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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mixing With Murder

Mixing With Murder by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (October 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0755320417



By Beverley Strong

Semi amateur PI and sometime actor, Fran Varady, receives a summons from night club owner and heavy man, Mickey Allerton, who wishes her to locate one of his pole dancers, Lisa, who has walked off the job and vanished, leaving him strangely distraught. Fran reluctantly accepts the commission, only because Mickey is holding her dog as hostage until the job is done, and travels to Oxford, where it's thought that Lisa may be staying with her parents. Mickey has booked Fran into a B and B, owned by Beryl, one of his former employees, where she joins a curiously disparate group of residents which includes a Croatian woman who is working for Beryl as a chambermaid, in order to improve her English. Fran locates Lisa who agrees to meet her by the river, but as Fran waits for her arrival, the body of another Croatian, Ivo, the doorman at Mickeys' club, floats to the bank of the river. Understandably alarmed, Fran conceals her knowledge of his identity from the police, much to the alarm of her buddy, Ganesh, with whom she has kept in touch by means of his mobile phone which she has borrowed. As Frans' investigation progresses, Lisa proves to be very far from the innocent victim she has portayed herself to be to both her parents and to Mickey, and lots of action occurs before the satisfactory conclusion of Frans' case.

This is my second Ann Granger book "starring" Fran Varady.  She reminds me of ... well,  me.  If she didn't have bad luck she'd have no luck at all! lol

Actually, I do like her character, and I do like Ann Granger's writing.  It's basic.  It's simple.  And at the same time she can make you like her characters and story enough to keep reading.  You can't ask for much more!  I think there is one more Fran Varady used book at Amazon that I will send for eventually,because she makes you want to know more about her characters.

This book was right for me , right now.  Not too complicated and yet interesting enough to make me keep picking up the book.

There's not much I can say because the Amazon review pretty much says the whole story!

I do look forward to another of her books.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Complaints

The Complaints by Ian Rankin.

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books(November 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 031607876X

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the wake of Exit Music (2008), the concluding volume in his celebrated John Rebus series,Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox works for “the Complaints,” the despised internal-affairs division whose job it is to investigate other cops. Succeeding the Rebus novels, starring the quintessential maverick copper, with a series built around a cop-hunting cop seems akin to J. K. Rowling following Harry Potter with seven extra-thick novels about a classroom tattletale. And, yet, Rankin pulls it off, making Fox the fall guy in an elaborate police conspiracy and causing him to join forces with a detective under suspicion of peddling child porn. The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials.

This is my first Ian Rankin book.  From what I understand he's very popular in England and seems to be up in the "rankings" now in America.

However, this was not his most popular character of Rebus, but the book was a good read anyway. I think I tend towards liking Historical mysteries better or stories from England, Scotland and Ireland from back in the 1800's.  So again I say, this was an enjoyable book, but for me not top of the list.   It would be more to the liking of those who enjoy "basic" crime stories like a series on television.   (not including Mysteries of Laura or Forever!)

Briefly I will say that Malcolm Fox is a detective in the "Complaints Dept." which is to find "dirty cops" and the proof that they are indeed needing to be investigated. 

It was a good enough read that if I come across other Ian Rankin books at my thrift stores I would certainly pick them up.  I do have one other of his books called Exit Music which the back of the books states that it is Rebus's last case before "retirement""... guess I should wait and see if I can find other Rebus books before I read about him retiring huh?!

Anyway It was a quick read, a book in which you can get side tracked and have no problem picking up where you left off even if it weren't the beginning of a new chapter.

If you come across one of Ian Rankin's books... give it a try!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris.

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: New American Library(November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0451216695


From Publishers Weekly

Set in England in 1811, Harris's riveting debut delivers a powerful blend of political intrigue and suspense. When Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is accused of the rape and murder of actress Rachel York, mistress to various members of Spencer Perceval's wobbly Tory cabinet, Sebastian goes "on the lam," in the words of young Tom, his adopted companion and faithful servant, and must spend frantic days in clever disguises chasing "across London and back." Uncanny powers of sight and hearing help him to identify several suspects, including Hugh Gordon, Rachel's fellow actor and ex-lover; shadowy French émigré Leo Pierrepoint; and even his own wayward nephew, Bayard Wilcox, who had been stalking the victim for weeks. Also implicated is portrait painter Giorgio Donatelli, for whom Rachel often posed nude, whose current patron, Lord Fairchild, is expected to be the next prime minister. Waiting in the wings to rule over this gathering chaos is dissolute Prince George (aka Prinny), soon to become regent for his incompetent father, George III. Backed by a blurb from Stephanie Barron, this fresh, fast-paced historical is sure to be a hit.

