Saturday in the Smokies

Birds of Cade’s Cove…


A Prey to Murder

by Ann Cleeves  1989

IMG_1044Eleanor Masefield could be very difficult to handle, but murdering her seemed a bit extreme…

It was Eleanor Masefield’s own idea to sponsor an Open Day at her beautiful Gorse Hill Hotel – a celebration designed to raise funds for the protection of the local peregrine falcons that had been the obsession of her late husband.

But by teatime on Open Day Eleanor lay dead in the weathering grounds of the beautiful birds of prey that had been a major attraction of the afternoon.

Amateur detective George Palmer-Jones, who had always been a little in love with Eleanor, vowed to find her murderer.

This is the fourth book in the George and Molly Palmer-Jones series.George is an elderly birdwatcher – helped by his wife Molly. I didn’t even know Cleeves had other books besides Vera and Shetland! There are eight in this series and the first one, A Bird in Hand, was Cleeves first book published in 1986.

I really enjoyed this little book. The setting in the world of falconry, birds of prey conservationist and the illegal world of wild bird snatching for profit was quite interesting. And the lovely old home turned into a hotel was a nice touch. Interesting characters and family dynamics. I especially like the relationship between George and Molly.  Many good suspects and motives presented and I did not guess who did it! Well done, Ms. Cleeves!

I also have book six in this series. I’d like to find all of them and read them in order. They have been republished for Kindle and print on demand paperback at Amazon. I found my copies at a used book store. Have you read any of these?

A Bird in Hand
Come Death and High Water
Murder in Paradise
A Prey to Murder
Another Man’s Poison
Sea Fever
The Mill on the Shore
High Island Blues

This fulfills the “during a special event” category under “when” in the silver era Just the Facts Notebook @My Reader’s Block.

We Won the Lottery!

Really! We did! No money involved though. It’s a special lottery that happens once a year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This lottery is priceless! This year 21,000 people entered and we were one of 1,800 winners! People have entered this for years and never won, on our first try we got it!  What did we win you say?

A parking pass to see the Sychronous Fireflies! It happens once a year when they are mating and it only happens in a few spots around the world with the densest population here in our own Smoky Mountains! Because it draws so many people they started doing the lottery system to contain the amount of people in the area to preserve the fireflies mating area. I almost forgot about the lottery and entered on the last day open for entries and late at night. Maybe that was the key! When you enter you give two dates you would like to go within that one week period and then you get an email telling you if you won or not and what day if you did. We go June 11th. I can’t wait!  We park at the visitor center and then a trolley takes us to the Elkmont area of the Park. That’s where the fireflies are. We’ll sit in the woods in the dark and witness a small miracle of nature. I wish I could bring everyone of you with me! Pray for no rain on June 11th!

Read HERE and HERE about the fireflies.


Finished watching the 4th series of Shetland last night. It made me cry. What a powerful season this was. Have you watched any of this series? If not I highly recommend those of you who live in America get Britbox and start watching! Do the 7 day free trial and watch all 6 episodes in that week if nothing else. Really, its that good!

Stephen Walters played Thomas Malone, the man who was in prison for 23 years and released when his conviction was quashed. What an amazing actor! I was so drawn into his character and so invested in him immediately. I watched 3 episodes at a time because I just couldn’t pull myself away from his story.  Thomas Malone is a very ‘unlovely’ character that breaks your heart. I’ve probably seen him in bit parts over the years. He is a DCI in the first season of Little Boy Blue which is on Britbox now also. I’m planning on watching that this week to see what he is like in a different character. Kate commented a few posts ago that with Acorn and Britbox I won’t get anything done for watching TV and I can see she is exactly right!

Series 5 is filming now! I think I’d have to say that Shetland is my favorite TV show. Looking forward to another season and reading the books. My library has them so I’m stopping in today and getting Black Raven, the first in the Shetland series. Ann Cleeves has a nice website. Check it out!

A Couple Good Books

I haven’t had much reading time lately and only got two books read in the last month. But they were good ones!

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Practical-minded Realtor Melanie Middleton hates to admit – even to herself – that she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it, because an old man she met just days ago has died, leaving Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, complete with a housekeeper, a dog, and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her something…

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that some diamonds that went missing from the Confederate treasury a century ago are hidden in Melanie’s home. So he decides to charm the new tenant, only to discover that suddenly he is the smitten one.

But it turns out that Jack’s search has caught the attention of a possibly malevolent ghostly presence. Now Jack and Melanie need to unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak, and even murder. And they must hurry…for an evil force – either dead or alive – lies in wait.

I don’t usually read ghost stories but the mystery aspect of this one interested me. I liked the setting too, Charleston SC. Both of my sons were born there! Ghost stories set in the south are usually pretty good, I have to admit. This one was really good, I hated for it to end and thought about it after I was finished. It looks like its a series so I think I’ll look for more of these. I did notice I have another Karen White on the shelf when I was rearranging to fit the new books in! Not with this character though.  You have a wonderful mysterious unsolved disappearance, years old, history, missing diamonds, romance and ghosts, not to mention a really cute dog named General Lee. Worth the read!

The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920’s Ireland, but the threat of arson leads the parents of nine-year-old Lucy to abandon their country house. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane, with its beautiful land and nearby beach, and a dog she has befriended. On the day before they are due to leave, she runs away, hoping to convince her parents to stay. Instead, she sets off a series of tragic misunderstandings that affects everyone at Lahardane and one of the perpetrators of the failed arson attack for the rest of their lives.

In this brilliant, subtle and moving story of love, guilt and forgiveness, William Trevor has written a novel that stands among the best in the English language.

Reading about William Trevor over at Cathy’s 746 Books I’ve wanted to read one of his desperately. I got this one through Paperbackswap. I LOVED it! It is so very sad though. A insightful look at how our actions and choices affect everyone around us and the healing power of forgiveness. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I want the story to unfold for you as you read it and I highly recommend you read it! Thanks, Cathy, for bringing this author to my attention! I’ll be reading more.