September 24th, 2010

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# 47 The Last Camel Died at Noon


The Last Camel Died at Noon


Elizabeth Peters




this is my favorite book in the Amelia Peabody series so far! This one features a lost explorer and his young bride, an ancient, lost civilization in the deserts of Sudan, and enough political intrigue and plotting to satisfy even Machiavelli.


Elizabeth Peters is such an incredible author! The details she puts into the books make me feel almost as if I am right there. The characters are so much fun, and her plots are perfectly paced and exciting. The Summer of Amelia Peabody rolls happily on!

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# 48 The Hippopotamus Pool


The Hippopotamus Pool


Elizabeth Peters




In this, the eighth book in the Amelia Peabody series, Amelia, Emerson and co. seem to be faced with two separate groups who are working separately to interfere with their excavation in the Valley of the Kings and possible discovery of a queen's tomb.


Along with them for this adventure are their son, Ramses, their ward, Nefret,, Emerson's brother Walter, and Walter's wife Evelyn whose marriage seems to be in trouble as they experience the pain of losing a child, a seemingly weak and silly governess, Miss Marmaduke, who may or may not be the empty-headed spinster she seems, and the also seemingly silly younger brother of a noble family, Sir Edward Washington, who appears to be a libertine and a cad. Of course the ensemble would nto be complete without the presence of the cats Bastet and Anubis.


I am still loving this series. This is so fun!

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# 49 The Big Nap


The Big Nap


Ayelet Waldman




Former public defender and SAHM Juliet Applebaum has been seriously sleep-deprived since the birth of her youngest child, 4-month-old Isaac.


When help arrives in the form of a beautiful young chassidic babysitter, it just as quickly vanishes when the babysitter disappears without a trace.


Although she hardly knew Fraydle, the babysitter, Juliet is compelled to find the teenager, sensing that the girl may be in trouble. Or is she simply a girl who has run away in order to avoid an arranged marriage?


The search for answers to Fraydle's disappearance takes Juliet from Los Angeles to a tightly-knit chassidic community in Brooklyn.


This was terrific! It was so light and quick to read, but at the same time, it had enough substance to leave me very satisfied. I'll definitely be reading more of the Mommy-Track mystery series!

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# 50 Seeing a Large Cat


Seeing a Large Cat


Elizabeth Peters



During the 1903 season in Egypt, someone seems to want to direct Emerson and Amelia to excavate a hidden, unrecorded tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Of course, Amelia's nose for mysteries is already quivering. Why is someone trying to direct them to tomb 20-a? Whose tomb is it? Who is it that is trying to get them to excavate that particular tomb and why?


Naturally, Emerson dismisses Amelia's intuition...until they uncover a previously unknown tomb...where they find a recently deceased and mumified body.


It will take all of the skill that the entire Emerson clan has to unravel this mystery.


Of course there is a colorful cast of secondary characters, as always. Cln. Bellingham and his coquettish daughter, Dolly, and the medium Mrs. Whitney-Jones, who isn't above taking money from gullible people, in exchange for putting on a good show.


I'm really surprised that the Amelia Peabody series has maintained both its quality and my interest for so long. I am still loving it! The warmth of the Summer of Amelia Peabody has not yet cooled!

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(no subject)


Nursery Crimes


Ayelet Waldman



This is the first in the Mommy-Track mystery series. These are very fast-paced, fun reads! The protagonist, Juliet Applebaum, a bored, SAHM and former federal public defender is very appealing and refreshing. In this first book in the series she becomes involved in investigating the death of the director of a prestigious pre-school when she suspects that it is more than the simple hit-and-run accident that the police have deemed it.


Heavily pregnant and mother of a 3-yr-old, it seems that Juliet may have just bitten off more than she can chew.


These books are like candy to me! I gobble each one rapidly and greedily. I'm trying to pace myself through this series; otherwise I somehow feel a slight pang of guilt for overindulgence!

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# 53 The Cater Street Hangman


The Cater Street Hangman


Anne Perry




The Cater Street Hangman is the first in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, a Victorian era mystery series.


The Ellisons, with their daughters Sarah, Charlotte, and Emily, live a very comfortable, refined life on the socially upscale Cater Street until a series of murders of young women strike their neighborhood, and even their own homne.


Although the socially elite find it an embarrassment to bring in the police, they are forced to when it becomes apparent that there is a monster in their midst who will not stop at killing wayward young maids, but who is also killing young women from society families. They finally admit Inspector Pitt into their drawing rooms, although they resent his intrusion.


He spends quite a bit of time at the Ellisons, unravelling secrets. He finds himself developing feelings for the uncomvewntional, outspoken, strong-minded Charlotte, which he must hold in check. Charlotte is much too far out of his social strata for a match to meet approval. Is it somehow possible, though, that Charlotte could return his feelings?


