Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Pardon Me While I Pout Weekly Link Round-Up

 


I had intended to yak about a cheerful little topic today, but I'm definitely no longer in the mood.

For those of you wondering how Denis is doing (bless your kind hearts), the doctor has determined that whatever is happening to his back is arthritic, and he'll be going to a specialist tomorrow (Thursday). We have high hopes that they'll be able to formulate a plan of attack because Denis does not want to stay on these pain killers any longer than he has to. What gobsmacked me was how quickly this seemed to strike him... or is this something that crept up so slowly that it was undetectable? I never did think that arthritis was a quick mover.

Now... is Denis's state of health why I'm "in a mood"? No!


When I learned that Left Coast Crime was being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April, I signed up, and Denis and I have been looking forward to attending ever since. There was just one problem: due to my mobility issues, I need an ADA room with a shower, and there weren't any available at the Hyatt when I made a reservation. (The Hyatt is where the convention is being held.) I've been checking, but-- regardless of the room rate-- there still aren't any available. 

Yes, I could see about staying elsewhere and shlepping back and forth and back and forth, but part of the fun of these conventions is being Right There for all the camaraderie and not worrying about drinking and driving around a strange city at night. So it looks like no ADA room, no Left Coast Crime, and that's why Denis and I aren't happy.  All I can say is that if there are people who've reserved ADA rooms who don't really need them, they should be ashamed of themselves. But then, people who would do that are the sort who feel no shame, eh? 

Regardless my mood, I hope you enjoy the links!


►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
  • This bull elk had a car tire stuck around its neck for two years before wildlife officers could finally remove it. (Bet that elk doesn't go poking its nose into dark circular objects anymore...)
  • Scientists are predicting that polar bears could vanish by the end of the century.
  • Watch this giant purpleback flying squid explore a shipwreck at the bottom of the Red Sea.
  • How the call of the common loon is used incorrectly in movies and television shows.
  • Ancient Japanese wolves may be the closest wild relative to modern dogs.
  • Tinsley, a very loyal Shiloh shepherd, helped police find her human and a passenger after a horrific car wreck on a New Hampshire highway.
  • Denver thrift store employees found a missing cat inside a donated recliner. (Sounds like the cat didn't want to be parted from its favorite napping spot.)
  • Beavers are reshaping the Arctic tundra, and here's why scientists are concerned.
  • Just when you thought you'd seen it all: watch this goldfish drive an aquarium on wheels.
 
►The Wanderer◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
 
►I ♥ Lists◄


That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Pyramid of Mud by Andrea Camilleri

 
First Line: The Thunderclap was so loud that not only did Montalbano suddenly wake up in terror, but he gave such a start that he nearly fell out of bed.
 
Vigàta has been hit by days of rain and flooding, so it's a slippery slog when Inspector Salvo Montalbano is called out to a murder scene at a construction site that's buried in mud.
 
The investigation gets off to a slow start, but once it gets going, the man's death seems to have ties to the worlds of construction, public contracts, and the Mafia. Who better to get to the bottom of this slimy mess than the wily Montalbano?

~

This workmanlike twenty-third book in Camilleri's marvelous series shows us that no one knows the inner workings of the police, the media, and the Mafia like Salvo Montalbano. In fact, he knows these areas so well that I don't even bother trying to solve the mystery myself; I just sit back and enjoy watching the inspector do all the work. 

Although The Pyramid of Mud does show us some of the ins and outs of Italian construction work, it's a stand-out for me in a different area: Livia. Normally, I don't care for the mysteries in which Livia takes part because all she and Montalbano ever seem to do is to pick fights with each other. Relationships based on fighting and making up are big yawns for me. But in this book, Livia is ill, and I found Montalbano's lack of focus on the murder investigation due to his concern for her to be touching. Could these two be mellowing in their advancing years? I hope so!
 
After reading this book, I'm one step closer to the series' end, something I'd rather not acknowledge. I'd always hoped that Montalbano would go on forever and ever and ever...

