The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin, #15) by M.C. Beaton

bookshelves: cotswolds, paris, published-2004, series, mystery-thriller, tbr-busting-2014, autumn-2014

Read from September 07 to 08, 2014

 

Read by Donada Peters

Description: Infuriated that her holiday was ruined by a mugging, Agatha Raisin decides to open up her own detective agency. The romance-minded sleuth is thrilled by visions of handsome fellow gumshoes and headline-making crimes—but soon finds the only cases she can get are a non-glamorous lot of lost cats and an errant teenager. But when a wealthy divorcée hires the agency to investigate a death threat against her daughter Cassandra, Agatha thwarts a vicious attack on the heiress bride. Now Agatha is in hot pursuit of the culprit. But when the groom’s father turns up dead, Agatha must untangle a growing list of suspects, from Carsely’s quiet village lanes to Paris’ most fashionable streets. Soon the willfully undaunted Agatha is in trouble with French and British police; on the outs (again) with old friends—and dead in the sights of a murderer.

Aggie is an annoying protagonist however one gets used to her to the point of addiction. This is the one where Ms Raisin cooks a Christmas dinner in the village hall for her neighbours.

3* – The Quiche of Death
3* – The Vicious Vet
3* – The Potted Gardener
3* – The Walkers of Dembley
3* – The Murderous Marriage
2* – The Terrible Tourist
3* – The Wellspring of Death
3* – The Wizard of Evesham
3* – The Witch of Wyckhadden
3* – The Fairies of Fryfam
3* – The Love from Hell
3* – The Day the Floods came
3* – The Case of the Curious Curate
3* – The Haunted House
3* – The Deadly Dance

The Vesuvius Club (Lucifer Box,#1) by Mark Gatiss

 

Description: Following a dinnertime assassination, Lucifer is dispatched to uncover the whereabouts of missing agent Jocelyn Poop. Along the way he will give art lessons, be attacked by a poisonous centipede, bed a few choice specimens, and travel to Italy on business and pleasure. Aided by his henchwoman Delilah; the beautiful, mysterious, and Dutch Miss Bella Pok; his boss, a dwarf who takes meetings in a lavatory; grizzled vulcanologist Emmanuel Quibble; and the impertinent, delicious, right-hand-boy Charlie Jackpot, Lucifer Box deduces and seduces his way from his elegant townhouse at Number 9 Downing Street (somebody has to live there) to the ruined city of Pompeii, to infiltrate a highly dangerous secret society that may hold the fate of the world in its clawlike grip

Opening words:
I have always been an appalling judge of character. It is my most beguiling virtue. What, then, did I make of the Honourable Everard Supple whose likeness I was conjuring on to canvas in my studio that sultry July evening?

I have waded through some guff this week – now it’s the WHEEEEEEEKEND and I return my thoughts and random snerkles to this, whilst intermittently ‘avast’ing away with snippets of teh ‘enry Morgan. Tell me what could be better and I will call you a liar.

Fun but less so from The Pale Man onwards.

The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjöberg

bookshelves: summer-2014, translation, sweden, net-galley, e-book, entomology, nonfiction, published-2004

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Read from July 10 to 15, 2014

 

Translated by Thomas Teal

Front quote is fun;

There are only three subjects: love death and flies. Ever since man was invented, this emotion, this fear and the presence of these insects have been his constant companions. Other people can take care of the first two subjects. Me, I just concern myself with flies – a much greater theme than man, though maybe not greater than women.–Augusto Monterosso

Description: Fredrik Sjöberg’s mesmerising Swedish bestseller on travel, the joy of collecting and discovering the hidden wonders of life.

The hoverflies are only props. No, not only, but to some extent. Here and there, my story is about something else. Some days I tell myself that my mission is to say something about the art and sometimes the bliss of limitation. And the legibility of landscape. Other days are more dismal. As if I were standing on queue in the rain outside confessional literature’s nudist colony, mirrors everywhere, blue with cold.

Warm, funny and insightful, The Fly Trap is a meditation on collecting; be it hoverflies or fine art. A fascinating web of associations, it begins with Sjöberg’s own tranquil experience as an entomologist on a remote island in Sweden, and takes in heroic historical expeditions to Burma and the wilderness of Kamchatka. Along the way, Sjoberg pauses to reflect on a range of ideas – slowness, art, freedom, – drawing other great writers, like D.H Lawrence and Bruce Chatwin, into dialogue. From the everyday to the exotic, The Fly Trap revels in the wonder of the natural world and leaves a trail of memorable images and stories.’A rare masterpiece . . . graceful, poetic, astonishing and – yes! – absolutely thrilling’ Jyllands Posten’Sjöberg has a witty, erudite, incisive tone reminiscent of travellers and anthropologists such as Barlow, Chatwin or even Robert Byron’ Swedish Book ReviewFredrik Sjöberg is an entomologist and lives with his family on the island Runmarö, in the archipelago east of Stockholm. He is also a literary critic, translator, cultural columnist and the author of several books including The Art of Flight and The Raisin King, which accompany The Fly Trap.

