October 5th, 2014

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Here we are in a new month (NEW??? It's one-sixth over, idiot!), and I finished my first book this month. This was These Are the Voyages: TOS: Season One, a more technical look at the production of the original Star Trek. There's a lot of detail in this, including material on script re-writes, specific shooting details, especially interesting quotes from the final products, production stills, and Nielsen ratings. Pretty solidly interesting stuff, though not much fiction to be had in this tome.

Books 176-177: Curse of the Pharaohs and The Moses Stone

Book 176: Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody #2).
Author: Elizabeth Peters, 1981.
Genre: Historical Mystery. Egyptology.
Other Details: ebook 307 pages/Unabridged audiobook (10 hrs, 6 mins). Narrated by Susan O'Malley.

When Lady Baskerville's husband Sir Henry dies after discovering what may have been an undisturbed royal tomb in Luxor, she appeals to eminent archaeologist Radcliffe Emerson and his wife Amelia to take over the excavation. Amid rumours of a curse haunting all those involved with the dig, the intrepid couple proceeds to Egypt, where they begin to suspect that Sir Henry did not die a natural death, and they are confident that the accidents that plague the dig are caused by a sinister human element, not a pharaoh's curse. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This is a fun series, full of humour even with a high body count. As I did with the final few books in the Phryne Fisher Mysteries I combined listening to this while driving with a weekly catch-up with my Kindle edition. I find that this kind of novel with first person narration works very well with audiobook format though it is nice to read the print edition (or Kindle) to remind myself of what has happened during the week's listening.

Although I would have preferred the edition read by Barbara Rosenblat, I ended up quite liking O'Malley's narration. She has a teasing quality to her story-telling that underlines the essential lightness of the series. I did wonder whether Amelia Peabody with her striking looks and tendency to use a parasol as a weapon provided some inspiration for Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.

Book 177: The Moses Stone (Chris Bronson #2).
Author: James Becker, 2009.
Genre: Conspiracy Fiction. Thriller,
Other Details: Paperback. 480 pages.

A clay tablet covered in ancient writing is found by an English couple in Morocco. A day later they are dead, killed in a car crash. But where is the relic they died to protect? Determined to uncover a secret that's endured for two millennia, Chris Bronson follows a trail of clues that lead him from the hustle of a Moroccan souk to the deserted caves of Qumran; from the sinister echoes of a water-filled tunnel under the city of Jerusalem to a windswept fortress whose name spells death. Threatened on every side by violent extremists, Bronson is plunged into a mystery rooted in biblical times. For the stone he must find is older and far more dangerous than he could ever have imagined ... - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Chris Bronson is a police detective and as he speaks some French he is despatched to Morocco to look into the deaths, which at first do seem to be accidental. However, the baddies start knocking off others involved in a quest to get hold of the tablet, alerting him and others that something sinister is going on. When he receives photographs of the clay tablet he asks his archaeologist ex-wife, Angela Lewis, for assistance. She ends up accompanying him to Israel.

An entertaining thriller that proved a fun break after reading some quite heavy literary novels for the Man Booker Shadowing Group.Becker backed up his fiction with an author's note on the material. He seems to have a formidable knowledge of Biblical mysteries, which he uses to inform his fiction.
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Books 168-179 for 2014

168. Aunt Dimity & the Deep Blue Sea by Nancy Atherton. 209 pages.

Lori, Bill and their children are targeted by a murderous stalker. These books get sillier and sillier and I really hope Americans don’t take them as a real depiction of what life is like in rural Britain, but I can’t seem to stop reading them anyway….

169. Local Custom by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. 292 pages

This book fills in the story of Shan’s parents. It’s basically a love story in space, but at the same time it’s relevant to stuff that happens later. Very readable, apart from wanting to bash the characters round the head and tell them to think about stuff properly….

170. Skulduggery Pleasant - The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy. 605 pages.

Last book in this series. rather bitty and despite having the clear intent to wrap everything up neatly, fails to do so.

The back of the book says it’s suitable for 11 years old and up - seems a bit graphically violent for 11 year olds to me, but then I don’t have kids, so maybe that’s normal these days….

171. Aunt Dimity Goes West by Nancy Atherton. 184 pages.

Lori and the twins go to America for a holiday to recover from the events of the previous book - and of course they stumble onto yet another mystery.

172. Scout’s Progress by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. 305 pages

This book fills in the backstory of Val Con’s parents.

173. Aunt Dimity - Vampire Hunter by Nancy Atherton. 186 pages.

The twins start school and Lori gets overprotective. Hilarity ensues.

174. I Dare by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. 435 pages

The culmination of the Korval vs the Ministry of the Interior storyline. A bit rushed in my view - I think t could easily have been spread out over two books with no harm done - but enjoyable nonetheless.

175. The Axe Factor by Colin Cotterill. 200 pages.

Third Jimm Juree novel. This time Jimm meets an English author and investigates the disappearance of an elderly doctor. Rather better than the previous book in the series.

176. The Cats That Surfed the Web by Karen Anne Golden. 153 pages.

In order to inherit a fortune, a siamese cat owner must move to another state and live there for a specified period….I think it’s fair to say that this book owes a thing or two to Lilian Jackson Braun….

LJB had her faults, but she could teach this author a thing or two about using contractions in dialogue.

The cats were more interesting than most of the human characters who were largely incompetent and clueless and the main character had only a tangential involvement in solving the mystery. I don’t know if I’ll bother with any more of this series.

177. Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews. 211 pages.

Another visit to the Langslow clan. Meg is heavily pregnant, has a house full of students and an imminent theatrical production. So of course things get even more complicated with great rapidity and before long there’s that classic of detective fiction - a body in the library…

Massive, implausible fun.

178. A Colourful Death by Carola Dunn. 274 pages.

Second in the Cornish mystery series. Still not as good as the Daisy Dalrymple books, but an improvement on the first of this series.

179. Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon by Nancy Atherton. 190 pages.

King Wilfred’s Faire comes to the village of Finch - but it looks as though someone is plotting regicide….Lori investigates as usual…