A very clever mystery: Moonflower Murders

A Novel

by Anthony Horowitz

#MoonflowerMurders #NetGalley

Anthony Horowitz is a creative and imaginative author of complex mysteries. This book follows on his earlier novel, The Magpie Murders that also featured Susan Ryeland and the story within a story detective, Atticus Pund. I liked this title more than that first title in the series.

When the story starts, Susan has left England to run a hotel on a Greek island. It seems that venture is beginning to pale so when the opportunity comes to return to England, Susan is on her way. Susan is asked to investigate the disappearance of a hotelier’s daughter. Cecily was not seen again after calling her parents to tell them that, based on an Atticus Pund novel, she believes that a guest murdered at the hotel a number of years previously, was not killed by the accused and then convicted hotel worker. Does this sound a bit confusing and convoluted? Well, it just may be.

Susan investigates the case and, as part of her research, rereads the Atticus Pund book. That novel is very cleverly inserted in the middle of the book. I found this to be so appealing. There was the book cover, the blurbs, the copyright, everything one would expect but, again, it is a novel within the novel.

Will Susan solve the case? What happened to the missing daughter? Who committed the murder at the hotel and that is then fictionalized in the Pund book? There are many characters and there is lots to solve here.

This book is original and intriguing. I very much enjoyed it. It is long at over 600 pages so settle in for a long read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Now out:

Novel Advice

Practical Wisdom for Your Favorite Literary Characters

by Jay Bushman

I truly enjoyed this book. which I found to be quite entertaining. It lets readers delight in how much they know about some of their favorite fictional characters. The book is organized as a series of letters to an agony aunt, here known as Aunt Antigone. The letter writers range from Jane Austen’s Emma to Bronte’s Catherine Earnshaw to Harper Lee’s Boo Radley to Anne of Green Gables and many many more in chapters on topics like Navigating Friendships, Receiving an Education, The Way We Work and a number of others.
This is an amusing title that can be read in any order. It feels like a literary parlor trick to me but I mean that in a good way.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.

The importance of one’s place: Jane Austen at Home

A Biography

by Lucy Worsley

I am currently re-reading (and enjoying) Pride and Prejudice in anticipation of a three class sequence in early December. This will be about the fourth time that I have read P and P. It continues to enchant and feels like the perfect read for our current unsettled times.

While reading, I remembered that I had not yet read Jane Austen at Home, even though I have had this title for quite some time. Well, this was just the right moment to read it as it has offered yet another lens through which to see P and P and its author.

Lucy Worsley is known to many because of her tv appearances. She is also a writer, and a good one. This title is a biography of Jane Austen that focuses on the many places where she spent time and the importance of home. (Perhaps she was in advance of Virginia Wool’s A Room of One’s Own.). Ms. Worsley reminds the reader that it was often through marriage that women secured a safe place to live. This is one reason that Charlotte Lucas chooses her husband in P and P.

Throughout this book was an engaging read. I highly recommend it to Austen fans.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

Journeys can be so hard: The Paper Boat

A Refugee Story

by Thao Lam

#ThePaperBoat #NetGalley

This title begins with some newspaper renditions. After this, it is a wordless picture book with the exception of the author’s afterword. The art work is made up of Ms. Lam’s intricate collages.

The book tells the story of a refugee family fleeing Vietnam after the war. It is based on the experiences of the author’s family.

There are many illustrations with humans and others with ants. In her afterword, the author explains this choice. It resonates for her and may well resonate for those who pick up this title as well.

This book is geared toward children in grades one to four. I feel that it is one that may best be looked at with an adult.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

A Kirkus Reviews most anticipated picture book of fall 2020 with starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books — a heartfelt and personal immigration story, new from critically acclaimed author Thao Lam

Time to Go! by Carol Zeavin, Rhona Silverbush

Time to Go! (Terrific Toddlers)

Transitions are hard for toddlers. When they are doing something that they want to do, they do not always want to accommodate the schedules and needs of their adults. This title in the excellent Terrific Toddlers series focuses on this issue. There is a charmingly illustrated story for the children and a helpful suggestions for adults at the back of the book.

Raising children is a hard job and adults can use help. It is good to have a series like this that addresses common childhood concerns.

Many thanks to the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.