Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon

Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon

Death in a Strange Country is the second in the long-running series featuring Guido Brunetti, Commissario of the Venice Police. I’ve read several of them, usually out of order. Brunetti is a good character and I like that he has a lovely, intelligent, supportive wife and kids who are pretty typical. This is an early look into the Brunetti family, which is nice. His father-in-law is more present here than in some others; he has enough power to be a force in the city, but even he has limits. Leon also does a fabulous job of bringing Venice to life, the places, the food, the people. The story begins when a body is discovered in a canal. It looks like a simple mugging, but of course, it leads to a much bigger case. Leon's books often have topics in addition to the murder plot. Here it's toxic dumping, environmental issues, and of course corruption. The plot was well-done and the tension...
Read More
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

We play a lot of board games at our house. One that hits the table regularly is Terraforming Mars; it's probably my husband's favorite. The game is based on Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinsons, which I finally got around to reading after having it sit on my shelf for a couple of years. So I may be a bit biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Red Mars follows the first hundred people on Mars, the ones who begin the colonization/terraforming. The story follows several viewpoints and they are all incredibly strong, tough, smart people who got to Mars on a variety of skills and the ability to more or less hide their nuttiness. None of them are wholly likable, but they each have their own motivations and their own visions of what Mars can/should become. The book touches on a lot of themes. We have religious groups and social groups. We have the realities of living on a different planet,...
Read More
The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

The Reminiscences of Solar Pons by August Derleth

I love a good Sherlock Holmes pastiche. I picked up The Reminiscences of Solar Pons at a used book store based on the cover alone: "If there's ever to be another Sherlock Holmes, it's Solar Pons. 'Readers with a taste for genteel crime . . .could hardly do better." Solar Pons is undeniably and unapologetically based on Sherlock. When Derleth asked permission from Conan Doyle to take over the writing of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle declined. Derleth then created a clone of Holmes with Solar Pons, Dr. Parker his chronicler, Mrs. Johnson the landlady, Inspector Jamison of Scotland Yard, older brother Bancroft who works for the government, and the Praed Street Irregulars. This is the fourth collection of stories, but the first I've read. I definitely need to go back and read the others. I'm happy to see they're available as ebooks in case I can't find print copies. Solar Pons, like his predecessor, has excellent powers of observation...
Read More
Lie of the Needle by Cate Price

Lie of the Needle by Cate Price

Daisy Buchanan is the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a vintage sewing notion and antique shop. She is also intrigued with history and an active participant in her town's Historical Society. The ladies of the society have planned a fundraiser to raise money to help save an old farmhouse from a developer who wants to purchase it and the surrounding land. They are working on a Men of Millbury calendar that features men about town scantily clothed. All is going well until the photographer and a friend disappear. Daisy gets caught up in the mystery surrounding the disappearances, a mystery that soon becomes a murder investigation. This book is the 3rd in a series and I have not read the previous two, but I felt Price did a good job introducing Daisy and her family and friends. It worked fine as a stand-alone. The characters are just the right amount of quirky and I could picture the town...
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
Dying in a Winter Wonderland by Vicki Delany

Dying in a Winter Wonderland by Vicki Delany

We were at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago and they had a display table out of Christmas cozy mysteries. David should be pleased that I only picked Up Dying in a Winter Wonderland and not all of them. Maybe I should go back? This is the first in the Year-Round Christmas series that I've read, but I felt like I was able to jump right in. I adored Merry and her family and kind of wished I lived in a town like Rudolph. The other characters, friends, employees, boyfriend, are a quirky group, in a fun way. Merry is ready to celebrate another magical Christmas in her hometown and business at her store is booming. However, Luanne arrives to throw everything into chaos. For some unknown reason, Merry had agreed to style Luanne's July wedding, but Luanne's just informed her that she's moved the wedding up- to February! But when the fiance turns up dead and Merry's brother is the...
Read More