Historical Fiction, involving murder, and taking place in England...3 things I really like.

Knowing much less about Englands "mad king" and Vicounts, Lords and such, I have to admit, for me, this was a touch more political then I generally care for.  This is not to say I didn't like the book, because I did.  And maybe it was how it was written.  I wanted to know all the usually questions in a mystery but I found that I didn't rush back to it like some books.  

I did like the main character, Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr , and the story did keep you thinking about "who done it"... and so I still might try another book by Harris knowing he will use the same character.  At the moment I am not buying many books as I haven't been to thrift shops, and the 4.00 shipping from amazon sometimes gets me down... which is good because I think I've actually made a small dent in my TBR mountain! (for now).


Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Misbegotten

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb.

Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1409131467

Amazon Review:

Dark truths. Beautiful lies. Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Rachel's arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained.Shattering truths lurk behind Bath's immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.

This book begins in Bath England in two time slots, not that far between, 1803-1821.  In England this is still the time of servants and upper class.  Although in this book the servants are few, mystery surrounds the girl named Alice, who is being "cared for" by the Alleyn family.  She knows not who her parents are/ were she only knows she is bound to the the eldest Alleyn grandfather for all she has.

Eventually she meets his grandson and although it is not allowed they fall in love.  Alice is told nothing can come of it as he cannot marry below his station in life and he has been betrothed from the time of his birth.

After the war Jonathan Alleyn comes home wounded and traumatized from the war and from a letter he received from Alice telling him she loves him but they can never be together.  For 12 years survives in hell in a house with his mother and few servants, all of who are afraid of Jonathan.

Rachel enters the picture as she marries a man trying to make his fortune in wine selling.  It is discovered by Startling (a kitchen worker, who was raised by the now missing Alice) that this woman, Rachel, looks quite a bit like Alice.   Could there be a connection?   Would her being seen by Jonathan drive him more mad?   And where is Alice?  Did she run off with another ?  If so why?  Was she harmed?    Many family mysteries begin to come to the surface when Rachel comes to the Alleyn house.

This was a good read.  Though a bit of a "past romance" the mystery parts to discover just got better as the book went along.  The print was a big larger than normal (but not LARGE) so it was easier to read and probably wouldn't have been so many pages had the print been smaller.

I enjoyed this book and was a bit sorry when it ended, even though the length was more then the average book.

I've read this author before: A Half Forgotten Song, The Unseen and The Legacy.  I can't say I searched the author out but see seems to write the type of books I search for.

If you like period pieces with family mysteries this book would suit you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rattling The Bones

Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2007)
ISBN-10: 0755320468

From Bookcover:

Fran Varady is walking through Camden one day when she notices a familiar figure shuffling ahead of her.  It's "mad Edna", the bag lady who had, in a manner of speaking, been her neighbor when she'd been living in a squat in Rotherhithe a few years ago.  Now Edna is in a hostel and still roaming the streets, but before Fran can find out more, Edna becomes agitated and hurries away.  What could have spooked her? Surely the young man watching them could not possibly be interested in this harmless old lady?  Fran's instinct tells her something's wrong and, sure enough, when a dead body turns up she has every reason to fear the worst...

Determined to protect Edna from harm, Fran finds herself digging into the past, and the tragic story of a love affair and a family quarrel comes to light.  But, by rattling the bones of Edna's earlier life, Fran's detective skills uncover far more than she's bargained for.

Oh my, but this book grabbed me so fast I'm not sure what hit me!

I have never read any books by Ann Granger (and she is very prolific! having written more then one series of crime books) and, par for the coarse I picked this up at a thrift store, noting the price on the back indicated it was sold in England and a sticker for a Canada price but no American price. (hmm, a mystery in itself?!)

Anyway.. I love the characters and loved the way this author writes!  It's more like your friend sitting next to you chatting then some high literature person using words you aren't certain of. 

When she described "mad Edna" in the early stages of the mystery I knew she had me... I laughed out loud and thought... OMG!  just call me "mad Edna"! lol  I have to quote if from the book:

Fran was talking to Mad Edna and Edna mentioned that she thought she was engaged once... but couldn't remember..

"It was impossible to tell how she once looked.  The general shape of her face was round but her chin was pointed.  Heart-shaped, they call that.  Only in Edna's case the whole thing had sagged.  Her eyebrows had fallen out and were represented only by a sparse scattering of grey hairs.  She'd compensated by growing a few hairs on the chin.  Her eyes were deep set and heavy-lidded and the eyelashes had gone the way of the eyebrows. Yet, I noticed for the first time that her skin was very fine, like a piece of crumpled silk."

