Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately - Lots of Mysteries

I'm checking in to talk about some books I've been reading because we've been inundated with illness for over a week here and I can tell ya, it's got me in a mood! But I can always talk about books, and it won't make me sound too cranky so we're all winning. Remember, if you want to find more great reads Jessica is running her WWRW linkup today.

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

Every so often I have to read a mystery novel. And not just any mystery novel, a classic. To me there's nothing so comforting as settling in to an isolated English manor house where a terrible crime has occurred with a set number of suspects and an enigmatic but eccentric master detective. Life just gets better when you're trying to figure out whodunnit. I also want to read every book ever written by Agatha Christie, so this was a natural pick from my shelf. Although a later Poirot novel, this one perfectly combines strange relatives with an eye on inheritance and crimes committed in different locations. Christie's writing only improves the more you read because you come to appreciate her succinct prose and her laser sharp characterizations.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

This is new story of Poirot by an author who has been approved by the Christie estate, which I believe makes this a big deal. It revolves around the murder of three people in the same hotel, and the mystery threads it way through the past connections of the three victims. While the plot was twisty enough to be an original Christie, the author goes to extremes to make Poirot "persnickety" and "eccentric" and you have to be told how eccentric and persnickety he is during his every conversation. This is a criticism that probably will only bother the devoted Christie fan, because otherwise the novel is well constructed and reads very well for a mystery. So I'm just going to play my Agatha Christie snob card on this one.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley

Clearly, once I get into a mystery bent I just want to keep going! Honestly, it sometimes feels like I have to force myself to not read mystery. I'm completely in love with Flavia. A wickedly smart, precocious eleven year old living in rural England, Flavia loves chemistry and solving the murders that occur in her small village. She's the perfect mix of Nancy Drew spunk and innocence mixed with a delightfully well-read British detective. I enjoy the mysteries, but I love even more the constant literary references, the little Flavia-isms, her eccentric family, and her love of chemistry. I'm trying to space out my reading of this series because I enjoy it so much. This is the second in the series and I believe the seventh was just published. This series is written by a Canadian -- just thought I should point that out.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This is a lovely, light, but heartfelt, story of a bookseller living on a fictional New England island. It's fairly delightful. Written with a good dose of sarcasm, it succeeds in creating characters who love books but aren't completely obnoxious or unlikable - which doesn't sound too difficult but try to think back to a specifically bookish character who you liked? Once the story winds around to a small child opening up the heart of A.J. and in turn the entire bookshop, I was as good as hooked and enjoyed it till the end.

That's it for today, I'm currently reading some heavy duty awesome books that probably deserve their own posts so hopefully I'll get the chance to write about them sometime soon. Until then, have you read any of these? Got some more good ones for me??

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest


  1. Thank you so - I needed some new ones. =) I fulfilled my goal of reading every Christie ever written by age 18, and many of them I've read again. I completely agree about the new Poirot one. I'll have to pull my snob card as well. It just was overkill how much the author stressed his idiosyncrasies. (Did I already mention this to you? I feel like I probably did…) Anyhoo, I will have to check out those last two. They look like great paths to venture down.

  2. Oh! I was a crazed Agatha Christie fan when I was in junior high and high school. I recall summers where I did little but read Poirot and Miss Marple books on our back porch. (Apparently, I was as anti-social then as I am now :) ) I haven't picked one up since, so you know what's next my list!!
    Have you heard of the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron? I recommend the all the time, so sorry if I've already worn your ear off about them! But they are so fun - total mystery fiction - but written as if they were Jane's diary and so include a lot of "actual" information about her and her family! They are my go-to books when nursing babies - they go quickly and are so fun I could just read and read and nurse and nurse and before you know it, it's two hours later, the baby is in a milk coma, and all the rest of my family has either destroyed the house beyond recognition or withered away from neglect (it's questionable as to which is the lesser of the two evils...)
    Thanks for reminding me about Christie!!

  3. I just finished that Flavia de Luce! I love mysteries, especially Agatha Christie. You've got me started on the Lord Peter Wimsey series now and I can't stop! I heard your recommendation for Gaudy Night on your podcast, so I had to check it out. After I finished that, I thought I have to start at the beginning and immediately checked out Whose Body, which I blew through (to the detriment of all my household tasks--especially laundry). I'm now reading Clouds of Witness and wish I didn't have anything else to do because all I want to do is sit and read. I especially love them because of the time period they are written in. So thanks for talking about Dorothy L. Sayers because I'd never heard of her before. I just got a summons for jury duty in a couple weeks and I'm looking forward to the excuse to sit in peace with no kids and just read! :)

    Sorry for the sick kids. :( That's no fun. Hope they recover quickly!

  4. It's been too long since I've read a mystery! I love Agatha Christie. I'll be making some additions to my reading list.

  5. Ok, I started the Flavia series this year, and I literally JUST got done doing a happy dance because my library emailed me that the third book is available. I finished The Weed that Strings earlier this week, and I'm on to A Red Herring Without Mustard.

    My characterization of her is Nancy Drew meets Sherlock Holmes meets Downton Abbey. I don't know why Downton; it just has that charm to it for some reason. Maybe the charm in more Mitford. Hm. I don't know.

    Anyway, excited to see someone else who likes mysteries and especially someone who is reading the Flavia books! Go Canada!

  6. Oh these sounds good, particulary "A Storied Life." New England village?! yes, please!

  7. I can never get enough Agatha Christie!

  8. I love Agatha Christie! great recommendations, I just finished a book and need a new one.


Imagine we're having a coffee together and let me know what you think --
I love comments almost as much as coffee!

(And please check to make sure your email address is connected to your profile, I'd love to email you a reply.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...