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Topics - Becke Davis

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What I'm Reading / Michael Gilbert, THE LONG JOURNEY HOME
« on: December 04, 2020, 12:11:03 am »
I've read a lot of Michael Gilbert books but this one was different from the others. Just as good, but much more of an action-packed story than I expected. The title, THE LONG JOURNEY HOME, is an accurate description of the plot. The story starts with a bang and takes a circuitous route through Italy and into France. Not a fast-paced page-turner, but well worth reading.

Welcome and General Discussion / Nancy Drew's 90th Anniversary
« on: December 03, 2020, 01:40:38 am »
It has come to my attention that the first Nancy Drew book, THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK, was first published in 1930, making 2020 the 90th anniversary of the intrepid young detective.

If you would like to comment on Nancy and her books, or if you come across interesting articles about the Nancy Drew mysteries, please share them here.


This can get us started:
(This article ranks the books from worst to best. I love the descriptions of the "worst" books!)

(I would add the Trixie Belden books to the list of "readalikes.")

What I'm Reading / Elly Griffiths
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:07:00 pm »
I had read a couple Elly Griffiths books some time back, but I'd forgotten about her until Mystery Scene did a feature on her several months ago. Since then I've been rebuilding my collection of her books. I'm especially enjoying the "Magic Men" books. I just finished NOW YOU SEE THEM, which featured a lot of characters I remember from other books, plus a few new ones. The book is set in 1964, and I got a kick out of reading about Mods and Rockers, Top of the Pops (with the Beatles topping the charts), and other things I remember from my youth - even though in the Sixties I had never lived anywhere more exotic than Chicago and its suburbs.

I've got a few more books from this series in my waiting-to-be-read pile. I can only handle the chaos of the holidays if I also block out time for reading. Hoping to make a dent in the humongous TBR pile, but it's slow going so far.

What books are you reading? Do you have books on your Christmas list? (Or any kind of holiday wish list?)

What I'm Reading / Happy Thanksgiving!
« on: November 25, 2020, 02:06:15 am »
Will Thanksgiving be a day of relaxation, reading and watching football, or are you the designated cook for your Thanksgiving meal?

At our house, my husband and son will no doubt be rooting for the Oregon Ducks and/or the Cincinnati Bengals. (Not sure who will be playing.) My son and daughter-in-law love to cook and they are preparing the meal. Marty and I are contributing the dessert. My daughter contributed a couple boxes of groceries (donated by her employer). She has to work but we will bring a meal over to her.

The only people sharing the meal this year will be members of our household. Sad not to have more of the family but safer this way.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

What I'm Reading / Michael Stanley, the Kubu books
« on: November 23, 2020, 04:29:56 pm »
I'm halfway through reading my second Kubu book by Michael Stanley (
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY. It's not the second book in the series, just the second I've read. (I read FACETS OF DEATH first.) I have at least one more in my to-be-read pile, maybe two.

From the website:

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.

Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa.

What I'm Reading / MURDER AT THE PALACE by Margaret Dumas
« on: November 22, 2020, 02:54:37 am »
I'm so happy I discovered this series. It is so much fun if you happen to be an old movie buff, which I am - although not to the degree of the characters that inhabit this series. I flew through this book and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Book 2. I think there are only 3 in the series so far. I hope Margaret Dumas is a fast writer!

I have a stack of books vying for my attention, not sure what I'll dig into next. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

I'm always looking for books by or about Agatha Christie, so I was excited to see a new release called MIDWINTER MURDER. It's a collection of short stories and one of them was a first U.S. release. I just finished reading it. As it turns out, I'd read them all before - even the "new" one, which was in a book I bought while living in the U.K. But still, I hadn't re-read most of them in a long time, and it was fun to read them on a chilly, wintery day.

I have a stack of books I want to read - I just started Elly Griffiths' A DYING FALL. A friend recommended Sharon Fiffer's HOLLYWOOD STUFF and I'll probably read that next. Not sure, though...

