Saturday, February 10, 2018

SUNBURN by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman is back with another can't-put-down thriller.  Thank goodness!  The best yet from this award winning author Sunburn is a dark noir tale, a wonderful novel powered by psychological suspense that grabs readers from the opening sentence and doesn't let go until the startling finish.

   Set in the small town of Belleville, Delaware a pair of lovers to be meet at the High-Ho, a bar/restaurant.  She  (Polly) is an attractive redhead with a bad sunburn "pink, peeling."  He (Adam) is tall, strong, good-looking ("a Ken doll kind of guy.")  Each has secrets that cannot be shared.  Yet they are inexorably drawn to each other and soon are having an affair.

   Polly takes a job as waitress at the High-Ho and carefully hoards her tips.  Adam soon becomes the chef and much to everyone's surprise prepares outstanding dishes that brings in customers.  This seemingly peaceful
arrangement is soon interrupted by a fire that consumes Polly's apartment and takes the life of Cath, a High-Ho waitress who had eyes for Alan.   Was this an accident or murder?

   Adam and Polly continue their affair, apparently devoted  but each still holding secrets from the other.  What if they were both completely honest - would that strengthen their love or cost them their lives?

   As is her wont Laura Lippman is a thorough researcher corroborating facts when insurance is involved and  double checking streets in Delaware.  But even more outstanding than her accuracy is her keen observance of human nature.  She more than deserves every major mystery prize she has won.  Sunburn is one more feather in her cap.



Friday, February 9, 2018


"There once was a girl in San Miguel
Who made boys swear not to kiss and tell,
But she kept a long list
Of the boys she had kissed,
And wrote a book that surely did sell." -

Saturday, January 27, 2018

THE HOLLYWOOD DAUGHTER by Kate Alcott (Softcover!)

The Hollywood DaughterHollywood stories abound but perhaps none are as unique as this one.  It's easy to forget how many people, some on the periphery of the movie industry are affected by the life of a major star.  Case in point is the poignant story of Jesse Malloy.

     She is the daughter of Gabriel Malloy, a studio publicist whose career was skyrocketing along with that of his most famous client, Ingrid Bergman.  Thanks to Gabriel's promotion of the movie Casablanca he was able to buy a Beverly Hills mansion complete with pool.  Jesse's mother was a
devout Roman Catholic and enrolled her daughter at Saint Ann's, an all-girls Catholic school.  Her time there was peaceful and trouble free.  What was outstanding in Jesse's adolescence were her brief contacts with Bergman who her father was grooming as not only beautiful and talented but also saintly (thanks to the two movies The Bells of St. Mary's and Joan Of Arc.)  Jesse's admiration for Bergman verged on adoration when Saint Ann's was chosen the location for The Bells Of Saint Mary's.  Bergman was rapidly embraced, endorsed by the Catholic Church and the dreaded Legion of Decency.

     In retrospect one can only imagine the brouhaha when Bergman leaves her husband for director Roberto Rossellini not just for a dalliance but also bears him a child.  What effect could all of this have had on the adolescent Jesse?  In addition to the young girl's personal response we follow her as her family tries to adapt to a dramatic change in Gabriel's career.

     Absorbing reading!

     Kate Alcott is the pseudonym for journalist Patricia O'Brien who is a New York Times bestselling author. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


     Nothing makes me pick up an audio book quicker than the
names Clive Cussler and Scott Brick.  Cannot count the number
of audios in my collection narrated by Brick, he is simply one of
the very best.  Whether it be suspense, comedy or straight drama
he always brings authenticity to his narrations, and that is certainly
true of The Solomon Curse.

    Fans of this series know they're in for another treat - a story filled with exotic locations, sinister villains, intrigue and likable
lead characters.  Sam and Remi Fargo re multi-millionaires with a passion for treasure hunting and each other.  Intrigued by the
stories about the bay near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands they head that way.  Was it the site of the lost empire of the Solomon king now rich with treasure beneath its waters or is it where unspeakable atrocities took place and those who dare to go there never return?  Sam and Remi are about to find out and search for answers from the Solomons to Australia to Japan unhindered by being run of the road, shot at and caught in the middle of riots.

Summoned by Leonid Vasyev, a Russian who explores lost civilizations, the Fargos have come to Guadalcanal.  They soon find themselves fascinated by what was found beneath a supposedly forgotten bay, which appears to be the Guadalcanal palace of King Loc, 12th century ruler of the Solomon Islands.  They discover evidence linking the Japanese to stealing from King Loc's underwater palace but the real bad guys may well be contemporary pharmaceutical companies.

     It's quite a ride as the Fargoes try to piece together several puzzles, so settle in and enjoy!

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.