The Pyramid of Mud by Andrea Camilleri
Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli
ISBN: 9780143128083
Penguin Books © 2018
Paperback, 272 pages
 
Police Procedural, #23 Inspector Montalbano mystery
Rating: B
Source: Paperback Swap

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

February 2022 New Mystery Releases!

 
I've been living here in Phoenix since 1976, and you'd think that I would be fully acclimated to its rather balmy winters. Part of me is, but the lizard part of my brain looks at a calendar, sees the fateful word "February" on it, and immediately wants to burrow down with a huge stockpile of books and yarn to avoid the usual blizzards.

Now that you know that little tidbit of trivia about me, you know that I've been keeping a lookout for new books, right? Okay. Okay. There's nothing new about that; I just thought I'd drum up a new excuse!

The following list contains my picks for the best new crime fiction being released during the month of February. They're grouped according to release date, and I'd like to thank Amazon for providing their covers and synopses.

Let's take a look to see if I've included any that tickle your fancy, too...


=== February 1 ===


Title: Reader, I Buried Them & Other Stories
Short Story Anthology
384 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "More than fifty years ago, Peter Lovesey published a short story in an anthology. That short story caught the eye of the great Ruth Rendell, whose praise ignited Lovesey’s lifelong passion for short form crime fiction.

On the occasion of his hundredth short story, Peter Lovesey has assembled this devilishly clever collection, eighteen yarns of mystery, melancholy, and mischief, inhabiting such deadly settings as a theater, a monastery, and the book publishing industry.

The collection includes that first story that launched his story-writing career as well as three exclusive new stories. In addition, Lovesey fans will delight in a personal essay by the author about the historical inspirations—and in an appearance by the irascible Bath detective Peter Diamond, who has, in the author’s words, “bulldozed his way” into this volume.
"  


Title: Four Thousand Days
Author: M.J. Trow
Series: #1 in the Margaret Murray historical series set in 1900 London.
224 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittlng: Books.
 
Synopsis: "October, 1900. University College, London. When the spreadeagled body of one of her students is discovered in her rented room shortly after attending one of her lectures, Dr Margaret Murray is disinclined to accept the official verdict of suicide and determines to find out how and why the girl really died.

As an archaeologist, Dr Murray is used to examining ancient remains, but she’s never before had to investigate the circumstances surrounding a newly-dead corpse. However, of one thing Margaret is certain: if you want to know how and why a person died, you need to understand how they lived. And it soon becomes clear that the dead girl had been keeping a number of secrets. As Margaret uncovers evidence that Helen Richardson had knowledge of a truly extraordinary archaeological find, the body of a second young woman is discovered on a windswept Kent beach – and the case takes a disturbing new twist …


Title: Paris Noir: The Suburbs
Editor: Hervé Delouche 
Short Story Anthology set in the suburbs of Paris, France. 
280 pages

Synopsis: "From the introduction by Hervé Delouche: The term Greater Paris is in vogue today, for it has an administrative cachet and seems to denote a simple extension of the capital—as if a ravenous Paris need only extend her web. However, it was not our goal to embrace the tenets of the metro area’s comprehensive plan, aka the Grand Projet, envisioned as a future El Dorado by the planners and developers. Rather, our aim was to depict the Parisian suburbs in all their plurality and diversity. Without pretending to encompass every spot on the map, we instead opted to give voice and exposure to the localities chosen by the writers who have been part of this adventure. Thus, we decided to adopt the word “suburbs”— in the plural, obviously, for the periphery of the capital is not a homogeneous bloc, nor is it reducible to a cliché like “the suburban ring” . . . Here are thirteen stories, decidedly noir, to be savored without sugar or sweetener."
 
