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Old 11-05-2011, 10:20 AM   #11296
pdurrant
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Just appeared on my iPhone (I have a subscription), F&SF Magazine, November/December 2011 by Spilogale Authors
An excellent issue. I liked all the fiction, but especially the two novellas, and the short story "The Klepsydra"


I think I'll read some of my F&SF Backlog (I have most of 2005 and half of 2006 still to read, from buying back-issues at fictionwise). So next is:
F&SF, February 2005 by Spilogale Authors

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Old 11-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #11297
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Cool mothership by tony chandler

just started mothership by tony chandler (i borrowed this using the new one-a-month prime/kindle book lending)
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:09 PM   #11298
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So during a recent Fictionwise sale, I bought a few 1st in series books from Belgrave House, which does DRM-free reprints of backlist mystery/historical/mostly romance for a fairly reasonable $5 each, which can be taken down to an very nice $2 with appropriate couponage.

Based on what I've finished so far, it looks like I'll be spending a lot more on their catalogue in the near future.

My first two selected reads were both murder mysteries set amongst the early New England Puritan settlers (or recreations thereof), with female amateur sleuths who end up getting help from Native Americans who may or may not be set up for some future sidekick role, and were interesting to contrast and compare.

Murder at Plimoth Plantation
by Leslie Wheeler, was 1st in the Miranda Lewis series. They're kind of cozy-esque, but not quite cozy, as she's some sort of historian/writer, but lacks the seemingly requisite antiques/crafts/bookshop, decorating/catering business, and/or pet cats who help solve the cases.

Long story short: Miranda's niece is an "interpreter", a volunteer historical recreationist at a tourist edutainment village who plays the part of an actual historical personage like a living museum demo, who gets caught up in a murder where some of the clues come in allusions to the shadowed pasts of the original Mayflower settlers.

I rather liked this one. While I think that some of the danger to the amateur sleuth was rather exaggerated (I can only take so many suspected attempts on the sleuth's life and those of potential informants because they are Getting Too Close before I roll my eyes thusly ), I did like how the people closest to her who should have been more helpful were kind of obstructionist and blamed her for making a bad situation worse by openly meddling in it.

Somehow, I find that more realistic than stuff where everyone who's not a suspicious suspect is tripping over themselves to enable and protect the person who's just gotten in way over their head, and act like it's perfectly normal and only to be expected that they do this every week (or "every year, another dead body" if they manage to get a series contract).

Mild-to-moderate recommend. Writing quite decent, whodunnit made sense and unfolded okay, plot twists mostly quite reasonable, and trail of clues not too obscure to follow, and a minimum of annoying relationship drama, but I suspect that it'll help if you're already interested in mysteries with history in them. They're pleasantly enjoyable and good enough reading if you like this sort of thing, but nothing really exceptional.

Stephen Lewis's The Dumb Shall Sing, on the other hand, has a level of quality almost close enough to being exceptional that I give it a general recommend for historical mystery readers, even if Colonial America is not an era you'd be particularly interested in reading.

This one is actually set back in the 1600s, and has a deft use of both the more formal period-esque language in the narrative and speech patterns in the dialogue, as well as an understanding of the precarious social position of widow and midwife Catherine Williams, the amateur sleuth, and the tensions between the settlers and the natives which affect her interactions with Massaquoit, the Pequot who's not sure whether or not he wants to get involved and help her clear a false accusation which follows a sudden death.

The portrayal of the mindset of the Puritan settlers and the milieu in which they believed and lived was done quite well, I thought, with Catherine's having to resort to quoting justifying scripture to get people to grudgingly accept her more unconventional actions when reasoned argument fails, as well as the atmosphere of increasing fear and superstition which allows the village to become a crucible for accusations of witchcraft, with Catherine herself not being immune to suspecting an isolated elderly neighbour of causing her toothache, despite defending the woman's probable innocence to her rumour-spreading servant.

About the only significant flaw was that the whodunnit was fairly easy to guess, since there was a very limited pool of actual suspects and obvious misdirection is obvious. However, this is more a read not for the sleuth successfully catching the guilty culprit, but instead trying to prevent an innocent accusee from becoming the next person to die, at the hands of the ones seeking justice for the original death.

