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VivienneR in Christie's Footsteps - End of the year!

This is a continuation of the topic VivienneR in Christie's Footsteps - Part 3.

2019 Category Challenge

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Nov 2, 8:56pm Top

Ashfield, Christie's birthplace & Greenway, a later home used in Five Little Pigs, Towards Zero, and Dead Man’s Folly

I've been a fan of Agatha Christie since I was in my pre-teen years and I've always been fascinated by her travels.

Christie never fell into the trap of setting too many murders in one location, thus avoiding potshots from critics about the spot being a very dangerous place to live. Instead, she used her fondness for large country homes and typical English villages, as well as personal travel experiences to provide backdrops for her stories.

No targets, I'll be reading whatever jumps off the shelf - and probably a few shiny new books. I plan to include as many CATs as possible, and Bingo of course.

I can also be found over at the Club Read group

Edited: Nov 19, 7:15pm Top


Andover, Bexhill-on-Sea, and Churston from The ABC Murders

January: Q & A: Queenpin by Megan Abbott
February: K & O: On writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King
March: U & L: Into the beautiful north by Luis A. Urrea
April: B & M: Milkman by Anna Burns
May: H & V: Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
                Hamlet by Shakespeare
June: J & D: Death of an expert witness by P.D. James
July: C & P: The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri
August: N & I: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
                Dr. No by Ian Fleming
September: F & W: The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters
October: G & T: Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell
                The woman in blue by Elly Griffiths
                Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
November: S & Y: Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
December: E & R
Year-long X & Z: The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Edited: Dec 5, 4:49pm Top


Meadowbank School for Girls from Cat Among the Pigeons

I may not read in all of the CATegories every month. These titles are included in my categories above.

January 26th, Burns Night: The Black Book by Ian Rankin
January 1st, Polar Bear Swim Day: The Healer by Antti Tuomainen
February 5th, Chinese New Year: Flower net by Lisa See
February: 10th & 14th: (Grammy Awards & Valentine's Day): I think I love you by Allison Pearson
March 8, International Women's Day: Best of Women's Short Stories 3
March 17th, St Patrick's Day: The Secret Place by Tana French
March 27th, Joe Day (Joe Sandilands series): The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
April: Ordeal by innocence by Agatha Christie
April 26th, Hug an Australian Day: Thirty-three teeth by Colin Cotterill
May 25th, Jazz Day: Solo Hand by Bill Moody
June: The Blackwater lightship by Colm Tóibín
July: Canada Day: Starlight by Richard Wagamese
July: US Independence Day: The Fala Factor by Stuart Kaminsky (4th of July)
August 17: V.S. Naipaul birthday: The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief by V.S. Naipaul
August 19, Aviation Day: Death of an Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg
September: International Peace Day 21st: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson
September: Ondaatje's birthday: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
September 6: Read a book day: Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay
October 1: International Day of Older Persons: The 100 year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
October 11: International Day of the Girl: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
November, Churchill's birth month: Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska
       and The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill
November: Native American Heritage month: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

January - In translation: Rounding the mark by Andrea Camilleri
March - Favourite author: Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson
June - Series complete: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
August - Set where you do not live: The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
September - Cozy, by the sea: Trial of Passion by William Deverell
October - Historical: Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen
November - Female protagonist: The Coroner by M.R. Hall
       and The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

January - Last in, first out: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
February - Borrowed: A room full of bones by Elly Griffiths
June - Bullet: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
July - Multiple by author owned: Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante
August - Somehow still on the tbr list: Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
September - Classics: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
October - cover with visual appeal: Still life by Louise Penny
November - Gift: Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park

January - Your name in print: Vivienne - Gently Where She Lay by Alan Hunter
February - We need a break: Paris for one and other stories by JoJo Moyes
March - Brexit: This was a Man by Jeffery Archer
April - Tournament of Books: Circe by Madeline Miller
May - I could have danced all night: High Plains Tango by Robert James Waller
June - Pick a card: Priest by Ken Bruen
July - Bird connection: A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
August - Back to school: Slam by Nick Hornby
September - Equinox: Days by Moonlight by André Alexis
October - knock-off, follow-ups, tributes, parodies: Devil may care by Sebastian Faulks
       and The Penelopiad: The myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
December - By the letter: Dead Cold by Louise Penny

Nov 2, 9:03pm Top

AlphaKit - Z

The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann 4★

Fascinating. I can't help wondering just what it was that inspired early explorers to go to such extremes, especially travelling into the jungle. This was well researched with a spellbinding story.

