If you’re like me, you’ve been continuing to miss the Dr. Rosalie de Rosset classic book club on the former Moody program Midday Connection, along with the book club that hosts Anita Lustrea and Lori Neff began. I keep coming in contact with other people on social media who long for it back again as well. I have good news! Anita and Lori have begun a new book club again on Anita’s podcast, “Faith Conversations.” Lori Neff is now in the publishing industry with IVP, and a great one for book suggestions. I am so pleased to have a new program to listen to! Their first book club pick is: “When Mockingbirds Sing,” by Billy Coffey. They will be discussing the read in a later podcast. Check it out!
Tag Archives: mystery
Plot Summary: Set at the turn of the century, career woman Ruth Thorne is on leave from her job as a journalist to stay at her aunt’s house by the sea. While there, she uncovers a mystery in the attic concerning an old wedding dress, some newspaper clippings, and a lantern she is instructed to leave by the window every night. How do all of these things tie together? Who is the reclusive neighbor dressed in lavender and old lace? And who is that charming young fellow down the lane?
My Book Review: Another sweet, light vintage read for me this year, simply dripping with mystery, lace, and romance. I think I probably wanted to read this just because of the title.
I loved the character of Miss Ainslie the most! This is the reclusive older woman who lives next door to Ruth’s aunt, and the two used to be close friends. I simply loved the description of her eclectic house and garden, and it made for a beautiful atmosphere. Any scene which took place with Miss Ainslie had my attention. The following is one of my favorite quotes I took from the book:
“The world had seemingly given up its beauty to adorn Miss Ainslie’s room. She had pottery from Mexico, China, and Japan; strange things from Egypt and the Nile, and all the Oriental splendor of the India and Persia.”
I also enjoyed the witty, humorous banter between Ruth and her lover. However, the book felt somewhat unbalanced as their romance took place too fast. Then halfway through the story, Ruth’s aunt came back home from vacation dragging her long lost man behind her and that plot twist just felt too painful. I was expecting Aunt Jane to be a mature, interesting person and looked forward to meeting her, but when she was introduced to the story I found her to be pitiful and short-sighted. I would have felt sorry for her new husband, but I didn’t much like him either.
As much as I liked Miss Ainslie, she was also to be pitied as she goes through her daily ritual of being true to her own long lost love with no compensation after decades of loyalty. I found the whole story too unbelievable and miserable. Honestly, I was glad when I was done with it.
If you like the hopelessly romantic stories of L. M. Montgomery, you may find some enjoyment out of this. Otherwise, I personally did not enjoy it and don’t particularly recommend.
You can listen to this book for free here.
I also recommend…
Although it may seem like I’ve been getting into a blogging rut of recent months, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for keeping on and not quitting. I don’t want to quit even if things have been busy and hectic sometimes.
And I still have new blogging goals. Some I will not be making public yet for a while with them, and others I will start during now during the mid year. This revamping is not so much a revamp of the blog, as it is of my reading routines, but the routines will be showing a little difference here on the blog.
So, without further ado, I unmask my newest reading goal, and that is to join The Classics Club. This is where I make a list of 50+ classics I plan on reading at least within the next five years and blog about them, then link them to The Classics Club blog. I have decided to do this because 1) the goal was doable; 2) I read classics anyway; 3) I’ve discovered some really lovely book blogs out there that I didn’t know existed through TCC; 4) I would love to meet and interact with some other like-minded book lovers out there!
Below I will be sharing my curated list of classics I plan on reading. Let it be known that I am using the word ‘classic’ loosely to suit my own tastes, which tend to be a lot of vintage dime thrillers. I still have no desire to jump into War and Peace. But I believe that if a book is an oldie and has at least stood the test of time well enough for me to have an interest in reading it, it must be a classic, right? I also have many children’s classics, but that was in no way meant to cheat. I appreciate any good story! And lest anyone shouts my list is ‘No fair!”, I will refer you to the several below that are more ‘serious’ works of literature. I avoided repeating authors or books from the same series in order to keep the variety.
