Just started, but I must say it's very eerie taken in conjunction with the "Arab Spring" in the middle east. The iron fist of dictatorship... Icy cold...moreJust started, but I must say it's very eerie taken in conjunction with the "Arab Spring" in the middle east. The iron fist of dictatorship... Icy cold leaders who don't mind mowing people down wholesale... Citizens so hopeless they have no choice but to rebel... It feels all too painfully real.
What's not to like? Brave but sensitive heroine, incredible conflict, good love story/relationship, more conflict, suspense up the yazoo, satisfying r...moreWhat's not to like? Brave but sensitive heroine, incredible conflict, good love story/relationship, more conflict, suspense up the yazoo, satisfying resolution with just enough irresolution to send you panting for the next book in the series...
So since I have to find something to kvetch about, I'm going to pick on one small grammatical error Ms. Collins makes repeatedly. Unfortunately, this error has become so widespread in our society (or is it world?) that it has almost come to replace the correct usage. But I'll fight the good fight anyway, so here goes: To lower oneself into a horizontal position (in the present tense) is not to "lay" down. It is to "lie" down. I run into this constantly, and it drives me crazy. When did "lay" replace "lie" in our parlance? "I lie down" = present tense. "I lay down" = past tense. If you want to say, "I lay the plate on the tablecloth", that is correct. But if you yourself are the one lying down, it is "LIE".
Utterly entertaining, good characters, built like a swiss watch. (Or perhaps a really good safe, to stay in keeping with the theme of the book.) Great...moreUtterly entertaining, good characters, built like a swiss watch. (Or perhaps a really good safe, to stay in keeping with the theme of the book.) Great summer read.(less)
A thoroughly engrossing and fascinating read. I'm a sucker for books that resolve mysteries that happened in the past, but I give kudos to Lippman for...moreA thoroughly engrossing and fascinating read. I'm a sucker for books that resolve mysteries that happened in the past, but I give kudos to Lippman for making the past and present intertwine so seamlessly, and for ceating suspense that makes the events seem as if they happened yesterday. I was also impressed by what a good writer and psychologist she was, able to get into multiple heads and create multiple rounded characters. There's a depth to her writing that made it feel different from a lot of mysteries, that says: what is happening isn't just a who-dunnit, it's important, it's meaningful, it's about the breakup and reassembling of lives. I had some suspicions about how it would end, but ultimately I found the denouement both suprising and satisfying. I would put this in my list of favorites.(less)
This book is about a precocious eleven year old living in a village in England right after World War II. When a shady visitor from the past turns up d...moreThis book is about a precocious eleven year old living in a village in England right after World War II. When a shady visitor from the past turns up dead after visiting her father, and her father is arrested, she turns detective to clear him. The tone is light and witty (this is definitely a "cosy" mystery) and the mystery kept me reading, but I absolutely did not believe an eleven year old could do what she does, reason as she does, or have the knowledge of history and literature that she does. Also, her father is very distant and her two sisters are very unpleasant. I put aside my reservations and went along for the ride, savoring Harriet's bravery and clever tongue, but you know you're traveling far from the path of feasible reality with this one. (less)
Although I am not a big short story fan, (once I get involved with characters I like to stay with them for a while) I enjoyed this sly satirical send...more Although I am not a big short story fan, (once I get involved with characters I like to stay with them for a while) I enjoyed this sly satirical sendup of the upper classes in Rancho Esperanza (read Montecito/Santa Barbara) in Southern California. I was also happy that although each story follows a particular character, they all ultimately interconnect, even though that's not obvious right away. Some of the stories were laugh out loud funny, others were more subtle. I particularly liked one called something like "the Queen of zirconia" because it was both caustic, funny and tender. While I am amused at the lancing of other peoples balloons, I wouldn't mind a little more acknowledgment that "other people" are by no means the only ones to have pretensions and snobbishness. In our hearts, we're all a bit guilty of that.(less)
This is my favorite kind of mystery -- a mystery peopled with literate, intelligent, three dimensional characters. Mikael (sorry if I mispell the swed...moreThis is my favorite kind of mystery -- a mystery peopled with literate, intelligent, three dimensional characters. Mikael (sorry if I mispell the swedish names) is a journalist who delves into the mystery of the disappearance of a mogul's grandaughter, and he is helped by "The girl with the dragon tattoo" a marvellously antisocial young woman with a razor-sharp mind. Things unfold in a completely natural yet fascinating way, and there were definitely curves I didn't see (though I admit I don't look that hard -- I enjoy surprises!) But mostly, I just enjoyed the relationships because they felt so real and I liked the people so much.(less)
This is the second detective novel I've read by Kate Atkinson, and while on the whole I enjoyed it very much there are aspects to it (mostly related...more This is the second detective novel I've read by Kate Atkinson, and while on the whole I enjoyed it very much there are aspects to it (mostly related to the Atkinson-noir worldview) that leave me uneasy.
