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Monday, 27 August 2018

Miss Silver Mystery Books ~ Patricia Wentworth

I'll list the books in the order that I've read them, which may help others to see how I've ended up rating each next story I've listened through.

09/15   The Key Bk8  (3.5)
08/17   Pilgrim's Rest Bk10 (2.5the perpetrator of the crimes is a psychopath … I think that aspect ruined the story for me
08/17   The Case of William Smith Bk13  (3)
09/17   Eternity Ring Bk14  (2.5)  one of the key characters is a spoilt brat.  Ho-hum story
09/17   Spotlight Bk12  (2)
02/18   The Alington Inheritance Bk31  (3After 4 or 5 drop and restarts, and then not until Jenny ran away did I feel any real interest in this story.
02/18   Anna, Where Are You? Bk20  (3)
04/18   Miss Silver Comes to Stay Bk16  (4)
05/18   The Case Is Closed Bk2  (4
05/18   The Silent Pool Bk24  (3Herefordshire     Extra content others may like to know about:  Wentworth gifted the murderer with a borderline personality.  Adultery (emotional and physical). 
06/18   The Fingerprint Bk30   (3.5)   Deeping, Lincolnshire    The author intentionally injects shades of Cinderella-with-a-twist into this story – the put upon orphan in this tale is not very likeable, and, has tangled herself up with a manipulative, abusive, thug.  Miss Silver saves the day, so all ends well.  I was in the frame of mind to enjoy a cosy mystery, so this scored well ;)     Content extras: there are a few kissing episodes in this book, though Wentworth doesn’t give it ‘sensual’ legs to run on – she’s rather matter of fact. 
Coleridge —
“For to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness on the brain.”
06/18   The Watersplash Bk21   (3.5)  (Faux English Village) I can’t read these back to back as many of them are rather similar in tone, missing wills, country homes, a pretty ‘longsuffering’ girl, and, a moody young man.  Extra: drunken,  domestic violence is included in this story.
06/18   The Clock Strikes Twelve Bk7  (4)  (faux English village)   Extra: One of the characters in this story, a possessive, manipulative, narcissistic, mother by adoption could be a real a challenge for an IRL associate to read about. 
06/18   The Benevent Treasure Bk26  (4+)   Dorset (?)  If I’d known Wentworth was going to have people skulking around the house after dark I may not have listened to this at bed time (;-D). 
Gothic styled read. Wentworth really sets the reader up to dislike the abusive old lady- she thinks nothing of viciously slapping family/servants across the face if they cross her.  There is a clever twist at the very end of the story with the money.
06/18   The Chinese Shawl Bk5  (3+)   faux country village/ London  The usual range of Wentworth characters, many with major character defects, and one who goes from being a boarder-line personality disorder, to murderous psychopath.
07/18   The Latter End Bk11 (4+) free ebook   Wildcard “Rayle” faux English village Lincolnshire/ London  (Anthony travels to Oxfordshire)
Paintings mentioned gracing Miss Silver’s walls as prints:
and The Huguenot    (close up)
The author tends to wallow in Freudian rhetoric, a bit much, in this book.   I really enjoyed the twist Wentworth gave to this who-dunnit, I didn’t see that coming at all.
08/18   Miss Silver Intervenes Bk 6  (3) Gifting this with a 3 since some of the supporting stories were interesting – the mystery wasn’t that good.
08/18   Poison in the Pen Bk29  (I was in the frame of mind to enjoy a Wentworth styled mystery, so I did; and,  she gave enough clues early on the books so I could work out “who’d dunnit”. 
Extra detail: showcases adultery and a pending divorce. Lots of village gossiping/backstabbing in this one.
09/18   The Gazebo Bk27   (4) Grovehill, Hertfordshire/ North Yorkshire/ London 
Wentworth sets the reader up to start thinking “that’ mother deserves to be done in – manipulator to the extreme – it was teeth gritting to read about the sugar-coated abuse she heaped on her daughter.  The baddies are all bad, which includes a brassy, avaricious, man chaser,  and the murder was easy to solve.  (I would not recommend this to those that have/are living thru issues with a manipulator  or narcissist. )

The next titles are ones I'd like to listen to before I count my trip through Miss Silver Mysteries as done n dusted:

Lonesome Road Bk3
The Danger Point Bk4  (especially after a BaW mum read and enjoyed it.  Currently not available via audible)
The Ivory Dagger Bk18

Of course, if some of the other books become available via audible I may listen to those too.

