Saturday, 8 October 2016

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton

"No murders while you've been away."

There's a new arrival in the village and this one is very attractive, single and unfortunately for Aggie, female. Mary Fortune may just be the most intimidating woman in Aggie's life, particularly since she seems to have caught the eye of Mr Lacey, the village's resident hunk. 
Mary has also joined the gardening club and Agatha is forced into her usual hi jinks to compete. When Mary is discovered planted and very definitely dead, its time for our amateur sleuth to get cracking and solve the case.
The villages are softening up to our Agatha and the lure of a job back in London adds additional drama to her cosy cottage life.

As always, an easy read that I managed to devour on the flight from Brisbane to Sydney over a red wine ( the joys of flying Qantas). What's a few bumps when you can spend time with James Lacey, and it feels like he might be warming to Agatha also. I know I'll be returning to the quaint village soon - heck, I'm already reading the next instalment.

5 out of 5 flower shows have never been so florid.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton

"As they ate, Sir Charles wondered how he was going to get around to proposing that they go upstairs to bed".

Ticked off another Agatha Raisin mystery. A dishy new vet has arrived in town to distract Agatha from the neighbourhood hunk, James Lacey and all the local ladies heads have been turned. A fatal injection of horse medicine puts paid to all their romantic plans, as vet, Paul Bladen is now deceased.
That is not the end of the body count and the best news is that investigating murders means more time legitimately spent with James Lacey- even if he resists any romantic overtures with continued vigour.

Things get really hairy when Agatha's cat  gets kidnapped. There is never a dull moment in the village and it is a happy place to hang out in. I know I can't wait to hang out there again.

5 out of 5 even though I'm not a cat-person.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

"There was another tone that was off-key"

Let me start off this review by stating that I was a little distracted while reading this Norwegian tale. I've had enough of miserable times and to be honest the idea of a gruff, ageing police officer, grim murders and nazis just wasn't quite the upbeat change of pace I was seeking.

The story drifts back and forth in time like a yo yo between the year 2000 and world war two and my scatterbrained mind was having trouble keeping apace. My delightful friend who so kindly loaned me her copy had a far more positive response to the novel and I trust her judgement. For me, the pacing was irritating in the extreme. Whenever I would settle in and get a handle on what was going on, the timeline would break with a jump forward or backward in time and I'd be lost again. This, for me, really interrupted the suspense and thriller status and left me disapointed. That being said, it was readable and there were moments that struck me as intriguing.

 3 out of 5 nazis, assassination attempts and multiple personalities.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

"My brain had conjured them up at the very moment I was looking at their pictures."

Those familiar with my reading habits, and lets face it, most people reading my blog probably know me and are quite familiar, will know that reading the book before seeing the movie is my modus operandi. For those who have stumbled into this corner of the web by accident, now you know too. 
In any case, I'd decided to take a peek at this best selling children's book before the release of the Tim Burton film and was impressed.

This is not written in a childlike or restrained fashion. It is eerie, dark and wonderful - a rare treat. As creepy as the strange photographic images that pepper its pages, Jacob Portman's adventures blend fantasy with the pain of reality in a way that really hooks the reader in. This first book is all about scene setting and whetting your appetite for future novels. In fact, no sooner had I finished it, I'd already ordered the next two, something I would not have anticipated from the title.

You will notice that I haven't given too much away here and I'd encourage you to seek out this story unencumbered by detailed reviews and my laboured exposition. As Molly Meldrum used to say "do yourself a favour".

5 out of 5 creepy kids can be intriguing.

The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

"I'm tired of bicycling and exercise routines. I feel like giving up and becoming really fat."

I had to explore the source material after having relished the recent tv incarnation starring the always amazing Ashley Jensen and a fabulous, Vivienne Westwood looking, wardrobe of wow.Click on the video, oh, but no, should I read the story first? Truth be told they are both delightful and I have a sneaking suspicion you will like them both on their own merits.

Fish out of water, ex publicity guru, Agatha Raisin has retired to the country to escape the rat race of London. Her fond memories from childhood holidays have informed her choice of the Cotswolds. Agatha arrives with perfectly coiffed hair, professionally decorated cottage and genuine ability to get everyone offside except for the friendly policeman, Bill Wong.

Trying to fit in, Agatha enters the local quiche making competition ( with store bought quiche) and her efforts are rewarded by a body count. Who knew what a hotbed of sexual intrigue the town of Carsley could be? Will Agatha discover - who done it? Will she ever be forgiven for stealing away her neighbour's cleaner? 

You will find this story as tasty as fancy quiche and far easier to digest. Fortunately there are plenty of adventures of Mrs Raisin out there to read and I look forward to discovering them. They are even easy to read on my phone which tells me this is particularly easily digestible fare.

5 out of 5 slices of tasty delights.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

"Enjoying the float, fighting an inclination for the wrong man, and having a genuine affection for both."

Sometimes life throws you lemons or dramas that make you less that enthused about notions romantic in the real world. Thankfully the antidote is at hand. Climb aboard the dirigibles of Gail Carriger's new Delightfully Deadly series of novellas. I can't wait for the next one. The first is such a treat.

Lady Preshea Villentia is one hell of a heroine, she's gutsy, unconventional, beautiful and deadly. Four dead husbands and the nickname the Mourning Star might just be a bit of a burden, yet this lady takes it all in her stride.

The very dishy Captain Ruthven could really distract her from her current mission in such a good way. If only I could find a Gavin of my own, dodgy nightwear and need for midnight sandwiches seem like such minor traits to overlook, especially in a man who's so superbly built and who can dance.

Like so many good things, this ended way too soon. Bring on the next instalment.

5 out of 5 charming Scottish Literary romantic interests are delightful.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

So this July I had the pleasure of visiting Corfu in Greece and before my travels I did a bit of background research. As a consequence I discovered the ITV series The Durrells which is absolutely divine and inspired by the Corfu Trilogy written by Gerald Durrell. My Family and Other Animals is the first of the series and I couldn't wait to dive in to its sunny pages.  

The Corfu of today is a little different from that of the book, however it is still possible to see some of the natural delights that Gerry notes in his novel. 
Corfu 2016

Gerald Durrell statue  

Corfu Town 2016

While paddling around on an isolated bay reached by boat, I could almost imagine the author splashing about as a child reflecting on the fish whizzing past his toes and wondering what his intriguing family was up to. So you would imagine I would tear through this book, however, reading it on my iPhone has somewhat delayed its completion.

The novel is every bit as gorgeous and amusing as a trip to the very photogenic island and certainly worth exploring. Gerry is an adorable nature loving child, who takes great joy in exploring all the wild life of the island, including the shenanigans of his amusing family.

5 out of 5 roaming animals everywhere are entertaining.