Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley
by P.D. James

P.D. James gives new life to your favorite Austen characters, without being the least bit cutesy or gimmicky (like many other Austen copycats).

Genre: Mystery

Review: What a perfect adaptation of Jane Austen's writing style with the ultimate twist for mystery-lovers--a murder mystery at Darcy's Pemberley! It was lovely to read about Elizabeth Bennet's life after Pride and Prejudice, as she settles into domestic life and Pemberley. She and Darcy are still in love after several years.

 And of course, the night before the ball, a dead body turns up and the dashing, devilish Wickham is stirring up more trouble. 

New characters populate the story as well, while the descriptions of the woods and the estate are as enlivening as another character.

Fact: Can you believe it? At age 91, author P.D. James she has written 20 books and she is still working!

On the screen: The book has been adapted to a mini-series on the BBC: I hear it comes to the U.S. in Nov. 2014.

Matthew Rhys from The Americans plays Darcy. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Circle of Wives

A Circle of Wives
by Alice LaPlante

Genre: Mystery?

 If you are going to read one book by LaPlante, read Turn of Mind (see my review below). It is much more original and shocking and suspenseful than A Circle of Wives. However, if you have already read Turn of Mind, go ahead and check out her latest novel, just don't compare the two.

ReviewA Circle of Wives is a murder mystery, but not very suspenseful. A do-gooder plastic surgeon dies in a hotel room in Palo Alto, and his three wives, Deborah (the original suburban wife with empty nest syndrome gone awry), M.J. (paradoxical hippie/accountant), and Helen (pediatric oncologist, wife #3) meet at the funeral. Rookie detective Samantha is on the case but not great at solving real crimes. 

Each wife is a distinct character and I wanted to read until the end, but I was not desperately turning pages. The novel addresses the question: "How could she not have known?" and posits realistic answers.

My review of Turn of Mind.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

After I'm Gone

After I'm Gone 
by Laura Lippman

How does one man's disappearance ripple through the lives of his three daughters, wife, and mistress?

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Review: Laura Lippman delivers the suspense and truths about marriage and family in her eighth stand-alone novel. Cold case detective Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez sees a compelling picture of Julie Saxony and decides she will be his next case. 

However, the story is really about three sisters, Michelle, Rachel, and Linda and their mother Bambi who were abandoned by father Felix when he was threatened with prison time for his illegal activities. 

We get a glimpse into their lives for decades, as Felix left and Julie Saxony disappeared ten years later, then her body turned up even later--cut to the present and Sandy's investigation, we follow the life stories of extraordinary and unpredictable women.  

Bonus! Our favorite PI Tess Monaghan (of Lippman's book series)and her husband Crow and daughter Scout make a guest appearance, which I enjoyed.

Laura Lippman's Website: here you can read all series titles of the Tess Monaghan Series