Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Resolute Desk

No - I have not already finished reading another book. I am still in the process of reading the book - "The Camel Club" by David Balducci. But there is something interesting I want to make a comment on. It is the Resolute Desk. The thing interesting is that I heard about this this past weekend in another form of art - a movie - National Treasure 2. It is interesting I picked up these two references in such a short period of time. They both have the same thing to say about the background of the desk so there is no contradiction between the two. I will followup with my review when I complete the book.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Murder By The Yard Selection

Yes. It is another book by D.R. Meredith. The title as you see is "Tome of Death". It is another in the Megan Clark / Murder By The Yard book club series - the fourth. But it is NOT JUST another one of the books.

Each book in this series seems to offer something else. Yes - it is a murder mystery and yes - megan Clark figures out who the murderer is. But isn't that one of the things the sleuth is supposed to do?

In this book the author does something different. The author tells two stories of murder. The first is in the 1860's and the second is in "present day" Amarillo. And these two stories get tied together with the discovery of the present day murder. Well, the present day murder actually occurred five years ago but it is discovered by Megan Clark. When she discovers the bones from this murder, she also uncovers the mummy of the murder victim from the 1860's. Interspersed with the story of Megan Clark's investigation of the present day murder, is the story of another investigation from the 1860's by Spotted Tongue. Spotted Tongue is a Comanche and his second wife was the one who was murdered.

You may recall that Megan is a reference librarian in Amarillo but she has her professional training in paleopathology. She uses this training in examining the mummified body of the 1860's murder victim. The victim was suspected of being a Cherokee, but Megan was able to positively identify the woman as a white lady. She was also able to provide information that leads to the discovery of the identity of the present day murder victim.

The book follows the inestigations made by Megan (present day) and Spotted Tongue (1860's) concurrently. Each one questions potential witnesses and suspects. There were obvious differences in their investigations. In Spotted Tongue's case, the murder was personal since it was his wife who was murdered. Megan was connected with the murder victim other than through the investigation.

It turns out both the murderer in both cases were connected in someway with the victim. That is no big surprise. In both cases the murderer tries to kill our investigator. And in both cases I think our sleuth's had figured out who the murderer was.

And to top it off, Megan Clark and the book club are able to determine a possible identity for our 1860's murder victim through their research.

I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I wonder what surprise the author will offer? But first I have to read my book club selection for June.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Murder From The Past

"Murder Past Due" is the third book in this series by D.R.Meredith. The mystery reading group (with Megan Clark leading the way) has taken on another project. They want to build up the group and help increase business for the book store owner. To do this they have decided to recreate some of the murders in Amarillo’s history and have a tour of where these occurred. One man has joined the group and wants to use the group’s success in solving murders. His grandson’s wife was murdered 20 years ago. A year later, his grandson suspiciously committed suicide. The murder was never solved and there was some feeling the grandson may have committed the murder but there was no apparent motive.

The family is an upper class family and the murder occurred on the grounds owned by the grandfather. Knowing a little about the circumstances, Megan suspects a member of the family is responsible. In order to solve this 20 year old case, she must gather as much information from this guarded family that she can pry from them. She questions each one in a group and then proceeds to question them individually.

When an attempt is made on her life, she knows she is getting somewhere. She has not put the information together yet but the killer knows it is a matter of time. In order to uncover the mystery, Megan along with members of the mystery reading group and the Gorman family reenact the fateful night when the lady was murdered. Megan has the part of the lady who was murdered and will be the target for another murder. Just as she suspects, the murderer comes after her. She tells him (yes it was a man) why she knew he was the one. Luckily she had a couple of persons waiting to protect her. But the murderer does not get captured but dies on the scene as an apparent hemorrhage in the brain.

Later she tells the group how she figured out who the murderer was. There was an aspect of each of the murders they reenacted that applied to this mystery as well.

I enjoyed this book as much as the other two in the series. The thing unique about this one was the write up about the four other murders they reenacted. By the way, the other four murders were real cases.

The other things I enjoyed about this book were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. These were quotes from characters / actors in various mystery movies.

I give this a thumb up.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation?

“T is for Trespass”. This is the latest book I have read by Sue Grafton. She has written 19 previous books in this series – each having the letter of an alphabet as the beginning of it’s title.

Kinsey Millhone is the sleuth in this book / series. She is a private investigator working whatever cases she gets. And she definitely has personality – a personality that developes more with each book.

There is a theory I have heard about and do not claim to know what exactly it means. It is called “Six Degrees of Separation”. As I was reading this book, I automatically thought about this theory. There were so many connections among the characters.

There are the obvious connections between persons in this book – Kinsey’s personal connection with her landlord and friend Henry for example. Then there are the other connections including the connection to Solana. Not only is there the connection thru Henry’s neighbor but there also is the one with Kinsey’s other cases. The way these connections were brought out were interesting.

Kinsey does a cursory investigation of Solana for the daughter of Henry’s neighbor. She latter determines she needs to do additional investigation into Solana. She will find out Solana is not who she pretends to be. She is a chameleon being the person she needs to be to get what she wants. As a matter of fact, she is not Solana but a pretender.

Solana ends up escaping when she is uncovered by Kinsey. But she hates Kinsey for killing her son when he went after her.. She hates her so much she comes back to hurt Kinsey by killing Henry. Fortunately, she fails and dies herself.

The book was one I enjoyed and would recommend.

Friday, May 9, 2008

No Mystery Here!!!!

I hada great time yesterday - and it had nothing to do with reading a mystery. My wife asked me to go grocery shopping with her. It wasn't just to get groceries - she wanted to spend some extra time with me. What makes this so great is that I wanted the extra time with her as well.