Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Chase

The second book in the series co-written by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg about an FBI agent, Kate O'Hare, who is 'unofficially' partnered with a fugitive on the FBI's ten most wanted list, Nicolas Fox. When the Chinese reclaim a bronze rooster on loan to the Smithsonian there is a problem. The rooster on display is a fake. Nick and Kate's task is to find a way to locate the stolen rooster and replace the fake artifact with the original. As the person who now possesses the real rooster is also the head of a major world security network the task is obviously not going to be easy. This fast moving action novel contains plenty of suspense as Nick and Kate with their team not only locate the original rooster but also seek revenge on the person who stole it.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Earlier this year I saw the film, Philomena and I came away really angry about the treatment of young mothers and their children born out of wedlock by institutions, particulalrly the church, in Ireland in the 1950s. Reading the book on which the film is loosely based confirmed my anger. Both Philomena and her son tried to find each other but each time they visited Sean Ross Abbey theywere told by the nuns that they could not provide information about the other party. Philomena did not find any information about her son until after his death.

The film concentrates on the story from Philomena's viewpoint while the majority of the book, originally published as The Lost Son of Philomena Lee, looks at the story of her son after he was taken from Ireland, at the age of three, to live in America. Anthony, whose name was changed to Michael, had difficulty entirely accepting his new life and, although his political career led him to  holding a high position within the Republican Party, he never felt that he belonged to his adoptive family or to his new country. Michael was gay and the book also looks at the position of homosexuals in the 1980s, particulalrly with the arrival of  AIDS.

Martin Sixsmith wrote the book after studying diaries, documents, photographs and transcripts of interviews with people involved in the story of Anthony and Philomena. Although there have been changes to the adoption laws in Ireland the treatment of young mothers with illegitimate children by the church is still being investigated.

All in all a thought provoking book and film.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Duck the halls

Another of Donna Andrews' fun novels featuring Meg Langslow and her large extended family. Christmas celebrations are well underway in Caerphilly until someone releases a number of skunks in the local Baptist Church. As a result Meg is summoned to help find locations for Baptist Church events within the other churches in Caerphilly until all evidence of the skunks' visit has been removed. However when the Baptist Church choir holds a concert at Trinity Episcopalian Church, a large snake emerges from one of the decorations causing a break in proceedings until the snake is removed. Over the next few days various other animal related incidents occur creating uncertainty in the town, however when the fire brigade is called to a fire in the basement of Trinity Church and the body of a church member is also discovered in the basement the citizens of Caerphilly become concerned. Apart from the fire and the murder there are suspicions about the real identity of the Baptist Church choir master and what has happened to the goods left to the Trinity Church as part of Mrs Thornfield's Estate? Also, will Meg and Michael and their sons be able to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal together?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Brat Farrar

When Brat Farrar is approached in the street to impersonate Patrick Ashby, who is believed to have committed suicide eight years previously, he initially refuses but eventually agrees to the plan. After extensive coaching he is ready to meet the Ashby family and claim the inheritance as the eldest son instead of his 'twin brother, Simon'. Much of the book describes the reactions of family and friends to the return of Patrick. Fortunately Brat loves horses as the family property is a horse stud and this makes it easier for him to fit into the family routine. However Simon does not hide his mistrust of Brat and the longer Brat stays with the family he realises that he is in danger. This story of suspense is also about acceptance and being part of a family. As usual Josephine Tey tells the story through the lives of her characters as well as the twists and turns of the plot.

Brat Farrar was first published in 1949. It was the basis for a gothic film, Paranoiac (1963), and later was filmed for BBC television in 1986.

Josephine Tey

Two for sorrow

Much of the plot of Two for Sorrow revolves around the hanging of two women at Holloway Prison in 1903 for baby farming, resulting in the death of most of the babies. Thirty years later repercussions from this event are still affecting the lives of families affected by the crime and its outcome.

Josephine Tey is researching the story for a novel that she plans to write and draft chapters of the book are interspersed among the chapters outlining the investigation by Detective Inspector Archie Penrose and his team of two murders which are suspected to be related to the events of 1903. One of the themes discusses the difference between fact and fiction and whether factual events should be used as the basis for a fictional work. An examination of friendship between men and women as well as between women is another theme in the book. This book by Nicola Upson has almost 500 pages but I found that I was so involved in the intricacies of the plot that I had to keep reading.

Silent kill

This is Peter Corris' 39th book in the Cliff Hardy series. When Cliff is approached to act as security advisor to Rory O'Hara, an activist and want to be politician who is going on a month long tour to promote his views on a variety of issues, he looks forward to some constant employment. Unfortunately the tour gets off to a bad start leaving Cliff without a job until he employed to locate the person who killed the daughter of a Korean businessman. The book has plenty of action with kidnapping, murder, and Cliff travelling long distances across Australia to locate the killer. Complications arise as it is dicovered that others also want the killer found and eliminated.