Throughout the year, I discovered a number of new-to-me authors including Toby Neal, Carolyn Astfalk, Barbara Golder, and Therese Hackenkamp. I learned that Carolyn writes a blog and hosts a monthly linkup about what you read the previous month. I'm going to give it a try.
I learned about The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright on one of Carolyn's blog posts about her favorite books of 2018. Since mystery is my favorite genre, I looked to see what she had listed. Two of the books I have read already (and actually helped proof one of them) so I got the third one on Kindle. What an enjoyable read! This is really two stories in one, the first set in the present and the second a century earlier. Both stories involve suspicious deaths and by uncovering details about the earlier one, Kaine Prescott, the main character in the present day story uncovers details of her family history.
My husband enjoys mysteries as much as I do, though he generally prefers ones written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Usually I say that I don't like "historical fiction", but when he's sitting there chuckling while reading a book, I had to find out why. Tim introduced me to the Nero Wolfe series by Rex Trout, written over five decades starting in the mid 1930s.
Nero Wolfe is an eccentric detective whose expensive fees support his reclusive lifestyle, his epicurean tastes, and his twelve hundred orchids. The stories are well written and full of great and humorous descriptions.
Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout
When the student of a female immigrant fencing instructor accuses her of stealing, her friend enlists Wolfe to help prove her innocence. When that man and another end up dead, the case becomes much more complicated. Wolfe's confidential assistant, Archie, narrates the story and is quite candid in his descriptions of others.
God knows she didn’t look anything like Nero Wolfe, but of course a girl that looked like him would be something that you would either pass up entirely or pay a dime to look at in a side show.
Bad case of pernicious inertia. He never goes anywhere anytime for anybody.
Too Many Women by Rex Stout
Archie, Nero Wolfe's assistant, goes undercover to investigate a murder at a Wall Street firm, where he discovers a fringe benefit: hundreds of women work there. Everyone's alibi is air-tight, so Archie and Wolfe set a trap.
The atmosphere up there was of thick carpets, wood panels and plenty of space, but as for the receptionist, though she was not really miscast she was way past the deadline, having reached the age when it is more blessed to receive than to give.
His voice matched his appearance. The voice was a thin tenor, and while he was not a pygmy they had been all out of large sizes the day he was outfitted. Also they had been low on pigments. His skin had no color at all, and the only thing that made it reasonable to suppose there was anybody at home inside it was the eyes. They too were without color, but they had a sharp dancing glint that wasn’t just on the surface but came from behind, deep.
I admit I lied to him. I told him that you’re just a front here and the real brains of this business is a skinny old woman with asthma that we keep locked in the basement.
I received Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O'Connor as part of GoodReads' Giveaway program in order to review it. Siobhan O'Sullivan recently graduated from school to become a Garda in her small town of Kilbane. The night before she is to start her new position, the local parish priest comes pounding on her door. Someone has been shot in the church's graveyard. Macdara Flannery, a former beau, comes from Dublin to lead the search for the killer. This was an entertaining and engaging story and had me guessing the whole time as to "who done it."
The following two books were on my last year's list that I never got to. Sometimes I find non-fiction either intimidating, too dry, or not all that accessible. I decided to plot out a reading plan for each of these books and read them over the course of the year. And, as you may have guessed, I'm already behind.
Good Eats: The Middle Years by Alton Brown is a collection of recaps of his Food TV shows. His show always intrigued me as he spoke more about the method and science of cooking than the actual recipes. I haven't yet started this, but plan on covering about one chapter a month and trying some of the included recipes.
Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by (Bishop) Robert E. Barron shortly after it was released, but never read it. Like the book above, I am trying to read one chapter a month. I am, like the book above, again behind. More to come next month.
Head on over to Carolyn's for more An Open Book.