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NinieB puts on her hiking boots

2019 Category Challenge

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1NinieB
Nov 25, 2018, 1:29pm Top

... to climb Mount TBR, of course. I planned to do this a couple of years ago but then was completely in a different head space by the time January arrived. By the time I got back in the right spot, I had missed a few months, so I didn't proceed. I also tend to do a lot of focusing on topics throughout the year, which I don't really expect. And they can end abruptly when a setback occurs (or life intervenes).

So, my approach this time is to use the various creative prompts that this lovely group invents. They tend to be very flexible. A few won't work for me, but mostly I'll be able to have the fun of finding a match in my heap . . . er, collection.

So, I have an entry for each month below, with that month's challenges ready and waiting.

2NinieB
Edited: Feb 14, 7:35am Top

JANUARY

CalendarCAT DONE
Under Capricorn - Australia Day, Capricorn
Pink Flannel - Australia Day

RandomCAT Your name in print DONE
I was thinking of reading The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. The protagonist shares my first name, Nina. But then I got my hands on Death in the Blue Lake by André Bjerke. Bjerke is a family name for me.

SeriesCAT: Series in translation DONE
Thumbprint
Death in the Blue Lake

TBRCAT First in, last out - read one of the oldest members of your tbr DONE
I ended up reading The Computer Kill, which I have had for many years--maybe 20 or more.

AlphaKIT DONE
A: Death in the Blue Lake by André Bjerke
Q: The Sunburnt Queen by Hazel Crampton
R (1st quarter): They Rang Up the Police by Joanna Cannan
X (full year): X v. Rex by Philip MacDonald

ScaredyKIT NPR 100 Best Horror Stories List or 100 Killer Thrillers List DONE
The Maltese Falcon

SFFKIT Read an SFF you meant to read in 2018, but never started/completed DONE
Honeymoon in Hell--finished 1/2/19

BingoDOG
Short stories--Honeymoon in Hell by Fredric Brown
Made into a movie--The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Book has 2 humans on cover--The Computer Kill by Raymond Banks
Title with a homophone--One for the Road by Fredric Brown
Read a CAT--Under Capricorn by Helen Simpson
Author uses middle name or middle initial--The Strangler Fig by John Stephen Strange
Part of a series-- Thumbprint, by Friedrich Glauser
LT 4+ rating -- The Sunburnt Queen by Hazel Crampton
Siblings--Death in the Blue Lake by André Bjerke

3NinieB
Edited: Feb 17, 9:16pm Top

FEBRUARY

CalendarCAT DONE
The 31st of February

RandomCAT
Topic: We need a break!
Quarantine in the Grand Hotel (Eastern Europe)
To the Heart of the Nile (6 words)
The Wake of the Prairie Schooner (6 words)
Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910-1945
The Road to Oxiana
Southern Exposure: A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island

SeriesCAT: YA/Children's
Possibly The Maze Runner, The Tombs of Atuan, Up One Pair of Stairs of My Bookhouse, Mistress Pat, Five Little Peppers Midway, or A Girl of the Limberlost.

TBRCAT A book you borrowed to read and still haven't got to DONE
The Second Man.

AlphaKIT K, O
A number of options for K. This may be a good time to read an Inspector Ghote mystery by H.R.F. Keating. Inspector Ghote Breaks an Egg is next in the series and has food in the title.
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1943.
Old Kensington by Anne Thackeray
Forever Dead: A Cordi O'Callaghan Mystery by Suzanne Kingsmill
The Organization of Knowledge in Libraries and the Subject-Approach to Books by Henry Bliss

ScaredyKIT The Corporeal Undead DONE
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead

SFFKIT Colonization DONE
I started to read The Martian by Andy Weir, but I did not care for either the large amounts of science or the writing style. Instead, I read Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor, which pretty much had everything Martian didn't.

