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.




Saturday, August 19, 2017


By John Sweeney; Performed by Alan Smyth
Brilliance Audio

With this the second in the Joe Tiplady Thriller series you'll once again be gripping the arms of your chair - however, that's easy to do as its narrated by the always talented Alan Smyth who adds to the suspense with all the appropriate intonations and pauses so sit back and enjoy!

Since author John Sweeney has wisely laced his tale with today's topics such as refugee crises, ISIS, Syria and the recent presidential election the already chilling story becomes even chillier.
we know it is fiction but for 12 hours of high speed listening it becomes very real.

When a young boy is abducted by his unstable mother the frantic father offers Joe Tiplady a large sum of money to bring the boy home safe and sound.  That's quite a challenge as the pair have joined ISIS in Syria.   Joe will have to work hard and risk his life to earn that big paycheck!

At the same time CIA Deputy Director Zeke Chandler is in Albania where four electrocuted bodies were discovered in a remote area close to a secret black-ops facility.  Are Joe and Zeke trying to track down two unrelated incidents?

Joe's search for answers and the missing boy takes us from the dark side of Hollywood to what is left of Aleppo - in other words the darkest corners of the world.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It’s difficult for me to believe that after years of reviewing this is my first Gamache mystery novel.  Little did I know what I’ve been missing.  Louise Penny is an amazing author, reeling readers in with the opening sentences then following with a gripping scenario that is impossible to put down.  She has, of course, received numerous awards and countless accolades - all deservedly so.  Her Quebec village of Three Pines becomes an actual destination as its sights, sounds and texture are richly described.  And the characters - what can one say?  They’re totally original and absolutely unforgettable as we find ourselves drawn into their lives.

With Glass Houses we find Gamache is now the Chief Superintendent du Quebec.  He has reorganized the office, solved many crimes yet is faced with what appears to be an insurmountable problem - the increasing drug traffic, drugs crossing the Montreal border into the United States.  He well knows the mounting toll their consumption is taking on young people as drug cartels become greedier and even more clever.  Catching their leaders seems to be an impossibility until Gamache comes up with an extraordinary scheme.  The chances of it succeeding appear slim and failure means death.  He needs help to even try - help from a man who hates him.
The story begins with the mysterious appearance of a figure in black who stands in the center of the village green on a chill November day.  Obviously the villagers are curious and then nervous as the figure stands unmoving, apparently staring straight ahead through rain and sleet, day and night. When Gamache approaches and questions him the creature says nothing.  When villagers beseech Gamache to get rid of the creature he says he can do nothing as the creature is not breaking any laws, yet Gamache becomes certain that the black hooded figure has a sinister purpose.

Then the creature disappears as suddenly as he came and a body is discovered in the church.   Who could have killed a beloved villager and why?  Some months later on a hot day in July an accused man is on trial for the killing and Gamache is on the witness stand.  Everything, the very future of Montreal and the lives of countless people depend on how Gamache will answer questions posed to him.

Glass Houses is such a taut, engrossing thriller that one is tempted to race through it yet does not do so for fear of missing a revealing word.  Simply put it is fiction at its finest.