Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Just Kept Turning the Pages on Labor Day Weekend

 Thunder and lightning and heavy rain pounding on the roof as I begin this post. An atmosphere for murder! 

I was laid low by a germ (not Covid) over the long weekend, and all I could do was read for three days, and all I wanted was crime and murder tales, which I indulged in completely. There's nothing like a good murder mystery to make a person forget their discomfort.

I know that many of you must have read at least some of the Lake District Mysteries by Martin Edwards. I read the first in the series, The Coffin Trail, and liked it very much. Really liked the primary police detective Hannah Scarlett and the newbie to the Lake District, historian Daniel Kind. Loved it. Just what I needed. I will eventually read on in this series. 



I also loved the debut cozy mystery, The Unkindness of Ravens, by M.E. Hilliard (2021). Almost all of the action is set in a three-story nineteenth-century manse, which is the town library. Set in a community near Albany, New York, though frankly, the elaborate library setting is paramount here, rather than the upstate New York setting. Greer Hogan is a former cosmetics executive who saw the light after the murder of her husband and got her degree in library science. This novel was very entertaining, and frankly, though I find cozies boring at times, this one kept me going. I must admit I'm looking forward to the second in the series, due to appear in April 2022. Read this in less than a day. 

And I had plenty of time to finish up a chunkster I started earlier in the week--the new novel by Joyce Maynard, Count the Ways. (Rated 4.35 on Goodreads.) It was very, very good, though sad in many ways and redeeming in others. It's about a family, and a husband and wife, and everything that happens to them on their farm in New Hampshire. I love Joyce Maynard's novels. 

Ann Cleeves's second novel in her new Matthew Venn series was published yesterday, The Heron's Cry. I loved the first offering and am looking forward to getting my copy in the mail soon. 


17 comments:

  1. Hi Judith, Sorry you were ill over the long weekend but, that at least you were able to enjoy some reading time. The Unkindness of Ravens sounds really good. Of course, I loved Count the Ways as well and I just posted a review for The Long Call and today started the audio version of The Heron's Cry (book 2). Guess our reading thoughts are geared to the same books these days LOL

    Hope September is a good month for you.

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    1. Hi Diane,
      Sorry I've been so late responding. I really liked The Long Call and have read the first book in the Vera Stanhope series so far, and will continue. I did read the last one, though, and loved The Darkest Evening especially!

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  2. I've only read Maynard's memoir, "At Home in the World" which was interesting if maybe a little too weighted toward her time spent with Salinger. But I would recommend it if you like memoir. I have yet to read any of her fiction...so little time, so many books!

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    1. Thanks, Ruthiella, for the mention of Maynard's memoir. I've long wanted to read it, so thanks for the nudge. I hope to get to it this fall.

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  3. I must look up Ann Cleeves's new series and see what's it's about. Not sure how that's managed to escape me!

    The Lake District series is very good, 6 or 7 books I think but no new ones for a few years now. Suspect that might be it as he's doing a lot with the British Library and has his Rachel Savernake series on the go. So... I just checked FF and I'm telling you a lie, after 6 years there is now a new Lake District novel! Must check where I am in the series, think I may have book 7 still to read.

    Our mini-heatwave broke yesterday too. I spent the day with E.F. Benson's (he of Mapp & Lucia) wonderful ghost stories which I'm rereading. And a biography of Noel Coward which is not what I was hoping it would be. Never mind.

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    1. Oh, Cath, I long to catch up with you. Yes, Martin Edwards is doing so much with the British Library series. And, oh! Didn't know about his Rachel Savernake series. Must look that up.
      And so glad you had books on board for your heat wave! I'm wondering how hot that might be!

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  4. Sorry you weren't feeling well over the long holiday weekend, Judith. Hope you're fully recovered now.

    I absolutely loved Count the Ways! Not sure why I have never read Maynard before now, but plan to work my way through her back list - both fiction and nonfiction. I'm also tempted by Ann Cleeves.

    I see NY just released the first fall foliage report. We're heading to my parents' house next week and will likely stay for the rest of the month before heading south. We're hoping to take a drive up to the Adirondacks while we're there. Happy September!

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    1. JoAnn,
      I think you'll really like the works of both Maynard and Cleeves. Will just say that her Shetland series is dark, though I loved the first book, Raven Black. But I did stop there. The Vera Stanhope series is wonderful, I think, and am enjoying the Matthew Venn series.
      Enjoy your time in New York. It seems that the sugar maples are turning early, which sometimes happens after a very wet summer. Enjoy your time!

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  5. Sounds like some good reading for you, but sorry that it was accompanied by feeling sick.

    I have read The Coffin Trail and have the 2nd book in the series, which I should read soon. The books by M.E. Hilliard look like they have lovely settings. I need to look into Ann Cleeves' new series.

    Last book I read was The Chinese Shawl, a Miss Silver book by Patricia Wentworth. An enjoyable read. My current book is Blackout at Gretley, by J.B. Priestley, an espionage story published in 1942.

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    1. Hi Tracy,
      As diehard mystery fan, I don't think that Hilliard will be up your alley, but do try out Cleeves's Matthew Venn series. Just got the second book in the mail yesterday.
      I want to continue with the Martin Edwards' Lake District Mysteries, too.
      What do you think of the Miss Silver books? Are they too cosy, by any chance? Just curious. I suppose I should try one and see. Priestly's book sounds very interesting, indeed.
      So glad you mentioned it! WWII. hmmm... my cup of tea.

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    2. Judith, I love the Miss Silver series. I don't think they are too cozy but it is entirely a matter of taste. They are not formulaic but often feature a romance on the side. They are short, quick reads so it would not hurt to try one.

      The Priestley book was very good, a good picture of World War II in 1942.

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    3. Tracy,
      Thanks for responding. I'll definitely try a Miss Silver mystery. Thank you!

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  6. I enjoyed the first Matthew Venn book too, although, wow, is that guy unhappy in his own skin! I thought all the characters were well done. I haven't read The Coffin Trail yet.

    I started the Louise Penny that is set in Paris a few days before I left for Paris but have not been able to finish it yet.

    Sorry you were not feeling well!

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    1. I never got started on the Louise Penney series, because I read half of the very first one and for some reason it did not grab me at all. Lots of people have told me that the series gets better. Maybe I should pick up the series at Books 3 or 4.

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  7. I thought the first book was very blah but listened to the second book on audio driving from Quebec to Boston and was completely captivated by the main character! It is rare that a middle-aged man can be so swoony!

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    1. Your thoughts have grabbed me. I must move on with this series. Maybe I will try the second title. Swoony sounds good, if nothing else!

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  8. I've just put all these books on my GoodReads want to read list. They are just the kind of book I like!

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