BingoDOG
Prize-winning book: The Second Man by Edward Grierson (CWA Gold Dagger)
Book bullet: Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park (inspired by JayneCM)
Animals: Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (animals on cover)
Medicine/Health: Your Eyelids Are Growing Heavy by Barbara Paul (hypnosis)
Debut: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

4NinieB
Edited: Feb 14, 2:38pm Top

MARCH

CalendarCAT
I will likely adopt an Irish theme for St. Patrick, as I have several books about Ireland that I've been meaning to read, such as A Concise History of Ireland.

Other Ireland options:
Absolution by Murder
The Cooper's Wife Is Missing
Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland in the Middle Ages
The Ghosts of Belfast
Girl with Green Eyes
Heritage of Ireland
Man and Environment in Valencia Island
The Rage
Skellig: Island Outpost of Europe
Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

RandomCAT
Topic: BREXIT/set in an EU country.
Some of the options (others tagged EU):
Stone Voices (Scotland)
The Crocodile (Italy)
Entanglement (Poland)
The Magician's Accomplice (Slovakia)
The Boy in the Suitcase (Denmark)
The Rage (Ireland)

SeriesCAT: Series by a favorite author
Possibilities: Barry Maitland's Babel; Peter Corris's Casino; The Devil Loves Me by Margaret Millar; Ellery Queen in Halfway House; Aaron Elkins's Skeleton Dance; Alisa Craig's The Grub-and-Stakers Spin a Yarn; W. J. Burley, A Taste of Power; Christianna Brand's Fog of Doubt; Arthur Upfield's The Sands of Windee; Peter Dickinson's The Lizard in the Cup; Lesley Egan, Motive in Shadow; etc., etc.!

TBRCAT Book acquired on/for trips or for a special occasion
Books purchased in Canada spring to mind, such as Blood and Groom, Forever Dead, and Queen's Park. I also have a book purchased in New Zealand (Murder in Fancy Dress).

AlphaKIT U, L
The Little Less, or Lantana Lane
Unpunished
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (author)
Under the Cold Bright Lights

ScaredyKIT True Crime
Women, Crime and the Courts in Early Modern England; A Most Unique Ruffian; Studies in Murder; Deadly Encounters; The Cooper's Wife Is Missing; and Albion's Fatal Tree are all contenders.

SFFFKIT Mystery/police procedural/detective Science Fiction or Fantasy
What Did I Do Tomorrow by L.P. Davies

BingoDOG

5NinieB
Edited: Feb 17, 9:21pm Top

APRIL

CalendarCAT April Associations: Aries, diamond, daisy, sweet pea, Easter, Passover
Possibilities: Adrian Hyland, Moonlight Downs (original title Diamond Dove)

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Series You've Been Meaning to Get Back To
A few ideas: Murder Is Academic by P. M. Carlson, Death Is Now My Neighbour by Colin Dexter, Elizabeth Lemarchand's The Wheel Turns, or Paul Scott's The Day of the Scorpion all fit this category. Most of the previous month's SeriesCAT options do as well.

TBRCAT Book originally acquired for an LT group read or challenge
I have a couple of books acquired because of local community reads: Blasphemy, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and That Awful Mess on Via Merulana.

AlphaKIT B, M
Miss Mackenzie
The Beth Book
Max Beerbohm
Barry Maitland
Beryl Markham
Bernard Maybeck: Artisan, Architect, Artist
The Billiard Table Murders
Blotto, Twinks, and the Bootlegger's Moll
Bug-Eyed Monsters
Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way
Manila Bay
Mathematical Berlin
My Brilliant Career
The Mystery of the Boule Cabinet

ScaredyKIT Chills and Thrills with Modern Horror/Thrillers (2014 - 2019)
Year's Best Weird Fiction. Vol. 2 and Mardi Gras Murder were both published within this time frame.

SFFFKIT Sword & Sorcery

BingoDOG

6NinieB
Edited: Dec 20, 2018, 9:09pm Top

MAY

CalendarCAT May Associations: Maia, emerald, lily of the valley, mayflower, Taurus, Gemini, Memorial Day (Civil War)
Possibilities: Louisa May Alcott's A Long Fatal Love Chase; Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Newest book in a favorite series
Maybe Laurali R. Wright's Acts of Murder or The Iron Clew by Alice Tilton (aka Phoebe Atwood Taylor).

