Sunday, January 14, 2018

THE BODY IN THE CASKET by Katherine Hall Page

An Agatha Award winner for best first mystery Katherine Hall
Page continues to enthrall and entertain with her unique blend of
mystery, family, friends and delicious recipes.  She is such an adroit writer that when her heroine caterer and sometimes sleuth
Faith Fairchild is preparing a dish we are treated to cooking tips
as Faith thinks aloud.  We're so involved in the mystery at hand
that we're almost unaware of all that we're learning.

Faith is a heroine to be admired and the cast of recurring characters is more than welcome.  Whether you've read all of
Page's previous tales or are being introduced to the group for
the first time you're sure to be won over.  A native New Yorker
Faith has called the quiet Massachusetts village of Aleford home
for a number of years.  It is here that her clergyman husband Tom
practices and where their children have grown.  There's never a
quiet moment between what's going on at the church, Faith's
catering and son Ben's apparently broken heart.

     While Faith well knows her way around Aleford she is unfamiliar with Havencrest which is a
nearby territory for the rich and powerful.  It is also home to Broadway legend Max Dane who
calls on Faith to cater a party celebrating his seventieth birthday.  A theatre lover Faith wouldn't
dream of turning down this job.  However, she's in for a bit of a shock when she meets Dane for
the first time to make plans for the event - he wastes no time in saying, "I didn't hire you
for your cooking skills, fine as they may be, but for your sleuthing ability.  You see, one of the guests wants to kill me."

     And what a group of guests they are!  Max's guest list is drawn from the cast and crew of Heaven or Hell which was Max's last and only failed production.  And to make his or her intention crystal
clear Max has received an anonymous gift - an empty casket holding only a 20-year-old program
from Heaven or Hell.

     So all Faith has to do is prepare gourmet food for the party, discover who the potential killer
is and keep Max alive.  The big night arrives and an ice storm breaks.  What else could possibly
happen?  You'll find out when you read the latest Faith Fairchild mystery!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

THE NUTCRACKER by Shobna Patel


 Amazing!  While we well realize that a pop-up book is a child's favorite this printing of The Nutcracker presented by British papercut artist Shobna Patel will enchant both young and old.  Patel introduces a new paper engineering technique known as the "paperscope" which allows the artist to create highly detailed scenes to tell a story.  What better vehicle to introduce this technique than the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker?

     Here for the first time delicate laser-cut pop-ups tell the heartwarming story with all of Tchaikovsky's  characters - soldier mice, the Sugar Plum Fairy and a handsome prince.  Most will recall the narrative that begins on Christmas Eve when Clara and her brother Fritz gather around the Christms tree with family and friends.  Clara's uncle, Drosselmeyer, is a toymaker who gifts  the girl with a beautiful wooden nutcracker that becomes real at midnight and the adventure begins.

     Pop-up paperscopes come to life when the reader presses each paperscope down to reveal what is hidden therein.  It is as if a beautiful series of stage sets comes to life reminiscent of the story as a ballet.  Ooohs and aahs galore!  This version of The Nutcracker is sure to be enjoyed over and over again.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

GOING INTO TOWN: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

     Who doesn't love New York?  Whether you live there, visit the Big Apple or dream of going to NYC there is a special place in our hearts for New York City.  Roz Chast  knows that well hence the subtitle "A Love Letter to New York."  And that it is as told in the inimitable style of the award winning author of "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?'  With her ever appealing drawing style and pinpoint observations she affectionately brings the city to smile provoking life.

     A native of Brooklyn and dyed in the wool New Yorker Chast eventually (and probably reluctantly) moved to the suburbs where in time to come she would take her kids to visit the wonderful world of Manhattan.  She would marvel at their responses to what had been everyday life for her and this book was born.  Subways, museums (especially the Metropolitan Museum), ethnic restaurants, tall buildings, storefronts, all were now seen through her children's eyes.