Nov 2, 10:05pm Top

>12 VivienneR:

I keep seeing mentions of this book. Maybe I should put it on my list to look for.

Nov 2, 10:26pm Top

Happy new thread!

Nov 3, 12:46am Top

>13 hailelib: I heard about the story a few years ago and was interested so picked up the book when I came across it. The Victorians were so eager to explore unknown places but I'm sure Percy Fawcett had no idea what he would have to endure.

>14 thornton37814: Thank you, Lori.

Nov 3, 2:20am Top

Look at that filled in BINGO card! On the home stretch now!

Nov 3, 9:31am Top

Happy new thread, Vivienne!
>12 VivienneR: My sister loved that one and I need to pick it up. Glad you liked it.

Nov 3, 10:58am Top

Happy new thread!

Nov 3, 1:00pm Top

Thank you, everyone.

>17 mstrust: In some ways it reminded me of Atwood's Penelopiad that I read last month. Mrs Fawcett waited at home just like Penelope waited for Odysseus.

Nov 3, 7:58pm Top

Happy new thread! I'm still enjoying the Christie locales.

Nov 3, 8:15pm Top

Thank you, Ninie. I'll soon be missing them.

Nov 4, 3:38pm Top

TBR-CAT - Gift

Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park 5★

It doesn't matter who you are, becoming a parent is like travelling in a strange land. Tom and Lorna worry about their son Luke, a student at university in England. Luke has been stranded by a snowstorm cancelling travel plans, the only person left in his student digs at Christmas. Tom sets out to bring him home to Northern Ireland for the holidays. This novel records Tom's journey as he reflects on another son, Daniel and where he went wrong. Interrupting his thoughts the satnav voice regularly advises him to stay on the route. At one point he turns off the satnav in case the woman can hear his thoughts.

Park's intriguing, quiet story is beautifully written, where each apparently trivial thought and event has significance.

No one ever buys me books because chances are it would be a duplicate, so I gifted this one to myself. If someone had given it to me I'd be able to thank them profusely. It gets a full five stars. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished.

Nov 4, 6:13pm Top

Happy new thread and what a way to start it off - with a 5 star read!

Nov 4, 6:32pm Top

>22 VivienneR: I love when you read a book that you cannot stop thinking about. I will find thoughts of the best books just popping up for ages afterwards. I will have to look for this one.

Nov 5, 12:07am Top

>23 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy! It was you who suggested I buy myself a gift from my wishlist and this was the one I chose.

>24 JayneCM: Hi Jayne! As I was reading I was uncovering the significance of each element of the story, without which it could be seen as boring. After all, he was just driving along in the snow with his thoughts. The satnav woman could almost be regarded as a character too. David Park is one of my favourite Northern Ireland authors, mainly because he writes of places I know well - or used to know well.

Nov 5, 6:30am Top

Happy New Thread! That sounds like an interesting book.

Nov 6, 6:34am Top

>25 VivienneR: My library had a few of his books, so I have put this one on hold for now and will keep the others in mind for future reading. And I do love Irish authors. Thanks!

Nov 6, 1:18pm Top

>27 JayneCM: I'll watch out for your opinion, Jayne!

Edited: Nov 7, 12:49am Top

Faraway places, Canada, translations

Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates 2.5★

My expectations may have been too high for this one. It disappointed.

If Icelander Ari Thor is suffering from anxiety and depressed by winter weather and an avalanche he better not move to my location in British Columbia. Once my town was cut off by avalanches in all three directions. I liked the premise, but there were a lot of problems with this debut. I doubt that I will try another.

Nov 7, 10:54am Top

>29 VivienneR: I didn't read that one, but I read the 3rd in the series. I was underwhelmed. I gave it the same rating you gave that one. I think you are safe avoiding future installments.

