White Negroes by Lauren Michele Jackson

White Negroes by Lauren Michele Jackson

White Negroes is a great collection of essays around cultural appropriation and how it relates to power and privilege. It's a short book, but each of the topics, music, art, fashion, language, economy, feels like it's covered well with data and references and examples that get the author's points across. The book is well structured, meticulously researched, and very readable. I do admit that I did miss some of her cultural references, current musicians or memes or whatever that I'm just not familiar with. White Negroes is definitely worth reading. I learned a lot. Obviously, I knew cultural appropriation exists, but I don't have a clear concept of how prevalent it is and how damaging to the black community. And some of the examples are just outrageous. Jackson doesn't suggest there are easy answers or that the topics are clear cut. She does ask us to respect, recognize, and pay the creators, and to recognize how we contribute to the...
Read More
Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne is a bit unusual for a Christie detective. He is not a conventional detective, but a person who provides "happiness"; his ad in the paper says: "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne." He's understands human behaviour, a bit like Miss Marple but with more statistics. With his acquired knowledge, he sets out to sell ‘happiness’ to people, in rather smart and surprising ways. He uses a mixture of fantasy, crime-solving, and psychology to resolve his clients' unhappiness. The stories are initially set in England. The later ones are set in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran where Parker Pyne while on holiday keeps finding new clients. I can't say I didn't enjoy Parker Pyne. Some of the stories are quite clever. I didn't love it however. ...
Read More
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

I've enjoyed a couple of the Miss Fisher mysteries, so of course, I wanted to read the books. For once, I'm starting a series at the beginning, which I think was a good choice. Cocaine Blues is a wonderful introduction to Phryne Fisher and her world. Phryne Fisher is part of the English upper classes and has no desire to marry any time soon despite the best wishes of her parents and their friends. Phryne has the adventurous spirit of a modern woman. An aristocratic friend of the family happens to mention to Phryne that their daughter, Lydia, is having difficulties in Australia, marital problems with the inference that she might be being poisoned. They suggest that Phryne go to Australis to check on her. Phryne, currently at loose ends, take them up on the suggestion. in Australia, along with checking on Lydia, she takes in a desperate young woman as her maid, teams with a pair of cab drivers who...
Read More
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah resurrects Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in this, her latest addition to the series. I read the first of her Poirot books and was under-impressed, but for whatever reason, decided to give them another chance. This, her 3rd in the series, was surprisingly enjoyable. This is not Agatha Christie's Poirot, but he has his eccentricities and peculiarities. He's self-consciously Poirot, but he was entertaining and intelligent. Poirot returns home after lunch to be confronted by an outraged Sylvia Rule, angry that she has received a letter from him accusing her of murdering Barnaby Pandy and urging her to confess. It turns out that three more seemingly unrelated people, Annabel Treadway, John McCrodden, and Hugo Dockerill, each received the same letter. Poirot is baffled as he wrote none of the letters. Poirot is intrigued and can't help looking into Pandy's death, an accidental drowning in his bath. Was it actually murder? If so, is one of the letter-receivers guilty? Poirot...
Read More
Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross

Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross

The Snowden Family Clambake is gearing up for the season and Julia Snowden is busy preparing and hiring seasonal workers. Julia, as we know by now- this is the 9th in the series, is also a bit of a crime solver on the side. When her boyfriend, Chris, asks her to help one of his friends, of course she says yes. Andie is an oyster farmer. Someone assaulted her and stole two buckets of oyster seed, worth a lot of money. Andie, however, doesn't think robbery was the goal; she thinks someone is trying to sabotage her business. Before Julia can ask more than a few questions, Andie is murdered. There are plenty of suspects, from other oyster farmers to lobstermen to summer people. The plot was well-done. There were plenty of clues pointing in different directions and the solution was complicated, in a good way. I didn't guess who the killer was. This is maybe the third Clambake mystery I've...
Read More
Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien

Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien

I love that Lana decides to take Chinese cooking classes without letting her family know. It just feels so in character. And of course, her teacher would end up dead, killed after the first class. Lana found the body, so is apparently the number one suspect, even though she didn't know Margo Chan. Lana has to find the real killer before the detective on the case decides she's guilty. Aside from finding the body, Lana doesn't have much of a connection to the case, which makes her "snooping" a little awkward. Why do the people she questions tell her anything, aside from her reputation maybe? And why does Detective Bishop seem so convinced Lana's guilty? The plot fits together well, although the solution is a little weak. Lana is a fun character, smart, a little reckless, caring. Her usual Watson is her roommate Megan, who was working a bit too much this time around, leaving Lana with another friend, Kimmy, as...
Read More