 
Title: The Goodbye Coast
Author: Joe Ide
Series: Standalone Philip Marlowe mystery set in present-day Los Angeles.
320 pages
 
Synopsis: "The seductive and relentless figure of Raymond Chandler’s detective, Philip Marlowe, is vividly re-imagined in present-day Los Angeles. Here is a city of scheming Malibu actresses, ruthless gang members, virulent inequality, and washed-out police. Acclaimed and award-winning novelist Joe Ide imagines a Marlowe very much of our time: he’s a quiet, lonely, and remarkably capable and confident private detective, though he lives beneath the shadow of his father, a once-decorated LAPD homicide detective, famous throughout the city, who’s given in to drink after the death of Marlowe’s mother.
 
Marlowe, against his better judgement, accepts two missing person cases, the first a daughter of a faded, tyrannical Hollywood starlet, and the second, a British child stolen from his mother by his father. At the center of The Goodbye Coast is Marlowe’s troubled and confounding relationship with his father, a son who despises yet respects his dad, and a dad who’s unable to hide his bitter disappointment with his grown boy. 

Steeped in the richly detailed ethnic neighborhoods of modern LA, Ide’s The Goodbye Coast is a bold recreation that is viciously funny, ingeniously plotted, and surprisingly tender.


=== February 8 ===


Title: Jane and the Year Without a Summer
Series: #14 in the Jane Austen historical series set in England.
336 pages
 
Synopsis: "May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet's daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
 
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.


=== February 15 ===


Title: Diablo Mesa
Series: #3 in the Nora Kelly series set in Roswell, New Mexico.
400 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Lucas Tappan, a wealthy and eccentric billionaire and founder of Icarus Space Systems, approaches the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute with an outlandish proposal—to finance a careful, scientific excavation of the Roswell Incident site, where a UFO is alleged to have crashed in 1947. A skeptical Nora Kelly, to her great annoyance, is tasked with the job. 

Nora's excavation immediately uncovers two murder victims buried at the site, faces and hands obliterated with acid to erase their identities. Special Agent Corrie Swanson is assigned to the case. As Nora’s excavation proceeds, uncovering things both bizarre and seemingly inexplicable, Corrie’s homicide investigation throws open a Pandora's box of espionage and violence, uncovering bloody traces of a powerful force that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets—and that threatens to engulf them all in an unimaginable fate
." 


Title: The Texas Job
Series: #9 in the Red River historical series, a prequel featuring Tom Bell in 1930s Texas.
416 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Texas Ranger Tom Bell is simply tracking a fugitive killer in 1931 when he rides into Kilgore, a hastily erected shanty town crawling with rough and desperate men―oil drillers who've come by the thousands in search of work. The sheriff of the boomtown is overwhelmed and offers no help, nor are any of the roughnecks inclined to assist the young Ranger in his search for the wanted man.

In fact, it soon becomes apparent that the lawman's presence has irritated the wrong people, and when two failed attempts are made on his life, Bell knows he's getting closer to finding out who is responsible for cheating and murdering local landowners to access the rich oil fields flowing beneath their farms. When they ambush him for a third time, they make the fatal mistake of killing someone close to him and leaving the Ranger alive.

Armed with his trademark 1911 Colt .45 and the Browning automatic he liberated from a gangster's corpse, Tom Bell cuts a swath of devastation through the heart of East Texas in search of the consortium behind the lethal land-grab scheme.
 
 
Title: The Secret in the Wall
Author: Ann Parker
Series: #8 in the Silver Rush historical series set in 1880s San Francisco, California.
400 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Inez Stannert has reinvented herself―again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and card sharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path―a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s.

Then the teenage daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother's murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.

She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits―that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn't kill her first." 


=== February 22 ===


Title: The Kill of It All
Series: #9 in the Madison Night "Mad for Mod" cozy series set in Texas.
280 pages
 
Synopsis: "Madison Night’s star is on the rise. Thanks to a series of TV spots to promote her decorating business’s grand reopening, she’s busier than ever. The police commissioner, impressed with her screen presence, engages her to replace the original actress in his feel-good campaign for local law enforcement. But when the first spokeswoman’s body is found on set after Madison’s testimonial airs, the last thing the police need is publicity.

