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Snowbound and sleuthing at the farmette


It's snowing. Again. Or still, actually. Three inches in the last couple of days, and a foot on the ground. Thanks to Rob laying in lots of supplies, we don't have to venture out today. Whew! That means it's a perfect time to cozy up to the fireplace with a good book. The farmette has a pretty robust library all the time but in the post-Christmas period, it's awash in good literature, since there are usually two or three or six treasures wrapped up under the tree waiting to be devoured. So here's a selection:

We're big fans of murder mysteries, so every time there's a new Peter Robinson published, we have to have it. He never disappoints.

Robinson's main character is Inspector Banks, an English cop who, in the latest instalment, has risen in rank to Detective Superintendent.

In 'Sleeping in the Ground', I really like the fact that he establishes the killing on page one - no messing about with plot or character development, although all that unfolds after the initial trauma. A sharpshooter turns a dreamy wedding in a quaint Yorkshire churchyard into a nightmare.

Robinson artfully weaves together the main story, in which the killer has killed himself (or has he?) with Banks' personal reflections on his past love relationships. The DS is getting a bit long in the tooth, and his love of music and a good single malt is not quite cutting it as he stares down his own mortality. Great read.

I'm working my way through another instalment of a favourite murder mystery series whose central character is as far away from Banks as is possible.

Flavia De Luce is a tween who lives in England, as well. But it's the 1950s, our heroine has recently been orphaned, has a razor-sharp expertise in chemistry (mostly poisons), and tends to find dead bodies in the oddest places.

She then proceeds to sniff out what exactly happened in the run-up to her discovery.

Alan Bradley is a Canadian writer who's well into his later years. How he brings Flavia to life as an inquisitive and brash but entirely loveable girl is beyond me. But it works. Every. Single. Time. Flavia's trials with her sisters, her deep love of Dogger, the family's servant-friend-confidante and her constant struggle with people not taking her seriously are all meticulously narrated by a master.

In 'The Grave's a Fine and Private Place', Flavia is trailing her fingers in the water while punting down a river, when she latches onto what she thinks is a great huge Hemingwayesque fish, but is actually a young man's body. I'm about halfway through, and I can't wait to see how she figures this one out.

Finally, The Alice Network is a truly stunning spy novel based on real women who worked during both World Wars to help the Allied cause.

Shifting back and forth between the teens and the forties, Kate Quinn spins a compelling tale of how these brave ladies worked right under the noses of the enemy.

In WW2, Charlie St.

Clair spirits Allied pilots shot down in occupied France over the Pyrenees (!) to safe haven in Spain.

In the Great War, Eve Gardiner risks her life to bring crucial military instructions - sometimes tiny messages on paper wrapped in her hair pins - to armed forces at the front.

Quinn has the two meet up and embark on a road trip of danger and discovery for both women. Truly a ripper of a tale.

So that's it. Time for me to hunker down and see what Flavia's up to now. Until next week.


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