The Big Lie by John Mankiewicz

The Big Lie by John Mankiewicz

The Big Lie centers around the filming of "Salt of the Earth" in 1954 in New Mexico. The FBI wants it shut down, believing it to be nothing more than Communist propaganda. The performances are solid and the sound effects evoke the period well. The story itself is a bit predictable, but since it's based on a true incident, that's probably not surprising. It turns out the world isn't as black and white as FBI Special Agent Bergin would like to believe. ...
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The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April is a charming novel, light and breezy and sweet. It's about love and life and being oneself. It's funny and perceptive. The writing is descriptive and witty. Four women, more or less strangers, are escaping dreary London and their dreary lives to spend April in a castle in Italy. They are each unhappy and lonely in their own way, dissatisfied with their lives. Lottie and Rose are in unhappy marriages. Lady Caroline is tired of being fawned over and surrounded by people clamoring for her attention. Mrs. Fisher is a grumpy older woman, a widow who relies on a cane. She, by the way, has some of the funniest moments in the book. Then San Salvatore works its magic on them, first one then more slowly the others. They come out of their shells and relax. They begin to realize what is actually important. They enjoy the beauty around them and in general become more happy, more loving...
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Death by Unknown Event by Eliza Smith

Death by Unknown Event by Eliza Smith

I had never heard of the Cindy James case before, but Death by Unkown Event, another podcast available on Audible Plus, caught my eye. Cindy James suffered for 8 years, filing multiple reports of harassment and assaults. The podcast takes us through the events in Cindy James' life, and looks at the investigators in her case, her ex-husband, the psychiatrists, neighbors, private detective. It's a devastating story. We see all the theories and options, but at the heart of the case is that everyone failed Cindy. I think that's the writer's point. Regardless of how you see the case, Cindy asked for help again and again. And ended up dead. ...
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The Murder of Robert Wone by AYR Media

The Murder of Robert Wone by AYR Media

I don't usually listen to podcasts - I'm not sure why. The Murder of Robert Wone is available for free on Audible Plus, and it sounded interesting. I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted to listen to, so free and short is as good a reason as any. It turned out to be pretty fascinating. Robert Wone was found stabbed to death in his friends' home in Washington, DC. The podcast was put together well. It took a thorough look at the people involved and evidence found that night and in the following days. I usually read crime fiction, where more often than not, we get a resolution. True crime can be messy like it is here. People may have their suspicions, but proof is sometimes impossible to get. ...
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Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel was a reread for me. I always enjoy Marsh's mysteries and this is no exception. Troy is spending Christmas at Hillary's manor house, painting his portrait. We meet all the other guests and staff, most of whom were former convicts. And then, of course, someone is killed. Well, someone disappears, but this is a Marsh book, we know he's dead, it's just a matter of finding him. Alleyn of course comes to the house and takes over the investigation. Reading Tied Up in Tinsel is like spending the holidays with old friends. Honestly, murders at country houses during the holidays are my favorites. The house guests and staff are an eccentric lot and almost all could be considered suspects. There were also enough clues that we could put it together, which is not always the case when Alleyn is investigating. We don't always know what he's thinking or clues he notices. Maybe I'll go back and...
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The Christmas Night Murder by Lee Harris

The Christmas Night Murder by Lee Harris

It's Christmas and Christine, a former nun, is visiting the convent she lived in until she married. A priest she studied under is coming for a visit from his new parish in Wyoming and everyone is looking forward to seeing him again. The priest never arrives and Christine is brought in to search for him. The book touches on convent life, which I found interesting. It's an insulated community where secrets can be kept. It also deals with abuse in the Catholic Church, but the way it was approached seemed surprisingly outdated. Yes, this book takes place in the early 90s but still. Christine is a good character. She's persistent and honest and loyal. Her husband, Jack, a police sergeant, gives her some help, but she does most of the investigating on her own. I'm not quite sure how she manages to get all the answers and access she does, but people always seem to talk to amateur detectives. I listened to...
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