TBRCAT Book that I keep looking at, but never manage to open

AlphaKIT H, V
The Happy Highwayman
Visions & Visionaries
Victor Hugo
Virginians at Home

ScaredyKIT Children's Horror (or Horrific Children)
I will need some suggestions for this one!

SFFFKIT International Sci-Fi/Fantasy by Non-US/UK authors
Demons of the Night or Aurora

BingoDOG

7NinieB
Edited: Jan 6, 3:19am Top

JUNE

CalendarCAT June associations: Gemini, Cancer, Junius, Flag Day, pearl, alexandrite, moonstone, rose, honeysuckle
Possibilities: Anna Fuller, A Venetian June; Robert van Gulik, The Emperor's Pearl; Peter Harkness, The Rose: An Illustrated History

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Series that are definitely complete

TBRCAT Book bullet (i.e. book suggested by someone else, not necessarily on LT)

AlphaKIT J, D
James Deetz
John Demos
James Dashner
Jalna by Mazo de la Roche

ScaredyKIT Technothrillers
And again, suggestions welcome.

SFFFKIT Road-trip
Galactic Pot-Healer, Philip K. Dick

BingoDOG

8NinieB
Edited: Dec 20, 2018, 9:25pm Top

JULY

CalendarCAT July associations: Julius Caesar, ruby, larkspur, water lily, Cancer, Leo, July 4, Independence Day
Possibilities: The Search for Ancient Rome; Aspects of Antiquity; The Ancient World: A Beginning; The Revolution Remembered; Liberty's Daughters; Drums Along the Mohawk

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Genre: fantasy
I am tempted by Aberystwyth Mon Amour, which is not normal fantasy, but it does involve druids.

TBRCAT Book by an author with more than one book on your TBR shelf
Lots of these. Jorge Amado, Josephine Bell, Pamela Branch, Leo Bruce, Erskine Caldwell, Peter Carey, P. M. Carlson, John Dickson Carr, Philip K. Dick, Peter Dickinson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Angela du Maurier, Daphne du Maurier, Mary Durack, Mignon G. Eberhart, Lesley Egan, Aaron Elkins, J. S. Fletcher, R. Austin Freeman, Emile Gaboriau, Robert van Gulik, Dashiell Hammett, Elspeth Huxley, Michael Innes, H. R. F. Keating, Stephen Leacock, Barry Maitland, John Malcolm, William Leonard Marshall, Mark McShane, Gladys Mitchell, Magdalen Nabb, Barbara Nadel, Barbara Paul, Bill Pronzini, Charles Reade, Helen Reilly, Paul Scott, Helen Simpson, Josef Skvorecky, Angela Thirkell, Alice Tilton, Anthony Trollope, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Arthur W. Upfield, Hillary Waugh, Rebecca West, Laurali Wright, . . . are current candidates. (Yeesh! Kinda embarrassing!)

AlphaKIT C, P
A Cadenza for Caruso
Peter Carey
Peter Corris
Patricia Carlon
P. M. Carlson
John Cowper Powys
Changing Places
Country of the Pointed Firs
The Crimson Patch
Parents and Children
Place Called Estherville
Prelude to a Certain Midnight
The Prophet's Camel Bell

ScaredyKIT Vacation Month (read horror/thriller of your choice)
Some titles on the shelves that interest me are Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales (Yōko Ogawa), Night Freight (Bill Pronzini), Songs of a Dead Dreamer (Thomas Ligotti), Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder (William Hope Hodgson), and The Rim of Morning (William Sloane).

SFFFKIT Space Opera
Son of the Tree by Jack Vance.

