Willful Behavior by Donna Leon

Willful Behavior by Donna Leon

I don't read the Commissario Guido Brunetti series in order. I jump around depending on what's available at the library. The series is currently at 28, so Willful Behavior is toward the middle. Paola, Guido's wife, brings the case to his attention. One of her students has a question about receiving a pardon for her dead grandfather. She doesn't provide many clues, just enough to make Brunetti curious. And then she ends up dead, killed. This time the mystery involves events from World War II and Guido talks to his father-in-law and some friends about their experiences during the war and stories they've heard. The most interesting part of the story for me was the history of Italy during World War II. I honestly don't know much about Italy during that time period. World War II tends to come up in European mysteries much more than American ones, for obvious reason, but I still find it rather fascinating. Mussolini led Italy...
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Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse

Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse

I've read several of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Bertie books, but Something Fresh is the first of his Blandings Castle series I've picked up. It was funny and light-hearted and just a nice break. Lord Emsworth, owner of Blandings Castle, accidentally stole a valuable scarab from his son's fiancée's father, a millionaire American. Our two main characters, Ashe Marson and Joan Valentine, are headed to Blandings Castle for a house party, both trying to retrieve the scarab and receive the reward. They both are impersonating servants, so we see a lot of what is happening downstairs. Ashe and Joan have a lot in common even though they have only recently met; they are both writers, both live in the same building, both could use a new direction, something fresh. In the meantime, Lord Emsworth son may or may not be a spot of trouble over a former crush. Now that he is engaged, those letters he wrote to another woman may cost...
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From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

I'm officially done with the James Bond books. I enjoy the movies, but the books are just too incredibly chauvinistic and sexist. Usually I can take books for when they were written, but when characters say things like, "All women want to be swept off their feet. In their dreams they long to be slung over a man's shoulder and taken into a cave and raped." or when one scene is literally naked gypsy women fighting to the death over a man. Rape was never okay, not then, not now. Our Bond girl, Tatiana, is gullible and too sweet and beautiful and Fleming actually has her ask Bond, "You won't let me get so fat that I am no use for making love? You will have to be careful, or I shall eat all day long and sleep. You will beat me if I eat too much?" I want to say at least the plot was good, but I'm not entirely...
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Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

There are some classics that I wonder why it has taken me so long to get around to. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith is one of those. It's a dark, psychological thriller that shows anyone can be capable of murder, given the right, or wrong, circumstances. As the blurb states, Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno meet on a train. Guy tells Bruno the story of his problems with his wife, who he wants to divorce but who is putting up obstacles left and right, even though she's pregnant with another man's child. Bruno, meanwhile, tells Guy about his meany dad and suggests they trade murders. Guy declines, he's basically a good guy after all, but he fails to realize that Bruno is an alcoholic psychopath, who, after killing Guy's wife, expects Guy to follow through with his end of the deal. That's where the bulk of the novel, and tension lies. Bruno is manipulative and black-mailing; Guy never knows...
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Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri

I've read/listened to several of the Montalbano mysteries over the years. It's a series I know what to expect from. The main characters don't change much over the years and the food always sounds delicious. For me, this is one of the series I turn to when I want something that I know I'll enjoy. This time around we've got a couple of bombings, but they both take place at empty warehouses, which is odd. Montalbano has a sexy new (married) neighbor who seems determined to seduce him. Her car's been vandalized and her computer salesman husband is never around. To top it all off, anonymous letters and phone calls are being sent to citizens, the prosecutor and a television station, all pointing in different directions. We've also got a couple of drug gangs that may or may not be involved. Of course, Montalbano manages to tie all the seemingly random events together. I often listen to the audios for this series, rather...
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The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus

First off, a minor complaint. Neuhaus' series is being translated from German, but out of order. So the first I read was Snow White Must Die #4, then Bad Wolf #6, and now The Ice Queen#3. Each is a self-contained mystery, but Pia and Oliver's personal lives come into play a fair amount and it's a little odd going back in time to see where their relationships were, knowing how they change over time. It doesn't bother me too much, but I feel like it would be a stronger series read in order. The story is absorbing, a mystery involving an influential family and secrets that go back to WW2. The blurb above gives the basic plotline, but it gives you no idea of how inter-connected theses people's lives are, how horrible their secrets are. It's a large cast, and the narrator, Robert Fass, does a reasonable job. I found a few of his voices jarring, but I do understand that it can...
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