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Book Review of McNally’s Caper by Lawrence Sanders

 

 McNally

 

If you never read any of the McNally series, you are missing a treat for a light read. They are almost reminiscent of an English Cozy. Archy McNally works at his father’s law firm. He is not a lawyer, but makes Discreet Inquiries for his father. They often work with wealthy clients and Archy always ends up in wild situations.

There are several things that Archy holds important. Number one is he is a snazzy and very bold dresser. His appearance is important to him and he really likes to stand out in a crowd. A second thing that he holds as vital is that he consume great food. The family has a cook that is outstanding and since he lives with his parents, even though he has his own lair, they often share meals. They eat very well and Archy is sure to tell you about it. He enjoys a cigarette from time to time and his liquid refreshment must be every bit as good as his meals.

While solving mysteries for his father, he seems to have no shortage of female companionship. He has a girlfriend he loves, but cannot stop the wealthy females, the heiresses from throwing themselves at him regardless of class and age.

These are like cozies because they solve the complicated crimes, but in less horrific detail for the reader. The mysteries are still good and contain many twists and turns at times, but the reader also enjoys the character of Archy McNally so much he is the story as much as the crime and solving it. Like any other mystery, it has the same elements as any other who-dun-it.

Lawrence Sanders is a great author and the McNally series delights me every time. I recommend all these books.

 

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Review of The Third George by Jean Plaidy

The Third George

 

 

This novel covers a turbulent time in England’s history. George III was a well-meaning king but he was overcome by scandal and eventually madness. He was once noted to have liaisons with some beautiful women, but all that changed when he married the German princess Charlotte. She was she was not beautiful, in fact very plain. However, when George married her he determined to be a very faithful husband and stopped his former lifestyle. His goal was to be the best king possible. He was determined his life would be an example to others instead of the usual immorality exhibited in Royal courts.

His plain wife was a model wife and would have been an excellent help for him in relieving stress by speaking with her. George, however pronounced he would never have a woman interfere in his life, so he did not use her as a confidant, nor ever discuss politics or policy with her.

Besides being an alliance with Charlotte’s small country he was as all royalty must looking for heirs. In this respect, Charlotte almost became a broodmare as she produced child after child with almost no break. Most of them were very healthy and beautiful. George looked at that as her main function. And so, he had no partner so to speak because he wouldn’t confide in her and because she spent most of her time pregnant and in confinement.

George had a family that constantly caused him scandal and a group of ministers who were ineffectual or tried to undermine him. All of this added to the illness and resulted in madness.

I recommend this book especially if you are interested in royalty and of course anyone who loves history would enjoy it. Jean Plaidy has also written many more books of an historical nature. I will be sure to check them out.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review of Mrs. Jeffries In the Nick of Time by Emily Brightwell

 

 

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In the nick of time is another Victorian mystery by Emily Brightwell. Mrs. Jeffries and her household servants once again use all their skills to help their master, Inspector Witherspoon solve another case. This ‘cozyis written in the style of all great English mysteries. These books, and there are many of them, are reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

 

The case they are trying to solve this time is a murder of an uncle while all the suspects and those with any motive are waiting downstairs for the uncle. They are all here for tea and all present in that room when the murder takes place and the shot is heard. There is a wealth of suspects if it wouldn’t be for the fact in the form of clues they were all gathered together and had alibis.

 

The plots in these books all involved a murder and every member of the household staff meets together to try to solve the murder without the inspector knowing it. They manage to help him by revealing bits and pieces to the inspector during a daily conversation with Mrs. Jeffries.

He doesn’t know he is being led and guided by his faithful and loyal household. When they have a case, that is the inspector has a case, in addition to their regular duties they are out gathering evidence. The source of their information are usually other household staff from other great houses.

 

Brightwell usually gives them a complicated case to solve in their own way. The stories are lighthearted and fun and even though mysteries do not focus on the blood and gore.

 

I highly recommend these this books for light reading and fun mysteries to solve.

Book Review-A memoir of the craft- On Writing by Steven King

 

 On Writing Steven King

I have been quoting this book long before I read it. I found it with books on sale at a thrift store. I am so glad I found it because it is one of the best books about writing that I’ve ever read. The appeal for me was the biographical information of Stephen King that is responsible for who he is. I have little patience for writing books that reiterate the grammar and spelling rules that we learned in school. I am sure I have not mastered does but do not feel they are as important as some of the more elusive solutions in writing that most of us never think about. Rules are very important to know how the craft should be executed, but more important are what goes in to the actual writing not the mechanics or logistics of it.