What I'm Reading / Lovejoy books by Jonathan Gash
« on: November 08, 2020, 02:59:37 am »
My mother was a huge fan of antiques AND of Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy, an antiques "divvy" who starred in a number of mysteries and a series of TV shows. I think I've seen all the TV shows and I've read a lot of the books. I came across a couple of these books in a used book store last week, and I'm currently reading one that is new to me. It's called THE TEN WORD GAME. So far it's good, but I've been hooked on the election counts for several days and have hardly read at all. I'm now about halfway through it. I've got a couple more books I'm eager to read so I hope to finish this one tomorrow.

What are you all reading?

What I'm Reading / SIGN OFF by Patricia McLinn
« on: October 26, 2020, 02:40:45 pm »
I just started SIGN OFF, the first in Patricia McLinn's CAUGHT DEAD IN WYOMING series. I read her romance novels years ago and was intrigued because they were set in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, where I lived back then, and the books mentioned familiar places and things like Marshall Field & Company.

I met Patricia in Cincinnati, at Lori Foster's Reader Author Get Together. Lots of authors attended those - romance, paranormal, sci-fi and mystery authors. It was a relatively small gathering so a fun place to meet and hang out with authors.

In recent years, Patricia McLinn started writing mysteries. I'm enjoying these cozy-ish mysteries.

Finalist for EPIC Mystery eBook award

They exiled her to a town with more cattle than people and where the best investigative journalism is done by an observant grocery store clerk. But now there’s a killer on the loose…

Top network news journalist Elizabeth “E.M.” Danniher committed two major mistakes—she didn’t stay young, and she made an enemy of a powerful network executive—her ex-husband. So now she’s working out her big-city broadcast contract in rugged Sherman, Wyoming. She used to break national news. Now she’s the Helping Out consumer affairs reporter for tiny KWMT-TV. Her hard-hitting stories? Helping a senior citizen get a refund for a defective toaster and uncovering a travel scam. But Elizabeth won’t fade to black without a fight. Tough, funny and determined, she wrestles with her evolving self-image, the challenges of keeping her professional edge, her sudden isolation and the fear of never being in the spotlight again. Can she make Wyoming—the land of cattle, cowboys, tumbleweeds and less than six people per square mile—home, or is her first stop on the road to obscurity?

She doesn’t have much time to dwell on her fall from grace. Soon she’s in a battle of wills with an ex-football player turned journalist, who sees her as a handy rung on his ladder to fame. And then there’s the matter of a missing deputy sheriff—was he murdered? E.M. finds herself investigating the case at the insistence of a little girl who’s set on proving that her enigmatic father had nothing to do with the crime.

Mystery Scene Magazine Issues / Issue #165 - 2020
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:00:05 pm »
I've never read anything by Camilla Lackberg - yet - but, as always, Mystery Scene has made my book wish list grow even more with this issue. To be clear, I'd never judge an author by their looks. Camilla Lackberg's cover photo, though, would have definitely drawn me to the magazine if I came across it in a bookstore instead of in my mailbox. Her eyes are hypnotic!

I was excited to see an article about Emma Lathen, who I've been rediscovering through old copies of her books. (Most are on Kindle, too.) I was very interested in "Raymond Chandler and the Brasher Doubloon," and I also flipped to Hank Phillippi Ryan's Mary Higgins Clark Roundtable first thing. It was fun to see Hallie Ephron, Lori Rader-Day and Catriona McPherson there - and to meet S.J. Bolton and Carol Goodman.

I always make a note of books that are advertised in Mystery Scene. My parents would both have loved MYSTERY WITH A SPLASH OF BOURBON. I may get a copy and think of them when I read it.

I was pleased to see lists of 2020 Award Winners, and even more pleased to see I've actually read some of them. There are many I haven't read, of course, and so the Wish List grows...and grows.

I have read a couple of John Land's books, but not lately. I'm almost positive I ready Jenny Milchman's COVER OF SNOW, too, but it was several years ago. I could do with a re-read.