If Ann Granger had not become a writer she would be a stand up comic I am sure!

The book lines are not cramped, the chapters are not long...and it's very fast reading, along with a nice mystery and very good characters.  I understand there are a number of other "Fran Varaday" novels so I will be seeing if I can get another used one.  I totally enjoyed this book, and the author.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown;(May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 030740885X Review

In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite. His frugality annoys his fellow Americans in the State Department and Dodd’s growing misgivings about Hitler’s ambitions fall on deaf ears among his peers, who are content to “give Hitler everything he wants.” Martha, on the other hand, is mesmerized by the glamorous parties and the high-minded conversation of Berlin’s salon society—and flings herself headlong into numerous affairs with the city’s elite, most notably the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy. Both become players in the exhilarating (and terrifying) story of Hitler’s obsession for absolute power, which culminates in the events of one murderous night, later known as “the Night of Long Knives.” The rise of Nazi Germany is a well-chronicled time in history, which makes In the Garden of Beasts all the more remarkable. Erik Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page, even though we already know the outcome. --Shane Hansanuwat

This is yet another book I found at a thrift store.  In "new" condition, I read the flap and found it was not fiction and that it was about a family, the husband was Ambassador from the USA, sent to Germany just as Hitler became Chancellor.

It reflected how Germany was before the war, how the German people felt and acted, and what some parts of Germany looked like.  Then enters Hitler...  He keeps saying he wants peace, and for a while Dodd believed him and his "assistants".  Slowly we see the Storm Troopers and all those that Hitler, seemingly, has faith in to follow his orders.  You see the slow change in Hitler how he hates all the Jewish people and makes laws so that the Jewish can no longer work,. Then Hitler does things like sterilize those that he thinks "inferior" so they can't reproduce other that are "inferior".  He makes laws that White's cannot associate with Black's and German's cannot be seen even talking to a Jew. 

Then see some of his own "henchmen"  running and hiding knowing Hitler would turn on them too. And he does! You hear Hitler tell one of his Officers to go and kill another officer and his whole family because he "thinks" him a traitor.  And they follow his orders without a thought of their own.  It's all actually quite incredible.

Much of how the Ambassador's saw Hitler is talked about among each other.  And you see how Dodd's daughter, who in the beginning, thinks nothing wrong of Hitler and "his men" finally starts seeing what has been right in front of her all along.

It was an insight to Hitler before his total power but since we know the outcome you can "see" what other's did not or could not see.   It's still hard to believe there are people like Hitler, people who kill for reasons that make no sense. 

This is not a book I will likely read again.. but it was a point of view from one family (the Dodd's) who was in Germany in Hitler's beginning. It was actually interesting to read a first hand account of everyday living in Germany when "Heil Hitler" first came about.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Bedlam Detective

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (February 5, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0307406652

  Amazon Review

From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, former policeman and Pinkerton agent Sebastian Becker is sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate. They wealthy industrialist returned alone from a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon, claiming that wild beasts killed his family and colleagues. He tells Becker that the same dark creatures have followed him home and are responsible for the deaths of two local girls and rumors of beasts on the moor. But while madmen may see monsters, some monsters hide in plain sight.

3 for 3 good reads so far for 2015 !

Once more I find a mystery that occurs in England.  Most of course are in old London.  This one was another quick read, probably because it's not a long book to begin with lol.

The main characters were well flushed out and interesting enough that you wanted to know the conclusion all through the book.   When I first read the "review" and saw "beast on the moor" of course my mind went to Conan Doyle and The Hound of the Baskerville's... but truly it is nothing like it!

I totally enjoy mysteries.  The more twists and turns the better !  And of course I seem to enjoy them most of all when they take place in England or Scotland or Ireland... not sure why..with all the murders I read about over there one wonders why one would still want to go and visit those places! lol.

Sebastian Becker was a very good character and throughout the whole book you wonder if Sir Owain is really a lunatic or not! 