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Opening:The Curse of the Starving Class: It was during the times I spent wandering the streets Nybroplan with a lamb in my arms. I remember it so well. Spring had come. The air was dry, almost dusty. The air was chilly but still carried the smell of the earth and last year’s leaves, warmed by the sun.

Opening. Short choppy sentences. May turn out to be a problem. We shall see.

Later: a fun read, loved the whimsy and the rambling, and Hej! who knew THAT about Peter Stormare; August Strindberg is shown to great effect too.

I have a neice who is obsessed with butterflies – she and her professor flit around the Lund area just as Fredrik did/does on Runmarö, so I get the compulsive side of collecting.

The writing style became reader friendly soon enough and in fact some sections are, to me, very amusing; take this snippet re hoverfly collectors:

‘We are quiet, contemplative people, and our behaviour in the field is relatively aristocratic. Running is not necessarily beneath our dignity but it is in any case pointless because the flies move much too fast. Consequencly, we stand still, as if on guard, and moreover almost exclusively in blazing sunshine, little breeze and fragrant flowers. Passersby can therefore easily get the impression that the fly hunter is a convalescent of some kind, momentarily lost in meditation. This is not wholly inaccurate.’

‘Of all the hoverflies in the country, criorhina ranunculi is not only one of the largest and most beautiful, it is also so rare that in the early 1990s the decision was made to list it as extinct in Sweden.’

Dr René Edmond Malaise (1892-1978) was a Swedish entomologist, explorer and art collector who is mostly known for his invention of the Malaise trap and his systematic collection of thousands of insects. — Wiki sourced

Lovely read. Rating is three and a half malaise traps.

Cold Heart, Cruel Hand: A Novel Of Hereward The Wake and The Fen Rebellion of 1070-1071 by Laurence J. Brown, Derek Richardson

bookshelves: published-2004, historical-fiction, conflagration, britain-england, medieval5c-16c, revenge, war, norfolk, paper-read

Read in June, 2009


My cover is unavailable on GR:

Dedication: For Kaye, with love

Front Quote:

Cold heart and cruel hand
Now rule across the land

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

Opening:

1070
They left York by the Jubber Gate, what remained of it, like thieves in the night. Behind them smoke from the blackened timbers of the burning City billowed skywards, choking the night air, obscuring the moon, covering their escape.

[..]the fens, a stinking wilderness of sky and mud. It was rumoured that the fen dwellers had webbed feet, that nature had intervened to prevent them sinking into the endless marshland.

Sweyn II Estridson (Svend Estridsen) April 28, 1074

A great fictional read about a very obscure part of English medieval history, although a proof reader would not have gone amiss and the book length may have been reduced by, say, four pages if all the modern curses had been taken away. But I loved it, all those ‘bloody’ villains – and what about the coracle action to set the bridge aflame.

Yes, loves me some neat coracle action.

Seeing that history can never be construed as a spoiler, I will add that Hereward ultimately loses the battle to keep the Isle of Ely out of The Conqueror’s hands.

3.5* upped to 4* for a great hero.

The Horns of the Buffalo

bookshelves: winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, published-2004, fraudio, historical-fiction, under-100-ratings, afr-s-africa, britain-wales, first-in-series, newtome-author, victoriana, series, palate-cleanser

Read from February 13 to 14, 2014

Book………………The Horns of the Buffalo
Author…………….John Wilcox
Series…………….Simon Fonthill
No………………..01
Narrator…………..Graham Padden
Abr/Unabr………….Unabridged
Genre……………..Adventure
Source…………….20 Tapes

COVER BLURBS:In 1879, the British redcoats are universally regarded as the finest fighting force in the world. Among them is Lieutenant Simon Fonthill, dispatched to South Africa with much to prove: for Colonel Covington, his former Commanding Officer, has slanderously branded him a coward. In the Cape, tension is high. The Zulus, an independent nation of magnificently militant tribesmen, threaten the colonial government’s vision of a united South Africa. And Simon has been chosen for a particularly dangerous mission: to travel deep into Zululand to discover the intentions of the king. Simon encounters violence and imprisonment before he is faced with his greatest challenge. Escaping from the massacre at the Battle of Isandlwana, he must warn the tiny garrison at Rorke’s Drift of the threat posed by advancing Zulu impis. He has a chance to prove Covington a liar, but he may pay the ultimate price.

About The Author: John Wilcox. An inability to do sums and a nascent talent to string words together steered me towards journalism – that and the desire to wear a trenchcoat, belted with a knot, just like Bogart.

About The Reader: Graham Padden. Graham’s work on screen includes Doctor Who, Casualty, The Kindness of Strangers, Why We Went to War, Derailed, Casanova. He has been heard in many radio dramas, including David Edgar’s Playing with Fire, Lorna Doone, Blake’s 7, and The Archers. He has recorded 60 audio books. He has had 3 plays produced.

A story of Rourke’s Drift. Excellent writing, lovely narration and I especially liked 352 Jenkins.

3* The Horns of the Buffalo

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