Bad. The author burnout is strong with this book. I almost gave up on the series, but a librarian friend promised me that M was one of the best in the...moreBad. The author burnout is strong with this book. I almost gave up on the series, but a librarian friend promised me that M was one of the best in the series. To those who are where I was, she was not wrong. M Is For Malice removes the bad taste of L.(less)
This picks up 2 months after the Veronica Mars movie. My only criticism, and it is a slight criticism, it's not written in the first person. It would...moreThis picks up 2 months after the Veronica Mars movie. My only criticism, and it is a slight criticism, it's not written in the first person. It would have been nice to have some of Veronica's narration. If you're a marshmallow, you'll want to read this, especially since it's written by the shows' creator, and ties up some interesting loose ends.(less)
Blood and Circuses, the 6th Phryne Fisher mystery, is so far, the least satisfying, and I think I know why. Kerry Green...moreI can tell what happened here.
Blood and Circuses, the 6th Phryne Fisher mystery, is so far, the least satisfying, and I think I know why. Kerry Greenwood has written the character for 6 books and five years at this point. I can almost hear her inner monologue: Am I in a rut? Are all of the books going to follow a pattern? Do I want to switch things up a bit? She did that.
This is essentially supposed to be a fish out of water story, with Phryne playing the fish. Specifically a play on a subtrope of FOW -- City Mouse. Phryne is stripped of her wealth, privilege, house, car and family. How will she survive? Except Ms. Greenwood seems to forget what she has told us in each of the other five books in the series: Phryne can take care of herself, that is her superpower. She grew up poor. She didn't gain wealth until she was a teen and even then, didn't take it seriously. She was always Rose in first class finding a poor bloke as a lover and dancing with the rabble in steerage. So now we're to believe that going into the countryside and living for a few weeks with a traveling tent circus will bring her nearly to the breaking point? That she will be so weakened she will take a lover not out of libidinous desire, but for protection? Um, no.
For much of the book there are two story-lines: Phrynie's circus investigation and Lt. Robinson's Melbourne murder. Obviously they were linked and it took until the last act of the book to bring them together. Some of the plot details were sketchy and there were also a few jarring perspective shifts in this one. The period and circus vs freaks research was flawless. I think Ms. Greenwood was so busy showing off her talents at meticulous detail, story and structure suffered.
Basically, Phryne lost her agency, just enough, and in such an unbelievably trivial (for her) way, it lost me. I get why Ms. Greenwood did it, but the reason Phryne broke was just too little. Phryne is a superhero. She's Bond. She's Nero Wolfe. She's flawed, but she doesn't break easily. I just didn't buy it and to be honest, I don't think Ms. Greenwood did either.(less)
In early 1928 England, bored, wealthy 28 year-old aristocrat Phryne Fisher (pronounced 'fry-nee') solves a minor mystery at a dinner when she finds a...moreIn early 1928 England, bored, wealthy 28 year-old aristocrat Phryne Fisher (pronounced 'fry-nee') solves a minor mystery at a dinner when she finds a stolen necklace. One of her fellow guests is impressed by her skill at deduction and asks her to solve a case for him in Australia. Phryne returns to her native land, solves the case and becomes a private detective. Taking Melbourne and the rest of Victoria by storm with her class, skills, flair and talent for continually doing scandalous things, she quickly builds up a group of friends and allies- everyone from a pair of Communist cab drivers to one of the few female doctors in the country- while solving her case.
I came to the book series because of the adapted Australian TV series, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Several changes have been made from the books. Phryne is no ordinary aristocrat,she can fly a plane, drives her own car (a Hispano-Suiza), smokes, drinks, dances, has "friends in low places" and sometimes wears trousers. However, while displaying bohemian panache, she manages also to maintain style and class. Phryne is a hero, a female Bond or Saint, but with fewer product endorsements and a better class of lovers. She's an empowered female hero with agency and free as a male hero. She takes at least two lovers in each book, never looking back once he pulls his trousers on and walks out of her bedroom door. In book 5, she flies to a tiny village in the Australian Alps. She brings with her a change of clothes, her gun and her diaphragm (because, you just never know).