Madison steers clear of the controversy by focusing on her company relaunch, but when gossip links the victim to someone special in her life, she gets involved by proxy. She uses her soapbox to draw out suspects, but if she’s not careful, it might serve as a coffin instead.

Can Madison reveal a hidden killer before the bubble bursts on her newfound success?
"
 
 
Title: The Verifiers
Author: Jane Pek
Series: #1 in the Claudia Lin amateur sleuth series set in New York City
368 pages
 
Synopsis: "Claudia is used to disregarding her fractious family’s model-minority expectations: she has no interest in finding either a conventional career or a nice Chinese boy. She’s also used to keeping secrets from them, such as that she prefers girls—and that she's just been stealth-recruited by Veracity, a referrals-only online-dating detective agency. 
 
A lifelong mystery reader who wrote her senior thesis on Jane Austen, Claudia believes she's landed her ideal job. But when a client vanishes, Claudia breaks protocol to investigate—and uncovers a maelstrom of personal and corporate deceit. Part literary mystery, part family story, The Verifiers is a clever and incisive examination of how technology shapes our choices, and the nature of romantic love in the digital age.
"

 
February is filled with favorite authors. Are any of these books on your own wish lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Murder at a Scottish Social by Traci Hall

 
First Lines: Nairn, Scotland. Saturday morning Paisless Shaw left Cashmere Crush, her sweater and yarn shop, in the wrinkled but capable hands of her grandfather, Angus.
 
Paislee Shaw is so grateful for her life. Her bespoke knitwear and yarn shop, Cashmere Crush, provides a good living for herself, her ten-year-old son Brodie, Grandpa Angus, and their Scottish terrier, Wallace. To pay it forward for all her blessings, she participates wholeheartedly in a weekend-long charity event to raise money for the Nairn Food Bank. 
 
Paislee's weekend would have gone a lot better if she hadn't had to meet a group of competitive mothers who treat the baking competition as if it were life-and-death. When not concerned with baked goods, these divas spend their time roaming the area with their noses held high and their vicious comments flying thick and fast. 
 
Things take a turn for the worse when the queen bee of the group, Kirsten Buchanan, dies from anaphylactic shock. Who would poison Kirsten's shortbread? To be honest, nearly half the town, but when Paislee's friend Blaise makes her way to the top of the suspect list, Paislee swings into action to find a peanut-wielding killer.
 
~
 
I wish I could knit as fast as Paislee Shaw. Of course, my quality of life doesn't depend on how fast my own needles can fly. I've enjoyed Traci Hall's Scottish Shire cozy series for its depiction of life in small-town Nairn, Scotland, for its knitting, and for its characters, especially the core group of Paislee, her grandfather Angus, and her ten-year-old son Brodie. My enjoyment of Murder at a Scottish Social was diminished, undoubtedly due to the presence of the group of acid-tongued divas at the charity event. I dislike people like this so much that I don't want to spend even a second of my time with fictional ones, let alone real ones.

I was more interested in the newest developments in Paislee's family life. How Grandpa Angus' search for his missing son was progressing and how Brodie was dealing with problems at school. I would much rather have spent time knitting and chatting with Paislee and letting those divas take care of themselves. Ah well.

If you're in the mood for a puzzling mystery that's steeped in small-town Scottish life and focused on a charming mother, son, grandfather, and pup, you should pick up one of Traci Hall's Scottish Shire mysteries. And if you find divas amusing, Murder at a Scottish Social will definitely be your cup of tea.
 
Murder at a Scottish Social by Traci Hall
eISBN: 9781496726049
Kensington Books © 2022
eBook, 304 pages
 
Cozy Mystery, #3 Scottish Shire mystery
Rating: B
Source: Net Galley

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk

 
First Lines: From the first spin of the lock, she knew she wouldn't be able to open the safe. What does a librarian know about safecracking?
 
