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Booking it at the farmette

It's a grey and not-terribly-cold day at the farmette. We got groceries yesterday because we thought it was going to be a stormy day, but so far, nada.

I've been reading a lot lately - my friend Pat and I have a sort-of lending library arrangement in which we each make sure the other doesn't buy certain books so we can exchange them whenever we get together. Of course we have very similar taste, so I thought I'd do a bit of a book recommendation today.

The Maisie Dobbs series is one I've really taken to since I found one in our local library. Jacqueline Winspear is the author and she's taken her heroine Maisie from being a maid in a big manor in London, England to a psychologist/investigator. Maisie lived in the early part of the 20th century, was a nurse in WW1 and an ambulance driver in WW2.

This one - which I borrowed from Pat - is set between the wars in 1930. A woman runs away from her palatial home and her father, who's a prominent business man and doesn't want the publicity of calling in the cops, calls Maisie instead to find her.

During the course of her investigation, Maisie discovers a trail of dead women (as you do in a murder mystery) who have connections to the missing lady and to the shenanigans that occurred during the Great War.

The story unfolds with just the right amount of speed and tension and her descriptions of both the scenery and the language of that era is spot on (at least it feels that way - I'm not that old!). There's several in the series, so lots to work through. Highly recommend.

I just finished this one - again courtesy of Pat. As she says, this is one of those books that sticks with you for days after. It's about a Count who was arrested after the Bolshevik Revolution because he was part of the elite class. His sentence was house arrest in the Metropol - one of Moscow's finest hotels.

With perfect touches of historical context, the author weaves a story of how a gentleman who has been brought low - they stick him in the attic with just the barest of necessities - manages to keep his head held high for thirty years! His friendships with hotel staff and encounters with guests are drawn in amazing detail while the plot moves along at a good pace. A twist ending for which the author has laid breadcrumbs throughout the book is most satisfying. Again, full marks and highly recommended.

Finally, I'm getting to the Peter Robinson that I gave to Rob at Christmas. We're both raving fans of this Canadian/English author whose main character Alan Banks is a Detective Superintendent with a stellar reputation for solving crimes.

Rob finished it and I've just dived in, It's proving to be as grim as Rob warned me. The first body is a young boy stuffed in a garbage container. Yikes. There's also an element of the sex slave trade, with East European women who have been snatched from their homes. Not sure how all this gets pulled together, but Robinson is a master at it. Can't wait to get back into it.

But first, there's some tidying to be done around the farmette. Kittens sure like to kick their toys - and litter and everything else - around the entire house. Until next week.


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