Sleeping Murder

By Agatha Christie. Published in 1976
IMG_3332Agatha Christie has saved her best for last. Her final novel features the beloved, uncannily perceptive Miss Jane Marple unraveling the most tantalizing, most macabre case of her career. With this extraordinary novel – pervaded by a very real, very memorable sense of evil – Dame Agatha has ensured her reputation as the world’s greatest author of detective fiction and has bequeathed her millions of readers one last delicious surprise.

This is probably my favorite Miss Marple story. Gwenda and her husband Giles, newly married, are looking for a house in England. As soon as Gwenda sees this house in Dillmouth she feels ‘at home’ and decides this is the one for them. Strange things start happening as she moves in and starts the re-decorating. She keeps going to a spot in one room thinking a door is there. Maybe it’s just a common sense spot to put a connecting door into the next room. She has the contractor put a door there and they find one use to be there and was walled over. She decides that the small room that probably was a nursery at one time should have wallpaper with poppies and coneflowers. When the workmen get a cupboard door that was stuck open, there the original wallpaper was exactly as she envisioned she wanted! Coincidence? Then as she’s coming down the steps one day she feels a horrible sense of evil and sees a vision of a blonde woman laying at the foot of the steps dead, strangled. Is she clairvoyant? Against Miss Marple’s advice she and Giles start to investigate and find she had lived here as a very young child. Fascinating page turner. I read it in one day. Haven’t done that in a while!

This is the book that Miss Marple says, “It really is very dangerous to believe people. I never have for years.” Love that quote! Ms. Christie had written this final Miss Marple and the final Poirot, Curtain, years before and left them to be published after her death. She died in January 1976 and this novel was published in September of that year. I found this obituary online.

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This fulfills the ‘suitcase’ category on the Silver Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ My Reader’s Block. That puts me at 12 on this card! Look inside the number one picture and you’ll see a suitcase!  

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Cloak and Dagger Challenge

I came across the Cloak and Dagger Challenge over @ Bev’s My Reader’s Block and decided I will join in too! I’m signing up for Inspector level, 26-35 books.

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Challenge Rules:

  1. You can read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.
  2. You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up. (blog, goodreads, booklikes, shelfari, etc.)
  3. Make a goal post and link it back here with your goal for this challenge.
  4. Books need to be novellas or novels, please no short stories. (At least 100 pages +)
  5. Crossovers into other challenges  are fine.
  6. The Challenge will  be from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. (Sign up ends April 15th)

 

Levels:

5-15 books – Amateur sleuth

16-25 books – Detective

26-35 books – Inspector

36 – 55 – Special agent

56+ books – Sherlock Holmes

Stop over at the website and check out all the details and sign up!

Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My!

 

Penhallow

by Georgette Heyer
published in 1942

17833838The death of Adam Penhallow on the eve of his birthday seems, at first, to be by natural causes. He was elderly after all. But Penhallow wasn’t well liked. He had ruled over his estate with an iron will and a sharp tongue. He had played one relative off against another. He was so bad-tempered and mean that both his servants and his family hated him.

It soon transpires that far from being a peaceful death, Penhallow was, in fact, murdered. Poisoned. With his family gathered to celebrate his birthday, and servants that both feared and despised him, there are more than a dozen prime suspects. But which one of them turned hatred into murder?


This was definitely not what I expected from Georgette Heyer for a mystery. It is quite different from others I’ve read from her. It is 298 pages long and by the time I got to around page 150 and no murder yet, just nasty, unlikeable characters I told Bossman I think I might have to give up on this one. The only thing that kept me reading was the front page intro…

WE ARE BOUND TO SECRECY

The Central Situation,
The Plot Development,
The Astounding Solution of

Georgette Heyer’s Brilliant Thriller

are so fresh and unusual, so arresting to the mystery fan that we are pledged to reveal nothing in our promotional copy about this unique novel – other than this indisputable fact:

Georgette Heyer
has never devised a puzzle so crafty,
an ending so unexpected.

When you finish reading the last page of
PENHALLOW
you will thank us for having kept our promise

The actual murder doesn’t take place until chapter sixteen which starts on page 191. We know right up front who does it. This is more a psychological thriller than a traditional mystery for sure. A character study of a very ugly, dysfunctional family. Honestly there wasn’t a pleasant thing or person in it. It’s dark, moody and unpleasant. I was left with a heavy, sad feeling. 

