Current Reading: September 28 – October 4

Claws of the CatI’m still reading Holmes stuff, and there is the new MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories that came a few days ago to start. Whew! But there’s more, a whole lot of book goodness going on (apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis).

While in downtown Portland and having some time to kill, I visited the main library branch, a beautiful old building, and wandered in the mystery section. I came away with the first in a series set in 16th-century Japan: The Claws of the Cat, A Shinobi Mystery by Susan Spann. The crime-solvers are a Jesuit Priest and a ninja, an unlikely pair indeed. The blurb: “When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect.” I’ve read about 40 pages and am enjoying it. The third in the series was recently published.

The Hog's Back Mystery

In what’s probably an attempt to make myself (even more?) addle-brained, I’m also reading The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts. It’s one of the British Library Crime Classics that I’ve been enjoying every now and then, and quite a change of pace from all the Sherlock Holmes reading I did in September.

song-of-shadows-225Barbara, meanwhile, was continuing reading The Oregon Trail until it had to go back to the library. She got right back on the hold list, but it’s a long one.

The good news is that from the library came John Connelly’s latest Charlie Parker mystery, A Song of Shadows, so she immediately dug into that. There’s also  a new one by Craig Russell, another of her favorites, and I know she’s eager to get to that one.

How about you?
Have you read these books or authors?
What are you reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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20 Responses to Current Reading: September 28 – October 4

  1. Cap'n Bob says:

    I just finished Bill Crider’s latest Dan Rhodes book and it’s another triumph.

  2. I’m busy packing for BOUCHERCON in Raleigh. I’m hoping for a lot of free books when I get there. Would you like a BOUCHERCON CARE package when I get back?

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      That’s the best part of driving, George. I can put anything we get in the back rather than having to worry about stuffing the suitcase or mailing it home.

      • Richard says:

        Jeff, I agree, driving is best, but often these things are just too far away, or at least they are for us. Even Long Beach last year was too far (over 1,000 miles) plus not in the budget, but if there’s ever another one in Seattle we’ll drive to it.

        • Jeff Meyerson says:

          We decided to make a vacation out of it since we haven’t gone anywhere since Florida and won’t be going anywhere until January again. So we’re taking two days to drive down and will visit a friend after the convention, followed by trips to The Biltmore in Asheville and Monticello near Charlottesville. 1,000 miles is probably about right.

          I just noticed that Jeffrey Siger will be there and I’ll try to catch him on a panel and get my book signed.

          • Richard says:

            We went to the Biltmore a few years ago and enjoy it. We got onto the Siger books by seeing him on a panel at Monterey LCC a couple (3?) years ago.

    • Richard says:

      I’ll pass, George, but thanks as always for the offer. I’m really loaded up here these days, with space at a premium.

      Have a great trip and good time. Hoping for some sort of Bouchercon report during or after.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I was going to say that it wasn’t much of a reading week but I checked and I did finish two books after all. For whatever reason, other things seem to take up a lot of time, and what with leaving for Raleigh and Bouchercon tomorrow, and with staying on the road several days afterwards (I’m driving), it will be a week from Friday until we’re home again. But I digress.

    First read (on Kindle) was the 5th in Brett Battles’ Jonathan Quinn series, THE DESTROYED. This picked up a lot in the second half but it was definitely not the usual story of The Cleaner and his friends. Then I finished the 550 page THE MOST OF NORA EPHRON. This includes a novel (HEARTBURN), a screenplay (WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…) and a play (LUCKY GUY), plus various pieces of journalism dating back to about 1962, plus more personal pieces. She was a terrific writer and I enjoyed this one.

    In the works (reading works, I guess) are CAPITAL CRIMES, the Martin Edwards anthology of stories set in London, Malcolm Gladwell’s collection of New Yorker pieces, WHAT THE DOG SAW, and (on the Kindle, borrowed from the library) Kevin Wilson’s THE FAMILY FANG, which Bill Crider mentioned recently. I also have Wilson’s collection of stories, which I will probably take on the road.

    I’ve been downloading more Kindle stuff lately, including the complete Max Carrados (by Ernest Bramah) and Martin Hewitt (by Arthur Morrison) collections of stories, so there is certainly enough to read on there. I’ll try and check the blogs while we’re gone on the tablet but otherwise, see you here when we get back.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, we seem to have slowed on our reading here, but I’m not sure why. I’m still plugging away – and very much enjoying – on the Holmes canon, which I’ve nearly finished rereading, and then there are lots of other Holmes stories if I want to just keep going, with breaks for other things.

      I look forward to your regular and frequent comments here, so if you’re to busy or if it’s inconvenient to check in, you’ll certainly be missed! Hope you have a great time at B’con and with the rest of your trip also.

      Lots of ebook reading, eh? I do a little of it, and there are advantages in terms of lighting and weight, but I still read mostly printed books. Still, for a trip ebooks make a lot of sense. It seems you might have already read some of those Ephron things, surely HEARTBURN and HARRY MET SALLY?