Strong recommend. This would be a well-told tale regardless of whether or not historical mysteries of this type are really your thing, and if they happen to be, all the better, since it counts as a rather good one indeed.

I read my copy from the library's e-book collection as I figured I'd save my $2 to begin with and spend it on the non-library sequels if I turned out to like the 1st book enough to continue. As it is, I'll be buying not just the sequels, but also this first volume, because I think it's definitely worth it, especially at such a low price and DRM-free MultiFormat, pour encourager les autres.

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Old 11-05-2011, 08:15 PM   #11299
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Next is The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr.
Very nice murder mystery. So many twists that I kept changing my mind who the murderer(s) was and still got it wrong in the end! The writing was quality with steady pacing. Just enough descriptive passages to feel involved. However, the author used the confession letter ploy to solve the crime. Similar to Tey's The Singing Sands. It's not my favorite ways to reveal all. Grade it a B- [3.5 stars]. His more famous book The Three Coffins has been voted as one of the best locked-door mysteries. I have that also and will read it soon but first ...


Something different. I'm going to try The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind translated from German.
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:20 PM   #11300
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I finished WWW: Wake. A good book... not spectacular... but good enough that I bought the next book in the series and started it. The down size is that book 3 is $13 in the kindle store.. I generally don't like to pay more than $10 for an ebook.. an prefer those under $8 if I have a choice.

BOb
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Old 11-06-2011, 02:28 AM   #11301
lila55
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Reading Annie Dunne bei Sebastian Barry. A very quiet book, one can step in and slowly get to know the people and share their everyday life. An interesting portrait of rural life in Ireland, many years ago.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:10 AM   #11302
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I finished Into The Badlands. I really liked it. I thought it was a very decent effort at the zombie genre.

I'm currently reading The Drowning Pool which is shaping up to be a decent ghost story.
My friend recommended it to me, she doesn't read horror/ghost stories very much and said some parts of it scared her.
I, on the other hand, love being scared so am looking forward to seeing if the book can scare me.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:42 PM   #11303
thinkpad
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Halfway through Dralin and I must say it doesn't disappoint. Best Fantasy I've read in a long time (if you don't like romance thrown in to the mix it might not be to your taste). I like the characters and I like to read about the city the story is played out in. The only hard part will be when I finish the book and wait for the next.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:10 PM   #11304
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I'm reading Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead. I've been at it for about two weeks now, it's an ok read but I'll be glad when the story is over. It goes on and on about nothing.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:58 PM   #11305
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If you are not enjoying it then dump it!
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:03 PM   #11306
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If you are not enjoying it then dump it!
I probably should have earlier but I kept telling myself it would get better. Now I'm less than 30 pages until the end and feeling like I might as well read the last few pages since I've put up with it this long. Crazy, I know.

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Old 11-06-2011, 08:13 PM   #11307
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Something different. I'm going to try The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind translated from German.
Very nice book. Only 115 pages more like a novella. At times humorous and other times sad. Suskind really has a way of writing that help the reader imagine the daily life of the book's character. He uses run-on sentences that successfully imitates the character's thought processes and mental foibles. I would imagine the original German is even better. Strong C+ [3 stars]

Anxiously starting The Three Coffins by Carr.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:07 PM   #11308
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Jolie Blon's Bounce by the maestro James Lee Burke. Great writer.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:42 PM   #11309
Stitchawl
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I just finished James Lee Burke's "Glass Rainbow." Wonderful!!! I wouldn't want to live in Burke's mind but there is no doubt he knows how to tell a story.

This book is typical 'Dave Robecheaux.' Clete Percell is in there, as are several other regulars. Lot's of sno'balls, boudin (white and heated in the microwave,) drive-through daiquiri windows, and of course lots poor folk living in shacks. But the plot is solid and deep, the story line captivating, the action realistic and bloody, and this book certainly makes you anxious to see the next in the series.

The book can stand on it's own, but like so many series, would benefit from reading from the first book to follow Robicheaux's life as a law enforcement officer in the southern Louisiana parishes. I usually put a Clifton Chenier CD on in the background just to set the mood.

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Old 11-06-2011, 09:59 PM   #11310
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Just finished The Weight of Blood. Now I'm reading The Strain.
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