This Is a Mysteriously Good Book Thursday

Since February is the month of the dead, I’ve decided to read mysteries until March.  Of course, it’s also the month with Valentine’s Day in it, so there may be romances in there, too.   What’s your poison for February reading?

63 thoughts on “This Is a Mysteriously Good Book Thursday

  1. I’m reading Ngaio Marsh’s “Scales of Justice.” It’s sooo mid twentieth British. I love it and at times I’m confused. Characters hint about things and it’s all very class oriented and passive aggressive. It almost feels like reading a book in a different language where you know subtle things are sailing over your head.

    I kind of love it even more for that reason.

    2+

  2. I’m working my way through the Ian Rutledge mysteries. I really like them, but he’s not arcing much, and that’s starting to get annoying. Good writing, though.

    0

    1. A character who doesn’t arc through their own series….? Sounds like slow poison to me.

      I’m about to start on Cradle to Grave, by Aline Templeton. Fifth in a series I’ve been enjoying. Seacoast town in Scotland, featuring DI Marjory Fleming, who, with her husband, also run the family sheep farm.

      0

      1. The series plays out in real time. That is I think the entire series covers about a year and a half, so he doesn’t have as much time to recover, and his trauma is severe. The books are set just after WWI and he was in the trenches. So the slow pace of his recovery is believable. I think the problem is that I’m binging them, which is just not a good idea. No matter who you binge, after awhile the sameness gets to you. They’re very good books.

        3+

        1. They are wonderful, and I binged as well, and yeah, the arc is pretty subtle. I *think* he’s coping a little better by the end of the most recent one, but since it’s a two-steps-forward-one-step-back process, he could go kablooey once again in the next installment. Still, wonderful, and evocative of a time and place.

          0

          1. It’s lovely for time, place, and character. But I’m on book ten now, and I’m getting really tired of his superintendent trying to sabotage him, and all these beautiful women showing up that he can’t connect to, and Hamish in general. That stuff keeps repeating without changing. I’ll still read the last five books because they’re great mysteries, but I’m not devouring these last ones the way I ripped through the first few.

            There’s also one that’s a prequel about Rutledge before the war, and I don’t want to read that one. The Rutledge I’m invested in is in 1920, not getting engaged to the Awful Jean. It’s back story. I think if I were fascinated about the character, I’d want that, but I’m not. He’s a great character, but I want to see him in action now.

            0

      1. I’ll try those when I finish Book Fifteen in the Rutledge series. It really is a great collaboration.

        0

  3. February is my birth month. Yes, I’m taking the whole month because it’s short and I’m old. Also it has a bonus point of Valentine’s Day so it’s a twofer. Last week I discovered through my library’s website that I can also get e-books through another network, who knew! And if either library network does not have the e-book I can put in a recommendation. Well I started on that right away only to discover that there is a limit, another who knew. So I began on book bundles but it all depends if the libraries want to purchase them. Probably qualifies as an Argh. Currently I am reading a new to me series by A. E. Howe of Larry Macklin’s mysteries. About an investigator in Florida who doesn’t want to be in law enforcement but his father is the sheriff.

    5+

  4. I’m finding a sense of calm. The small stuff need not be sweat!

    I still get mad at obvious double standards and hypocrisy. Yay for first round of meds!!! Hopefully everything else falls into place as a result of me actually wanting to take action.

    I started the next Rookery Rogues called Secrets in Scarlet and OMG it is so good that I had to slow down again. Erica Monroe y’all. Go get it.

    2+

  5. I’ve got a hovering headache from wrestling with Instagram. I did win in the end, but will probably just shoot squares in future. I still don’t know why it finally displayed my original crop. And WHY does it have a link to the app that only shows up on my iMac yet the app’s only for iOS??? I’ve searched and searched the app store on my iPad, and squirrelled through the Instagram website, yet there’s no sign of the app when Ikm on my iPad. I obviously don’t need it – I just used the website – but in that case why wouldn’t it let me post a photograph straight from my iMac? I had to email it to my iPad instead.

    I really hated the whole experience. Talk about control-freakery! I’m tempted to post to my own blog instead, but of course I’d miss out on the group experience then.