Tallgrass ~ Sandra Dallas

narrated by Lorelei King  (epukapuka audiobook) (5

I think Lorelei King's talented narration made this book - not sure I would have appreciated it this much in the written format - and I know this is one of those stories that is going to stay with me for a long time. Tallgrass covers a dark WWII era in American history - a US portion of history I haven't read much about  - our country had it's own WWII internment camps for German, Italian and Japanese civilians.   This story is about a family that live and farm near a Japanese internment camp.  I loved the character of the mum, dad, and, youngest daughter; and their interactions with the Japenese sent to their district.  
This is NOT a lite, fluffy read, Dallas covers really gritty, hard topics:  blatant racism, 3 accounts of rape, 2 murders - one of a young teen, spousal abuse.  The interview with Dallas at the end gives the story another layer.  
I  handed this to my husband to listen to, and he's appreciating it also.

The Love That I Have ~ James Moloney

Australian author (4+)  Historical Fiction

Synopsis :  Margot Baumann has left school to take up her sister’s job in the mailroom of a large prison. But this is Germany in 1944, and the prison is Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin.

Margot is shielded from the camp’s brutality as she has no contact with prisoners. But she does handle their mail and, when given a cigarette lighter and told to burn the letters, she is horrified by the callous act she must carry out with her own hands. This is especially painful since her brother was taken prisoner at Stalingrad and her family have had no letters from him. So Margot steals a few letters, intending to send them in secret, only to find herself drawn to their heart-rending words of hope, of despair, and of love.

This is how Margot comes to know Dieter Kleinschmidt – through the beauty and the passion of his letters to his girlfriend.

And since his girlfriend is also named Margot, it is like reading love letters written for her


Not quite 5 stars. Pre-read this as a potential (NCEA Reader Response, English essay) read for Daisy.   A WWII story written from the German perspective, about two Germans.  I didn't realise this was intended as an adult read as it definitely has a Y/A feel to it - which I enjoyed!  While the topics being covered are gritty and harrowing, the author writes with a more gentle touch not magnify the gore, genocide, brutality, or depravity happening as many WWII books do. I like a semblance of a 'happy ending', which this book has.  Off to see what else James Moloney has written.....

For others wanting to know extras before handing to your teen: No swearing, some kissing scenes mentioned - one with clothed petting - (not sensual, steamy or explicit), rape is referred to euphemistically, Margot's older sister is having an affair with a married man, details some of the horrors of the concentration camps, describes a 16-year-old German girl being branded on her face by the 'liberators'.

To Destroy You is No Loss ~ Joan Criddle, Teeda Butt Mam

 narrated by Christina Moore   (5) Biographical

This was a recommended homeschool history book that I never got to read with the children.   A sober, harrowing, and gritty listen. The love, care and respect this family have for one is heartening – along with their deeply held Buddhist faith – they seem to undergird the incredible resilience these people required to endure each next heartache and hardship.  The fact that all, bar one member of their family group make it through that holocaust seems miraculous.  Although the writing may not rank as the very best in literary terms, I felt compelled to keep reading.  This is a story that stays with you, long after the last word is read.       

Extra: while the author/s detail the atrocities of a despotic, genocidal, regime it is done in a more sobering, factual tone without “glorifying” the very real horror or the gore of the events taking place.  Beheadings, mass murders, the horrors of slavery, an account of gang rape, the desperation and vulnerability of fleeing refugees.

The number beside each book is my personal rating for the book, or audiobook, at the time of reading with the range being:

(1) = would not recommend,

(2) = some interesting aspects but not one of my recommended reads,

(3) = would recommend.

(4) = Really good, enjoyable, (or worthy) read, would definitely recommend

(5) = Excellent book, highly recommend