Nov 7, 12:01pm Top

>12 VivienneR: - I have that one on my shelf and hope to get to it soon (of course I say that about almost all my books). I picked it up after listening to the author speak about another of his books.

>29 VivienneR: - Oh dear, I also have that one on my shelf. We'll see how quickly I actually get to it now.

Nov 7, 4:45pm Top

>30 thornton37814: Thank you for the advice, Lori.

>31 LittleTaiko: Well, the good part is that the Jonasson book is a quick read and not a doorstop.

Nov 10, 10:09am Top

>22 VivienneR: - Wonderful review!

Nov 12, 9:03pm Top

>33 lkernagh: Thank you, Lori!

Edited: Nov 12, 9:15pm Top

I've been in hospital and awaiting surgery that has been delayed until the end of the month although my doctor is trying to get it moved up. As a result I haven't been reading much but two five-star reads is nothing to complain about.

Category - Mysteries

After the Mourning by Barbara Nadel 4★

Set during the Blitz in London 1940. Francis Hancock is an undertaker of Indian/British parentage trying to care for his family while dealing with shell-shock from "the first one". When he is asked to handle the funeral for a gypsy girl from Epping Forest he is led into an unexpected twist to a spy hunt. This book was darker than others in the series as it featured Mosley's Blackshirts in the police force, however, Nadel strives for accuracy in her stories. I enjoy Francis Hancock novels for the clearly London east end location and for her departure from the usual.


CalendarCAT - Churchill's birth month

The Second World War, Volume 1: Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska 5★
The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill 5★

I started listening to Milestones to Disaster but when I realized the text was from The Gathering Storm I read and listened simultaneously. Churchill was a brilliant writer, and made everything so easy to understand. I can't praise him enough and plan to read more, but not all, of the 12 volume series.

If anything, I preferred the audio version although statistics and charts were easier to read in the printed version.

Nov 12, 9:46pm Top

Sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery, Vivienne. Glad you can still get some good reading in. I have After the Mourning waiting to be read. I've found Nadel's Istanbul novels quite fascinating.

Nov 13, 12:33am Top

I haven't tried the Istanbul novels - yet! Nadel pays a lot of attention to getting details correct. And I love Francis Hancock even though he smokes like a chimney.

I was hoping I'd get another reprieve today but no, surgery is still on.

Nov 13, 7:17am Top

>37 VivienneR: Well, I highly recommend them!

Nov 13, 7:23am Top

>37 VivienneR: - I hope it gets done soon so you can start recovering and getting back to normal!

Nov 13, 11:55am Top

Hope the surgery goes well when you actually get to have it.

Nov 13, 1:52pm Top

>38 NinieB: Thanks, on your recommendation, I'll give them a try.

>39 dudes22: and >40 hailelib: Thank you.

Nov 13, 11:11pm Top

Thinking about you and wishing you good reads, comfort and a speedy recovery!

Nov 14, 12:56am Top

Thank you, Judy! I need cheerful books right now.

Nov 14, 8:17pm Top

>22 VivienneR: What a strong and compelling review! I'll keep an eye out for this one. I love books that keep me musing for a while afterward.

>35 VivienneR: Good luck with the surgery! And best of luck with the recovery. I'm sending you good wishes and hopes for ease.

Nov 15, 12:57am Top

>44 pammab: As I progressed through that book, I enjoyed it more and more. I hope you are able to try it.

And thank you so much for the good wishes.

Edited: Nov 19, 7:24pm Top

I'm still feeling under the weather and not looking forward to my surgery next week. My husband will be driving me to hospital a few hours from here, returning three days later, not a welcome journey at this time of the year. We've been watching snow levels via highway cams on the mountain passes.

Still reading, but my comments will be short.


AlphaKit - S & Y
Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella 3★
Although this is light entertainment with a high level of predictability, it was still enjoyable.

CalendarCAT - Native American Heritage month
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 4.5★
Another outstanding story from Wagamese.

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist
The Coroner by M.R. Hall 3.5★
My first experience of Hall's series featuring coroner Jenny Cooper. Even though Cooper's overuse of medication for panic attacks was a tad annoying, the story was interesting and fast moving. I'm looking forward to another.

