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Booking it at the farmette

It's a sunny, muggy day at the farmette. Was 18C at 8 a.m. already, and going up to 26. Feels like summer has returned.

For the past week, I took up a challenge on Facebook from one of my friends and former OMAFRA colleagues to post the picture of a book a day for seven days. Which was fun, but rule of the challenge was to post with no comment. So I thought I'd take three of them and do my commentary here, since I haven't done any recommendations for a while.

This one is a really deeply disturbing thriller. Solomon Creed isn't your typical hero. For one, he has nearly no back-story since he doesn't know who he is, and part of the ongoing quest (there are several books in the series) is his attempt to find out.

It is set in France and has about seven different sub-plots including messages from a Nazi death-camp, a really angry ex-husband who's also a released convict and a small boy with an exceptional talent for being able to sense bad guys. Leo actually has synesthesia - a real-life condition in which people associate or 'see' colours with numbers or letters - or, in his case, malicious intent.

I've been a fan of Louise Penny for several years now. Partly because she's Canadian, and I like to support the local talent. But also because her main character - Armand Gamache - is such a complex, interesting, and moral person (something we need LOT more of these days).

In Glass Houses, a black-cloaked figure comes to stand in the middle of square in Three Pines, where Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie live. For several days.

Then, he disappears, and a body turns up - as they must do in a murder mystery. Penny weaves a tale that's filled with twists and turns and cool facts about traditions like the Spanish cobrador, a figure from centuries ago who used to follow debtors around to shame them into paying up. The story see-saws back and forth from the actual investigation and the court case at which the accused killer is on trial. It's a ripper, and one of my favourites, not least because Penny's husband Michael - who had been diagnosed with dementia - died while she was writing it. She's amazingly strong and brave besides being a huge talent.

Finally, I'm just now reading a book I checked out of the library by Jacqueline Winspear whose main character is Maisie Dobbs. A friend recommended the series to me, and although I'm not reading it in sequence, I'm definitely going back to find out more about this incredible woman.

Maisie was a nurse during the first World War and in this one is a professional investigator who has solved more than a few mysteries. It's the early 1930s and a well-heeled family has found out their son - a cartographer who died during the war - had corresponded with an English woman, and they want to find her.

Winspear is great at setting the tone and the landscape of London and environs during this period. She provides enough back story to give context, but not so much as to bog down the book's pace. I'm only about a third through it, but am hooked.

But the reading will have to wait until later. There's much house and garden cleanup that needs doing around the farmette today. Until next week.

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