As in "One Good Turn" Atkinson interweaves various stories that ultimately link-up in so coincidental a way they makes Dickens' lapses in this direction look subtle. There are two sisters mourning the loss of a third sister who disappeared many years ago without a trace; a man mourning the murder of his daughter, also many years before; and a woman searching for her niece, the daughter of an axe murderess. We go in and out of these stories as Jackson Brodie, the detective, investigates them; and by the end there is closure, clever and satisfying, despite the coincidences.
But the aspect that leaves an acid taste in my mouth is that many of the characters are so unsympathetic. The investigations actually take second place to the ruminations of the characters, who are all in various stages of pain, denial, anger and trauma (this includes the detective, who is still fulminating over his recent divorce) and they (the characters) display a startling lack of humanity toward each other (Theo Wyre, the father of the murdered daughter being a notable exception). The inner thoughts of these characters are funny and so nakedly lacking in the pretenses and rationalizations that sustain most of us (political correctness or correctness of any kind be damned)that a part of me was in awe; but ultimately the self-involvement, lack of consideration and even cruelty often seemed as unrealistic as its opposite.
I'll read the next Jackson Brody, and I'm sure enjoy it; but it will probably leave me with the same tinny aftertaste.
I enjoyed "One good turn" from the moment I started reading it, mostly because I found the different characters' voices...moreThis review contains spoilers!
I enjoyed "One good turn" from the moment I started reading it, mostly because I found the different characters' voices and their wry, deadpan, politically incorrect observations absolutely hilarious. I was swept along by the mystery and never bored. But at the end I did feel a little let down by all the hanging threads and bits of unexplained business. How did Martin Canning's experience with the Russian prostitute relate to the rest of the story? What happens to Martin at the end? (I was fond of him and the idea that he was left gibbering with trauma on that lawn was unpleasant, to say the least.) Are we to believe that Gloria, who seems to blossom with new life when her husband has a heart attack, was actually planning to have him killed way before he collapsed of natural causes? What were Louise's son and his buddy up to, how did they get involved in the mystery and end up stealing Martin's CD and breaking into his office? Who was Julia having the affair with? Perhaps it is because I listened to this book rather than reading it, therefore not having the leisure to go back and check parts I hadn't completely understood, but it was like wide swaths of the story were not tied up at the end. Also, you have to be comfortable with a certain completely cynical view of life -- not sure how that will wear after I've read several of this author's novels, which I intend to do. That said, I was thoroughly entertained, and often laughed out loud as I drove and listened. There was never a time, as when I was listening to my previous book (Roth's "The Human Stain") that I didn't feel like turning on the CD. It certainly made many hours of travel much pleasanter.
This is part of a group of books that Agatha wrote early in her career. The detectives were not Hercule or Miss M., but a series of young, witty, Evel...moreThis is part of a group of books that Agatha wrote early in her career. The detectives were not Hercule or Miss M., but a series of young, witty, Evelyn Waugh types from post World War I England who solved mysteries as amateurs. I loved them all. Unlike Hercule, these flappers and their male cohorts got into real trouble, were threatened with death at several points, traveled to foreign countries (as in this one), and were witty all the way through. In this tale, Anne Beddingfield (sp) travels to South Africa and gets into all kinds of scrapes, and of course solves the mystery, which revolves, as I recall, around diamonds. As always, the resolution of the mystery was a complete surprise. A delight.(less)
This is a hilarious send up of the pretentions of academic life in England in the 1950's. Jim Dixon is a young assistant lecturer desperately trying t...moreThis is a hilarious send up of the pretentions of academic life in England in the 1950's. Jim Dixon is a young assistant lecturer desperately trying to nail down a permanent position in a college while at the same time seeing the foibles of the community around him so clearly that it is difficult for him to play the game in such a way that he will be able to achieve his objective. He gets into more and more trouble and the result is hilarious, satirical and very real at the same time. Of course, I haven't read it for many years and it may not be as funny as when I read it twenty years ago, but I wouldn't be surprised if it hadn't held up pretty well. (less)