Nov 19, 8:01pm Top

>46 VivienneR: The only book I've read in the Jenny Cooper series is The Flight, which I read, not surprisingly, because the main case involves a plane crash.

Wishing you a safe trip for your surgery! Winter seems to have come early this year.

Nov 19, 10:18pm Top

Safe travels to you and your husband, Viienne. I have my fingers crossed that all goes well with your surgery.

Nov 20, 3:44am Top

Best wishes for a good outcome for your surgery. And safe travels!

Nov 20, 1:50pm Top

Best wishes for your surgery from me too!

Edited: Nov 22, 2:30pm Top

>47 rabbitprincess: Sounds good, I'll add that one to my wishlist. Thank you for the good wishes, it's wintery most of the year here in the mountains :)
>48 DeltaQueen50:
>49 MissWatson:
>50 Jackie_K:
Thank you all for your good wishes. We leave on Wednesday when the weather forecast predicts snow. Let's hope that changes.

Nov 22, 2:31pm Top

Category - Fiction

Room by Emma Donoghue 3.5★

I recently saw the movie, which naturally removed any element of surprise when reading the story and I have to admit I sped through parts of the book knowing how it played out. Inspired by a real life event of the type I usually avoid in the media, it's a disturbing story lifted only by the devotion between mother and child.

Nov 22, 10:20pm Top

>52 VivienneR: I adored Room but I agree that seeing the movie first would definitely have ruined the reading experience to some extent. I found that recently with The Testaments as some of it was given away in series two which I had already watched before the book release.
I have some of Emma Donoghue's other books on my TBR list.

Nov 22, 11:28pm Top

>53 JayneCM: Yes, I learned a lesson to have one or the other. I'm looking forward to trying more of Donoghue's books and have a hold on Akin at the library.

Nov 24, 7:01pm Top

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths 4.5★
An excellent installment in the Ruth Galloway series. Griffiths included some interesting geological information about Norwich as well as a closer look at the personalities of the main characters. I can't wait for the next one.

I read this earlier this month and forgot to enter it on LT.

Nov 24, 8:14pm Top

Stopping by and joining the others with good surgery wishes and safe driving wishes for your husband!

Nov 25, 12:30am Top

Thank you, Lori. Much appreciated!

Nov 25, 2:16pm Top

Good luck with the surgery. Hope all goes well.

Nov 30, 6:43am Top

Here's hoping that your surgery goes well and recovery is quick!

Nov 30, 7:34am Top

I hope you're already on the other side of surgery and that it was successful! Looking forward to seeing you back with us soon.

Dec 1, 2:57pm Top

>58 LittleTaiko:
>59 tess_schoolmarm:
>60 Jackie_K:

Thank you all so much. There were some complications making it more difficult than what I anticipated and a longer stay in hospital so I am just taking it easy now. However, I can't say enough about the wonderful care I received at Kelowna General Hospital in central British Columbia.

Dec 1, 2:59pm Top

Category - Golden Age & Cozy Mysteries

A presumption of death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers 3★

It wasn't Dorothy Sayers, who gave Harriet and Peter sparkling conversation, in fact Peter wasn't around much in this story. However, my copy was an audiobook read by Edward Petherbridge, the actor who played Lord Peter in the tv series, and who gave the entire story a Sayers flavour.

I considered a 3.5 rating but although I finished it just a couple of days ago I can't for the life of me remember how it ended. Blame it on my recovery from illness.

Edited: Dec 1, 3:30pm Top

November Summary
Read in November: 13
Year to Date: 157

Category - Mysteries
Phi Beta murder by C.S. Challinor 3★

Category - Golden Age & Cozy Mysteries
A presumption of death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers 3★
After the Mourning by Barbara Nadel 4★

Category - Fiction
Room by Emma Donoghue 3.5★

Faraway places, Canada, translations
Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates 2.5★

AlphaKit - S & Y & Z
Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella 3★
The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann 4★

CalendarCAT - Churchill's birth month & Native American Heritage month
Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska 5★❤️
The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill 5★❤️
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 4.5★

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist
The Coroner by M.R. Hall 3.5★
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths 4.5★

TBR-CAT - Gift
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park 5★ ❤️

November ended in a bit of a washout but fortunately started well.

