This book was a little hard to rate. It isn't as much a mystery as a "true crime" story with a more current mystery added on. In 1903, two women were...moreThis book was a little hard to rate. It isn't as much a mystery as a "true crime" story with a more current mystery added on. In 1903, two women were hanged as "baby farmers." That is, women who cared for mothers during the birth of their children, mainly illegitimate children and were supposed to be finding them good homes. In reality, they often killed the babies while they maintained the delusion that the children were in happy homes. This was all mixed up in the extremely contradictory practices and laws of the Victorian era. In so many cases, the women had very little choice and what was done to many of the was criminal.
Josephine Tey, the main character, and also a real person was writing a book about the life of the two women hanged and the author has her involved in a number of coincidences which at times stretch the imagination. The point of the book isn't who committed these crimes, but why.
There is also a section of the book devoted to a lesbian relationship which I found very distracting as it had virtually nothing to do with the book. While somewhat grounded in truth in that Tey was almost certainly a lesbian, this relationship is fictitious and does nothing to contribute. (less)
I really enjoyed this book. It was so refreshingly new. It is set in the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty. It is based on the work of a real person, C...moreI really enjoyed this book. It was so refreshingly new. It is set in the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty. It is based on the work of a real person, Cí Song, who is considered to be the founding father of forensic science.
The book starts out with Ci Song as a scholar who is supported by his grandfather who is a noted scholar. Unfortunately, the grandfather dies and Song is forced to return home and become subject to his crass and dissipated older brother. When a crime is committed, he is forced to flee and he returns to the city where his talent for "reading corpses" eventually leads him to the Emperor himself.
Even though one misfortune after another dogs his footsteps, his talent is recognized by his mentor at the school he once attended and he is able to continue to study. There is a serial killer who is killing and mutilating within the circle of even the Emperor himself and Song finds himself in a race to find the killer or be executed.
The author is Spanish and I look forward to more of his books.(less)
I found this book very balanced and informative. The author chose 3 very good examples of bullying to study in depth. The children's stories were comp...moreI found this book very balanced and informative. The author chose 3 very good examples of bullying to study in depth. The children's stories were compelling and Brazlon did not follow the general practice of demonizing the bullies and sanctifying the bullied. She also did not fall into the trap of making the schools the culprit either. In some cases, the school was insensitive, but in general, they were doing the best they could to tackle the problem.
This is a very complex problem and there are not any easy answers. Brazelon did address one part of the problem that I have never seen in print. There is a left over problem from the fuzzy-headed thinking of the past 30 years which sanctifies children..."Let the children teach us." "Listen to the wisdom of the children." "My children are my heroes." Children are essentially selfish when they come into the world and they have to be taught how to care about others. Scores of instructions from my childhood come back to me: "How would you feel if someone did that to you?" "What if everyone did that?" "Just because so and so does that, do you have to?" "Either the girl is your friend and you are loyal to her, or you have to stop hanging out with her until someone better comes around." All those examples are what our parents and teachers tried to teach us, knowing that it does not come naturally to put others needs before our own. Children need to be taught to be empathetic and altruistic. They don't always come by it naturally. It is the job of the parents, but if they don't do it then the schools have to step in. It makes me cringe to add another burden to the schools, but it has to be done.
In the final chapters, Bazelon gives information on several programs which have worked and pages of resources. The book is an excellent resource for anyone who has to deal with children as well as anyone who just wants to understand the problem and be a part of the solution.(less)
This book was wonderful! I was afraid that any fan literature would be a disappointment, but this wasn't. We meet James as he is catching the train fo...moreThis book was wonderful! I was afraid that any fan literature would be a disappointment, but this wasn't. We meet James as he is catching the train for Hogwarts for his first year. He makes friends with boys who are not in his house and one is even from Slytherin. The plot centers on a prophesy which says that Merlin will return when ever certain conditions are met. In this book, we see visitors from the American branch of magical people and they are woven seamlessly into the scenes in Hogwarts.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the Rowling books.(less)
I've read this so many times it's hard to even remember when I first read it. I think about 1974. Every time I read it, I get something new from it. T...moreI've read this so many times it's hard to even remember when I first read it. I think about 1974. Every time I read it, I get something new from it. This last time, I was listening to an audio book on a day long trip which meant that I read the whole thing in one setting which helped me focus more.
Essentially, the story is written as letters between a newly graduated devil, Wormwood, and his Uncle Screwtape who is in a position of power in the underworld. As a young tempter, he makes many he mistakes in his attempt to corrupt the soul of an middle aged man living in London during WWII. In correcting and advising Wormwood, Screwtape points out the many wiles that devils use to corrupt mankind. In the process, Screwtape discusses what type temptations worked in earlier times and why they are no longer effective today.