BingoDOG

9NinieB
Edited: Feb 18, 6:27pm Top

AUGUST

CalendarCAT August associations: Augustus Caesar, peridot, sardonyx, spinel, gladiolus, poppy, Leo, Virgo
Possibilities: Marco Vichi, Death in August; August Derleth, The Shield of the Valiant; Augustus Carp, Esq.; one of the Rome books listed for July; a book by Leo Bruce

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Series set in a country/region where you do not live
While I won't rule out the possibility of reading a UK series, to really get in the spirit I should try something more exotic: Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness (Thailand), The Mind-Murders (Netherlands), The Bridge That Went Nowhere (Brazil), Big Italy, Flame Trees of Thika (Kenya), The House of the Arrow (France), The Magician's Accomplice (Slovakia), Death in Springtime (Italy), Prayer of the Dragon (Tibet). The series in translation from January are also possibilities: Poss.: Adiós Hemingway, River of Shadows, Hotel Bosphorus, Entanglement, Death in Breslau, The Axe, Death in August, The Crocodile, The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka, The Boy in the Suitcase, The Scandals of Clochemerle, Segu, The Widow Lerouge, The Woman of Mystery.

TBRCAT Book purchased with great excitement and with plans to read right away that is somehow still on my tbr a year later

AlphaKIT N, I
Never Call It Loving
Ivor Noël Hume

ScaredyKIT Gothic
Seven Gothic Tales and We Have Always Lived in the Castle are the most obvious choices.

SFFFKIT Alternate History
If; or, History Rewritten

BingoDOG

10NinieB
Edited: Jan 19, 1:32pm Top

SEPTEMBER

CalendarCAT September associations: Labor day, autumnal equinox, sapphire, forget-me-not, morning glory, aster, Virgo, Libra
Possibilities: Belle Yang, Forget Sorrow; Howard Clewes, The Long Memory; Janet Sandison, Jean in the Morning; Kylie Tennant, Tell Morning This; Isak Dinesen, Seven Gothic Tales; Honoré Morrow, Seven Alone

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Genre: Mystery
No need to plan this one in advance!

TBRCAT Classics I feel I should read
Faust, Part One
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
The Betrothed
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Mastro-Don Gesualdo
The Clue

AlphaKIT F, W
Funeral of Figaro
William Finnegan
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

ScaredyKIT Ghosts & Hauntings
Spectral options include Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder (William Hope Hodgson), Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo (Miyabe), and one of several ghost story anthologies.

SFFFKIT Series
When the World Screamed and Other Stories, an anthology of Professor Challenger stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

BingoDOG

11NinieB
Edited: Jan 3, 1:19am Top

OCTOBER

CalendarCAT October associations: Halloween, tourmaline, opal, calendula, Libra, Scorpio
Possibilities: A.E.W. Mason, The Prisoner in the Opal; L. C. Tyler, Ten Little Herrings; Ruth Dudley Edwards, Ten Lords a-Leaping

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Historical Series
I don't have a lot in this genre, but Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Sun Over Breda fits the bill. So does Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty, Simon Brett's Blotto, Twinks and the Rodents of the Riviera, Barbara Nadel's After the Mourning, Robert Morgan's Gap Creek, L. C. Tyler's A Cruel Necessity, David Stuart Davies' Forests of the Night, Robert van Gulik's The Red Pavilion, David Dickinson's Goodnight Sweet Prince, Michael Pearce's A Dead Man in Tangier, Peter Lovesey's Mad Hatter's Holiday, Peter Tremayne's Absolution by Murder, and William Marshall's New York Detective. OK, I take it back. I have lots.

TBRCAT Book purchased because of its visual appeal (striking cover or colors, beautiful edition, etc.)

AlphaKIT G, T
Grifter's Game
The Garden Triumphant
Glimpses of Three Coasts
They Got Me Covered
Through a Glass Darkly
Treacherous Ground
T. R. Glover

ScaredyKIT Monsters & Creatures
I've been meaning to read John Gardner's Grendel for too long.

SFFFKIT

BingoDOG

12NinieB
Edited: Jan 1, 2:13am Top

NOVEMBER

CalendarCAT November associations: Thanksgiving, Scorpio, Sagittarius, topaz, citrine, chrysanthemum, Veterans Day (World War I)
Possibilities: Josephine Johnson, Now in November

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Series with a female protagonist
How about Forever Dead by Suzanne Kingsmill, Seneca Falls Inheritance by Miriam Grace Monfredo (this is yet another one for the historical series list), Nora Kelly's In the Shadow of King's, Michelle Spring's Nights in White Satin, Gwen Moffat's Miss Pink at the Edge of the World, Val McDermid's Dead Beat, a Mrs. Bradley mystery by Gladys Mitchell, Mark McShane's Seance on a Wet Afternoon, Zadok's Treasure by Margot Arnold, The Matriarch by G. B. Stern (not a mystery), E. H. Young's Jenny Wren (also not a mystery), and a few others. Some of the previously identified series books also fit this category.

