Tag Archives: country houses

Death Comes to Pemberley by JP.D. James

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

P.D. James, I loved The Children of Men. I even bought a copy of it to write a paper comparing it to another book for no other reason than that I found it that fascinating and intriguing. I’ve enjoyed the other books of yours I read. You are, or sadly were, an author for whom I have great respect. I just want to know, what happened with Death Comes to Pemberley?

I think I could have liked this book. I found the premise interesting and I have a long-running adoration of Pride and Prejudice. This though? This was tawdry. It went for sensationalism in a way Austen would find anathema. The characters were shadows, the plot was both weak and made me sad, and the book left me feeling irritable for days. Months later the primary thought I have about this is, “Damn authors, get off my lawn!” I even created a shelf with that name.

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Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 10

Worst Books Read in 2011

10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale

I first encountered The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher in a review a few years ago and loved the idea. Unfortunately, came nowhere near living up to its potential. While the underlying story was fascinating, its telling was dull, had polemic tendencies, and overall fell far short of the English fiction it is said to have inspired.

Original Review

Review: Changeless

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While not quite as good as Soulless, Changeless was a delightful read and exactly what I needed to cleanse my brain after reading American Psycho. Gail Carriger writes good, funny yarns. There is a definite amount of repetition, but it can be forgiven. I can’t bring myself to say that her stories and characters are original, but there is a certain freshness to her stories. Perhaps it is the way her points of view are written or the very, very mild inclusion of a few steampunk elements. Regardless, I look forward to continuing the series. I mean, how often are Victorian romances & fantasy mixed without being tedious? Not often enough, I say.

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Review: Death of a Cad

Death of a Cad (Hamish Macbeth, #2)Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Death of a Cad was a definite improvement on the preceding Hamis Macbeth mystery. M.C. Beaton seems to have found her stride in the genre and the characters are far more developed. We learn more about Hamish and his object of affection, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. We also receive further proof that both the Scottish Highlands and country houses are dangerous. Also dangerous are artists and pushy fiances. (Naturally, as someone who has read many of the Regency novels the author writes as Marion Chesney I was previously aware of the trouble the latter can bring.) Overall, this was a delightful and light read. I recommend it to any fans of the English mystery genre.

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Review: The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Forget cabins in remote wooded places or suspicious small towns; I am convinced that English country houses, particularly in cloudy areas, are the most dangerous places to live or visit. At best, you’ll be robbed of something valuable. Maybe something you own will turn out to be cursed. Most likely you or someone else in the house will be brutally murdered. If you’re lucky, that is. The characters in The Turn of the Screw do not get off so lightly. The book is narrated from the point of view of a governess who may or may not be insane and includes such staples as precocious and creepy orphans, possible ghosts, mysterious pasts, and a handsome but distant master. A very good book to read for Halloween and one which will likely be argued over until the end of humanity.

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Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Given how many of [a:Agatha Christie|123715|Agatha Christie|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1190633574p2/123715.jpg]’s works I read as an adolescent, I was somewhat astounded to realize as I read that I had not read [b:The Mysterious Affair at Styles|140290|The Mysterious Affair at Styles|Agatha Christie|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1207178577s/140290.jpg|3366260]. Written in 1916 and set during the first World War, it introduces us to both Hastings and Hercule Poirot. Like the first Miss Marple book, it is primarily fascinating because of the “origin story” aspect. Both characters became more fascinating over time as Christie developed them. That being said, this was a delightful read filled with the red herrings and twists that made Dame Agatha a master of the genre. I highly recommend this for any aficionado of English mysteries.

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