Friday, April 28, 2017

Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up

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Since Netflix has gone to a thumbs up/thumbs down rating system, I thought that just for fun I might do the same to score two recent books. 

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Thumbs Down 
The Alpine Advocate by Mary Daheim - I so wanted to love this book and was hoping to discover a new mystery series. The main character Emma Lord is editor/owner of the Alpine Advocate, the weekly newspaper of Alpine, a small town in the Pacific Northwest. I thought this would be entertaining as I too once wrote for a small town weekly, albeit many years ago. (The word 'typewriter' comes to mind...)

Unfortunately, 25 pages in and I have already lost track of who the townsfolk are and what they do. All I know is that one of them is going to be killed and I assume Emma Lord is going to solve the murder. The author has somewhat ambitiously introduced way too many characters (none of them very intriguing) and I am already bored with them. I keep thinking maybe the plan is to kill off the whole town! One can only hope.

If you can offer a thumbs up rating for this series, I would love to know about it. Perhaps the mysteries get better.

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Thumbs Up 
Unbecoming Habits by Tim Heald - I bought this as an ebook (for a whole $2) because it takes place in a monastery and I have a fondness for monasteries. The main character, Simon Bognor, is a special investigator for the British Board of Trade. This is the first in a series featuring this not-very-dashing detective. He is a bit sluggish and isn't much use in the field, but for some reason he is sent to investigate the murder of Brother Luke who was found dead in the abbey's potato patch. Strangled. Turns out Brother Luke, aka Collingdale, was actually a spy/plant from the Board of Trade and was looking into something to do with the abbey's bees and honey exports. 

It is quite witty. Because of my many retreats at the Abbey of Gethsemani, I am familiar with the rhythms of monastery days so I am enjoying mooching about with the friars and Mr. Bognor.

Mr. Heald died this past November. He was a journalist and biographer of royalty in addition to writing his mystery tales. He has another protagonist, Dr. Tudor Cornwall, head of the Criminal Studies department at the University of Wessex. My library does carry the three books in this last series so I am hoping to give them a try. 

What thumbs up, thumbs down books would you like to rate?

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