Sunday, October 18, 2020

Late Summer and Early Fall Potpourri

Here's what I've been reading this season.

Mysteries, of course, it's the R.I.P. season

Death and Judgement, #4 in my reread of Donna Leon's fabulous Guido Brunetti series set in Venice. Oh, Guido, how I love spending time with you and your family!

Track of the Cat, #1 in my reread of Nevada Barr's fabulous Anna Pigeon series set in National Parks. I first read this about 30 years ago, so it was great to start over with Anna. Always makes me want to go for a hike.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by the queen of the genre, Agatha Christie. When I heard that this first of Christie's mysteries was published 100 years ago this year, I knew I had to read it. It introduces the world to the incomparable Hercule Poirot, and was a classic locked room, country house mystery. Very enjoyable.

The Dry, by Jane Harper - #1 in her Aaron Falk series set in Australia. Absolutely great - I intend to read the rest in the series. I don't read too much set in Australia, but I should as I love the setting. This was an intricate small town mystery--love those small town mysteries. Well written with interesting characters.

Broken Harbor, by Tana French - it is #4 in the Dublin Squad series, but I am reading them slightly out of order, so it was #3 for me. I'm not sure why I skipped Faithful Place, but that's the next one for me. I am blown away by French's writing. This was a really powerful story and the ambience is so gritty.

And now for something completely different...

The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo - I learned about this book from JoAnn at Gulfside Musing, and listened to it. Middle-class family drama based in the Chicago suburbs. I can't really even call them a dysfunctional family--their issues weren't horrific, but I was swept along by the great writing and interesting characters. I really wanted to find out what happened next.

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, by Fannie Flagg - I love reading Fannie Flagg novels and it was such a pleasure to listen to Flagg read her latest novel herself. The premise is simple--a very nice Southern lady discovers she was adopted. It's a gentle story about self-confidence, love, loyalty, and family. It's also a wonderful history lesson about the WASPs, the female aviators who were contracted by the Army during WWII to ferry planes from the manufacturing plants to the bases where they were deployed for use in the war. Again, great writing, great characters, and a feel-good story during a time when I really needed to feel good.

Hope you are all healthy and finding the solace, joy, connection, and comfort that books provide.



  1. Tana French is an amazing author! And I didn't realize that Agatha Christie mystery was written 100 years ago; I'll have to get a copy to read before this stupid year ends. Hope you have a great week! :D

  2. All these books sound interesting. Track of the Cat seems like something that I would like. I love to read about parks. I remember the old National Geographic magazines would have lots of articles on the subject. I also have several similar books on local Parks.

  3. Thx for the comments on these books -- I have read all of Jane Harper's books & I think I liked The Dry the best of hers / apparently Eric Bana will star as Aaron Falk in a movie of The Dry ... be still my heart :-). Hope you are far away from the wildfire in Colorado ... which I heard on the news. take care.

  4. Glad to know you enjoyed Jane Harper's book. She's been on my list of authors to try for a while. I haven't done very well with RIP reading this year, but a good mystery might be just the thing to distract me from all the politics!

    Also happy to hear The Most Fun We Ever Had was a hit for you. My daughter and sister both loved it, too, and I'm sure it will be among my favorite reads of the year. I couldn't believe it was a debut novel! Already looking forward to whatever she writes next.

  5. Great list of writers and perfect for this season. I read and very much enjoyed Fannie Flagg's Redbird Christmas. Agatha Christie of course needs no introduction and I am not sure what it is about Guido Brunette but I am hooked on this series. Have read 5 books so far.

  6. The Most Fun We Ever Had is on my list; I wondered if it would be good for my book group. I have enjoyed the Jane Harpers I have read but not quite as much as I expected to - maybe a little overhyped? I do think Tana French is amazing although I don't really like any of her characters so I don't feel as invested in what happens to them. I am on the waiting list for the new one at the library.

    I haven't got into Donna Leon yet but my mother loves them and went to hear Leon speak a year or so ago in Boston. You obviously can't go wrong with Christie although I reread Styles last spring and decided I prefer Miss Marple!

  7. That's a fine list of books!

    I liked The Dry but found her follow up, Force of Nature to be even better. I have a copy of her stand-alone, The Lost Man, to read on my shelf.

    Broken Harbor is my favorite Tana French. It just broke my heart. I've read all her books except for the most recent publication, The Searcher.

    I've read The Mysterious Affair at Styles a couple of times. I adore Christie and like even her lesser works, but that title is surely one of her best. :D