Glass Houses by Louise Penny – I’ve read all of the Three Pines / Chief Inspector Gamache novels, and I’ve enjoyed them all, though of course there are favorites. This 2017 book is the latest, until this coming Fall, and picks up plot threads from previous books. Though these books can be read as stand-alines, I really think it’s far preferable to read the series in order. This one has the ongoing battle between the Sureté and drug runners. An especially exciting ending, with a bit of a cliff hanger, making me eagerly look forward to the next one (coming this Fall).
Bag Balm and Duct Tape by Beach Conger, M.D. – When young Dr. Beach Conger accepts an appointment to a hospital in rural Vermont, neither party knew a thing about the other. Conger envisioned living out the rest of his days splitting wood, healing the sick, and being adored as a kindly country doctor. His new patients figured they had their work cut out for them, breaking in this whippersnapper from Berkeley, California. I found it entertaining, but I wish Conger’s narrative voice had been friendlier to the reader.
Marked For Murder by “Brett Halliday” (Davis Dresser) – Shayne’s close friend news-paperman Timothy Rourke takes center stage for most of this one. In the past week, three murders have been committed in Miami Beach, and the only person who sees the connection is Rourke. As the mayor and the chief of police deny rumors of political dirty doings and an apparent crime wave, Rourke hollers from page one: Organized crime has taken over Miami, and the bloodshed has only just begun. Rourke is beaten to a pulp for exposing the mob’s dirty dealings, and then he discovers a hot-eyed blonde in his apartment packing a .32. The situation is spinning out of control, and only one man can save the city from itself: Mike Shayne. I like these a lot, and this was a very good one.
Canoeing with the Cree by Eric Sevaried – In 1930, between high school and college, Sevaried and his best friend Walter C. Port decide to take a long and difficult canoe trip. The two novice paddlers launched a secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling for an ambitious summer-long journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes, and difficult portages. I found this account fascinating.
Not So Wild A Dream by Eric Sevaried – The author’s first-person account of a young journalist’s experience before and during during World War II, including his youth in North Dakota, his decision to study journalism, and his early involvement in radio reporting during the beginnings of World War II.
Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie – At a Hallowe’en party held at Rowena Drake’s home in Woodleigh Common, thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds tells everyone attending she had once seen a murder, but had not realised it was one until later. When the party ends, Joyce is found dead, having been drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. (What a way to go.) I found this to be one of the weaker of Christie’s Oliver / Poirot novels, and I saw the solution coming, something I usually can’t do with Christie.
Next time: Elon Musk, Craig Johnson, Jack Higgins, and more. See you then.