    Sorry to be off-topic, but I needed to let off steam.

    0

  6. I’m currently reading Tessa Dare, and Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid Novels, I like that it goes through different family members, I’m excited to get to the one on Antimony Price, but I have to say something about the books drag for me. I find myself skipping paragraphs to get to the parts I want to read. Its rare for me to find a series that I’m in-between about. I want to read them to find out what happens, enough so I don’t skip to the end but at the same time I find them a little boring. Now there are some hysterical one liners. So conflicted! Any suggestions as why I’m struggling with these books?

    3+

  7. I haven’t been sharing my reading material lately because I am in a “bah humbug” attitude toward new things I have tried, and keep going back to things I have read a thousand times – Kerry Greenwood, Lois McMaster Bujold, and about to re-read some Rex Stout. I know ya’all already know about these delights.

    3+

  8. Mysteries are my favorite, and you can simply never go wrong reading Louise Penny. I will never tire of Three Pines.

    2+

    1. Agreed! I read the series out of order, which screwed up the big story arc that went through the first nine or ten books, but I still loved them.

      When I want something darker, though, I go to Tana French, which are ‘crime novels’, but for purposes of mystery month I think they qualify. Same for the Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London series. I tore through all the novels last summer (after many recs here), but might pick up some of the novellas (or are they short stories?), as I miss that world.

      2+

  9. I just finished “First Impressions” by Charlie Lovett. Which since I finished it Jan 31 maybe can get grandfathered in? It’s a literary mystery with a good whiff of romance, and it has a happy ending, which made *me* very happy because the last few literary things I have read ended up with the fictional Discovery getting destroyed so you end up back at the status quo real life, which, I mean, it’s FICTION. Just keep the Discovery! Anyway, no spoilers, but if you read it you’ll know what I meant. 🙂

    I had previously read Lovett’s “The Bookman’s Tale” and liked that as well though it was not so complete a satisfaction. Will be adding his new one to my wishlist.

    1+

  10. I just read IF WE WERE VILLAINS, by M. L. Rio, an impressive first novel about murder among a very tight group of Shakespeare students at an exclusive arts college. It’s very very literary, and it helps if you’re reasonably familiar with the Bard, but I thought it was a hoot.

    Now I’m working on the collected Hercule Poirot short stories. I read all the novels decades ago, but I’m not really up on the short stories except as dramatizations.

    1+

  11. I am almost halfway through In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. It is a seriously beautifully written book. Just gorgeous. I am pacing myself because it is short.

    Up next is the Book of Hygge. I tried a book on Wabi Sabi and that didn’t gel. I am hopeful about Danish wisdom, though.

    3+

  12. I’m copy editing a pre-WW I mystery that’s due out in October–charming characters and good writing. It’s always nice to enjoy the books I edit. Makes the job go along so much nicer.

    For pleasure, I’m reading The Good Sister by Maggie Christensen–pretty good women’s fiction so far. I’m not too far into it.

    4+

  13. Just finishing up Tessa Dare’s “Do You Want to Start A Scandal” (Spindle Cove #5) which fittingly has a wee mystery in it! Next on my list is David Duchovny’s “Bucky F*cking Dent” but I’ve already started and stopped and might head to another romance first.

    If you like real contemporary mysteries, my friend Joanna Schaffhausen has a new book out as of December called “The Vanishing Season.” Fairly gritty murder mystery procedural with psychological elements (and some triggers for childhood kidnapping and sexual abuse, but it’s more evocative than graphic). Mysteries aren’t my normal wheelhouse but I think it’s good so I have no problem plugging it! 😉 It’s on Amazon and in bookstores. She won a big award (Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition) for it and Macmillan published it as part of the prize. Whoot whoot! Any questions, feel free to ask.

    3+

  14. I just finished the Misadventures of the Laundry Hag: Skeletons in the Closet. It’s by Jennifer L Hart. Found the main characters to be fun.

    1+

  15. I just finished reading book I very much enjoyed but I can’t say what it is because I’m judging it for a contest. It held my reading slump at bay, but now what? I don’t know…

    I needed to do something to honor Ursula K. LeGuin’s passing, so I bought the whole Earthsea series in paper. I never buy paper any more, but I wanted this in paper.

