Diving into Persephone

Jessie @Dwell in Possibilty is doing Persephone in February! I have two beautiful Persephone’s waiting for me on my shelves, so I thought this would be the perfect time to dive in. I’ve never read a Persephone and I can’t wait to hold that beautiful book in my hands. I think I would collect them if they were easier to come by in US.

I have House-Bound by Winifred Peck and A Far Cry by Emma Smith. Which one should I read? I know I won’t get both of them read in eleven days. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Help me out!

Why don’t you join in too! Stop over at Jessie’s and sign up…



Maigret Meets a Milord

by George Simenon
first published in 1931 as Le Charretier de la Providence, “The Carter of the Providence

IMG_3443One of the canal carters stumbled on the corpse of Mary Lampson, strangled in a stable near the lock: the find plunged Maigret into the damp world of barges and towpath cafes. The woman’s husband, a retired English colonel, was curt and unhelpful on board his yacht. But gradually Maigret extracted an account of the garish whisky-sodden life they had led along the inland waterways of France. It called for a chase on a bicycle and a confession from a dying man to draw together all the strands of a curious and pitiful story.

A nice quick read. I like Simenon’s books because they are usually fairly short, but excellent, satisfying reads. In this book we are pulled into life along the canals of France and learn a lot about traveling through the locks. Maigret is pretty much on his own on this one. Lucas comes in at the end to help out. Maigret is like a dog with a bone when he has a mystery to solve! Good suspects and atmosphere. I enjoy these books!

This counts for Just the Facts, Ma’am @ My Readers Block.  Golden Age/How-death by strangulation

The Butterfly

by James M. Cain

IMG_3524In this story of incest and mistaken identity set in the coal-mining hills of Appalachia, a man estranged from his family for many years finds himself fatally attracted to his daughter when he meets her for the first time as a grown woman. This edition includes an introduction by Cain describing how he arrived at the idea for this novel and several others.

The Butterfly by James M. Cain was first published in 1946. It takes place among the hills and hollers of West Virginia coal country. Cain uses his favorite form of narration, the first person confessional, in relating this unusual tale of deceit, incest and murder.

“Hard, lean, nicely weighted. The pitch is just right and the pace is the Cain pace, sustained and pressing, like a hound on scent.”  
~Saturday Review of Literature

I picked this up because it was set in Appalachia, my ancestors on mom’s side were Appalachians. Although this book is set around the border of Kentucky and West Virginia and we are from East Tennessee. Cain was known as a ‘hardboiled’ American writer and wrote several big books, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. All of these made into movies, which I’ve seen. I had never read one of his novels though. A short book at 120 pages, I thought it would be a good introduction. Although with incest being the main subject you wouldn’t know that this book is listed as a mystery! It does have elements of mystery and murder.

The Preface by Cain was interesting and he states that he basically started working on this book in 1922 when he made a trip down to the Big Sandy area along the Kentucky-WVA state-line to work in the mines and study the area and utilize its ‘beautiful bleak ugliness’ for the locale of a novel dealing with mine wars. After years of working on notes, story outlines etc. and getting sidetracked by other projects he finally published this little novel in 1947.

After reading the preface and reviews of his work, I was excited to start. I have to say though that I was highly disappointed! I read it in one day. It kept me turning the page, I think more because of the subject matter and the hint that all was not as it seemed, than anything, but in the end when I closed the book I felt let down. Maybe the writing was good and it was the subject matter that was not very satisfying. The mountain people didn’t come across to me at all sympathetic and the locale wasn’t brought vivid in my mind. I grew up with Grandma’s insinuations that incest was a problem in the back mountain country among the ‘hillbilly’s’. Maybe the portrayal was dead on and there is no redeeming quality to the characters or this tale. I really don’t know what to think or say. There is deceit, moonshining, and murder. The incest part wasn’t really ‘foul’ or overdone by any means. Not sure if I’d tell you to read it or not. BUT, I’d be real interested in your thoughts on it if you did read it!!

Have you read anything by Cain and what did you think?

There is a movie made from this book starring Pia Zadora and Stacy Keach available to stream on Amazon and a BBC radio drama of it too – you can listen here.


Counting this towards Cloak and Dagger!

Bout of Books Day Six

The challenge for today is Book Spine Poetry. Stack books together with the titles forming a sentence or short poetry. Great fun! Here are my pictures. I did two!

The old fox deceiv’d the small widow in the woods.

The rector’s daughter (is) testing the current on Thursday afternoons on Sarpy Creek.

Great idea Kay!

Bout of Books Day 5

I haven’t been very good at keeping current or updating with this challenge. I have participated in two things on Instagram, describe myself in six words and Spine Rainbow.

#bookspinerainbow #boutsofbooks

A post shared by Peggy Arthurs (@peggyherself) on

And I can’t find the In Six Words! I must not have done it right. Instagram is fairly a new thing for me. And obviously Bout of Books is too!

I’ve read two books and am halfway through my third. I’d like to get four read for this week. Read Maigret Meets a Milord and The Butterfly and am reading Death in Springtime now.

Today’s challenge is to write a headline for the plot of a book you love or hate. I’m doing one for each of the books read and the one I’m reading.

American Girl Kidnapped in Italy! Norwegian Friend Tossed to the Side of the Road!
Death in Springtime by Magdelan Nabb

Incest, Mistaken Identity and Murder in Small Appalachian Town!
The Butterfly by James M. Cain

Murder on the Towpath of a French Canal Solved by Inspector Maigret!
Maigret Meets a Milord by George Simenon

Check out what other people submitted here.

Ordeal of Innocence

B668A458-900F-47CC-902B-E94948871285By Agatha Christie

Whoever killed Mrs. Arygle was still at large. With seven likely suspects and as many reasons for wanting her dead, no wonder everyone suspected her nearest and dearest. But what made this Murder so baffling was that it had to be solved twice!

Excellent book! Mr. Calgary came to late to save Jacko. Jacko was arrested for murdering his mother and six months later he died in prison from pneumonia. He swore he was innocent. Claimed he hitched a ride into town that night and a search began for the man who picked him up, to no avail. The evidence was overwhelming and without the mysterious driver Jacko was convicted.  Two years later Mr. Calgary appears and says he was that man! He had been on an Artic expedition and didn’t even know about the trial until recently and he needed to set the record right and clear Jacko’s name. He thought the family would be thrilled and thankful. But they weren’t. That meant one of them did it!

“Going on so about justice! What does it matter to Jacko now? He’s dead. It’s not Jacko who matters. It’s us!” (Sister Hester speaking)

”What do you mean?”

”It’s not the guilty who matter. It’s the innocent.”
She caught his arm, digging her fingers into it.
”It’s we who matter. Don’t you see what you’ve done to us all?”

This book counts for Just the Facts Ma’am @ Bev’s My Reader’s Block. Gold Era Detective Notebook (1958) – category  – Why – made into a film/TV/ play

I picked this book to read because the BBC did a TV movie of this book that was suppose to air around Christmas. But one of the stars was accused by one woman of sexual harassment and they pulled the movie!