Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Review Friday: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: A Novel

By Genevieve Valentine

The Hamilton sisters are hidden away by their domineering father and rarely see the light of day.  Then they begin sneaking out to dance the night away in the speakeasies of Manhattan and wearing out their catalog ordered dancing shoes, until their suspicious father decides to marry them off to control their wild ways.  The story is told from the perspective of oldest sister, Jo “the General,” who guides and safeguards her sisters until a confrontation with their father leaves the girls separated and alone on the streets of Manhattan.

This is a delightful reimagining of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” fairytale set in the glitz and glamour of the jazz age of the 1920s. 

If you like retold fairy-tales, you may enjoy:

Briar Rose
By Jane Yolen

Spindle’s End
By Robin McKinley

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
By Gregory Maguire

Princess of the Midnight Ball
By Jessica Day George

By Alex Finn

By Marissa Meyer

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review Friday: A Duty to the Dead

A Duty to the Dead
By Charles Todd

In 1916, on board the hospital ship Britannic, nurse Bess Crawford promises a dying soldier to deliver a message.   But when the cryptic message is delivered, Arthur Graham’s family seems distant and unresponsive to his dying request and Bess finds herself embroiled in the Graham family’s secret past and troubled present.

This is the first novel in a series by a mother-son duo who write under the name of Charles Todd.  The story is steeped in historic detail and paints a vivid picture of life in war torn Europe.  The mystery is intriguing and Bess is an engaging amateur sleuth. 

More books in the Bess Crawford Series:

A Duty to the Dead
An Impartial Witness
A Bitter Truth
An Unmarked Grave
A Question of Honor
An Unwilling Accomplice
The Maharani’s Pearls
A Pattern of Lies

Also by Charles Todd:
The Ian Rutledge Mystery Series

If you like Charles Todd you may also like:
James R. Benn
Kerry Greenwood
Susan Elia MacNeal
Louise Penny
Anne Perry
Dorothy L. Sayers
Jacqueline Winspear

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Great advice for bloggers

Great advice for bloggers ... but not from me, of course, I'm still fumbling around in the dark.  But I'm smart enough to listen to folks who know what they're doing.  So here's a link to a great little article about increasing traffic on your blog.  Called 5 Tips to Help Increase Traffic to Your Blog. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review Friday: The Remedy

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and 
the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis

By Thomas Goetz

Publication date: 2014

Before the Germ Theory was developed in the late 19th century diseases were terrible, misunderstood scourges that doctors could neither treat nor prevent.  German physician Robert Koch was one of the scientists who pioneered the Germ Theory. Using painstaking scientific research methods of his own design Koch first set his sights on anthrax and later cholera, but his greatest triumph was the isolation and identification of the bacteria that caused tuberculosis.  Science is a competitive field and the drive to find a cure can become too much. When Koch announced a remedy for tuberculosis, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle observed the experiments and the results and realized that Koch had missed the mark and wrote a scathing review of Koch’s methods in researching his remedy.  Later, when Doyle left medicine, he used Koch’s principles of painstaking scientific analysis to develop his great detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Science writer Thomas Goetz uses his own painstaking research to tell the story of these pioneers of science.  The links between them are tenuous.  Doyle and Koch never met, but their lives were both profoundly influenced by their need to understand the world in a scientific framework.  Goetz’s narrative switches back and forth from Koch’s story to Doyle’s and occasionally moves backward in time, creating a fascinating look at the history of scientific discovery.

For more great reads about the early years of modern medicine try these:

The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis
By Arthur Allen

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine 
By Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
By Deborah Blum

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – And How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
By Steven Johnson

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President
By Candice Millard

The Doctor’s Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignác Semmelweis
By Sherwin B. Nuland

Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review Friday: The Outsmarting of Criminals

The Outsmarting of Criminals: A Mystery Introducing Miss Felicity Prim

By Steven Rigolosi

Published in 2014

After living and working in Manhattan for many years, Miss Felicity Prim is mugged. When she recovers from this traumatic experience she decides it’s time to retire and take up her lifelong dream.  Having steeped herself in the adventures of famous sleuths through the pages of her favorite books, Miss Prim feels she has what it takes to become an Outsmarter of Criminals.  She takes up residence in a quaint little cottage in Greenfield, Connecticut and soon becomes embroiled in the lives and secrets of her neighbors.  But all is not peaceful in Miss Prim’s world.  Her dear friend, Dolly Veerelf’s boyfriend is acting strangely.  Dr. Amos Poe, Miss Prim’s former employer has suddenly proposed marriage. And on her first night in her new home she discovers a corpse in the basement.

The Outsmarting of Criminals is a cozy, character-driven mystery with lots of fun, quirky characters in both Greenfield and Manhattan. Miss Prim is an engaging sleuth, an avid reader and a longtime student of human nature, who is something of a cross between Miss Marple and J. B. Fletcher. Her first outing as an Outsmarter of Criminals promises hints of many sequels to come.

If you like cozy mysteries with amateur sleuths you may like these authors:

Donna Andrews
Lilian Jackson Braun
Laura Childs
Joanna Fluke
G. M. Malliet
Catriona McPherson

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review Friday: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

Okay, I know it's Saturday, but I'm posting it anyway.
Happy New Year!!

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

By Sofie Kelly

Published February 2011

First in the Magical Cats Mystery Series.
Kathleen Paulson decides to do something spontaneous, so she leaves her home and job in Boston and signs on as head librarian overseeing the renovating and refurbishing of the Mayville Heights Public Library in Minnesota.  Exploring the town one afternoon, Kathleen comes across an abandoned mansion that has become home to a colony of feral cats and two adorable kittens follow her home.  Hercules and Owen soon become part of Kathleen’s new family and when she becomes a person of interest in a local murder; her two feline friends prove there’s more to cats than meets the eye.

 Engaging and cozy with just a touch of magic, Sophie Kelly’s Curiosity Thrilled the Cat was a fun way to while away an afternoon or two. The mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing.  The cats were adorable.  Granted, you have to suspend disbelief to imagine a cat walking through solid objects, but anyone who’s ever owned a cat will know it’s not as farfetched as it sounds.  Mayville Heights is peopled with interesting characters you’ll want to get to know better.  Main character, and librarian, Kathleen Paulson is a like-able, strong willed animal lover, who’s only a little concerned about what the neighbors will say if they hear her talking to her cats.

If you liked Curiosity Thrilled the Cat, you might like these:

The Magical Cats Mystery Series by Sofie Kelly
Curiosity Thrilled the Cat
Sleight of Paw
Copycat Killing
Cat Trick
Final Catcall
A Midwinter’s Tail

Other Cat Mystery Series
The Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown
The Midnight Louie Mysteries by Carole Nelson Douglas
The Cat in the Stacks Series by Miranda James
The Joe Grey Mystery Series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Other Librarian Mystery Series
The Ophelia & Abby Mysteries by Shirley Damsgaard
The Cat in the Stacks Series by Miranda James
The Karen Nash Mysteries by Mary Lou Kerwin
The Murder by the Month Mysteries by Jess Lourey