I knew I'd be in trouble when I saw "6 New Writers to Watch" because I tend to read new books by authors I've been reading for awhile. This year I've started reading several authors who were new to me - thanks to Mystery Scene and the recommendations of you all and other mystery-loving friends. But, as I guessed, the featured 6 New Writers are all new to me. Wish List, plus six.

And then I have to add those intriguing small press books, and the wish list - just from this issue - slides into double digits. One book will have to wait for the library to reopen - or else it will be a good hint for Christmas, since it's beyong my budget: TRUE CRIME PARALLELS TO THE MYSTERIES OF AGATHA CHRISTIE by Anne Powers.

I LOVE the Short and Sweet feature about short stories - I have a LOT of short story collections on my shelves. It's always fun to find a few more. The most recent one I read was Sara Paretsky's awesome LOVE AND OTHER CRIMES.

I seem to read a lot of books published by Poisoned Pen Press. After checking out the ad on the inside back cover, I just added four more books to the ever-growing wish list.


Welcome and General Discussion / Books for Budding Mystery Lovers
« on: October 22, 2020, 11:13:15 pm »
My 8-year-old granddaughter is really getting interested in mysteries. Her mom and dad got her started on the Boxcar Children series, which I never read as a child. We now read them together, reading alternate pages out loud to each other. We're on Book 14 - as far as I can tell, this series pretty much goes on forever.

Her mom has started reading Nancy Drew books to her, too.

There are some written-for-kids mysteries Adaline (my granddaughter) can read for herself. She enjoys the NATE THE GREAT books that were a big hit with her dad:

But her absolute favorite is BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE. (I confess, I love that one, too - I hope there's a sequel soon.)

This may sound like a weird question - I came across it some time ago and now it bugs me whenever I find myself doing things unconsciously.

For example, do you say, "That book LOOKS good" or "That book SOUNDS good" when you come across a review or a book blurb that draws your attention? I mean, I don't actually buy a book because the cover looks good (although that may draw me to it in the first place). And it's not as if the title "sounds" good - I'm not listening to it on Audible, I'm reading about it.

I feel like there should be an additional sense that describes our connection to a book, something that more accurately describes the experience we're describing when we say it looks or sounds good.

Any suggestions?

What I'm Reading / A DECLINE IN PROPHETS by Sulari Gentill
« on: October 16, 2020, 12:22:42 am »
I don't remember how I learned about this author but I thought her Rowland Sinclair series sounded interesting. I found a used copy of A DECLINE IN PROPHETS and found it particularly interesting because she weaves real people amid fictional characters throughout the story. My husband has always enjoyed Krishnamurti's books and he is also familiar with the Theosophical Society whose presence looms large in this plot.

In addition to Krishnamurti and members of the Theosophical Society who have important roles to play, there is a small part played by a little-known British actor living in New York, name of Archie Leach. He later changed his name to Cary Grant!. :-)

The actress Marion Davies also has a small part.

I'm only about half way through this book, but I'm definitely enjoying it. Only one thing annoys me. The back cover blurb has incorrect information, identifying the victim of the first murder by name (I don't want to know that before I even open the book). But the problem was, the person they mention as the first victim is actually the third. There was no reason to name this person at all!

I just finished reading the latest Sophie Hannah Poirot mystery, THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL. While there were plenty of twists, I didn't like this book nearly as much as I liked the previous Sophie Hannah/Poirot books.

I was struck by one line in that book: "A motive can be true even if one has not acted upon it." I thought that was pretty memorable.

I'm glad I read this, even though I preferred the earlier books in this series.

What I'm Reading / ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE by Louise Penny
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:28:10 pm »
Wow! This is book 16 and it's one of my favorites! There are plenty of twists in this mystery, but it's also got a lot of heart. The author actually brought me to tears in two scenes, and that hardly ever happens! I love Three Pines, but I also enjoyed the change of scene. I haven't been to Paris in decades but this book made me want to go back for a visit.

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE is getting rave reviews, like these:

I'm not sure I'd agree with the reviewer on one point. This book is the culmination of a lot of things leading up to it, and if you jump in here without knowing about the challenges that faced the characters en route to this destination, you won't appreciate some of the really meaningful scenes.

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