The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The Secret of Chimneys is one of Christie's earlier works and she tends to not be at her best when her books wander off into international politics and intrigue. However, I found this one surprisingly funny and enjoyable, even if a little far-fetched. Anthony Cade agrees to take on two jobs for his friend James McGrath. Anthony heads for London to deliver the draft of a memoir to a publisher, and to return letters to the woman who wrote them. In England, politician George Lomax persuades Lord Caterham to host a house party at Chimneys. George's cousin Virginia Revel is invited, as is Hiram Fish, a collector of first edition books, along with the principals in a political scheme to restore the monarchy in Herzoslovakia – while assuring that newly discovered oil there will be handled by a British syndicate. Then, a member of the house party is killed. House party mysteries are probably my favorites. I like the...
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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit has been on my list to read for a while. I've read a lot of Agatha Christie's, but this is a Colonel Race book, and he has never been my favorite of her characters. Honestly, I should have read it earlier. Anne Beddingfield, our amateur sleuth, is awesome. She's practical, but full of grit and she doesn't frighten easily. She's also a hopeless romantic. Anne was raised by her anthropologist father, a well-known academic but a poor man more wrapped up in the dead than the living. After he dies, Anne refuses a more "suitable" arrangement and determines to find adventure. Then it happens - a man on the train platform near her falls to his death after seeing something that frightens him. The doctor who tends to the man wears a brown suit, and after he leaves hurriedly, Anne has her suspicions as to whether or not he is actually a doctor. She...
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Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Told by an unknown narrator, the story is focused on a "secret" of a woman named Lady Audley and the ultimate revelation of what that secret is. While you may think relatively soon into the book that you know Lady Audley's Secret, that the author has told us, you'd be wrong. The secret remains closely guarded right u to the time it is confessed by Lady Audley. I will be honest, though, the secret is not the strong part of the book. She lays down clues and throws hints here and there without giving way too much and keeping the secret well-guarded until the time is right for a confession by Lady Audley. I enjoyed the writing. The descriptions of the settings and characters put you there with them. I listened to Lady Audley's Secret just after The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. They were written around the same time and both "sensational" novels, but this one felt tighter to...
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The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Walter Hartright, is walking down the street, his mind absorbed with his own problems, when suddenly a woman, dressed in white appears. She is clearly scared, and he walks with her toward London, eventually putting her in a cab and seeing her off. Shortly thereafter he is informed by two men who are chasing her that she had escaped from an asylum. And that's all we see of the lady in white for now. Hartright is left with a mystery. He takes a job as a drawing master, instructing two half-sisters as different as night and day. One is fair, and one is dark. One is pretty, and one is…well…unattractive. Marian is brave, brilliant, and resourceful, a marvelous character given the time period. Marian can hold her own. Hartright, of course, falls in love with Laura Fairlie, the fair and beautiful one, an heiress, an orphan, a woman in need of protection. Unfortunately, she is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde....
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Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton

Happy Money was referenced in the Coursera class The Science of Well-Being, which is why I picked it up. From the class, I already knew the basics of what Happy Money was going to discuss, but it was still interesting and worth reinforcing. The authors are both professors and share a lot of their research, but they've tried to keep it enjoyable too, sharing amusing stories and funny tidbits. Its goal is to help readers learn to spend money in ways that will make them happier. It also touches on businesses and even countries and how they can help their employees/citizens become happier people. Basically there are five principles. Buy experiences rather than material objects.Treat yourself. You enjoy things more if they are occasional treats, rather than everyday things. That one latte a week will make you happier than having one every day.Buy time. Consider how any given purchase will affect your time.Pay now, consume later. Waiting for things makes them...
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The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham

The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham

"The main thing to remember in autobiography, I have always thought, is not to let any damned modesty creep in to spoil the story. This adventure is mine, Albert Campion's, and I am fairly certain that I was pretty nearly brilliant in it in spite of the fact that I so nearly got myself and old Lugg killed that I hear a harp quintet whenever I consider it. It begins with me eating in bed." The Case of the Late Pig is narrated by Albert Campion himself, which takes away a bit of the charm of the characters for me. Part of the fun is how he lets others see him as silly and perhaps not too bright, but with him telling the story we don't get that full effect. Also, even though he's telling us what he did and what he thought, he leaves his conclusions until the end. He has to, it's a mystery novel, but would you really...
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