 

This is an enjoyable book because it offers you suggestions, options and choices and how you produce the material. I like that about the book because every writer works in different ways. We are all not a like nor do we profit by cookie-cutter solutions.

 

The book is very interesting as you get glimpses into what went in to creating Stephen King. He had to work for everything and did not have anything handed to him and yet he is published dozens of books and many countries.

 

I think the hints given in this book are an insight into what we might look for in our own lives. I believe all experiences are reflected in our own writing.

 

I would recommend this book even to non-writers because it is entertaining. All authors and writers would find it helpful and a good resource to keep on your shelves. I highly recommend it.

 

Book Review of Trafficking by Bill Ward

Trafficking

 

Just the word trafficking makes your flesh crawl and the book by the same name by Bill Ward does the same. The subject matter is distasteful and one we would rather shun, but we must not. The amount of people trafficked daily is astounding.

Many unsuspecting women from impoverished countries are tricked into traveling to another country on the promise of a better life and a good paying job. They have dreams of having enough money to buy a few niceties for themselves and send much needed money home to their families who never have enough of anything. When they arrive in their new country, they are disappointed at first to see nothing is as promised. Before long not only is their promised job non – existent, but their life becomes dangerous, sordid and out of their control.

They are turned into sex slaves through prostitution or being sold on a human Internet auction which has no shortage of buyers. These unfortunate women are treated as a piece of property and are controlled by drugs, violence and threats to their own family back home. They are kept imprisoned for the most part and have no freedom, no money, no resources and no friends. This situation has most of all, no hope.

This book describes every tortuous minute of being used and abused and shows how easily someone can be manipulated to their will. The worse part of all of this is, the feeling of desperation and the beginning of devaluing yourself as you have no self -esteem after being put in this situation day after day.

When a young woman is killed her father goes looking for answers and finds himself in a world he never knew existed. The path for answers leads to a discovery of pain, humiliation and depravity as a way of life.

The characters are well drawn and the plot keeps your attention. I recommend this book for anyone wanting a better understanding of this constantly spreading problem.

Book Review-Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

 

 Gap Creek

 

 

Gap Creek is an Oprah Pick and reading it you can see why it has been chosen. The book follows the first year of marriage by a young wife in Gap Creek, a place that is challenging and requires all her skills and talents. The domestic situation is difficult at best. Fortunately, Julie learned many things when she helped her father and later took over the farm when he got ill. In a house, full of girls and a son too little to help, Julie became the sister to do the harder, outside, farm work (traditionally men’s work.) One sister helped her on occasion, but reluctantly. The other sister preferred being inside with her mother helping her cook, doing needle work and more practical sewing. So, the brunt of the farm work fell upon Julie.

With no experience with or time for dating men, Julie was easily struck by the physical beauty and the charm of the young man who quickly won her heart. Hank was a smooth talker and face worker. She counted on his strength, but it was not always present. It seemed who she thought she was marrying was not the whole and truthful picture of this man. Julie found out in some cases you really are marrying the family as she dealt with a demanding and intrusive mother-in-law. She turned out to be the stronger of the couple when tragedy hit. After events that changed their lives forever, he finally became the man she thought he was and the end of their unbelievable first year of hardship is more hopeful.

I felt the power of description in this book that I seldom find. It was so complete as to have you mesmerized by the detail in things you never thought would be of interest to you. I felt the character development was superb and the description of what life was like long ago in Gap Creek held your attention.

This would be among the books I highly recommend. This is the first time I read this author and I know I need to look for more books by Robert Morgan.

 

 

Book Review of The Temple of my Familiar by Alice Walker

 

This novel is hard to describe properly, but you should not miss it. You need to experience it, feel it, and taste it. The author, Alice Walker of The Color Purple fame, leads you on a journey. The journey takes you to exotic places from ancient times through the present. Walker presents part of the trip as solely in your shared imagination. You do not dare disbelieve for even then it offers truths.

Alice Walker’s theme is love and marriage, the man – woman, husband- wife relationship. It examines up close the dynamics of the male-female in marriage and without it. It speaks of the struggle that is being a woman. It talks about our needs and wants especially in relationship to the men in our lives. You will follow an interesting study of two marriages, their failures and their successes throughout the book. The black experience is also a recurring theme in this novel

Alice Walker creates fabulous characters, explores their uniqueness, and shows us however, off the wall they are we are like them. Humanity shares many things even with those we could never identify with or feel like we have anything in common.

I recommend this book highly. It is worth your time to read it and it may even enrich your life.