I quite enjoyed this and shall seek out more of this series in the future. I wouldn't say it's exactly a favorite, but hits just the right spot when I'm in the right mood.

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# 54 Hideous Kinky


Hideous Kinky


Esther Freud




The narrator of Hideous Kinky is a five-year-old British girl, whbo has been taken, along with her 7-yr-old sister, to Morocco in 1970 by her mother who is immersed in the hippie lifestyle.


The novel appears to be at least in part autobiographical. The voice of the child narrator rings with a truth that lends the novel an immediacy I don't think it would otherwise have. It's almost as if the child is directly in front of you, simply telling her story.


At 185 pages, it is a quick read, made even quicker by the writing style.


I liked Hideous Kinky because of that immediacy, the feeling that you are listening directly to the narrator.

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# 55 An Unsuitable Job For a Woman


An Unsuitable Job for a Woman


P.D. James




After Corcdelia Gray's senior partner commits suicide rather than face a slow painful death by cancer, she inherits the struggling Pryde's Detective Agency.


In her first solo case, she is hired by Sir Ronald Callender, a prominent scientist and businessman, who hires her to find out why his son abruptly dropped out of Cambridge and hanged himnself just a few weeks later.


As she investigates, she begins to suspect that that Mark Callender may have been murdered. As she follows a labrynthine trail of clues, she uncovers secret after secret. Exposing one or more of these secrets could quite possibly threaten someone, including Mark's possible murderer, and might, in turn, endanger Cordelia.


I liked this a lot. It was a real page-turner, and was brilliantly written. I was slightly disappointed by the ending, though.

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The House of Mirth


The House of Mirth


Edith Wharton




Lily Bart is a young woman born into New York's Golden Age society.


In order to maintain her place in society, she must marry wisely. Being orphaned, she must look to herself to make a good match. As Lily says "...when a girl has no mother to palpitate for her, she must be on the alert for herself."


Even with the advantages of beauty, ambition, wiles, and great delicacy, Lily, without an interested party to look out for her, makes a series of fatal mistakes.


The inexorableness of Lily's fate, only whispered and hinted at at first, becomes more and more clear as the novel progresses until the reader is led to the inescapable conclusion. I felt as if I were firmly in the authors's deft hands through the entire book, although the author, herself, never intruded on the story once.


Wharton has got to be one of the most gifted writers of all-time!

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# 57 Murder at the New York World's Fair


Murder at the New York World's Fair


Phoebe Atwood Taylor




When Daisy Tower, widow of a former governor, becomes bored by the stifling atmosphere of her nephew's home, where she has been recuperating from a broken hip, she decides to run away.


She ends up on a millionaire's private train, in a compartment with four other random people, headed for the New York World's Fair.


When a murder occurs on the train, Daisy and her companions must find the murderer, while avoiding capture as suspects, as they mix with the fair throngs and search for clues.


This was a farcical, fun, quick read which was written specifically for the 1939 New York World's Fair.


I wouldn't say it was brilliant, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

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# 59 Night Train to Lisbon


Night Train to Lisbon


Pascal Mercier




Raimund Gregorious is a complete creature of habit. He teaches classical languages at a lycee in Bern. His entire life has been absorbed in studying and teaching these ancient languages. He is such a dry scholar that he has earned the nickname "Papyrus".


When he has an unexpected encounter on a bridge with a mysterious Portuguese woman, and then discovers the little-known work of a Portuguese author, Dr. Amadeu de Prado, Gregorious experiences a sudden, life-altering transformation. Instead of showing up, to work at the lycee as usual, he decides to pursue the author and find out as much about him as possible; what made him tick, etc.. He departs for Lisbon, leaving only belated, confusing explanations for his colleagues.


As he delves deeper into the life of Prado, he finds that Prado and many of his aquaintances were involved in the resistance against Portugal's dictator, Salazar.


This was an excellent book. The tone is very similar to Shadow of th4 Wind by Carlos Ruíz Zafon. The language was sumptous.


However, I found that as much as I loved it, my interest began to wane about two-thirds of the way through the book. That was an unusual reaction from me, and I'm not sure what caused it. There seemed to be some kind of shift where language became less important than the characters and historical events. It also became more about Prado, and less about Gregorious and his reaction to him.


Overall, though, I loved it! Not only for the language, but for giving me a chance to learn about a place and bit of history that I knew little or nothing about. Until now, Portugal wasn't much more than an extension of Spain, to me, with a nearly blank history. I was rather shocked that I hadn't known of these events that happened during my adolescence half a world away.