TBRCAT Book given to me as a gift

AlphaKIT S, Y
Sinister Shelter
Scott Young

ScaredyKIT Stephen King and Family
Will sit this one out.

SFFFKIT Award winners and nominees

BingoDOG

13NinieB
Edited: Jan 1, 2:20am Top

DECEMBER

CalendarCAT December associations: Christmas, Hanukkah, Sagittarius, Capricorn, narcissus, turquoise, zircon, tanzanite
Possibilities: Patrick Ruell, Red Christmas

RandomCAT

SeriesCAT: Series that's new to you

TBRCAT A book I bought because it was so cheap (library sale, remainder table, etc)

AlphaKIT E, R
The Riddle of the River
The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Edward Robb Ellis
Roland Etienne
E. Radford
E. J. Rand
Elizabeth Madox Roberts
O. E. Rølvaag

ScaredyKIT Small Press/Indie (or catch up on a previous category)
Does a reprint by a small press count? I'm thinking of The Lady of Frozen Death and Other Weird Tales, from Necronomicon Press, but I also have some other options.

SFFFKIT End-of-the-Year Wrap Up

BingoDOG

14tess_schoolmarm
Nov 25, 2018, 4:45pm Top

Good luck with your reading!

15rabbitprincess
Nov 25, 2018, 6:47pm Top

Have a great reading year and enjoy the hike up Mt TBR!

16DeltaQueen50
Nov 25, 2018, 7:57pm Top

I love how you have planned for each of the challenges over the year - this is exactly the set-up I may copy for next year! :)

17NinieB
Nov 25, 2018, 9:42pm Top

Thanks everyone!!

18MissWatson
Nov 26, 2018, 6:29am Top

Happy hiking on Mount TBR!

19LittleTaiko
Nov 28, 2018, 4:09pm Top

Welcome and happy hiking!!

20LisaMorr
Nov 30, 2018, 3:39pm Top

Great job combing through your TBR heap to find lots of great reads for next year! I look forward to following along.

21lkernagh
Dec 2, 2018, 6:47pm Top

Looks like you are ready to climb mountain TBR with your setup!

22NinieB
Dec 3, 2018, 8:34am Top

I have been having lots of fun finding books in my library here on LT that fit the categories. The trick will be finding the physical objects!!!

23VivienneR
Dec 6, 2018, 12:42am Top

This looks like a fun hike! I look forward to following.

24NinieB
Dec 6, 2018, 6:22pm Top

Thanks, Vivienne! And thank you for getting the CalendarCAT started for January!

25NinieB
Edited: Feb 15, 6:48am Top

26The_Hibernator
Dec 31, 2018, 11:39am Top

Good luck and Happy New Year!

27thornton37814
Dec 31, 2018, 1:16pm Top

28tess_schoolmarm
Dec 31, 2018, 2:42pm Top

29NinieB
Edited: Jan 24, 5:58pm Top

JANUARY SUMMARY

I finished Honeymoon in Hell for this month's SFFKIT challenge (and a BingoDOG square). It's a collection of SF stories from the 1950s. I really enjoyed it, but it does have a very strong 1950s feel. Lots of atom bomb/Cold War stuff. Another reviewer described all this as dated--I prefer to think of it as "of its time". Fredric Brown has a conversational style that I particularly enjoyed.

So, I enjoyed my Fredric Brown short stories enough that I picked up one of his mystery novels from the same physical shelf and read it. One for the Road was also very enjoyable, although the plot depends upon a big coincidence. Only after I had read it did I realize it is a double homophone title. So that's another Bingo square!

