I'm setting out to read (or in some cases reread) the Miss Marple collection and this seems like the obvious starting point; a nice, short introductioI'm setting out to read (or in some cases reread) the Miss Marple collection and this seems like the obvious starting point; a nice, short introduction that, to the best of my recollection, sets the tone for the rest of the series.
Miss Marple herself takes a backseat to the plot that invades her parlor as the eponymous Tuesday Night Club forms around her and sets out to armchair-detect their way through an, until recently, unsolved mystery. Of course, despite the abundant contemporary intelligence surrounding her, it's Miss Marple who comes up with the 'obvious' solution....more
I've not read all of this series, I've read the first (Pretty is as Pretty Dies) and this one (the fourth in the series). They are remarkably similar,I've not read all of this series, I've read the first (Pretty is as Pretty Dies) and this one (the fourth in the series). They are remarkably similar, or maybe it's not remarkable since I think this is part of the draw of the "cozy mystery" genre. It's kind of like a soap opera in book form, regardless, I don't think there's any real requirement to read these in any particular order. The general plot line of these books is that someone in Myrtle Clover's small town of Bradley, North Carolina gets knocked off and she has to work out whodunnit before she herself gets done in. Her detective work is mostly done in a straightforwardly brash manner, often starting in the guise of "gossipy old woman" before getting bored with the roundabout methodology and just asking questions of her "suspects" point blank. The books are intended to be light and fun reads with a lot of humour in the way that Myrtle interacts with her fellow residents as well as what appears to be a standing comic relief figure in the local psychic (who's featured in both the books I've read).
This book follows that basic plot and I don't think that it was too big of a secret who was behind the murder at the end of this.
I had a purpose in reading these two books from this series and I doubt that I'll read the others. I don't really like Myrtle (judging from the reviews, she and her humour walk a fine line between funny and repugnant) and I'm not that interested in the mysteries, which doesn't leave a large number of reasons to read these stories. If you're looking for a brief, easy diversion then maybe check this out, otherwise, if you're looking for a mystery to solve, I'd head back for the classics first and see what Miss Marple is up to!...more
This book has been declared the first in a series (currently seven books with an eighth waiting in the wings) of murder mysteries starring a southern-This book has been declared the first in a series (currently seven books with an eighth waiting in the wings) of murder mysteries starring a southern-American take on Agatha Christie's Miss Marple character, with Myrtle Clover as the aged but indomitable sleuth. I say "declared" because it would appear that A Dyeing Shame was originally published three years earlier (in 2006) but the author herself provides a chronological order to read the series in (should you so wish) on her website, so you can't argue with that.
Apparently this is a "cozy mystery, a genre I didn't know existed until now but which has retroactively included the Miss Marple canon which I have enjoyed reading in the past. I read this book because I want to read A Body in the Backyard, the fourth Myrtle Clover book, and it seemed like a good idea to at least start at the beginning to get the genesis story. If I was just reading for the sake of enjoyment, I probably wouldn't continue with the series. It was OK, I didn't actively dislike it and I did enjoy the setting of the story, it was quite interesting to get a glimpse into rural/urban Southern America. The plot was somewhat twisty/turny but felt almost from the beginning like it was just going through the motions of getting from start to end and the villain unmasked at the end was not a surprise. I wasn't really a fan of Ms Clover, although now that I've said that I'm having trouble articulating why. Possibly just because she's not a likable person?
I think the only major issue I had with with the book (I read the Kindle version) was either editing or my inability to read. About three-quarters of the way through the book one of the suspects whilst being quizzed by Ms Myrtle mentions, almost in passing, that (view spoiler)[there were actually two different uh - attackers (hide spoiler)]. I swear that was the first I'd heard of that, yet Ms Myrtle thought (I assume it was a thought to be attributed to her) "Word travelled fast around here.". I've scanned backwards through the book trying to determine where I missed a chunk somehow and, so far, I've failed to find it. It doesn't really have an impact on the story, it just seemed rather odd.
In conclusion, if you like small-town murder mysteries starring somewhat obnoxious old ladies set in America's south then this might be of interest to you. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I found this to be quite the page turner, causing me a couple of late nights 'cause I REALLY wanted to know what happened next. It's a relatively, welI found this to be quite the page turner, causing me a couple of late nights 'cause I REALLY wanted to know what happened next. It's a relatively, well, OK, somewhat plausible crime thriller set nowish (early 2000s) in Silicon Valley.
Technology plays a major role in the assorted escapades but the details of the hacking, both physical and logical, are mostly glossed over. This means that there aren't any technical hurdles to trip on and it didn't head down the crazy leet-speak path like Zero Day.
Apparently based on the authors life (according to the appendix in the version I read, startlingly so) it follows the rather bizarre fate of artist/computer game-designer Paul Reynolds after he falls afoul of office politics and is rescued from his scheduled ejection by a rather eclectic crew of modernistic con-artists. For some values of "rescued".
This wasn't "best book ever" territory, but I did enjoy reading it and I'll likely check out the subsequent stories.
