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Friday, November 22, 2019

A Fatal Assignation, Dark Truths, and No Mercy (and snail mail)

I love getting mail, and I enjoy making my own stationery, postcards, and envelopes.  When I don't make my own envelopes (like the black ones), I have fun decorating them.  Lacking genuine artistic ability doesn't prevent me from creating cartoon characters and collages and using stamps to make fun mail.  

Some are letters, some are postcards.
Some to friends, many to grand kids.
(pics are from my other blog)

I receive some wonderful mail as well, but whether they are decorated or not, the most fun is finding handwritten letters in my mailbox! 

So...I am concerned about the frequent re-occurrence of plans to privatize the USPS.  I'm a frequent snail mailer because I love handwritten letters and postcards.  Privatization of various entities has been hit or miss for the American consumer.  (Prisons for profit are a good example of a bad privatization.)  
"Recommendations like shuttering post offices, reducing delivery days, and relinquishing the sanctity of the mail that mailers and household have come to trust and rely upon are unlikely to be the commercial panacea the task force suggests they may be." Source:  Common Dreams
On to books

Alice Chetwynd Ley (1913-2004) wrote Regency Romance and Mystery novels. A Fatal Assignation is a little old-fashioned but entertaining.

from description:
London, 1816

When Lord Jermyn goes missing, his wife asks scholar-turned-sleuth Justin Rutherford to find him without raising a scandal.

It seems that Justin’s niece, Anthea, was the last person to see the rakish lord — waiting in a secret room in a fashionable dress shop.

But days later, Jermyn is found shot and buried in a pauper’s grave.

While not a favorite in this genre, A Fatal Assignation entertained me for a few hours.

NetGalley/Sapere Books
Historical Mystery.  Nov. 3, 2019.  Print length:  221 pages.

When the body of a jogger is discovered minus her head, criminologist Will Traynor is brought in to aid the investigation.  DI Bernard Watts has enough on his plate having just been returned to an active crime case after working cold cases and still has to deal with new recruit Chloe Judd and with Will Traynor, who is obsessed with finding out what happened to his wife a decade previously.

Although Dark Truths is billed as the first in a series about criminologist Will Traynor; the plot actually has more to do with Watts and Chloe Judd with a sideline of Traynor's distractions on his own investigation into his wife's murder.

I would read the next in the series to see if the focus is on Will Traynor and his abilities as a criminologist.  At this point, I'm not invested, but often the second entry in a series is the one that truly engages my interest.

Read in Sept.; blog review scheduled for Nov. 22.

NetGalley/Severn House
Police Procedural.  Jan. 7, 2020.  Print length:  240 pages.

No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen follows The Vanishing Season in which she introduced Ellery Hathaway and Reed Markham.  

Suspended from her job for shooting a murderer, Ellery must attend therapy sessions for victims of violent crimes where she meets Wendy, victim of a rape in which her assailant has not been caught.  Wendy can't resume her normal life as she remains in fear that her assailant will return.  Ellery's suspension means she has limited resources, but she does have FBI agent Reed Markham.

She is also interested in an older woman whose young son died in an arson fire decades ago.  But was the right person convicted of setting the fire?  Ellery has questions.

No Mercy works fine as a stand-alone, so it isn't necessary to have read The Vanishing Season to understand or appreciate the plot.  

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press
Suspense/Thriller.  2019.  Print length:  320 pages.  


  1. I love your snail mail envelopes and postcards. They look very artistic to me! :D

    1. Thanks, Lark! I have a lot of fun playing with these. :)

  2. I like Anthea Rutherford's style. Certainly hard to be a detective in that era. I am in the middle of reading this one. My second read from this author.

    1. :) It would be hard to be a detective in that era!

  3. Those envelopes are really great. I have to think that the postman gets a kick out seeing them, too.

    I used to belong, years and years ago, to an international snail mail group and would get handwritten letters from all the world. Most of my old pen pals have probably died now, but even the ones who haven't eventually moved from snail mail to email. I made aa couple of really good friends that way, though, one from Germany and one from England - and we ended up visiting each other a couple of times over the years. So, yay for snail mail. (I wish my handwriting was good enough to justify me doing that anymore; it's sure gone downhill in the last decade or so.)

    1. Email and text messages are great for immediate communication, and I do enjoy having access to the technology. On the other hand, getting a personal postcard or letter in the mail is a pleasure of another kind. As for handwriting, maybe I should say I love typewritten letters, too, and they are often easier to read. In fact, I wish I still had my old typewriter, but since I don't, I'm looking at maybe purchasing one. Not that the computer doesn't offer a great substitute, and I do print out certain quotes, excerpts from articles, etc. to include in my letters.

      I hope you still keep in touch with some of your pen pals, even if the letters have gone by the wayside.

  4. I am enjoying Joanna Schaffhausen's series very much and am busting for the third one!

  5. I get and send few letters or postcards nowadays but it is always a treat when it happens for sure. I love the "not sent from my iphone" one best! I seriously hope that the post office is not privatized! Where's the oversight?

    1. I'm hoping the USPS continues as it is. I have no faith that privatization would be an improvement.

  6. I am worried about the idea of privatization of the postal service as well. I don't see it being a good thing. I tried to get back into letter writing this past year, but my heart just hasn't been in it like it once was. My daughter has a pen pal, the daughter of one of my oldest pen pals. At least I've passed it on to the next generation. She loves getting mail. :-)

    I am interested in Schaffhausen's series. I will have to look for the first book in the series.

    1. How wonderful that you are passing the habit onto your daughter! Of course, she loves getting mail and how neat that it is the second generation since she corresponds with the daughter of one of your pen pals. :)

  7. Your postcards/mailart is delightful! I recognize one :)
    I cannot imagine what it would like for the USPS to be privatized. For so long I've always thought how amazing it is to be able to send a letter across country or world for a low price but prices, especially for international, have increase so much in the recent years I'm sure that is impacting a lot of people. Now the books... I like the sound of all three!

    1. Thanks, Iliana! I do think Congress should look into ways to improve things; I believe they fail to recognize how much people appreciate the services provided.
      "Instead of setting the Postal Service up for failure, we believe that lawmakers, postal management, and other stakeholders should aim for a more robust, faster, smarter, and more valuable Postal Service. We all ought to ensure that the Postal Service remains truly essential for decades to come."

  8. I always love seeing your mail arts, Jenclair. I know I still owe you a letter. I'll try to write one of these days. :)

    1. Thanks, Melody! Glad you enjoyed your vacation!