Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

We know the facts in Anatomy of a Murder from early in the book. The defendant's wife, Laura, was raped by the local innkeeper and the defendant, army lieutenant Frederic Manion, took a gun, went to the bar, and shot and killed the rapist. He reported that he had done so and was taken into custody. It becomes Biegler's duty to try to get him off. The defense? Irresistable impulse, a type of temporary insanity. The story was broken into two parts: the investigation and the trial. The investigation is not a whodunnit , obviously, it was looking at all the players in the story, finding out all the ins and outs, who knew what when, what the people involved were like. The trial was fascinating. The back and forth between the lawyers, the interjections from the judge, the witnesses' statements, and jury reactions all kept me involved in the story. Our defense attorney and the narrator of the story,...
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High Rising by Angela Thirkell

High Rising by Angela Thirkell

I loved High Rising. Laura Morland is a fabulous character. I appreciate how she looks at the world. She's an author of popular novels set in the fashion world, which she chose because she knew women would enjoy reading about it. She has a pretty clear understanding of the people in her life, both their strengths and weaknesses. Other characters include train-obsessed children, loyal but opinionated servants, devoted secretaries with their own agendas, an unflappable schoolmaster's wife, the village doctor, and several potential couples. We get to see the ins and outs of the characters' relationships, the scheming (in a good way), and the helping each other out. It's just charming and witty. The dialogue is wonderful. The characters have fun talking to each other, if you know what I mean. They enjoy the conversations, they don't just have them. High Rising is a slice of life in this fictional corner of the world. People are ridiculous and silly and...
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Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing by Nella Larsen

More of a novella than a novel, Passing starts with a chance encounter at a tea shop between Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry. Once childhood friends in Harlem, New York, Irene and Clare are separated when Clare decides to leave the Black community behind, to ‘pass’ for white, marry a white man, and live as a white woman. While the two women catch up, Clare asks Irene if she could come to one of her parties, explaining that she misses being around Black people. Irene agrees and then she meets Clare’s racist husband. Irene is shocked and angry. She lives within the African-American community, is married to a black man, and is anxious about passing though she does it when convenient, like at the tea shop. In fact, Irene’s biggest desire in life is for security, while Clare is a risk-taker. A couple of year later, Clare reaches out to Irene again, and begins spending more time with Irene, her family,...
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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House is more eerie than scary. Jackson's writing is so tight and so descriptive in ways that make you think about ordinary things, like houses, differently. The plot itself is not outstanding, maybe because it's almost become a template of haunted house stories. Three people, Eleanor, Theodora and Luke, are invited to stay in a supposedly haunted house for the summer to aid a scientist, Dr. Montague, in his pursuit of paranormal investigation. We some started banging, laughs, cold spots, a ghostly scene, but really the story is about Eleanor. We see this world through her eyes. Eleanor's eyes. She is insecure, introverted, and often finds herself fantasizing about her current and future situations. She's not a reliable narrator to any extent. Eleanor is affected by the house more than any of the others. While they all see and feel some of the manifestations, but some she only hears and others are directed at her by...
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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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