Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reading right now:

               I’m thrilled to have finally received “Fonduing Fathers” by Julie Hyzy. This is the sixth book in her White House Chef series. I love the main character, Chef Olivia Paras, who is tough, determined, loves her job, and is really good at what she does. The books always include recipes at the end. Usually Chef  Paras is dealing with threats to White House security, but in “Fonduing Fathers” she tackles finding out the truth about her father’s murder. Hyzy writes another series and other mysteries, but I have only read the White House Chef series and would really recommend it.

Culinary mysteries focus on food and death in equal parts. There are many amazing authors writing these terrifically fun books including Diane Mott Davison, Robin Allen, Ellen Hart, Phyllis C. Richman, Mary Jane Clark, and Jessica Beck (to name just a few). If you want to change it up just a bit, watch the fantastic BBC TV series which turns it all around and has the policeman trying to fulfill his dream of being a chef by running a restaurant on the side.

On hold right now:

               “Airtight” by David Rosenfelt. I am not thrilled that this is a standalone instead of part of his Andy Carpenter series, but I’ve enjoyed his standalones so hopefully this one will be good. The Andy Carpenter series is just so great—funny and exciting—and he is involved in rescuing dogs! The book comes out in February and I noticed that a new Andy Carpenter book is scheduled for July (so feel better already).
There are many good books for helping you train your dog, but the ones on various tricks or activities you can teach are helpful to give you ideas on how to play with your dog productively.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reading right now:

“A Death in the Small Hours” by Charles Finch is the latest in his outstanding Charles Lenox mystery series. This is the sixth installment which started with “A Beautiful Blue Death.” Since the beginning of the series, Lenox has gone from detective to member of Parliament. But no matter what his official career solving mysteries remains a major part of his life. In this new installment, Lenox attempts to get away from it all by visiting his uncle in Somerset. He is hoping to write an important speech in the quiet village of Plumbley, but a series of strange vandalisms distracts him from his goal.

Finch is an American author who went to school in England and now lives in England. His books are Historical mysteries set in Victorian times which means he joins such greats as Anne Perry, Phys Bowen, David Dickinson, Carole Douglas, Ray Harrison, and many other authors with a mystery series set in the Victorian era.

The Victorian era is a popular setting for many mystery writers. It was the time of Queen Victoria’s rule in the United Kingdom from 1837-1901. It was a period of prosperity and peace for Britain which citizens started talking about trying to make the world a better place for children and those in poverty by providing justice and better working conditions. It was also a time of tremendous scientific progress and ideas. Gas lighting became widespread, London acquired a sewage system, Charles Darwin published “On the Origins of Species,” photography was realized, Sigmund Freud started modern Psychiatry, Louis Pasteur’s work verified germs existed, and on it went ushering in the “Modern World.”

One of my favorite authors whose books are set in this era is Anne Perry. She has been writing her Thomas Pitt series since 1979 and the William Monk series since 1990. They are engaging, entertaining, and very much influenced by the changes taking place in the Victorian Era. I would also recommend Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist” which is set in the Victorian period.

On hold right now:

Looking forward to Robert Crais’ “Suspect” coming out 1/22/13. This isn’t an Elvis Cole or a Joe Pike book, but a standalone novel which involves an LAPD cop – with a dog! I also have “Winter Break” by Merry Jones on hold which came out 1/1/13. “Winter Break” is the third in the Harper Jennings series. Harper is an Iraqi war veteran with PTSD whose life is often complicated by murder. This is an amazing new series well worth your time.