    3+

    1. I had exactly the same impulse. I’ve been re-reading a book of her short stories called The Wind’s Twelve Quarters. It has two wonderful stories in it, which I always find myself wanting to buttonhole strangers to make them read.

      The most relevant one is probably Winter’s King, where Le Guin republishes a tale she wrote before she did Left Hand of Darkness, about a king from that novel’s setting who leaves planet to avoid becoming the tool of insurgents. In this version, the author corrects the pronouns to honor what emerged as an androgyne society in Darkness. Oddly impactful.

      But the sweetest story is a very short one called April in Paris, about a medieval scholar who casts a spell by accident and emerges to find a wonderful transformed world. I love it more every time I read it.

      Neither of these are exactly mysteries, but both are still full of a mysterious sort of atmosphere, which I feel sort of counts.

      2+

  16. I just binge-read the first three in the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, and am about to start the fourth. It took me a while to get into the first one, but after that I couldn’t stop. Eugenides the Thief is brilliant. I am in awe of authors who can make their characters suffer greatly and still keep me reading.

    4+

    1. I absolutely love this series! I envy you reading it for the first time. I have read the whole series at least 3 or 4 (truthfully, at least 5 or 6) times.

      2+

  17. I’ve been re-reading while sick, so I don’t have anything to recommend. The next couple of weeks’ reading will be mysteries, though. JD Robb’s Dark in Death and Deanna Raybourn’s A Treacherous Curse are next up, and the first Ian Rutledge book arrives tomorrow. Then the plan is to re-read the first two Rockton books in preparation for the third. I want to get back to the historical mysteries I have piled up, but after all the mysteries I have planned for now, my mood may shift. I also got Michael Gilbert’s Long Journey Home for Christmas, and I really want to read that, so hopefully I can shuffle it in among the library books this month before I feel the need to switch genres.

    1+

  18. I find that lately I’m missing the world of the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer Series by Melanie Card. It starts with Ward against Death, and is a little bit fantasy, mystery, and romance throughout the series.
    Perfect, really, for the month of Death and Romance.

    1+

  19. I’m reading Susan Mallery’s new women’s fiction, Sisters Like Us. No mystery, but very good.

    And revising my own book, so reading and rereading that until I am heartily sick of it. I think the only mystery there is why ANYONE is an author 🙂

    3+

  20. I’m loving Manners & Mutiny, the last book of the Custard Protocol series (Gail Carriger), then will finish Sense & Sensibility & Seamonsters (loved the first half, but feel free to freak out if you are an Austen purist). Then, the TBR pile includes Lost Lake (Sarah Addison Allen) and a Mercedes Lackey title I can’t remember. Looks like I’m needing lots of romance, swashbuckling and some supernatural creatures to get through February in Chicago.

    2+

  21. Rest Ye Merry, Charlotte MacLeod. Pub date is 1978, but the staid world of a stalwart crime-solving academic reads decades earlier. In the midst of a hang-on cold and a foot injury, I needed a deep plunge into a cozy, though dangerous world. This book supplied that getaway and a setting which requires an emergence at the end of page-turning. Begins by following the Crusie Rule: a solid, dependable world changes abruptly.

    2+

    1. Before I overdosed on mysteries, I was a big Charlotte MacLeod fan. I loved the backgrounds and that the detectives were such relatable characters.

      2+

  22. Is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street a mystery? I don’t know yet, but it looks like it will be. I read The Bedlam Stacks slowly, and wanted more Natasha Pulley, but I can’t make this one last. Alternating between gulping it down and slowing down to savor every sentence.

    3+

  23. I just finished The Art of Running in Heels by Rachel Gibson. It is one of her romances set in the fictional Seattle Chinooks hockey team so there was a little bit of fun seeing how the characters from previous titles (in very brief cameos) were post hockey. It was a nice distraction from the cold weather that just hit here in the Midwest

    Next on the agenda is Thief’s Mark by Carla Neggers.

    1+

  24. I just found this site and beyond excited! I just left Tempation and headed to the Goodnight Art Gallery for the umpteenth time. Still makes me laugh. These days we need laughs.