Liesl Weiss is content working behind the scenes in her job at the university library. She has become adept at performing all the tasks the head of department can't be bothered with. But when he is incapacitated by a stroke, Liesl finds herself taking over his job. 
 
The first thing she learns is that the department's newest and most prized book is missing. She wants to waste no time in alerting the police, but the president of the university and several others repeatedly tell her to keep quiet. That keeping the doors open and the donors happy is more important than finding a manuscript that costs half a million dollars. 

So Liesl conducts her own investigation, and it doesn't take her long to discover someone working in the department has to be responsible. 

~

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections comes alive when describing precious manuscripts and the donors that make their appearance on university library shelves possible. The characters, on the other hand, don't shine nearly as brightly.

Liesl Weiss has spent so many years working in the shadows behind unreliable men that she tends to be gray and lackluster-- except when she fights to protect a fellow librarian's reputation. Each time she tries to do the right thing, especially when it involves having the police brought in to find the thief and the missing book, she's slapped down. The university president would rather whitewash everything that might make the donors unhappy.

It doesn't take much to deduce who is responsible for the missing book. No, what I am taking away from Jurczyk's book is her decidedly jaundiced view of donors. Of how much time must be spent in massaging their fragile egos. Of how a university's infrastructure can be geared toward reaping donor money than it is to keep the buildings themselves standing. Of how, when one university went so far past its goals it had to tear down a perfectly good building and build a new one rather than spend the extra money on badly needed maintenance and other programs because, well, everyone knows how donors love to see their names plastered all over buildings. As you can see, my own view of rich donors tends to be a bit jaundiced, too. 

As a mystery, The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is relatively easy to solve. As a character study, it's done in varying shades of gray. But come to life it does when describing wonderful old books and what must be done in order to have them on a university's shelves. I'm glad I spent some time with Liesl Weiss. She and I see eye-to-eye on many things.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk
eISBN: 9781728238609
Poisoned Pen Press © 2022
eBook, 336 pages
 
Amateur Sleuth, Standalone
Rating: B
Source: Net Galley

Sunday, January 23, 2022

On My Radar: The Perfect Crime edited by Vaseem Khan!

 

 
If you've been following Kittling: Books for very long, you know that I love to read crime fiction set in other countries. I love learning about diverse cultures from around the globe. So you can imagine my delight when I learned about The Perfect Crime. Let me share some details with you!


Synopsis:
 
"From Lagos to Mexico City, Australia to the Caribbean, Toronto to Los Angeles, Darjeeling to rural New Zealand, London to New York – twenty-two bestselling crime writers from diverse cultures come together from across the world in a razor sharp and deliciously sinister collection of crime stories.

Featuring Oyinkan Braithwaite, Abir Mukherjee, S.A. Cosby, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, J.P. Pomare, Sheena Kamal, Vaseem Khan, Sulari Gentill, Nelson George, Rachel Howzell Hall, John Vercher, Sanjida Kay, Amer Anwar, Henry Chang, Nadine Matheson, Mike Phillips, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Felicia Yap, Thomas King, Imran Mahmood, David Heska Wanbli Weiden and Walter Mosley."

 
 
 
Doesn't this sound perfect for the armchair-traveling detective?
 
I'm familiar with nine of the authors, and I'm really looking forward to reading the others. You know me-- always on the lookout for new authors. Now all I have to do is share The Perfect Crime's availability dates...
 
The Perfect Crime is available in the US in eBook format on March 3, 2022 and in hardcover format on September 13, 2022. (Or you can treat yourself to a hardcover copy by ordering it from the UK on March 3.)

