Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener, by M.C. Beaton



It was quite good. I like Agatha Raisin and her partner-in-investigation, James, well enough to continue reading and their motives for investigating at all seem believable enough in the context of the cozy mystery (mostly just nosiness, but that's a fair motive for the amateur sleuth). And just when I was thinking Agatha and James were working the case backwards by only looking at motive rather than alibis and opportunity, that very point is addressed. Overall, not bad. Also, extra points for creative (if slightly far-fetched) murder scene staging. I won't give it away, but the "potted gardener" is more than just a title pun!

Death of a Prankster: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, by M.C. Beaton



I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time I read it. This was the book that started my love of the Hamish Macbeth books and I can see why. Very entertaining! Plus, I'm a sucker for the "manor house mystery" kind of story, which I believe is among the coziest of cozy mysteries.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Vicious Vet: An Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M.C. Beaton



I liked it. I'm still not quite as intrigued by Agatha as I am by Hamish, but these books aren't bad. I'm glad I'm reading them in order. It took a long time for this murder to even be classified as a murder, and still the list of suspects seemed almost needlessly long. Overall, not bad thought.

***SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT****

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, by Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney



It was cute, instructive and very verbose, but I think I'll much prefer Tim Gunn's second book, in which he talks about his own life and the fabulous people he has met.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blockade Billy & Morality, by Stephen King



Two short stories published together, these are the first Stephen King stories I've read in a long time. As always, he offers a graphic description of violence that is at once intimate and frank, and makes me think of f***ing. I didn't hate either story, but they also didn't make me feel I'd been missing anything all these years since I last read King. I can't for the life of me remember why I'd requested these in the first place.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Beatrice & Virgil, by Yann Martel



I think perhaps I should sit with this book a while before writing about it.

Delicately crafted and filled with meta-story, it is a multi-layered tale of deceptive simplicity. It is about the Holocaust--sort of--but not really. It is essentially about story-telling. How does one speak of--or write about --unspeakable horror?  Can the author's own history and bias ever be separated from the story he tells? Should it be?

The entire novel feels like a thought experiment--one that will linger in my brain for some time to come.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee, by Sarah Silverman



It was funny in parts, revelatory in others (she was a bedwetter until the age of 16!) but it wasn't as enjoyable as Kathy Griffin's book, it never talked about Jimmy Kimmel (curious...) and I'm 75% sure it was heavily ghost-written. I mean, maybe not, since she's more of a comedy writer than Kathy Griffin (who probably did have a ghost writer, but then, she'd probably freely admit it). It was okay. I'd give it a B-.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Quiche of Death: The First Agatha Raisin Mystery, by M.C. Beaton



(Originally published as Agatha Christie and the Quiche of Death)

Things I Didn't Like:
--Rampant homophobia;
--Multiple typos;
--Questionable police procedures.

Things I Did Like:
--Well-paced;
--Multiple red herrings (some subtle);
--Well-described setting.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Death of a Dustman: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, by M.C. Beaton



I liked this one a lot. It's funny when m.C. Beaton uses the same names over again, especially ones that are so uncommon here. For instance, the (fictional) village of Lockdubh has several Angueses, Elspeths, Georgies and Archies. Only one Hamish of course!