All in all.. a good mystery and a good read.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Fatal Likeness

A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 20, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345532449


From Booklist

Shepherd specializes in historical mysteries, starting with Murder at Mansfield Park (2010). Her latest continues the career of Charles Maddox, first seen in Shepherd’s take on Bleak House, called The Solitary House (2012). Maddox is a mid-nineteenth-century private detective, formerly an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police but fired for insubordination. Now he scratches out a living solving mysteries for clients; he used to be aided by his uncle, a legendary thief-taker, but a stroke has rendered him only intermittingly brilliant. Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice, which uses the present tense in a way that makes it seem as if we are spying on Maddox’s movements, are both enthralling. This mystery centers on papers relating to what happened between Byron, Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin during the summer of 1816 in Switzerland (besides the contest that led to the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). Shelley’s son wants the papers recovered; we soon learn he’s playing a double game. The plot’s revelations sometimes seem as if only a Shelley scholar can understand them, but, overall, this is a solid atmospheric read, sure to be of interest to English majors. --Connie Fletcher

This is the second book I have read by Lynn Shepherd, the first being: The Solitary House, which was a recent review.

I can honestly say that this book is even better then the first book!  Wow, talk about "who did what"....

Just when you think you know where things are going, another piece of the puzzle is tossed at you and you completely make a turn around in your thoughts.  Then it happens again!    And again!  This book so many twists and turns I thought I couldn't follow...but I did! 

If you like a mystery that makes sure you won't know the ending ..until the ending.. this is the book for you!

The only thing I will say is that in her first book you really get to know Charles Maddox and a little about his family to set things up a bit.  The author does cover parts of it at the beginning of the second book in case you don't read the first.

Both are really good books and I love that she uses names of people you recognize!   

Well, that's two books I've read this year and both were excellent!  I hope the rest of the year goes as well!


Below is the Amazon review for The Solitary House.

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(July 30, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345532430

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Dickens fans will rejoice upon finding characters from Bleak House performing similar roles in Shepherd’s second historical mystery (following Murder at Mansfield Park, 2010) featuring Charles Maddox, thief-taker (a Victorian detective).This reworking of the masterful classic features crooked lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn, Inspector Bucket, Lady Dedlock, and the not-quite-right Hester (Esther in Bleak House), who begins her narrative with Dickens’ words, “I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write . . . for I know I am not clever.” A labyrinthine plot narrated in three voices reveals the underlying motivations and connections of these characters in a story of pervasive deviance so sinister that even those hardened to London’s nineteenth-century underworld will reel in shock. Maddox is manipulated by Tulkinghorn on behalf of the attorney’s wealthy clients to ferret out those who might expose a nasty secret; as the investigation progresses, Maddox finds himself and everyone he knows in the path of a psychotic killer. Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound by masterfully building suspense, creating a pervasively clammy and befogged atmosphere, and offering a cast of unforgettably peculiar characters, making the most of authentic, period language and a soupçon of subtle humor. Those who haven’t read Bleak House will be ready to have a go, while those looking for contemporary read-alikes should be encouraged to try Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith (2002)or Sara Stockbridge’s Grace Hammer (2009). --Jen Baker

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Hills is Lonely

The Hills is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith.

Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: House of Stratus (January 6, 2009)
ISBN-10: 075510269X


When Lillian Beckwith advertised for a secluded place in the country, she received a letter with the following unusual description of an isolated Hebridean croft: ‘Surely it’s that quiet even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea it’s that near as I use it myself everyday for the refusals…’ Her curiosity aroused, Beckwith took up the invitation. This is the comic and enchanting story of the strange rest cure that followed and her efforts to adapt to a completely different way of life.

For my first book of 2015 I've chosen a Christmas present that was given to me by Cath, from across the pond.  Cath had read this book and reviewed it and and I mentioned it sounded good, so low and behold it was delivered to my door! There are a number of others things I could mention that sound good to me but somehow I don't think they'd ever be delivered to my door ! lol

Lillian is told she needs a break and a good rest and so, after asking where she should go, she winds up going to the Island of Skye to stay with a lady named Morag.

As I read the book and found this poor woman(Lillian) going through a culture shock like no other, I began to think that sometimes a complete change is not a bad thing.  I'm not sure that at my age I could take such a shock as Lillian did, but the idea is very appealing.  I think the idea to do something you've never done before (but think you would like to do) can be more then a dream if you make it so.

Life on the Island is way behind the times. There seems to be few phones...the closed one is down the road a bit.  The people are mostly "farmers" of one sort or another, raising sheep or cows.  On the island one tends to walk in as much dung as mud.  If it weren't for the odor one might never know which it is! At times the men are drunk and loud, but that too is part of life which has not caught up with the times.

Lillian Beckwith most certainly has a way with words.  Very colorful, descriptive words!  Many are chuckle-worthy but that is also due to the people (characters) that surround her in the book.  This was an enjoyable book to read. Maybe because of my ancient age.. a time that had no cable or cell phones or computers etc.  No matter what can be said, it really was a "simpler" time.  I am not saying that's for everyone... but it does make a good story to read.