This edition also has the later addition that Lewis wrote many years after the original book. In this, Screwtape, now retired, proposes a toast and the graduation banquet of his Alma Mater. This provides even deeper areas of comparison between the bureaucracy of Hell and the gentle wooing of Heaven.(less)
I listened to this on a 600 mile trip and it held my attention. The story is about single mother and her 15 year old daughter who live in an area of B...moreI listened to this on a 600 mile trip and it held my attention. The story is about single mother and her 15 year old daughter who live in an area of Brooklyn which is being renovated. In the process, a skeleton is found in a bricked up fireplace. Both the mother and daughter are intrigued by the bones, especially because it was a young teen who was buried with a teddy bear and some other personal effects. Looking into the history of the house, the two find that there is information that someone does not want to get out.(less)
This was an interesting book. Bellamy Lyston Price wrote a bestselling book about a supposedly fictitious tragedy which happened when she was twelve....moreThis was an interesting book. Bellamy Lyston Price wrote a bestselling book about a supposedly fictitious tragedy which happened when she was twelve. At a Memorial Day picnic a terrible tornado swept through the park and one of the casualties was her sister. When a reporter figures out that the plot was an actual tragedy, Bellamy begins to get threats to leave the story alone. Bellamy never knew what happened to her sister and there were a lot of questions about whether this was an accident or murder. Bellamy held the key information although she didn’t know it. What follows is lots of action, mystery and a little romance. The book is compelling and fast paced. (less)
This was very interesting. Jack Winter seemed to escape a horrific tragedy when he was growing up in rural Georgia, but something is happening to his...moreThis was very interesting. Jack Winter seemed to escape a horrific tragedy when he was growing up in rural Georgia, but something is happening to his daughter and Jack is beginning to fear for her. The book is written in a compelling way and I found myself identifying with several of the characters. It is part mystery, part thriller and part horror.(less)
Eleanor Roosevelt helps a young girl whose parents want her to stop seeing the young man she intends to marry because his father has been arrested for...moreEleanor Roosevelt helps a young girl whose parents want her to stop seeing the young man she intends to marry because his father has been arrested for financial scandal involving investments. She wants to prove that the young man has been framed. Unfortunately, the young man's father appears to have committed suicide, but Bob is sure that he has been murdered. As the plot develops other actual people like the newly appointed SEC Commissioner, Joe Kennedy become involved.
The plot has many twists and turns, but moves at a pretty fast pace and the history of the era is very interesting. It is a nice way to get a little history lesson with a pretty engaging mystery.(less)
This was the story of a heinous crime which was committed five years prior to the time of this novel's setting. A young man was stabbed and hung, as i...moreThis was the story of a heinous crime which was committed five years prior to the time of this novel's setting. A young man was stabbed and hung, as if in crucifixion, a fact that leads the police to conclude that the assailant was a Jew. A young actor, who was Jewish was tried and executed, but his sister has always insisted that he was innocent. The story opens with the death of an Appellate Judge's death, which just happens to occur in the Opera Box next to the one in which were Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. It seems that this judge had received a visit from the young man's sister and something she said made him interview a number of the participants in the earlier trial. It seems as if the Farrier's Lane murder is at the heart of this murder.
While it is hard to figure out who the guilty person is until near the end, there are "facts" that are accepted as evidence that are easy to see through. There are several examples of circular logic which even Pitt accepts during most of the book. Usually Anne Perry is more subtle than in this book, but it doesn't distract from the story(less)
This book was OK, but I never engaged with the characters. The book was mainly about surviving in the woods and escaping a huge maniacal bear and even...moreThis book was OK, but I never engaged with the characters. The book was mainly about surviving in the woods and escaping a huge maniacal bear and eventually stealing its power. I can't say the book is poorly written, because it is not. It just wasn't for me.(less)
This is the delightful story of a young author who befriends a group of people on Guernsey who had survived the German Occupation. The Guernsey formed...moreThis is the delightful story of a young author who befriends a group of people on Guernsey who had survived the German Occupation. The Guernsey formed the Literary and Potato Peel Society to explain the reason for the group's being outside after curfew. To support that excuse, the people had to continue to meet and it is their story and relationship with various books that forms the backbone of the story.
Aside from the personal story of the "author" and the villagers, the story of WWII both in London and on Guernsey is fascinating. Americans' experience in WWII is so different from the countries which were bombed or occupied. It was interesting to read about the ways the islanders got around the restrictions of the Germans.(less)
This was one of the best books of this series. It deals with the fictional setting for the Kennewick Man. The story takes place at a time when the "Ca...moreThis was one of the best books of this series. It deals with the fictional setting for the Kennewick Man. The story takes place at a time when the "Caucasian-type" prehistoric North Americans were diminishing and the "Mongoloid-type were expanding.
The story is very hard to get into because of the number of characters and the profusion of names like "Windwoman"that may apply to a person or, in this case the wind. Anyone who has read books by the Gears is familiar with this and has to be prepared to reread several chapters in order to get them straight. It is worth taking the time though as the books are well written and informative.(less)
This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the terrible wars in Africa. It is the story of a 12 year old boy who, along with some friends,...moreThis is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the terrible wars in Africa. It is the story of a 12 year old boy who, along with some friends, is separated from his family when the rebels attack. The first quarter of the book is about the children's attempt to keep out of the way of either of the armies and to find their families. Eventually, they are caught by the army and given guns and drugs and turned into soldiers. The book does not go into great detail about all the atrocitis the children commit, but the ones that are alluded to are horrifying. The use of drugs and the tactics that engender hatred of the enemy are terrible.
One of the strongest things about this book is the ease with which children can be turned into terrorist. Ishmael Beah is able to give us enough of a glimpse into his pre-war life to realize that he is an intelligent and kind boy who was turned into a monster despite his intention to not become a soldier.
The last part of the book is his reclaimation and I was just in awe of the people who do this incredible work. One scene stays with me. The boys are in the reclaimation center with other boys who fought on the opposite side, but finally out of danger. Despite the work of the staff, they end up in a fight and boys are killed. The terrible brain-washing that inflames their hatered is so difficult to eradicate that even when they are safe, it is hard to let go of. To all the things that happen, the staff continues to convey to the boys that it is not their fault. That is probably one of the strongest messages...the boys are not at fault. They have been turned into killing machines by adults and used for their own ends.
This book is about Sierra Leone, but it is found all around the world. Children raised on hatred to this extent are unable to use the same kind of reasoning as adults and they kill blindly. Their childhood is being stolen from them and turned into something terrible.(less)