The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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March 6, 2014

It's no mystery...

... that I love mysteries, esp. series mysteries, but I don't always write about them here. {Was that a sign of relief I just heard?}  Maybe I'm a little self-conscious about how many of them I read, maybe I usually can't think of anything interesting enough to say about them, or maybe it's that it's hard to say what happens in them without saying what happens in them, if you follow me. And sometimes the 22nd book in the series can be a lot of fun to read, but I'd still feel like it's a stretch to come up with reasons why I liked it. So, maybe if I really like one I'll try to say something about it, and if it's just a good book, I'll just say I read it and it was a good book. :)

Even though I quickly forget* what happens in most of them, I almost never re-read mysteries, but I will listen again to one I've read. Since I've been eagerly anticipating The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh's new Lord Peter Wimsey novel, I was happy to find the first one, Thrones, Dominations, on the library's audiobook shelf. I remember liking it when I read it the first time, and I loved listening to it this time. This is the book that Dorothy L. Sayers left unfinished, and it seems very true to what I remember of her books, or at least that it 'feels' like them and works in its own right. It's set in 1936, when George V dies and rumors begin to circulate about King Edward and his romance with an American divorcee. {When Peter disappears on one of his mysterious ops, his mission has to do with retrieving some papers that the King has left careless lying about during one of his weekend house parties.) Peter and Harriet are newlyweds, settling into their new house in London, decorated for them by the Dowager Duchess, with Harriet adjusting to her new self as Lady Peter.  {There's a wonderful scene at the beginning when Peter's cantankerous Godmother visits Harriet to 'see what Peter has married.'} Someone is murdered, but who cares?  The scenes between Peter and Harriet are what we came here for.

* This is mortifying:  I was looking at the mysteries on my own reading list the other day, and saw an author there who's new to me, and started thinking I should finally look for one of his books, only to realize somehow the next day that not only have I read two of the books that I still have on the list, but that according to what I wrote on my own blog I was underwhelmed by them. :)

The other book I just finished (also as an audiobook, but just because I found it that way sooner} is Through the Evil Days, the eighth book in Julia Spencer-Fleming's series about Russ van Alstyne and Clare Fergusson.  When I was first listening to this, I realized that almost none of the series that I read is set in the U.S., especially in the present day; I got a little distracted trying to think of any (and could only think of Faye Kellerman's books).  Russ is the strong, sensible police chief in a small town in the Adirondacks, and Clare is the town's new Episcopal priest, and now Russ's wife.  She's pregnant, and Russ is struggles with the fact that he didn't want a child. As the story begins, a man kidnaps a little girl and set fires to the house he has taken her from, killing her foster parents. This happens just as Russ and Clare are leaving for their honeymoon in a remote cabin on a lake, and each of them faces a crisis that they can't bring themselves to talk about. In an odd way, I liked the fact that I could almost see the plot unfolding and the strands connecting as I read. This is probably a thriller more than a mystery (you know in general who the bad guys are, and you just need to find out what's going to happen to everyone), but it's set during a crippling winter storm, so there is much peril and plot-thickening, and the ending was well done. There's been a little bit of time between this book and the last one, and I'm finding that the series has really grown on me.

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