A wee warning: I read the PM Press (pmpress.org) electronic version available from Amazon and ran across what I thought was a pretty substantial errata collection (11 issues that I actually wrote down, I know I missed noting a few more) that I submitted to the publisher. For the most part it's not too bad but it threw me a couple of times....more
The Torch tells the story of Fortune, who starts the book as a Petty-Captain in the army of the Towerman and then follows his trials, tribulations andThe Torch tells the story of Fortune, who starts the book as a Petty-Captain in the army of the Towerman and then follows his trials, tribulations and machinations as a revolution of the Folk (the downtrodden masses of the story) is fomented around him.
I don't know if I reacted harshly to this book due to the fact that it's quite old, or just to the fact that it's quite poorly written. I'm vaguely prepared to provide the benefit of the doubt as possibly the book was written for the "Young Adult" market (although young people don't really need sub-par writing, perhaps just not quite as much of a demand on their prolonged attention). I don't think it's the age of the book, I've read enough titles from around the same period (1920) to know that there are plenty of well written books although you do need to turn a blind eye to the blatant sexism. Having said that, it is a little hard as the characters are all archetypal stereotypes and the women use their feminine wiles, never being able to amount to more than a controlling figure behind a powerful man. There are a few more choices for the men but, again, they're very stereotypical. Every action or plot device is telegraphed well in advance, there are certainly no surprises here.
Perhaps this is an example of the roots of the modern sci-fi/fantasy genres but I don't think that I would recommend that anyone read it for that reason alone, and I can't think of anything else particularly commendable about it....more
I really enjoyed Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, it was funny, well written and gloriously irreverent of, well, pretty much everything it came in contact wI really enjoyed Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, it was funny, well written and gloriously irreverent of, well, pretty much everything it came in contact with! Narrow Dog to Indian River was kind of "more of the same", but I somehow found it less engaging, almost a formulaic repetition of the first and I find myself somewhat torn on this one.
It's different from the previous two in that it's half travel, half historical biography, a fact that I enjoyed. It was quite interesting to discover the history and real reasons behind the trilogy (not that it was a huge secret) and it had some of the laugh out loud moments that I enjoyed so much from Carcassonne. Additionally, the phrasing and structure of Terry's writing (or stirring of the English omelette, as the case may be) provides for a delightful read. That said, I found the liberal sprinkling of footnotes to be a little distracting, almost like someone pointing out exactly how learned and smart they are with references to nothing more than a sentence beginning a paragraph that is vaguely influence by some work of literature. It's possible that this was more prominent due to the medium, I read this book on a Kindle, and the little blue numbers almost demanded that I click on them, which really messed with the continuity. Perhaps if I'd been reading on paper I'd have ignored them? Having complained about that, I felt that my anger was somewhat unwarranted after reading:
A reader with nothing worthwhile to do could seek entertainment in some of the sources mentioned. (The poem by Lord John Wilmot is rude, so you won't want to bother with that one.) Some of these notes may appear obvious, but bear in mind that the book will be read in savage lands, where people may not have heard of Kathy Kirby.
You can't really complain about such an effort on the part of an author to help entertain and enlighten his audience, unless you're a savage perhaps.
The other problem I had was with the introduction of religion into the narrative. This is an element of personal inflexibility on my part, I just don't like religion and it irks me to read about it for some reason. Since the story is 50% (or more perhaps) about Terry and Terry is religious, by necessity religion and faith are mentioned several times.
Overall I'd say that if you liked the first of the trilogy, you'll enjoy this one. I'll almost definitely come back to it, even if only to dip into the footnotes :)...more
The premise of the story is that the protagonist (the last of the Renaissance men) is embroiled in the hunt for the modern day members of a PythagoreaThe premise of the story is that the protagonist (the last of the Renaissance men) is embroiled in the hunt for the modern day members of a Pythagorean cult that is about to tear down the digital world. It sounded like the kind of thing I might enjoy!
Sadly, I really didn't enjoy this book anywhere near as much as I'd expected to. The author has the credentials implying that he really know his stuff when it comes to cryptography (and I don't doubt that he does), but when it came to telling the technical side of this story it really does read like someone learned what "factor" meant and was determined to use the term as many times as possible. Additionally, the "technical side" of the story is extremely limited, maybe a page or two overall in the entire book.
Unfortunately the writing in the non-technical majority of the book doesn't make up for my perceived deficiencies elsewhere. I don't know if it's editing or "first fiction book syndrome" but I just couldn't get into the story for a number of reasons: - there's a fair bit of archaic language. I don't have a problem with that in general but I ended up feeling, toward the end of the book, that the author was really laying them on with a trowel as I stopped every couple of words to work out what was intended; - without getting into spoiler territory, I found most of Ambrose's activities whilst attached to the NSA to be ludicrously unlikely; - with one exception that I can think of, major plot points are telegraphed from a long way off. - the writing just wasn't immersive or entrancing. The story happens and is told with almost no feeling and then it just ends all of a sudden.
Great idea, not the implementation I was hoping for....more