read it once I've finished it. December is a month for mysteries at our house!

Whatever holiday you celebrate - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Ramadan, Winter Solstice or any others I'm forgetting - we wish you well and hope you'll have a happy, healthy and PROLIFIC New Year!

Authors - we welcome you to post holiday wishes along with details of your books here.

Welcome and General Discussion / R.I.P. John Le Carre
« on: December 13, 2020, 09:32:29 pm »

My dad was a huge fan of John Le Carre's books. I read a couple of them, but I was too young to appreciate them back then.

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