Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, January 08, 2018

Bracing against the bitter cold with a chilling book haul

Between the mini blizzard we just had on the East Coast(I prefer to call it a "snow-nado") and the record cracking cold temperatures that came after it over this past weekend, it has not been ideal to go out for anything, let alone book shopping.

Thanks to the internet,however, I was able to acquire a bit of a book haul and the unintentional theme was mystery. While one of these titles is a review request from Blogging for Books, the other three are Better World Book purchases and by the time they arrive in my mailbox, some of the heaps of snow around my doorstep should be melting away:

LONG BLACK VEIL:  At the start of Jennifer Finney Boylan's thriller, a group of friends are forced back into each other's company due to the tragic event that broke them apart.

 In 1980, Newlyweds Casey and Weiler,along with their college buddy Tripper, join in with a trio of former school mates plus a few others into exploring an abandoned prison in Philadelphia. During their excursion, they become locked inside and during their escape, someone from their party goes missing.

Years later, a body is found on the prison grounds and Casey, now a renowned chef, is charged with murder. One of his friends from back then can spare him from unjust prosecution but at the cost of revealing a secret that will shatter the life she has build with her unknowing family.

 From what I have heard about this book, the story is mostly character driven rather than a simple whodunit, which sounds good to me. Some of the best thrillers, such as the works of Patricia Highsmith, are darkly etched portrayals of people struggling to deal with precarious situations that they can't easily get away from but this book sounds less cynical than those novels. It should be an engaging mental outing to explore this mix of mystery and emotional drama:

A IS FOR ALIBI: The recent passing of beloved author Sue Grafton has been keenly felt among her devoted fans,for whom the alphabet now ends in Y. For those such as myself who haven't read any of twenty six titles in her Kinsey Millhone series, giving them a try seems to be a good way to honor her literary legacy.

We meet Kinsey in this first outing as a private detective hired to look into the eight year old murder of a divorce lawyer. The lawyer's wife Nikki went to prison for his death but upon her release, insists that she was innocent all along and want Kinsey to clear her name.

The set-up is promising but I suspect there's more to it than that and I look forward to seeing what Kinsey is all about. My condolences to Ms. Grafton's loved ones as well as her numerous readers who will miss her dearly:

DEATH ON THE NILE: Upon the success of his remake of Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh is planning to film a new version of this Agatha Christie Poirot tale, which starred Peter Ustinov as the dapper detective in the 1978 Hollywood adaptation.

Much like Orient Express, the central location of the suspects in a suspicious death is on a moving vehicle(a steamer ship) and several red herrings are served up,such as a love triangle between a heiress, her new husband and his former love interest.

I love the 1978 film,especially Ustinov as Poirot, and am interested to see what Branagh will do with the story. Of course, there were changes from the book, which makes me eager to read it as I find that such tweaks often give me the joy of having two stories in one neat package to unfold:

EVIL UNDER THE SUN: I don't if Branagh will follow DOTN with another Agatha Christie but this book was made into a very fine Ustinov outing back in 1982 and should be on his list there.

Here, Poirot is staying at a remote island resort(that man loves his vacation time, doesn't he?) when one of his fellow guests is found dead upon the beach. Arlena Marshall was a much sought after actress,personally and professionally, and the fact that she was in the midst of many people who would like to see her done away with is an odd one indeed.

Don't get me wrong, I still favor Miss Marple as a Christie sleuth but it's only fair to check out Poirot in print as well. I wonder if Branagh will remake a Miss Marple story-Judi Dench would be perfect for the role,although Angela Lansbury did a fine job in 1980's The Mirror Crack'd. Then again, I'm getting ahead of myself-enjoy the book first and then see if a new movie is made after:

One good thing about the extreme cold is that it gives you a very good excuse to stay in and read. Hopefully, it's not so freezing that your light source and heat source are one and the same. It's better to just be able to bundle up with blankets and sweaters by a cozy lamp and perhaps a warm drink to sip between page turns:

No comments: