I'm enjoying having our guest here so much that, if the thought of my blog even crosses my mind, I have a tendency to raise an eyebrow and carry on with whatever I'm doing. Our guest is neither child nor animal, as some of you have speculated, but I will be saying a bit more about him in future. I intend to enjoy his company first!
Mailbox Monday is my favorite meme. Hosted by Marcia on her blog The Printed Page, it has given me lots of additions to my TBR shelves as I visit the participating blogs. If you'd like to join in, or if you'd like to add books to your own shelves, click on that redhead to the left to be taken right to the heart of the action!
This past week, I mailed 7 books to new Paperback Swap (PBS) foster homes, and it's a good thing that I did because I pulled 7 new ones out of my mailbox. Let's take a look at the ones I received:
- Sink Trap by Christy Evans (PBS), the first in the Georgia Neverall mystery series. "Georgiana Neverall, a software engineer turned plumber, finds big trouble clogging a warehouse drain in Evans's cute cozy mystery debut. Georgie knows something bad has happened to Martha Tepper when she fishes the supposedly retired librarian's beloved brooch out of a pipe, but her boyfriend, City Councilmember Wade Montgomery, and the police dismiss her concerns. It's left to Georgie, her friend Sue and her boss's wife, Paula, to track down Martha's body with a little help from Georgie's Airedales, Daisy and Buddha. Suspects include Georgie's mother's boyfriend and Martha's accountant—who happens to be Wade. Evans garnishes the relatively straightforward mystery with plumbing tips and moments of wry humor from Georgie's interaction with her take-charge mother, her too-chatty friends and her adorable dogs."
- Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett (PBS), the third in the Booktown mystery series. "Soon after Tricia Miles, who owns a mystery bookstore in quaint Stoneham, New Hampshire, kicks her former college roommate Pammy Fredericks out of her apartment after a two-week visit, she finds Pammy dead in a garbage can outside a café owned by Tricia’s sister, Angelica. Tricia learns that Pammy, who was always working a get-rich-quick scheme, had found a diary and was apparently trying to blackmail someone. After getting threatening phone calls seemingly linked to Pammy, Tricia decides to investigate the murder. Meanwhile, she struggles to run her bookstore, deal with Angelica (who owns a cookbook store as well as the café), and plan a wedding for one of her employees. Her own romantic life takes an interesting turn when a captain in the county sheriff’s department piques her interest. Small-town New Hampshire life, the sisters’ turbulent relationship, a budding romance, and plenty of cooking (including recipes) provide the ambience in this satisfying series."
- Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland (Amazon Vine). "Shortly after midnight on July 17, 1918, the imprisoned family of Tsar Nicholas Romanov was awakened and led down to the basement of the Ipatiev house. There they were summarily executed. Their bodies were hidden away, the location a secret of the Soviet state. A decade later, one man lives in purgatory, banished to a forest on the outskirts of humanity. Pekkala was once the most trusted secret agent of the Romanovs, the right-hand man of the Tsar himself. Now he is Prisoner 4745-P, living a harsh existence in which even the strongest vanish into the merciless Soviet winter. But the state needs Pekkala one last time. The man who knew the Romanovs best is given a final mission: catch their killers, locate the royal child rumored to be alive, and give Stalin the international coup he craves. Find the bodies, Pekkala is told, and you will find your freedom. Find the survivor of that bloody night and you will change history."
- The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning (Amazon Vine). Sally Gunning has become one of my favorite authors of historical fiction for her portrayal of Colonial America.
- The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb (Amazon Vine). McCrumb's Ballad series of mysteries are among my very favorite, so I was thrilled to find out that she'd written a new one after a too long absence. "In 1934 all the national publications sent their star reporters to remote Virginia to cover the trial of Erma Morton: a beautiful 21-year-old year old mountain girl with a teaching degree, accused of murdering her father--a drunken tyrant of a man. Eager for a new cause celebre to capture the public's imagination, they were counting on reports of horse-drawn buggies, run-down shacks, children in thread-bare clothes--all of the stereotypes of mountain life. But among them is Carl Jennings, an 18-year-old mountain boy on his first job. An eager, honest journalist, he reports accurately--describing telephones, electricity, gas stations, and coal company executives. So when their reports conflict, Carl is condemned, while the seasoned journalists perpetuate the myths of country life--and Erma Morton's guilt or innocence is literally sold to the highest bidder--a wronged woman on trial sells papers. Soon, it is not the murder that is of interest: but the vultures attracted by the deaths. In the midst of all this, Carl continues to search for the truth, relying on his younger cousin, Nora--gifted with the Sight--for help."
- The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell (prize from Glue contest). "A massacre in the remote Swedish village of Hesjövallen propels this complex, if diffuse, stand-alone thriller from Mankell (The Pyramid). Judge Birgitta Roslin, whose mother grew up in the village, comes across diaries from the house of one of the 19 mostly elderly victims kept by Jan Andrén, an immigrant ancestor of Roslin's. The diaries cover Andrén's time as a foreman on the building of the transcontinental railroad in the United States. An extended flashback charts the journey of a railroad worker, San, who was kidnapped in China and shipped to America in 1863. After finding evidence linking a mysterious Chinese man to the Hesjövallen murders, Roslin travels to Beijing, suspecting that the motive for the horrific crime is rooted in the past."
- Clint, A Retrospective by Richard Schickel (prize from Glue contest). "There’s no paucity of books on Eastwood. Indeed, Time film critic Schickel penned a substantive biography in 1997. What sets his new effort apart is his intimate familiarity with Eastwood and his work. Schickel’s known the star for 33 years and begins here with a lengthy introduction that serves as an overview of his career while it recounts revealing personal moments with Eastwood. A chronological, film-by-film account of his oeuvre follows, from the mid-1960s Italian spaghetti westerns and his breakthrough (the moment when a star becomes a superstar) in Dirty Harry to his recent, commercially bold treatments of race relations, Gran Torino and Invictus. Schickel assesses each movie with breezy insight, justly praising landmarks like Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby but not letting friendship prevent honest appraisal of such lesser achievements as Pink Cadillac and The Rookie. Some 300 photos, many from behind the scenes, take up as much space as the text. A lavish tribute to Eastwood’s singular career, which no other actor-director since Chaplin has equaled in terms of commercial and artistic success."