     Originally a small booklet created especially for her daughter before she left home for college in Manhattan ("so she wouldn't get off on the wrong foot"),  that slender piece became "Going Into Town" so that all of us could enjoy her city.  As Chast has said she wrote about New York, a place she loves, because "I want to tell you about it so that maybe you will love it too."

     We do, Roz, we really do!  Thank you for telling us about it.



Sunday, October 8, 2017


     One of my favorite heroines is battlefield nurse Bess Crawford.  Her adventures never fail to illuminate the horrors of World War I or emphasize the compassion and care shown by those who tended to the wounded.  Created by a mother and son  writing team the Bess Crawford mysteries
never fail to entertain and enlighten while rapidly becoming bestsellers.

     A Casualty of War is a bit of a departure as Bess is not found in a battlefield hospital but rather
fighting for the rights of an appealing young soldier, Captain Alan Travis.  While the Great War is
close to its end the fighting still goes on and we find a weary Bess waiting for transportation north.
She steps into a crowded canteen which is where she meets Captain Travis, an Englishman whose family made its fortune on the Caribbean Island of Barbados.  He describes his island home to her and shares photographs - his love for Barbados is obvious.  Their conversation is brief but a pleasant
switch from the war.

     Then months later Bess is surprised to see Travis again when he is brought to her aid station.  He is no longer the strong smiling young man she remembers but bloodied and disoriented from a head wound.  He says that the man who shot him was an English officer, in fact a distant cousin named James Travis.  He asks Bess to help him find the man who shot him.  Of course, she will help him but
can find no trace of a James Travis.  She wonders if her young friend has suffered a concussion that
has affected his mind.

     But some time later Travis is again wounded and once more accuses James of shooting him - this time accusing him of being a murderer.  The pleasant young man she remembers is now a furious
person bent on revenge.  As the war comes to an end Bess is given leave and she looks for Travis only to find him suicidal and strapped to his bed in an English clinic.  No one will listen to his ravings let alone believe him.  What can she do?

     Enlisting the help of family friend Simon Brandon she travels to James  Travis's home in Suffolk
little knowing the danger that awaits her there.

     One more can't-put-down Bess Crawford mystery.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 1, 2017


"Among the joys of marital bliss is
Giving and getting all those kisses.
Of course, another of wedded life's riches
Is someone to scratch you where you itches." - GC

Monday, September 25, 2017


      Stunning, gorgeous are not words that we usually use to describe cookbooks, but that was before the incredible Mexico: A Culinary Quest by Hossein Amirsadeghi and Ana Paula Gerard.  As revealed on the cover  it is "A compelling photographic volume capturing the very essence of Mexico - its culture, history, people, landscapes, and mind-bendingly diverse range of contemporary culinary styles."

     "Volume" is certainly an appropriate word as you won't be tucking MEXICO away on your kitchen shelf as it is over 600 pages in length and measures 10 by 13 inches.  Simply put it is a beauty that you'll want to display for all to enjoy.  The photographs by Adam Wiseman, a documentary photographer, are certainly treats for the eye and frame-worthy.

     We are treated to a cultural and culinary journey across Mexico's thirty-two states - glorious landscapes to take your breath away and the amazing range of culinary styles will set your mouth to
watering.  We meet great chefs who share their tables, their menus and their specialties as well as visits to noted restaurants and humble eateries noted  for their cuisine.

     The authors have overlooked nothing in Mexico: A Culinary Quest.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


What a superb book for young readers - eye catching and chock full of gems from the British Library!!  Everything children have ever known from The Canterbury Tales to the Brothers Grimm to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is artfully examined and displayed.  Parents will find themselves as enthralled as their young ones by not only the books themselves but the glorious illustrations by Brita Granstrom.  Also included is a helpful glossary.

Imagine if you will a tiny prayer book carried by a queen to her execution or an atlas so large that it takes six people to lift it.  You'll also find a handmade gospel secreted in a saints coffin, Shakespearean folios of such import that they are kept in a bombproof storeroom and a great deal more.

Many have called the British Library the greatest library in the world and once you have enjoyed the one of a kind BooksBooksBooks you may well agree.