My selection for this month's TBRCAT was The Computer Kill by Raymond Banks. I purchased this 1961 paperback original at a Salvation Army in Redondo Beach, California in the early 1990s, and yes, it's been waiting patiently ever since. It turns out that some of the book is set in Redondo Beach. I'm sure this isn't a coincidence, but I'm not sure how it came about. The story is a funny mashup of straight Spillane-type PI tale and parody of the same! Not one I'll be reading again--the RB connection was what kept me engaged.

The Maltese Falcon is on the NPR 100 Killer Thrillers list, so it counted for this month's ScaredyKIT. While there's plenty of killing (I lost count--3 or 4?), it isn't really a thriller so much as a novel. I read it with that expectation and it went well.

For CalendarCAT, I read Under Capricorn by Helen De Guerry Simpson, made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. I plan to watch it soon. A slow start but then engrossing. Set in Sydney, Australia, in 1831-1832, its focus is the relationship between Samson Flusky, an emancipist, and his wife Lady Henrietta Flusky, daughter of a Irish earl, who is succumbing to alcoholism when 20-year-old Charles Adare, who knew Lady Hattie in Ireland, comes into their lives. Four stars.

On the long MLK day weekend, with lots of snow, I read Thumbprint by Friedrich Glauser. It offers a complex plot, an interesting Swiss sergeant and setting, and for Simenon/Maigret fans it will be manna from heaven. It's not really my type of mystery but I enjoyed nonetheless. 3.5*.

Another long weekend read was The Strangler Fig by John Stephen Strange, whose real name was Dorothy Stockbridge Tillett. This mystery from 1930 is set on an island off the coast of Florida and offers an elaborate Golden Age plot. Somewhat melodramatic but fun.

My AlpaKIT Q read was The Sunburnt Queen, about an 18th century European girl named Bessie who is castaway on the southeast coast of South Africa and marries a prince. No, this is not fiction! The first half was five stars awesome; overall, four stars.

30rabbitprincess
Jan 24, 7:37pm Top

Great job filling all those challenges! I'm trying Glauser's The Chinaman at some point.

31NinieB
Jan 24, 7:48pm Top

>30 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rabbitprincess! I have been having fun identifying books that fit the categories.

32NinieB
Edited: Jan 25, 6:40pm Top

JANUARY SUMMARY part 2
I satisfied 2 CATs and a BingoDOG square with Death in the Blue Lake by André Bjerke. RandomCAT called for "your name in print," and Bjerke is a family name. André gets me the A for AlphaKIT.

Death in the Blue Lake is a great mystery story as well. I haven't made up my mind how I feel about the solution but no doubt it is a virtuoso performance. Four stars.

33NinieB
Edited: Jan 26, 7:34pm Top

JANUARY SUMMARY part 3

Today I finished Pink Flannel by Ruth Park, an Australian author. I loved, loved, loved this book. It is the mid 1920s in the small town of Te Kano on the North Island of New Zealand. Jenny Hood, 8, lives with her four young aunts ages 17 to 23, the Misses Admiral. She narrates (as an adult) the story of about a year in her life, when she becomes friends with Pou, an elderly Maori magician and survivor of the Maori wars; when Auntie Louisa is in love with a young man who raises pigs; when Jenny goes to stay with her Aunt Fedora who sees f-a-i-r-i-e-s and her grandfather, who terrorizes the family; when Jenny humiliates herself by pretending that an aviator is her father. The story is hilarious, sweet, sad, happy. Five stars.

34NinieB
Jan 31, 9:19pm Top

JANUARY SUMMARY part 4

My last January read was They Rang Up the Police by Joanna Cannan. This Golden Age mystery by an established English novelist offers a family of a mother and three "girls", actually middle-aged spinsters. They call each other "darling" all the time and boss around their cook and three maids. In fact, Delia, "the man of the family" (actually she likes men herself, like the mediocre but handsome groom she employs to look after her horses), fires one of the maids at the start of the book because the maid stayed out with her gentleman friend after 10 pm. The next morning Delia is missing. So what does the family do? They ring up the police. Four stars.