Dec 1, 5:02pm Top

Glad to hear things went well, Vivienne. Take your time getting up to speed.

Dec 1, 5:38pm Top

So good to hear from you! Hope you can take advantage of the cozy December weather to help with your recovery ;)

Dec 1, 6:04pm Top

Lovely to see you posting and that you are now in recovery mode!

Dec 2, 8:02am Top

Great to hear from you! Take it easy, and stay safe and warm!

Dec 2, 10:46am Top

I'm very glad to hear your surgery is over and you're back home. Get well quickly!

Dec 2, 12:25pm Top

Take good care of yourself!

Dec 3, 1:48am Top

>62 VivienneR: or just that it isn't quite up to DLS' standards. I did read the follow on books by Jill Paton Walsh, and I can't recommend them. The last one, especially, was nasty.

Get well soon and read lots of good things.

Dec 3, 10:25pm Top

>64 dudes22:
>65 rabbitprincess:
>66 lkernagh:
>67 Jackie_K:
>68 mstrust:
>69 MissWatson:
>70 Helenliz:

Thanks to all of you for the lovely wishes. It was such a treat to drop in and see so many nice messages.

Unfortunately my recovery stalled and I have to go back to Kelowna hospital. Now that we've had substantial snow my husband is not looking forward to driving through the mountains again. I would be taken by ambulance if I was in worse shape. Oh well.

Meanwhile I'm going to try to get my 2020 thread up. The rest of this month will only involve light reading.

>70 Helenliz: Thanks for the tip, I'll give my other JPW Lord Peter book a pass.

Dec 4, 12:01am Top

>71 VivienneR: Oh no - I hope you have a safe drive and your recovery will go smoothly from here.

Dec 4, 1:25am Top

>72 JayneCM: Thank you, Jayne. At least the timing will be a bit better and he won't have to keep his foot so firmly on the gas pedal to get there on time.

Edited: Dec 4, 1:35am Top

Category - Non-fiction & Biography

Nocturne on the life and death of my brother by Helen Humphreys 4★

A beautifully written tribute to her brother who died of pancreatic cancer and whose artistic talent was entwined with hers since childhood. It is a reminder to tell those we love how we feel and to savour every moment spent with them.

Although I'm counting this as read I didn't quite finish this because it is too sad for my unhealthy condition right now.

Dec 4, 3:10am Top

I'm sorry to hear things aren't going smoothly for you. My best wishes for a safe trip and return!

Dec 4, 7:21am Top

SO sorry things aren't progressing as you might want. Hope things get straightened out so you can get back on your feet.

Dec 4, 11:41am Top

>75 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit.
>76 dudes22: Thank you, I hope so too.

Dec 4, 1:26pm Top

Sorry to hear that progress isn't as you had hoped. Praying things turn around quickly.

Dec 4, 1:44pm Top

Wishing you safe travels back to Kelowna, and a quick solution to whatever isn't quite working at the moment!

Dec 4, 7:51pm Top

It's nice to see you posting again!

Dec 4, 9:17pm Top

Hope you are doing better soon and the recovery gets back on track.

Dec 4, 9:37pm Top

I'm sorry to hear about your health worries. I'm wishing you a quick recovery and a safe trip back home afterward.

Edited: Dec 5, 4:55pm Top

>78 tess_schoolmarm:
>79 Jackie_K:
>80 clue:
>81 hailelib:
>82 mathgirl40:

Thank you all! Your messages are very encouraging. Now I just hope the weather plays along for the long drive through the mountains. Snow is a given.

Dec 5, 4:54pm Top

RandomCAT - December by the letter

Dead Cold by Louise Penny 4★

This was the first Louise Penny book I read and I didn't take to it much although I loved the Quebec references: the weather, culture, clothing, hockey, Leonard Cohen. I gave it 3 stars back then but after this re-read I'm upping that to four now that I "get" Three Pines. I have only one in the series left to read, the last one published. I hope Penny never tires of writing about Armand Gamache and Three Pines.

This takes care of D & C. I hope to cover the remaining letters soon.

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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