Having said that, it was well written and the characters well drawn and delved into. I had a good time trying to determine who I thought was going to be the murderer if we ever got to the murder! Would I recommend it? Sure, just go into it knowing this is not the usual fare you expect from Heyer’s mysteries. I’d love to know what you think of it if you’ve read it or do read it.

This fulfills the ‘statue‘ category on the Gold Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ My Reader’s Block. That puts me at 9 on this card!

The Visitor

Look who dropped by this morning for a quick visit! I picked the perfect minute to get a coffee refill or I would have missed him. God is good! I yelled for Bossman and we stood at the kitchen window and watched him until he flew away. I knew he was in the neighborhood this morning, there’s nothing quite like the cry of a pileated woodpecker…

The Black Seraphim

by Michael Gilbert, published 1984

IMG_3247Murder in the cathedral shakes a tranquil English town to its very foundations.

James Scotland, a young pathologist, has come to Melchester on a much-needed vacation. but amid the cathedral town’s quiet medieval atmosphere, he finds a hornet’s nest of church politics, town and country rivalries… and murder. When one of the community’s most influential figures dies suddenly (and very publicly), Scotland uncovers some curious alliances among church, state, and big business. Modern forensic pathology, the age-old mysteries of the church, and a bit of unexpected romance all play a part as Scotland unravels the unsettling truth about Melchester.


My first Michael Gilbert and it won’t be the last! Dr. James Scotland, pathologist, has been working so hard that “he fainted at the conclusion of a lecture on Morbid Anatomy. which he was giving to the students of Guy’s Hospital. Tumbled right off the edge of the rostrum and hit his head on a gallows from which was hanging a fully articulated skeleton.” Told to take a month or two off to rest he decides to return to Choristers’ School to relax and unwind. His cousin is headmaster there and James, himself, had had a temporary job teaching there between leaving school and starting at Oxford. It would be great seeing old acquaintances. Problem is he lands in the middle of a little financial difficulty at the school and MURDER!

I enjoyed Gilbert’s writing very much. There were so many characters in this book though, it was hard to keep track at first. Lots of canons and deans and bishops and husbands and wives… A light hand of humor helped along the way. The main character of Dr. Scotland was a wonderful character and I wish he had a whole series featuring him! A light romance, swindlers, scientific discoveries and murder made for a fun read.

Looking forward to reading the other Gilbert’s I have waiting on the shelf!

This fulfills the ‘Bottle/Glass for Drinking‘ category on the Silver Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ My Reader’s Block. That puts me at 11 on this card!

Anchorage Museum

We stopped in the Anchorage Museum while there. It was three floors of very interesting things. One of the most crazy things had nothing to do with Alaska but was from Norway. They have a thing there called Slow TV. It’s hours of just sitting and watching birds in a nest, a yule fire burning with people relaxing around it, the view off the bow of a ship as it moves through the water or from a train as it moves down the tracks. It’s suppose to de-stress you and help you relax. You can read about it HERE. They had several videos running of this Slow TV. I taped a few minutes of a couple of them. If you want to watch more click on the link above, there are several full videos on there to watch.

IMG_3196IMG_3227Bossman hanging out with some new buddies at the museum…
IMG_3197 Slow TV room… IMG_3203A coat made out of seal guts, yuk! They had several here…
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Many display cases like this for every native tribe to Alaska

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Painting by Sydney Laurence

Some gadget that you had to use your own weight to pull yourself up…IMG_3213This is the stuffed body of Togo, a famous sled dog owned by Leonard Seppala. With this dog he ran the longest and most hazardous part of the serum race or Great Race of Mercy. The Iditarod Race is run in memory of this great serum race. Diptheria had broken out in Nome in the dead of one of the worst winters in 1925. The only way to get the life saving serum there was by dog sled. They did  it by relay. The dog, Balto, who ran the last 55 miles got all the attention as the dog who saved the day, but Togo was the real hero. Seppala’s only daughter was at risk to catch this terrible disease.  He had a personal stake in this race!

IMG_3220IMG_3218Check out this picture! In the winter if you run to the grocery store you will find these poles to plug into for battery warmers to keep your battery from dying while your in the store. It gets that cold! NO THANK YOU!
IMG_3216Since I mentioned the Iditarod here are few pics from our stop in at the headquarters… fullsizeoutput_557IMG_2996IMG_2993IMG_2992IMG_2990Statue of Balto…
IMG_2988IMG_2986It really was only a gift shop. You could pay $10 to ride on a sled with wheels pulled by the dogs and we got to play with and hold puppies! These dogs are amazing and so full of energy. They absolutely live to work and pull a sled.