35JayneCM
Feb 1, 3:02am Top

>33 NinieB: Have you read Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park? I got this when it was first published in 1980 and I attribute my love of time travel books to this book!

36NinieB
Edited: Feb 1, 7:56am Top

>35 JayneCM: No, Jayne, I have not. I live in the US and this is the first Ruth Park book I have read. I felt very lucky that Pink Flannel showed up at my local library book sale! Tell me more about Playing Beatie Bow. Is Beatie a name, by the way? I'm having trouble interpreting the title.

37NinieB
Feb 3, 6:11pm Top

Happy February, everyone! I like February as it's my birth month. Anyone else get that little possessive thrill for your month?

I have completed my Calendar Cat read for the month and I'm sorry to report it did not meet expectations. The book was The 31st of February. It's a grim and dreary portrait of life in post-WWII London. Anderson's wife has died on February 4, three weeks previously, in an apparent accidental fall down the basement stairs. An advertising executive, he is performing poorly at work; things only get worse when the date on his brass desktop calendar keeps mysteriously changing back to February 4. . . . While admittedly I read this psychological novel in one sitting (i.e., it's quite readable), I can't say I enjoyed it.

38JayneCM
Feb 4, 5:28am Top

>36 NinieB: The main character is 14 year old Abigail and she is transported back in time to colonial Sydney after playing a playground ghost game called Beatie Bow. Beatie Bow is the ghost of a girl that you invoke in the game (a bit like Mary, Bloody Mary, if you have ever played that!) and for Abigail the game actually works. Then, of course, she meets the actual Beatie Bow. I loved it and the movie.

39NinieB
Edited: Feb 4, 7:35am Top

>38 JayneCM: Sounds great! I love time travel to the past, as in Time and Again. Another less well known that I have read is The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser.

I checked and Playing Beatie Bow is available from my library. It's going on my TBR. Thanks!

40JayneCM
Feb 5, 6:11am Top

>39 NinieB: Yay - two more books for my list! The Mirror sounds totally intriguing as it is not just time travel but inhabitating another person in the past.
Hope you enjoy Beatie Bow!

41NinieB
Feb 5, 7:00am Top

Time and Again is a classic. It was my Beatie Bow! And The Mirror really is great, as well.

42NinieB
Edited: Feb 18, 7:24am Top

FEBRUARY SUMMARY PART 1

My second CAT read this month (TBRCAT) was The Second Man by Edward Grierson. It's a very good courtroom mystery. The narrator, Michael Irvine, is a barrister in an unnamed Yorkshire city. His colleague, Marion Kerrison, is a female barrister--a novelty in the 1950s. Michael is junior to Marion in defending the accused, John Maudsley, at trial for the murder of his aunt. The problem: His aunt's companion, Jane Birman, will testify that she saw Maudsley descending the stairs at the aunt's house the evening of the murder. Grierson writes a compelling trial for the middle third of the book, and there's an interesting appeal scene as well.

This book also garners a Bingo square for a prize-winning book, in this case the CWA Gold Dagger for 1956.

43haydninvienna
Feb 9, 8:05am Top

>42 NinieB: I’ve wishlisted The Second Man on account of it having an appeal scene. My impression is that appeal scenes are unusual in crime fiction. I’m assuming you meant “appeal” in the legal sense.

44NinieB
Edited: Feb 9, 8:42am Top

>43 haydninvienna: Yes, a legal appeal. It takes place in the Court of Criminal Appeals in London. The procedure is quite different from American appellate procedure. And I agree, it's very unusual.

Edward Grierson was himself a barrister.

45haydninvienna
Feb 9, 12:27pm Top

>44 NinieB: I’m an Australian lawyer myself. That’s why it’s so interesting. Appeals are usually unbearably tedious to non-lawyers, not to say incomprehensible. I’m interested to know how he made it interesting enough for a crime novel.

46NinieB
Edited: Feb 9, 5:06pm Top

>45 haydninvienna: Well, he actually has witnesses testify. I know, I know, it seems crazy. But he has a legal explanation and it actually serms plausible given that it's the 1950s and there's a death sentence hanging over the defendant's head. I was an appellate lawyer (in the US) for a number of years, and the explanation makes sense in context.

