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Monday, December 05, 2011

5 More Catch-up Reviews

I have gotten so far behind on reviews that using product descriptions, etc. and grouping them together seems the only way to get back on track.

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen was a Kindle bargain buy.

from Booklist:  When Olivia Keene arrives home to find her father strangling her mother, she picks up the nearest blunt object and bashes him on the head. Fearing that she will be charged with murder, Olivia, with her mother’s help, flees. While en route to a potential position with an old friend of her mother’s, Olivia finds herself caught up in a series of dangerous adventures culminating in her arrival at Brightwell Court, where she accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation between Lord Edward Stanton Bradley and his father, the Earl. Realizing that the information the now speechless Olivia unknowingly possesses could ruin him, Edward insists that she accept a position in his family’s nursery, never expecting that the silent new governess might be his one hope of salvation. Klassen expertly infuses her Regency-set inspirational tale with a gothic atmosphere, resulting in a sweetly intriguing romance worthy of Victoria Holt. --John Charles

My opinon:  :)  I have to say that I enjoyed this romance.  It was a fun read.

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch was another Kindle bargain read.

from Publisher's Weekly:  Set in England in 1865, Finch's impressive debut introduces an appealing gentleman sleuth, Charles Lenox. When Lady Jane Grey's former servant, Prue Smith, dies in an apparent suicide-by-poisoning, Lady Jane asks Lenox, her closest friend, to investigate. The attractive young maid had been working in the London house of George Barnard, the current director of the Royal Mint. Lenox quickly determines that Smith's death was a homicide, but both Barnard and Scotland Yard resist that conclusion, forcing him to work discreetly. Aided by his Bunter-like butler and friend, Graham, the detective soon identifies a main suspect, only to have that theory shattered by that man's murder. Finch laces his writing with some Wodehousian touches and devises a solution intricate enough to fool most readers. Lovers of quality historical whodunits will hope this is the first in a series. (June) 

My opinion: Yep!  I liked this one, too. I will look for more in this series.  Light, but entertaining.

The Sunday Philosophy Club  -Alexander McCall Smith-

Amazon description:  Introducing Isabel Dalhousie the heroine of the latest bestselling series from the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Isabel, the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics and an occasional detective, has been accused of getting involved in problems that are, quite frankly, none of her business. In this first installment, Isabel is attending a concert in the Usher Hall when she witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Isabel can’t help wondering whether it was the result of mischance or mischief. Against the best advice of her no-nonsense housekeeper Grace, her bassoon playing friend Jamie, and even her romantically challenged niece Cat, she is morally bound to solve this case. Complete with wonderful Edinburgh atmosphere and characters straight out of a Robert Burns poem, The Sunday Philosophy Club is a delightful treat from one of our most beloved authors.

My opinion:  I did NOT find it a delightful treat. I found it annoying and am surprised it didn't go into the DNF file, but I hung in there until the bitter end.

No Trace  by Barry Maitland-- a  Brock and Kolla mystery.

Amazon description:    Cited as one of the top ten crime novels of 2006 (Kirkus Reviews), No Trace is the finest novel yet by one of best crime novelists of our time.
In a London neighborhood known for its artists and bohemian style, six year old Tracey Rudd is abducted from her home without any warning, or sign of violence. She is the third child abucted under similar circumstances in recent weeks. But this case is different. She is the daughter of notorious contemporary artist Gabriel Rudd, best known for the grotesque "Dead Puppies," a work centered around his wife's suicide five years earlier. While Rudd exploits Tracey's abduction as an inspiration for a major new work in his upcoming exhibit, D.C.I. David Brock and Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla hunt for the missing girls' kidnapper, who is suspiciously connected to the eccentric community of artists, dealers, and collectors in the neighborhood.

My opinion:  Some very tense moments in this one.  I'll be giving another one in the series a try.

Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein is an Alexandra Cooper novel.

Publishers Weekly:

In Fairstein's exciting 13th novel to feature New York ADA Alexandra Cooper (after Hell Gate), a middle of the night call brings Alex and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to Harlem, where the decapitated body of a young woman has been burning on the steps of the Mount Neboh Baptist Church, originally a synagogue until the neighborhood changed. Initially, the authorities suspect a hate crime until another dead woman turns up at a cathedral in Little Italy a few days later. A religious motive emerges, especially since both victims were considered "outcasts" because of their uncompromising demands about the role of women in organized religion. Meanwhile, Alex is prosecuting a defrocked Catholic priest accused of molesting boys, a high-profile trial that a politically connected bishop wants stopped. Fairstein excels at describing New York's complicated religious history as well as the vagaries of the city's legal and religious politics. 12-city author tour. 

My opinion:  I usually enjoy Fairstein's novels and this one was no exception.  I always like the historical information about New York that she includes.

OK, I'm making headway on reviews.  Trying to catch up on some blog reading, too.  


  1. Thanks for all the book reviews Jenclair! You have been busy!!

  2. I'm in love with the cover of No Trace, but it doesn't sound like my kind of book. That's a good way to catch up. I may have to give in and do that. We shall see.

  3. Sherri - :) Maybe our trip to North Carolina provided the inspiration. I know it provided some of the leaves. You live in a beautiful state, and next time we get over that way, we want to visit Charlotte.

    Bookfool - The interesting thing was that it did examine the some aspects of "art" and the art world including publicity, shock value, gallery sales.

  4. You were so quiet for a while but I see you were still busy reading. I think No Trace is the one I'd love to read the most. I'm not so much into romance or historical fiction but the first one still sounds very good. I have one of Alexander Mc Call Smith's novels, I think the first in the series.

  5. Caroline - November was busy with travel and crafting, and I had less time for reading and posting, but I'm back to reading every day now. :)

    Romance isn't really my genre, either, but I got 3 or 4 Kindle bargains for less than $2 each and enjoyed several of them.

    This was my first Alexander McCall Smith novel and a new series, but I watched several of the Ladies #1 Detective Agency television shows.

  6. I wasn't all that fussed about Sunday Philosophy Club but I read on in the series and I find those later books much better reads. Isabel loosens up quite a bit which she needed to do!

  7. marg - You are right about first books in a series often just providing a sort of stepping stone and that successive books may continue to improve. I've come back to a couple of series that I initially dismissed and become a fan. Maybe I'll give Isabel another chance in the future and regret my early dismal opinion.

  8. I made myself finishe The Sunday Philosophy Club hoping it would get better. It didn't. I'm glad it wasn't just me.

  9. SuziQ - Ahhh, so I'm not the only one who didn't care for it. Most people love his novels, so I was disappointed that I couldn't enjoy this one.