    2+

  25. One of my favorite books is Possession by A.S. Byatt which begins with a researcher finding a note in a 19th century text. The story proceeds in two times: the present in which scholars rush to figure out the truth of the past, and the past as the original chain of events plays out.

    Byatt’s Possession (1990) influenced Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia (1993). I love both deeply.

    2+

    1. Huh. I have no idea. I tried looking back through the blog just now, and the earliest post on it was March, 2007, but that was for the digital collage. Most of the writing posts I was doing around then were for You Again. It doesn’t do me any good to look on my hard drive because that was two destroyed laptops ago and I’ve lost everything from back then.

      I’m not very organized.

      1+

  26. I’m a bit late to this post, but in case anybody’s interested, Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time is going on BBC Radio 4 iPlayer right now (listenable globally, not just in the UK). It’s in fourteen half-hour parts, although not all the parts are up yet. Read by Paul Young. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007d6gv/episodes/player

    I’m listening to that and reading Heyer mysteries, and I just finished Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious.

    1+

    1. I loved The Daughter of Time. I’m not completely convinced about Richard III, but what Trump’s trying to do to the FBI right now is reinforcing the idea of his comparative innocence.

      1+

  27. I finished a mystery book for another book club early yesterday morning, and am still hugging the story to me. It is a debut novel, The Far Empty, by J. Todd Scott. For fans of the Longmire series, that author Craig Johnson), wrote the cover recommendation. The story is set in the Big Bend area of Texas, and the story is told in multiple viewpoints, one per chapter. There are lines in it that I have to stop and reread because they are just perfectly done. I guess I’m so impressed because this type of book isn’t one I’d seek out myself, as I prefer humor and a lighter touch to a mystery/suspense tale, but he pulled be along and enchanted me the same. His second book, High White Sun, is due to be released on March 20th, and is set in the same locale with a number of the previous characters. I’ve already added myself to the hold list at my library.

    1+

  28. Just finished enjoying Ben Aaronovitch’s sixth London set mystery novel, “The Hanging Tree”. Try his first novel in this series, “Rivers of London”, for a very different take on the supernatural: vivid characters, a distinctive voice and a dry wit.

    2+

  29. You guys are My People- I’ve read and enjoyed pretty much everything mentioned above. So I feel I can confidently recommend someone who hasn’t been mentioned:

    I’ve been binge reading books by Ellie Griffith – two series. The first, the Ruth Galloway Books – are archeological mysteries set in modern Britain. Ellie is a fantastic character, a smart, competent, interesting woman who is also so wonderfully imperfect and real that I feel I’d like to know her in real life.

    The second, the Mystery Men series, is set in Brighton UK in postwar 1950s. Another great series, interesting characters, great setting etc.

    And there’s the delightful Medicus series by Ruth Downie, set in Roman Britain.

    Also, I just discovered there was a Carol O’Connell book I hadn’t read and I snapped that up.

    2+

  30. Just been re-reading Laurie King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. I love that series – it so easily could have been naff, but Mary Russell holds her own.

    1+

    1. Agreed ! Great series and stands up to re-reading. But my favourite Laurie King mystery is “Folly”. When I first read it in a library copy, I went straight out to a bookshop and ordered my own copy. I have not yet found anyone I have lent it to who has not enjoyed it.

      2+

    1. Sounds as if you don’t read ebooks, Nell – but you might want to download the Kindle app to your computer or tablet, just so you could then look at sample pages from the beginning of each book. It’s a great way to decide whether a book’s really for you.

      1+

  31. After checking out the reviews on Kindle and deciding “Yes”, I usually check the availability of a printed copy on Abebooks.com and often find it is cheaper to buy pre-owned (indeed sometimes this turns out to be a remaindered brand new copy).

    1+

  32. I’ve got Ivanhoe in my bag, but for some reason, I’m finding it very hard to get into — I think it’s more that I’m restless and grumpy. I read that first paragraph, and think, “OK. But maybe I better save this for a time when I can really sit and concentrate.” I think I’ve read the first page about four times already, and have put the book down each time.

    1+

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