October Book Sale

Last year was the first year I went to the annual book sale at a local elementary school, and it definitely was worth going again. I always set one reusable grocery bag as my limit (barring any large or extraordinary finds), and I definitely filled it to the brim.

  • The Beautiful and the Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I’d never heard of this one before, so I picked it up for my mom.
  • Tish and More Tish, by Mary Roberts Rinehart: I already own The Best of Tish and had received Tish for Christmas last year, but this is a much nicer copy with a dust jacket. Besides, I couldn’t take one and leave the other when they likely spent the last sixty years together!
  • Two-Part Invention, by Madeleine L’Engle: This autobiographical account by one of my favorite authors describes her long marriage and her husband’s eventual decline in health.
  • Murder Roundabout, by Richard Lockridge: This is one of the Captain Heimrich mysteries, written after Frances Lockridge died. I’ve never read these, but my mom has several, and their Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries were just mentioned in Death on Demand.
  • Death in the Andamans, by M. M. Kaye: Now I’m only missing Death in Kashmir in hardcover!
  • Echoes from the Macabre, by Daphne du Maurier: Danielle has frequently mentioned how good her short stories are, so I figured I’d give them a try.
  • The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories: Over the summer I also picked up a very old ten-volume set of detective short stories, so I think I’ve got these covered for a while!

  • Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde: I’ve been upgrading these to hardcover, and now I only need the first and sixth. I haven’t read the latest two, and although I know I could pick up again in the middle, I’d love to go back and reread from the beginning!
  • Bridesmaids Revisited and Goodbye, Ms. Chips, by Dorothy Cannell: I haven’t read any Ellie Haskell mysteries in a while, but I remember them being drop dead funny. This was during her takeoff-title phase, apparently.
  • Dead Days of Summer, Laughed Till He Died, April Fool Dead, Murder Walks the Plank, and The Christie Caper, by Carolyn Hart: I think I’m set for when I continue with the Death on Demand series! I’m up to about twelve so far.

Even better–when I opened up the last one at home to catalogue it, guess what I noticed on the title page:

I’m not Simone, but I still like Annie and Max and am pretty pleased to have an autographed copy!

I also found several Nancy Drew library editions and a few Boxcar Children and Bobbsey Twins books.

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jane and the Man of Cloth

“September is a month of paradoxes—part decaying summer, part incipient autumn; and the complexity of its character decidedly suits my own.”

I am decidedly on a roll in terms of continuing series reads, though perhaps spurred by the fact that this is intended for the Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge. In Jane and the Man of Cloth, Stephanie Barron sends the authoress off to Lyme for a seaside vacation. There Jane makes the acquaintance of the mysterious and compelling Geoffrey Weymouth, but is distracted when a man is found hanging from a hastily constructed gallows on the shore. According to retired naval officer Captain Fielding, it is likely the work of the local ring of smugglers. After another body turns up, Jane’s heart compels her to find the truth, or she will never rest easy.

Jane enjoys a close relationship with her father, even confiding in him as the investigation grows stronger, while her mother comes off as more superficial. She is not mean or petty, just definitely not an intellectual equal with her daughter. It makes me wonder about the real Jane’s relationship with her mother. We know that she, Cassandra, and Mrs. Austen lived together after Mr. Austen’s death, much as the Dashwoods did in Sense and Sensibility, but that is the only Austen that I can think of in which the mother is portrayed in a positive light. (Mrs. Moreland seemed harmless, but did not really make much of an appearance in Northanger Abbey). In Persuasion, Emma, and Mansfield Park, the heroines are notably lacking in maternal influence.

“The only consolation in foul weather is to turn one’s lock upon the street, and settle in by the fire with tea and a good book–and hope that Cook will devise a meal that comforts, as the day fades into night.”

Jane-the-author’s keen eye for human nature is the biggest reason for her plausibility as a sleuth, and is present in her fictional version as well.  The characters are complex, and Jane has to look beyond what meets the eye to determine the truth. In the previous book, she investigated to save a friend; here, most of her initial findings come about because of idle curiosity. The recklessness of some of her actions surprised me, but it does make for an exciting read.

This is the book that I used as the springboard for my high school research paper about Jane’s romantic affairs. I loved Stephanie Barron’s creative take on the scant, enigmatic reference that Jane may have had a love affair during this time period, possibly with a reverend. I also have an inexplicable weakness for smugglers, maybe because it reminds me of Robin Hood.

Published in: on October 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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