The list may be subject to change:
Main 50 Classics Club List:
–The Blue Castle, by L. M. Montgomery
–The Borrowers Afield, by Mary Norton
–Miss Billy, by Eleanor H. Porter
–The Seven Conundrums, by E. Phillips Oppenheim
–Return to Gone-Away, by Elizabeth Enright
–The Cloister and the Hearth, by Charles Reade
–The Brass Bottle, by F. Anstey
–The Shaving of Shagpat, by George Meredith
–The Film Mystery, by Arthur B. Reeve
–The Phoenix and the Carpet, by Edith Nesbit
–The Flaming Forest, by James Oliver Curwood
–Captain Blood Returns, by Rafael Sabatini
–King Solomon’s Mines, by H. Rider Haggard
–Dead Men’s Money, by J. S. Fletcher
–The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
–Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope
–John Jago’s Ghost, by Wilkie Collins
–The Passenger from Calais, by Arthur Griffiths
–The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay
–Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief, by Maurice LeBlanc
–The Amazing Interlude, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
–Alice in Blunderland, by John Kendrick Bangs
–At the Appointed Time, by Anna Maynard Barbour
–Wired Love, by Ella Cheever Thayer
–The Heart’s Kingdom, by Maria Thompson Davies
–Basil Howe, by G. K. Chesterton
–Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake
–The Fisherman’s Lady, by George MacDonald
–The Maid of Sker, by R. D. Blackmore
–Miss Cayley’s Adventures, by Grant Allen
–Down the Garden Path, by Beverley Nichols
–The Willows, by Algernon Blackwood
–The Mystery of the Blue Train, by Agatha Christie
–Mr. Harrison’s Confessions, by Elizabeth Gaskell
–The Man Who Lost Himself, by H. de Vere Stacpoole
–The Laughing Cavalier, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
–The Green Rust, by Edgar Wallace
–A Fair Barbarian, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
–The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte
–Villette, by Charlotte Bronte
–The New Chronicles of Rebecca, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
–The Blessing of Pan, by Lord Dunsany
–The Palace in the Garden, by Mary Louisa Molesworth
–A Spinner in the Sun, by Myrtle Reed
–Trent’s Last Case, by E. C. Bentley
–The Forsaken Inn, by Anna Katharine Green
–Paradise Lost, by James Milton
–Nothing So Strange, by James Hilton
–Love Insurance, by Earl derr Biggers
–The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
Version: 2015; starring Martin Clunes; Hattie Morahan; Michael Gregson
Genre: mystery; period drama; biographical
Plot Summary: George Edalji is the son of a respectable vicar from India, under suspicion of murder. Sir Arthur is a famous mystery writer grieving the death of his wife. The two are fatefully connected and the latter takes it upon himself to clear Edalji’s name so he and his family can live in peace. But things are not so clear cut and simple as they seemed at the beginning. The details of the case get weirder and weirder, and the body count rises. Can Arthur Doyle solve the mystery in time, or is George really guilty of the crimes?
My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not be comparing it to that novel. Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.
I’d been seeing the book at the library lately, and was itching to watch something other than Downton Abbey on PBS, so I gave this movie a shot. I’m so glad I did!
Atmosphere, suspense, historical period setting—all the ingredients for the perfect mystery are present in this Masterpiece film! Everything from creepy music, tweed suits, Clunes’ Scottish accent, the glow of candles, and the crunch of autumn leaves contributed to the mysterious atmosphere that pervaded throughout all three episodes of the story. It kept my attention well, and although I had to rewind to catch certain details and may not have followed the plot/motives entirely, I still highly enjoyed watching it. I’m not sure how much was based on actual truth or if it was pure fiction, but I found the actors believable, and Martin Clunes especially so in the role of Dr. Doyle.
During the course of the story, we discover that Sir Arthur is filled with remorse over the fact that he had an admiration for another woman while his wife was still living. I appreciated this element. Later, Doyle pursues a relationship with the woman he loves, and when accusations are thrown against it, he insists he had never used her as his mistress. The rest of the film is pretty clean, except for perhaps mild swearing, some unsightly animal killings and a rather gruesome death at the end. Probably the most unsettling is the pervading sense of unease throughout, which I found to be quite fun!
If you’re in the mood for a spooky-strange mystery, I’m sure you will enjoy this Victorian-era flick!
Version: 2008; starring David Suchet.
Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] “A pair of photographs are the only clues that Poirot has to solve the murder of a village charwoman, and to prove the innocence of the victim’s lodger.”
My Review: To be honest, it’s been a long time since I read this particular Poirot mystery. I remember it had a lot of female characters, and it was the first time I had read anything where the character Ariadne Oliver made an appearance. I also remember I enjoyed the mystery a lot, because it featured a common storytelling technique of Christie’s, which is to involve a mystery with roots beginning far back decades ago and the detective must piece together how the current generation of characters are affiliated with the past. I couldn’t recall the details, however, such as who was killed, who had done it or why.
This is one of the more recent Poirot productions starring David Suchet, compared with when they first started filming them in the 1980’s. The quality of it is very good, and I loved the creepy atmosphere of the film! The period set contributed heavily to this, along with a swirl of yellowed dead leaves, and the signature Poirot music. Love, love, love it!
Another thing I appreciated was that this murder mystery wasn’t gorey and it didn’t make me feel too uncomfortable. On the flip side, it could also be considered predictable. I cannot verify if it stayed true to the book, but to the best of my memory I believe it was for the most part. Poirot was his lovable old self, and the new role of Ms. Oliver (played by Zoe Wanamaker) was totally convincing as the Agatha Christie-herself-inspired character.
This movie makes for great autumn entertainment, so grab a comfy blanket, slippers, and hot cocoa, and have fun some evening! 🙂