Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Building a bit of mystery with my latest book haul

Summer has it's many challenges, one of them being that the end of the month usually leads to a holiday weekend. With that in mind, I was glad to do my library book returns early(managed to finish all three books in good time) and pick up a couple of titles that I've been meaning to get to for awhile there.

I was in a mystery mood,perhaps due to a special package in the mail(more on that in a moment),and decided to borrow Fiona Barton's The Widow. The unfortunate lady of the title is Jean Taylor, whose husband Glen was the prime suspect in the disappearance of a little girl.

Jean stood by her husband and never wavered in her public professions of his innocence. Now that Glen has died,under somewhat suspicious circumstances, will her story change? Ambitious reporter Kate Waters is determined to find out, along with the police detective that risked his career trying to bring Glen to justice. Jean becomes willing to tell her tale but her listeners may not like what they hear.

This was Barton's debut novel and the word from both readers and critics was strongly positive, so I'm happy to get a crack at this. Fiona Barton has her second book out already called The Child, which I may also borrow from the library if The Widow is as good as promised. I hope the author won't mind that but then again, I did hear that she's a library fan, as many of the best people are:

I was in the mood for mystery that day, due to receiving a review copy of Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders a few days earlier. I started reading it right away and full disclosure, the book came with a tie-in tote bag which still makes me giddy with delight. However, that extra bonus does not influence my feelings about the story.

The plot here is twofold, as we begin with book editor Susan Ryeland settling in at home to read the latest and possibly final entry in mystery writer Alan Conway's series of Agatha Christie style novels featuring private detective Atticus Pund.

As we and Susan read Conway's new book, which are set in a small English town in the 1950s involving the local manor known as Pye Hall, the sense that another mystery,possible from real life, is hidden beneath the surface.

 When the book comes to an abrupt end, Susan tries to contact the author for more, only to discover that he has just passed away. Determined to solve both the fictional and factual cases at hand, she has to assume the mantle of her favorite detective but that may prove more to be more challenging than any adventure Atticus Pund has faced.

 Getting two for the price of one is a real treat when it comes to story telling and so far, my only complaint is that we don't have any other engagingly written Atticus Pund mysteries to explore:

The other advanced review book that came with Magpie Murders has a few mystery elements in it yet it's not quite in that genre. The title alone suggests a rather Gothic tone mixed with female friendly fiction.

The Lightkeeper's Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol begins with Elizabeth, a woman whose failing eye sight requires her to have some help going through the recently recovered journals of her deceased father who ran the local lighthouse seventy years ago. Her assistant is Morgan, a troubled teen doing community service, and as the two of them uncover a mystery from the past that may have connections to Morgan's present day circumstances.

Their combined interest and the intrigue that comes with it leads to an emotional bond that hopefully will aid them when all is revealed. The book is due out by July 4 and sounds like a sweet summer read indeed.

Heading back to the library, I did pick up something that was completely different from the mystery direction that I've been pointed in. Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist is the iconic actress/author's last literary take on her legendary role as Star War's Princess Leia, told with her usual zest and humor.

Having read a couple of her novels years ago(Postcards from the Edge was one of them and I just re-watched the film adaptation about a week ago), I'm familiar with her verbal style but in nonfiction, her forthright nature truly soars and I just got to the Harrison Ford chapter, which I am so looking forward to hearing more, like the chorus of "Summer Nights".

While I do wish both Carrie and her mother Debbie Reynolds were still with us, at least we do have their films and in Carrie's case, a few good books to keep their place in pop culture history properly bookmarked:

Since my holiday plans are in the now traditional staycation mode, I may be able to finish at least the two books that I've already started here before the last hot dog of the day is eaten. We shall see but I am happy to be able to relax at home with my loved ones and some good reads.

 Traveling is fine,of course, but the only place that I want to haul books to is my bedside table and the less need I have for travel guides the better:

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