      I have WHAT THE DOG SAW on hold at the library, but the list is long so it will be a while before I have it in hand. I have on the shelf BEST MARTIN HEWITT STORIES (if I recall the title without going downstairs to check), which I have read and think I liked.

      Bon voyage!

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Yes, I read HEARTBURN year ago. Even though I’ve seen WHEN HARRY dozens of times I’d never read the screenplay before. The most interesting part was her essay at the end of how the movie came about, the collaboration with Rob Reiner (who directed the movie), etc. Basically, she was Sally and Reiner was Harry, to simplify things.

  4. Jerry House says:

    I read HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN by “Derek Raymond,” the first in the Factory crime novels. (“Raymond” was a pen name for Robin Cook, who was note the same Robin Cook who writes best-selling medical thrillers.) A nameless police sergeant tries to solve the murder of a middle-aged derelict; as he delves into the victim’s sad life he begins to find parallels with his own existence. A good book, written with raw intensity, but it will be a while before I read another in the series. Keeping with pseudonymous writers, I read DANGER IN MY BLOOD by “Steve Brackeen” (a very young [22] John Farris). This was Farris’ fourth mystery and last book before HARRISON HIGH propelled him to best-sellerdom. A fast, enjoyable read and a Crest orifginal paperback that shoulda been a Gold Medal. My third pseudonymous author was “Jon Sharp,” a house name for the long-running adult western series The Trailsman. Number 287 in the series is CALIFORNIA CAMEL CORPS, ghosted by Bill Crider. A western with camels, this was one of the best that I have read in the series.

    Also this week I read THE FLAME OF IRIDAR by Lin Carter, a science fantasy novel and one half of a Belmont Double. Carter could write but seldom bothered to prove it with the endless fanboy imitations he published. This one takes place on a Mars five million years ago and show flashes of pulp genius among the otherwise ho-hum prose. Lastly, I read Chick Dixon’s graphic novel adaptation of Dean Koontz’ PRODIGAL SON, the first in the Frankenstein series. (Koontz wrote the novel with Keven J. Anderson, although later printings had Anderson’s name removed.)

    I’m currently reading Edmond Hamilton’s SF novel THE HAUNTED STARS and I’m moving on with THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO (almost finished with Volume One). I’m enjoying UDOLPHO despite its slow pace but I’m getting tired of the delicate heroine swooning all the time; I guess I like my women tougher or, at least, more practical. At the top of Mount TBR are a nonfiction collection by Ray Bradbury and Volume of Peter Straub’s Library of America AMERICAN FANTASTIC TALES.

    The sun has come out here and ther’s a cool genlte breeze so I think I’ll go out on the back porch and read. Enjoy your day, Richard.

    • Richard says:

      Jerry, it’s about 62 with a breeze, a little too cool yet (9:30 am) to sit outside, but it will warm to 80 or so and I’ll be on the deck early this afternoon.

      You’re reading is eclectic this week, but we’ve all come to expect that from you. I think it’s interesting that took Anderson’s name of the book, but they probably wanted more room for the word “King” on the cover. Lyn Carter was an author I could enjoy when in my teens, but these days I have little patience with his slapdash descriptive scenes and pallid dialogue. Often it seems he had a few shots of whiskey, thought up a plot, and started typing.

  5. I’ve enjoyed the John Connolly books I’ve read but I don’t often feel a compelling urge to read another. Not sure why. I actually like Michael Connolly better.

  6. Patti Abbott says:

    Reading the new standalone by Michael Robotham-he just won a Dagger for it and although I miss his series detectives, it is very good.

  7. Snowbrush says:

    I enjoyed your comment on Charles’ blog and mostly agree with it, although if guns are going to be out there, I’m glad I have one for home defense and camping.

    I live in Eugene, by the way, but am from Charles’s part of the country (the Deep South). I haven’t read any of these books because I mostly read old classics except for biography. I’ve recently been on a Conan Doyle kick and have read many of his writings as well as two books about him. Now, I’m onto the Billy the Kid, who is more interesting than you might imagine because much of what he did really was directed corrupt businessmen and politicians. He also was known for being a happy man with a good sense of humor and a love for music and dance. Along with these two men, I made another stab at the theologian Bonheoffer who can only be respected for his goodness and courage, but I have yet to finish a book by him.

    • Richard says:

      Thanks for the comment, Snowbrush. I haven’t gone camping in years, but when I did, a knife and fishing rod were all I had in the way of gear, along with the tent and campstove. I’ve always enjoyed the Conan Doyle Holmes books, but shy away from his other works, and the biography of him I read (title not remembered) was kinda boring. As for philosophers, Some of the classes in college included enough to keep me away since, and that’s been a long time ago.

      • Snowbrush says:

        I find some of his non-Holmes mysteries excellent. Give “The Mystery of Cloomber” a chance, and I can’t imagine that you’ll be sorry. One thing that some of his other works are rich in that Holmes lacks is detailed attention to the natural world and weather. “The Mystery of Cloomber” is so rich in this that nature becomes the book’s most memorable character. Doyle also undertook one real mystery, and that was the case of George Edalji. If you found Doyle’s life boring, then you had a bad biography.

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