Monday, May 14, 2012

Big dog...

Hound of the Baskervilles

This seemed like an episode from the X-files. Dark rooms, foggy moors, frightened client - is he all he seems to be? Big scary dog, CIA plots, illicit drugs. The meaning of "hound." Sherlock admitting his own insecurities, his feelings (of friendship) for Watson. a bit of a mess, really. At least everyone kept his or her clothes on.

I've read and seen so much new Holmes in and out of canon, really got to get back to Conan. Doyle that is...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Series reads

Just re-read the first in C.S. Harris' Regency St. Cyr mysteries, What Angels Fear. Holds up great! I really enjoy these, And reading the 2nd in the Flavia de Luce series, The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. And the latest in the Charles Todd Ian Rutledge series, A Lonely Death Three different Emglands ... Plus Sherlock and Game of Thrones...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wild Things

So sad about Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are was a book I loved to read to my daughter when she was small. And I know what it is to give up being king of all the wild things to go back to the place where someone loves me best of all.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Scandal in Belgravia -- last night's Sherlock

Watched last night's Sherlock, the first in Series 2, Scandal in Belgravia. This series, if you don't know, features Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson. These two are soon to be united in The Hobbit, where Freemen is Bilbo and Cumberbatch is Smaug. That should be fun.

Stephen Moffat, who also produces and writes the BBC's 11th Dr. Who, wrote this episode, and produces this new Sherlock series for the BBC. Anyway, last night's was fast paced and a bit hard to follow. I may have to watch it again.

A lot of women with crushes on Sherlock "smart is the new sexy" well duh!, a lot of cell phone and laptop finagling; Watson writes a blog that everyone reads including the Queen, I guess this is to show how much it's updated. Watson is just back from the modern war in Afghanistan, actually a sad commentary on 20th century geopolitics. Irene Adler is a very well-placed sex worker and dominatrix who teases and possibly is even smarter than Sherlock. She is a joy to watch, a lot of fun. Lots of twists and turns. A scandal that will bring down the British government or so Mycroft says. "Jim" Moriarity is genuinely scary. My husband and I enjoyed it. I need to go back and read the original. Before next week...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What am I if not a "thinking woman?"

I just learned of this list. I have read and reviewed several of these authors (Barron, Bradley, Winspear, and King) but this list (and the comments that follow) seem like a good source for more reading inspiration. Always looking for a good read! And suggestions of Nancy Means Wright's Mary Wolstonnecraft series and Tana French's Irish mysteries sound appealing. To the library! To the e-downloads!

The lucidity of Flavia De Luce

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley

The first in this series about 11-year old accidental detective and genius Flavia de Luce is a whiff of carbon tetrachloride scented fresh air in 1950's England. Flavia is a lonely half-orphaned little girl with two awful older sisters and a grief-stricken father living in a stuffy Agatha-esque village. Flavia tools around on her ancient bicycle Gladys like Harriet the Spy (perhaps not coincidentally the name of her dead mother) or experiments in her sparkling heirloom chemistry lab in the De Luce ancestral pile. She specializes in poison. This book won the 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel but for some reason, it took me a while to read it.

It is original, kind of spare and maddening, a tale told (not by an idiot) by a meddling kid/genius. It is also very, very funny.

I am gratified there are now five more in the series!

# 9 Maisie -- Elegy for Eddie

Jacqueline Winspear
Elegy for Eddie

For fans of Maisie, the latest brings us just a little further toward World War II and further in the saga of Maisie, whose many virtues have been repaid by inheriting a fortune, running a successful business, and dating her former employer, a viscount no less. Although I enjoy this series, I can't bring myself to like the self-righteous but self-denying Maisie. Despite her outrageous good fortune, she can't bring herself to enjoy anything and bosses everyone around. It's a bit hard to take.

Other characters like her assistant Billy and his troubled wife Doreen, friend Priscilla, and her dad Frankie are more interesting.

I have to admit the recreation of the between the wars setting with England still reeling from WWI is fascinating. It makes it a little easier to understand those who would have appeased Hitler to keep the peace. Winspear does a great job of invoking the tensions of the class system and the vanishing rural fiefdoms during this time when the old world is being swept away. Her dad's world of horses is ending forever with the rise of the motorcar. Winspear does a great job of capturing the oughts (1900s) to 30s time of "lost forever" worlds and drastic social change.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gods of Gotham

The Gods of Gotham
Lyndsay Faye

I reported on Faye's Sherlock mystery Dust and Shadow in a recent post and found it very fine, if Sherlock did seem a bit too high strung. And Sherlock is hot!

I just finished her more recent Gods of Gotham and I found it excellent. Fans of the Alienist and Gangs of New York will find it familiar territory. Descriptive and enchanting but also horrifying as Irish children working as prostitutes are apparently being murdered and cut apart. It's set during a time when Irish immigrants flood into the city in the wake of the potato famine, threatening "Americans," with their strange religion and different ways.

Tim Wilde, a bartender and burn victim, takes up the copper star of the new police force. Gods is a great read if you like thick atmosphere and historical settings and language, such as its use of the "flash" thieves cant or slang, and the dark visions of the city in the 19th century. Having read a little of that history and about the archaeology of the 19th century Five Points slum, I know Ms. Faye's research is meticulous and rich. She also brings to life a fascinating cast of characters, both real and fictional, from the real police chief Mattson to the fictional Wilde brothers, Mercy Underhill, Bird Daly, Mrs. Boehm, the child newsboys and child prostitutes, and the wild assortment of "copper stars" the early NYPD of 1845. This is very good stuff.