I love summer, and since Oklahoma can’t seem to decide what season we’re in, I’m declaring it summer. So I’ve put aside my chores, and my computer how-to manuals and I’m reading for fun. Started with David Handler’s The Boy Who Never Grew Up, which despite the fact the book was written in 1992, Hollywood looks much the same as it does now. Stewart Hoag, ghost writer extrodinaire, has been sent to help Matthew Wax, movie mogul, get over the imminent collapse of his marriage by writing his memoirs. His wife is writing her own, and we’ve got the “he said, she said” war emerging. Wax is quite literally pulling his hair out over his lady love, Pennyroyal. Hoag has plenty to deal with, adolescent grown-ups, crazy ambitious actresses, and toss in some arson and racy photos and you’ve got the idea. I almost forgot Lulu, a charmer for all dog lovers. The mystery parts are well developed, the ending is a suprise and you meet one Hollywood character after another.
Then of course, I found a Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden I hadn’t read. How is that even possible. Poppy Done to Death. Poppy, Aurora’s sister-in-law, is about to be accepted into the prestigious “Uppity Women Book Club.” Before she can accept this honor, she’s murdered in her own kitchen and Aurora discovers the body. There’s lots of infidelity going on, with desperate housewives and husbands on the prowl. It’s hard to find anyone still faithful to their partner. In little Lawrenceton, Georgia, the saying “no one really knows anyone”, couldn’t be truer.
Aurora has a new love interest since the death of her husband, Martin. And the relationship is moving along in surprising ways. Her half brother Phillip, provides an unexpected visit, and adds to her personal narrative. Charlaine Harris is always a good cozy read. Interesting characters, strong Southern charm, and a mystery to keep you reading until the end. Grab your sweet tea and put your feet up for this one.
I’m so glad to be back on Okie terra firma. OMG airplane travel is hideous. Obviously no one is heeding VP Biden’s directive to stay off planes. Every plane I was on was full, and had standbys. Actually I did make all my planes, close call with having the shuttle service in Athens tell me they didn’t have me down for a return trip, what good is the confirmation number they give you? The very nice gentleman at the desk at the Hilton Garden Inn, Downtown Athens helped me and found me a cancellation and I was on my way. Thank you.
And Thank You Young Bill Young for blogging for me. Much appreciated and I think all will agree he’s welcome to blog here any time. We will have to ask him whyYoung Bill was the only one at McDonald’s that was asked if he wanted the senior discount.
The one good thing about travel is being able to read and block out all the stuff going on around you. I did notice less people reading and more people playing with electronic devices. I finished one book on the way, started another, finished it and started another. And since one of them was by one of my favorite cozy authors, Anne George, I’ll take this opportunity to reply to Reggie Jet about cozies,
“Never read a “cozy” but I’ve always envisioned them in the style of Agatha Christie’s Jan Marple mysteries. (Am I off base?)” http://blog.newsok.com/okiereads/2009/05/13/cup-of-crime-with-a-tea-cozy/
The cozies I like best are full of humor, sarcasm, a good mystery, and clever, eccentric characters. Anne George’s Southern Sisters mysteries have all these qualities. And hey, I was visiting the South so a perfect pick. Mary Alice and Patricia Anne are sisters but nothing alike in looks or temperment. They are the typical southern family where blood is always thicker than water, except Mary Alice can really put that concept to the test. In Murder Gets a Life, Mary Alice’s son, Ray, meets “Barbie” look alike Sunshine Dabbs. Next thing you know, the sisters have fallen over a dead body stuck to the linoleum floor with Sunshine’s grandmother Meemaw’s best hog butchering knife. Lots of family crisis including Patricia’s daughter’s pending vows and departure for Warsaw, Debbie (Mary Alice’s daughter) is having a baby and suffering through nausea and more, this unexpected marriage between Ray and Sunshine in Bora Bora, and a whole host of eccentric, “common as pig tracks” and unnerving new in-laws.
Meemaw is a particularly loveable character, especially since she has been visited by Gabriel her channeler, who first appeared after a space ship sighting declaring, “behold I bring you tidings of great joy.” There are laugh out loud passages and just an enjoyable, engaging, good for plane travel and lazy summer day read.
Sorry Anne George is gone and there will be no more Southern Sister books, we’ll miss the old girls.
Saturday or Sunday is usually laundry day, so I think that calls for a Doing Laundry Books category. Of course it has to be a book you can put down and pick up again, nothing too intense so you can stop and move clothes from the washer into the dryer, nothing too unputdownable so the dryer clothes don’t remain there to become hopelessly wrinkled. This week it was a Charlaine Harris (of Sookie Stackhouse fame) book, The Julius House.
“Well, if you really want to know—she asked me if it was really true that you were marrying a Yankee. I said, ‘Well, Miss Neecy, he is from Ohio.’ And she said, ‘Poor Aida. I know you’re worried. But there are some nice ones. Aurora will be all right, honey.’ ” p.72.
This was written before her southern vampire series, so sex is just alluded to and no gorgeous vampires appear. But it is what I think of as a southern cozy, which works for laundry day.
Chick-lit can also work but that can wait for another day.
I like the introduction of Angel and Shelby Youngblood. The mystery is all about a missing family, and what we know or don’t know about each other in any relationship.
I think Harris was developing her voice in these early titles and they are a bit uneven. She is certainly better now. But hey, it’s Laundry day.