I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy, and I hope that some of you are as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

An I'll Bet He's Got a Sore Butt Weekly Link Round-Up

 


It turned out that things haven't gone as well for Denis as we'd hoped. He's had to go to his doctor twice to tweak the combination of pain killers and muscle relaxers he's taking for the awful pain in his back and hips. He's also had an X-ray and will probably have an MRI sometime within the next week. I hate seeing this normally hale and hearty man hurting, and although it's a relief to see that the new mix of medications seem to be gathering strength and doing their job, I want to see what that MRI will uncover. 

On a brighter note, I shared some security camera footage on my personal Facebook page recently. Not all of our cameras are placed for security reasons; some of them are literally for the birds. Recently, one of the cameras trained on a hummingbird feeder caught footage of a male hummer who was incandescently angry that another hummer was sitting on his favorite feeder. He hovered right in the interloper's face, wings buzzing furiously, his brilliantly colored gorget fully extended... and the interloper was totally unimpressed. So... the next film clip showed the enraged hummer jabbing the interloper's backside with his needle-sharp beak. I'll bet that hurt! 
 
Normally, we see hummers chasing each other around and around in an attempt to keep each other off the feeders because they are extremely territorial. I've seen film showing dozens of hummingbirds all sharing the same batch of feeders, and I am in awe because our colony of hummers would never do that. But we've never seen one hummer stabbing another before, so that camera footage was gold. In some ways, it's funny, but in others it's not because hummers have actually killed each other in such disputes. You'd never ever think that would happen with such beautiful, tiny creatures, would you?

I'll leave you with a new favorite word that I discovered. Now... if I only knew how to pronounce it because I've certainly experienced this several times in my life!
 



Enjoy the links!

[Note: this second tweaking of Denis' meds seems to have worked a miracle. It's so wonderful to have a smiling, ambulatory husband again!]


►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
 
►The Wanderer◄
 
►I ♥ Lists◄

That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

First Line: "Aunt Bee," said Jane, breathing heavily into her soup, "was Noah a cleverer back-room boy than Ulysses, or was Ulysses a cleverer back-room boy than Noah?"

On the eve of his twenty-first birthday, Simon Ashby is poised to inherit Latchetts, a very profitable horse farm in the south of England. But then his older twin brother Patrick comes home. Patrick, who was presumed dead by suicide at the age of thirteen.

Patrick is, in fact, an orphan named Brat Farrar who has an uncanny resemblance to Simon. Brat has been carefully and expertly coached in all things Patrick, and he's so successful that he's welcomed back into the Ashby family.

It looks as though Brat is going to be able to pull off the deception until old secrets emerge that put not only his plan but also his life in danger.

~

For the most part, Golden Age mystery writers leave me cold. There is one exception, however: Josephine Tey. Her originality of thought, her dialogue, her characters, her subtlety... she just suits my mystery-loving mind right down to the ground. Brat Farrar, like Tey's The Daughter of Time, is considered to be one of the best mysteries ever written, and I'm not going to argue with this assessment.

There's something about how Tey lets us in on the con from the beginning. We know Brat is not Patrick Ashby, but as we see things through his eyes, and as we see the effect he has on the people around him, we almost want to flout the law and let him assume Patrick's place for time and all eternity. 

Let's see... we know Brat is an imposter, and it's really not all that difficult to deduce what really happened to Patrick eight years ago. The real mystery is how everything is going to turn out for Brat. We know he's done wrong, but we still want him to be happy. We still want him living at Latchetts. And as for Latchetts, even Dick Francis couldn't do a better job at depicting a horse farm.

After thoroughly enjoying Brat Farrar, I have to wonder why there hasn't been a modern film adaptation of it because it would be perfect. (Who cares that the whole situation could be solved by a DNA test today? The book is set right after World War II.) What I don't have to wonder about is which Josephine Tey mystery I will be savoring next. I am slowly working my way through her books, and enjoying myself every step of the way.

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
ISBN: 9780684803852
Scribner © 1997
Originally published 1950.
Paperback, 288 pages
 
Classic Mystery, Standalone
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from Book Outlet.