An absorbing mystery set in 1995 rural Norway. As Inspectors Sejer and Skarre investigate the murder of a teenage girl, everyone from her handball coa...moreAn absorbing mystery set in 1995 rural Norway. As Inspectors Sejer and Skarre investigate the murder of a teenage girl, everyone from her handball coach to her boyfriend come under suspicion. Earlier deaths, ruled accidental, need re-investigating as do the motives and actions of many in this tiny village. The two detectives interact well, not only in solving crime, but also as the young Skarre brings the gruff Sejer out of his shell a little. Multiple points of view add to the levels of both suspicion of and sympathy for each character. The everyday details of village life add a great deal to establishing the mood. --Andrea(less)
This is a fun and informative look at “history’s strangest cures.” Carlyn Beccia presents a variety of ailments as multiple choice questions with old-...moreThis is a fun and informative look at “history’s strangest cures.” Carlyn Beccia presents a variety of ailments as multiple choice questions with old-time remedies as the only options. Each possible answer is then followed with a verdict of whether or not it could cure the ailment along with an explanation. Readers will be pleased to learn that puke weed and skunk oil cannot cure colds, but might be surprised to learn that dirt can cure stomachaches and silver offers protection from the plague. The explanations for why people thought cures that didn’t work would are as interesting as the those for the legitimate cures. The entertaining illustrations are a perfect match for the tone of this informative and engaging text. --Andrea
Liam has always been tall and people have always assumed he’s older than his age. It’s when he starts getting facial hair at 12 that the misunderstand...moreLiam has always been tall and people have always assumed he’s older than his age. It’s when he starts getting facial hair at 12 that the misunderstandings really take off. He and his friend, Florida, pretend to be father and daughter and have a series of entertaining and risky adventures, but things really go up a level when they assume these roles on a secret space mission.
His main resources for this mission are his father’s copy of Talk to Your Teen (”Think of the anger as emotional FedEx-something you turn to when the normal post just isn’t fast enough.”) and his intimate knowledge of World of Warcraft. While his experience in the Bootle Desert in the Blasted Lands of Azeroth doesn’t compare as neatly as he hoped it might with the expedition into the Gobi Desert, his thought process on whether or not he is ready to “level up” and “engage the enemy” is highly entertaining. “He really thought he was a Level Forty monster and I was some sort of Level Seven baby warrior who’d run away if he snarled at me.” His child’s point of view contrasts sharply to the hypercompetitive real dads involved in the space mission. Liam’s honest attempts to be a good father and his increasing appreciation of his own dad does are touching and insightful. When things go horribly wrong in space, Liam finds it is his own father who has given him just the right skill set to be the dad the mission needs.
Cosmic is another home run for Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions and Framed). He once again creates a cosmic combination of laugh-out-loud humour and insight into human behaviour. --Andrea(less)
The introductory novel in the mystery series featuring servant turned nurse turned private detective Maisie Dobbs in London 1929. The central case is...moreThe introductory novel in the mystery series featuring servant turned nurse turned private detective Maisie Dobbs in London 1929. The central case is related to the tragedies of World War I and their lingering effects on both British society and Maisie Dobbs. Rather than a straight-forward mystery, the middle of the book focuses on providing the background information about Maisie and Britain before and during WWI that is central to the series. The era comes alive through Winspear's engaging descriptions of Britain on the cusp of major social change, particularly the portrayal of Maisie Dobbs' rise from servant to professional.
Psychology is as important as physical evidence in her detecting. There are similarities to Precious Ramotswe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith) and Maisie Dobbs' approach to solving crime -- their shared goal is finding a resolution for each client that helps the client move forward rather than just know "whodunit."
The sequel, Birds of a Feather, featuring another WWI-related crime in 1929, is equally engaging. --Andrea(less)