It's my belief that instead of being Kerry Greenwood's Mary Sue, Phryne deserves her place in the Wold Newton Family. Phryne is preternaturally intelligent, street-wise and strong. She's an expert with guns, knives (throwing and Apache-style fighting) and at judo. She can crack a safe with ease and disguise herself so even her closest allies won't recognize her. She's also a trained stunt and long-distance pilot with her own plane and trained racecar driver with her own (barely street legal) car. She deserves to be listed as an equal with others in the Wold Newton Family: Sherlock Holmes; Tarzan; Doc Savage; Lord Peter Wimsey, Bulldog Drummond; Fu Manchu The Shadow; Sam Spade; Nero Wolfe and Lew Archer.
Ms. Greenwood's writing gets better with each book. Her strengths are her amazing eye for detail and accurate period detail.(less)
Not as good as the first book, but fun. What is the series? Think HART TO HART meets LEVERAGE meets Stephanie Pl...moreI would probably give this 3.5 stars.
Not as good as the first book, but fun. What is the series? Think HART TO HART meets LEVERAGE meets Stephanie Plum meets REMINGTON STEELE meets TO CATCH A THIEF meets CASTLE and you pretty much have the basic tone and feel of the series.
I think it would make an excellent USA TV series. (less)
This book is a lot of fun. A Facebook friend just reminded me about it and I'm really glad she did. This has a special place in my heart. On our secon...moreThis book is a lot of fun. A Facebook friend just reminded me about it and I'm really glad she did. This has a special place in my heart. On our second date, the woman who would become my wife (also, eventually, my ex) gave me her copy of BotDS to read. After I read it, I knew our sensibilities and interests were in synch. It was a lot harder in the pre-high speed internet days, to ferret out fellow Geeks.
BotDS is a really fun, charming and witty "Whodunit" by Sharyn McCrumb. It combines a serious murder mystery with the scariest world of all -- fandom.
James Owen Mega is just an ordinary guy, a professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Tech. What very few people realize is that he is also Jay Omega, one-time SF author -- and that's exactly how Jay wants it. His novel was a serious, hard SF story, but by the time the second-rate publishing house got through with it, it was saddled with a Frank Frazetta-esque cover and the title Bimbos of the Death Sun. Though he attempts to bury his shame, his girlfriend books him as a guest at Rubicon, a local SF convention. There, they meet the troublesome Appin Dungannon, author of a Conan-like series of novels and owner of an incredibly short fuse and colossal ego. Some time between the costume contest and the celebrity D&D game, however, Dungannon is murdered, and Jay and his girlfriend, Marion, do a little investigating of their own.(less)
I read A - H for the first time, last year. It's been almost a year since I checked into Kinsey Millhone - The Northern California PI, permanently stu...moreI read A - H for the first time, last year. It's been almost a year since I checked into Kinsey Millhone - The Northern California PI, permanently stuck in the 1980s and forever preserved in her 30s. This is, so far, my favorite book in the series. The plot is more developed and the character of Kinsey is fleshed out a bit more. (less)
Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark. This is the fourth and, in my opinion, the best of the Alan Grofield series. Grofield is a gentleman thief w...moreDonald Westlake writing as Richard Stark. This is the fourth and, in my opinion, the best of the Alan Grofield series. Grofield is a gentleman thief who sometimes helped out in Westlake's other hard-boiled series, Parker. It's 1970 and Alan Grofield has married and semi-retired to central Indiana, where he bought a 19th century farmhouse and barn. He and his wife use the barn to stage community theatre productions. At the beginning of Spring season, he finds himself strapped for cash, so he flies out to Vegas to meet with an acquaintance planning a heist out east (never plan anywhere near your target). The thing is, he's not very meticulous in his planning, and he doesn't mind a little bloodshed. Grofield and another man politely offer their no thank you's, and walk away. They really, really shouldn't have done that.
First published in 1971, this is a Hard Case Crime reissue. (less)