I’m working straight through until Christmas. I’m off Christmas day and then I’m working again until Saturday. So, I’m a little frazzled. Yesterday was possibly our single biggest day of the year at the bookstore. I hope the holidays are treating all of you well.
I’ve got a little adventure planned. I’m headed up to Pennsylvania on the TRAIN! I’m really excited about it. I’m trying to plan out what to take to entertain myself on the trip. I’ll be on the train for around 22 hours each way. I’m taking my iPad so I can try to do some writing. I’m taking my knitting project. And I’m going to take some books. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore has been suggested. I’ve also gotadvance copies of Fragments by Dan Wells and Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear. Do any of you have any other suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know!
#79. Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood
This is the 19th book in the Phryne Fisher series. It’s not actually out in print in the US yet, but you can get it on Audible. Phryne inadvertently gets in between a beating and its victim in Little Lonsdale street one night. Said victim is Polly Kettle, intrpid girl reporter! Polly is investigating a number of disappearances from a lying-in hospital for expectant, but unwed mothers. Phryne makes some suggestions, which Polly ignores, and soon Polly is missing too. Phryne’s investigation leads her all over town, into houses of ill-repute and the homes of the gentry.
This is another exciting romp through 1920’s Australia. Australian television has done two seasons of these as tv shows, but they aren’t available in the US yet. I believe that Netflix has bought US distribution rights, but I haven’t heard about a start date yet. I really really want them to be available soon! The only downside to these books is that they’re over too soon.
#80. Book of Killowen by Erin HartThis is book 4 in the Nora Gavin series. I’m at a bit of a disadvantage because I haven’t read any of the other books in the series. However, I didn’t find that too much of a problem. After a pretty awesome medieval prologue (I want to read that book!) the story opens with Nora and her archaeologist boyfriend going down to investigate a 9th century bog body, which has been found in the trunk of a submerged car. Once investigators remove the ancient body they find a much more recent corpse. Nora’s skills as a pathologist are quickly called into play.
The couple along with Cormac’s father and a nurse companion are staying at an artist’s retreat near the bog. Everyone there is interesting and kind, but they’re also all hiding something. And every single one of them is a suspect in the murder. Early indications suggest that the murder may hinge on the victims well-known predilection for younger women who aren’t his wife. However, evidence soon points to the possibility that the motive may very well have to do with medieval illuminated manuscripts like the mythical Book of Killowen.
I liked this book fairly well. Cormac’s father was a very touching character for me. Mr. Maguire suffered a stroke prior to the start of the book (possibly in one of the earlier stories) and has lost much of his ability to communicate. His frustrations and those of his son resonated with me. My own mother has advanced Alzheimer’s. I think Hart did a great job of compassionately conveying the hardships experienced by both the victim and their families. I loved everything to do with the illuminated manuscripts. (I might have several coloring books of illuminations). The archaeological aspects were well done. But the plot overall relied a little too heavily on coincidence. I’ll probably go back and pick up another book in the series to see how it is. I liked the tone of the writing and the voice of the characters, but the way the mystery played out stretched my credulity a little bit.