47NinieB
Edited: Feb 9, 5:07pm Top

FEBRUARY SUMMARY part 2

I just read another great Ruth Park book. This one, Playing Beatie Bow, is a juvenile/YA book recommended by Jayne CM--thanks Jayne!! I loved this book almost as much as the previous Ruth Park I read (Pink Flannel). Playing Beatie Bow works on several levels. First, it offers great entertainment just for the plot: Abigail, 14, a contemporary Sydney resident, travels in time back to 1873. There she becomes entwined in the life of a family from the Orkney Islands. Second, it is a coming-of-age novel that adults can enjoy as much as the target juvenile/YA audience. Abigail grows both physically and emotionally over the course of the story. Third, Abigail's thoughtful reflections on the differences in past and contemporary Sydney, both socially and physically, are fascinating.

48haydninvienna
Feb 10, 1:15am Top

>46 NinieB: Wow, that's brave of him. I wonder if it got reviewed in any of the legal periodicals? Just to see what was said about that. Best to just read the book, I suppose. On the list it goes!

49NinieB
Edited: Feb 10, 8:00am Top

>48 haydninvienna: I hope you enjoy it! I certainly did.

50christina_reads
Feb 11, 4:06pm Top

I'm also taking a book bullet for The Second Man! The courtroom aspect sounds fascinating.

51rabbitprincess
Feb 11, 5:52pm Top

>50 christina_reads: Me too, me too!

52haydninvienna
Feb 11, 10:23pm Top

.... and I’ve just ordered a copy. NinieB, you must have increased Grierson’s current sales by quite a bit.

54hailelib
Feb 12, 5:25am Top

I've added it to my wishlist as well.

55NinieB
Feb 12, 8:25am Top

>54 hailelib: Great! we're forming a group!

56NinieB
Edited: Feb 14, 7:53am Top

FEBRUARY SUMMARY part 3

I have finished two books so far this week.

Belinda, by Maria Edgeworth, was an easier read than I expected. It has quite a bit of plot, and by the time I reached the third and last volume (my library copy was printed with the three original volumes in one), I was well and truly sucked in--I read compulsively to the end. My copy has two animals, a horse and a dog, on the cover, so that's a Bingo square.

Your Eyelids Are Growing Heavy by Barbara Paul is an enjoyable mystery without murder. Megan wakes up on a golf course with no memory of how she got there or of the preceding 38 hours. Subsequent events show that she has been hypnotized in order to tinker with operations at her employer. But who is responsible, and what are they trying to accomplish? Because of the hypnosis plot, I'm claiming the medicine/health Bingo square.

57NinieB
Edited: Feb 18, 7:24am Top

FEBRUARY SUMMARY part 4

Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor was a one-evening read for me. I liked the character development that propelled the narrative. Bujold's writing is more than competent with some nice descriptions of nature in the different worlds. She also has a great sense of humor which she uses to great effect. The Machiavellian political strategizing I am less keen on--at a couple of points I did not have enugh explanation to keep up, but then I wasn't slowing down to make sure I got it, so that's on me. I will make sure more Vorkosigan is in my future.

I claimed the Debut novel square on my bingo card, and this is my book for this month's SFFKIT.

58NinieB
Edited: Feb 18, 7:24am Top

FEBRUARY SUMMARY part 5

I binge-read Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead this weekend. Overall, I like the books better than True Blood, which I always found difficult to follow. Back in the 1990s, I really enjoyed the Aurora Teagarden mysteries (such as Real Murders), because they were a somewhat unusual (then) blend of "cozy" and Southern Gothic, although Harris wasn't always completely successful. The Julius House in my view had the best atmosphere. So when Harris struck it big with Sookie Stackhouse, I was glad that she was being appreciated by a wider audience. But while I eventually read Dead Until Dark, otherwise I just never followed Harris into the 21st century, until now for ScaredyKIT. I'm glad I finally did--Sookie is a great heroine.

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