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Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody, Book 4)
Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody, Book 4)
by Elizabeth Peters
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
78 used & new from $0.01

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master Criminal Strikes Again, June 5, 2000
The Emerson family are an unholy trio: Radcliffe Emerson the prickly archaeologist, Amelia Peabody Emerson his officious wife and amateur sleuth, and Walter "Ramses" Peabody Emerson, their 7 year old son who reads lots of sensational fiction and is writing his own Egyptian grammar. In the days of modern air travel they would be the family you hated to have any where near you on the plane; in turn of the century Cairo, you wouldn't have wanted to get near them either! For wherever they go, murder, mayhem, and the Master Criminal cannot be far behind.
I loved the Mummy Case because we got to know Ramses who provided some leavening into the already hysterical antics of Amelia and Radcliffe. As he lisped about in the sand discovering priceless relics and running rings around his parents, the reader realized that he was going to be a great addition to the series. Here in Lion in the Valley, Ramses really comes into his own. Now 7, he is twice the trouble and twice the detective.
The plot hinges on the actions of the "Master Criminal"--a mastermind of devious and deadly plots who is organizing the grave robbers of Egypt into a formidable criminal underworld. We briefly met the MC in the Mummy Case, but here he takes center stage, pushing aside any hope of interest in the archaeological dig itself. By the end of the book Amelia and the MC have met...and it is hilarious.
If you like your mysteries with a laugh track then this is for you. Fans read them for Amelia and the 101 things she can do with waterproof matches--not for the labrynthine plots--and increasingly for Ramses as well.


Silence in Hanover Close (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt Novels)
Silence in Hanover Close (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt Novels)
by Anne Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
111 used & new from $0.01

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emily Ashworth, Lady's Maid--One of Perry's very best, June 5, 2000
In this volume of the Pitt series of mysteries set in late 19th-century London, Charlotte Pitt's sister Emily Ashworth relieves the boredom of mourning following her husband's death (see Cardington Crescent) by going undercover as a lady's maid to help Charlotte and Thomas Pitt uncover a murderer in the exclusive Hanover Close. When Thomas Pitt is asked by his superiors to open a three-year old unsolved mystery, he has no idea that he will put his family--and himself--in so much danger. It is Emily and her great-aunt Vespasia who finally save the day (and Thomas!).
Silence in Hanover Close is one of the best books in the series because here we get to see Emily FINALLY get a clue as to how hard life is for the rest of London. I took a great deal of satisfaction in Emily's new recognition of how hard it was to iron perfect ruffles, and learned how to cut and butter paper thin slices of bread for tea (try the method in the book--it really works, and then you can have your friends over for a book discussion complete with English cucumber sandwiches). Thomas' own danger adds a higher level of drama to the conclusion of the case.


A Sudden, Fearful Death
A Sudden, Fearful Death
by Anne Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
102 used & new from $0.01

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nurse is Murdered--Inspector Monk is called in!, June 5, 2000
A Sudden, Fearful Death is the fourth mystery in the Inspector Monk series of books by Anne Perry. Better known for her Pitt series, the Inspector Monk series are slighly earlier (just after the Crimean War), grittier, and in many ways more riveting. They are longer than the average Pitt novel, and this allows the author's wonderful ability to convey period detail and characterization to shine through.
In this mystery Inspector Monk is called in to investigate the murder of one of Florence Nightingale's Crimean nurses, who is working at a London hospital. Those of you who have read the previous three novels know how hard it can be for these young women to adapt to English hospitals after their stint abroad, and at first it seems that Prudence Barrymore might be a victim because of her desire to reform the medical system. As the plot unfolds, however, we realize that there is a great deal more going on at London's Royal Free hospital than meets the eye.
One of Perry's greatest talents lies in character development, and she is always careful to let a different character feature prominently in each novel. This time it is Lady Callandra Daviot's turn, Inspector Monk's female patron, who emerges as a more three-dimensional character. Hester Latterly, another Nightingale nurse, is also featured, along with the brilliant Inspector Monk and the lawyer of lawyers, Oliver Rathbone.
I would particularly recommend the Monk series to fans of TV's Law and Order, since these mysteries combine excellent sleuthing with taut court-room drama. If you like historical mysteries, you will love this series. If you already like Anne Perry, I encourage you to give Inpsector Monk a try!


Dead March: A Civil War Mystery
Dead March: A Civil War Mystery
by Ann McMillan
Edition: Paperback
58 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising debut for a Civil War-era mystery series, June 5, 2000
When Narcissa Powers, a young widow, is called to the deathbed of her brother (a young medical student in Richmond at the outbreak of the Civil War) she expects to find tragedy, but not information that points to illegal activities and possibly murder. The charred remains of a letter from her brother persuade Narcissa that there is more to his death than meets the eye. Through the story we are introduced to the "resurrection men" of Richmond who procure corpses for the medical school, a black conjure woman named Judah, and the character of ante-bellum Richmond society on the eve of war.
As with most historical mysteries, the plot is not completely surprising (one major exception here is the Margaret Lawrence mysteries set in Revolutionary Maine which leave you gasping) but does have interesting twists and turns. For most historical mystery buffs, the characterizations are the thing and this novel introduces us to some fascinating and complex figures. As for the historical detail all mysteries leave a lot to be desired in this department--but most US readers know more about the American Civil War than they do about 19th-century London or Medieval England, so perhaps the author's flights of fancy are more glaring. Still, McMillan is accurate about 97% of the time, which is more than most!


Curried Favors: Family Recipes from South India
Curried Favors: Family Recipes from South India
by Maya Kaimal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.66
50 used & new from $7.70

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Indian Food, Easy to Follow Recipes, May 31, 2000
My recipe for success: After you receive this book, make a list of all the spices and cooking stuff (like Tamarind Paste) that you don't have. Go shopping. Come home and start making the best Indian food you have ever tasted. Begin inviting your friends over for the best Indian food they have ever tasted. Enjoy.
This wonderful cookbook is a treat in many ways. There are beautiful pictures, clear explanations of techniques, detailed descriptions of products you need (and substitutions if you can't find curry leaves, like me!), and accurate estimates of time needed for preparation and cooking. And that doesn't even take into account the marvelous food that you will rather effortlessly produce!
Indian food is really starting to become popular in the US, and in Europe South Indian food (the kind featured in this book) is the trendiest wave of Indian cuisine. I find the cuisine of South India less heavy and "brighter" than many Mughal dishes, and I think that even those of you who haven't particularly liked Indian food in the past will gobble up the food in this book. Some of my favorites include Shrimp Thiyal (yummy coconut-shrimp curry), Lamb Korma (admittedly a Mughal dish, and you can easily substitute chicken), and the spinach Dhal (green split peas with spinach and flakes of coconut).


O Jerusalem
O Jerusalem
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Hardcover
91 used & new from $0.01

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars O Dear!, May 31, 2000
This review is from: O Jerusalem (Hardcover)
I LOVED the first two books of the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series. I didn't like the third (A Letter from Mary) but things were looking up in #4 (The Moor), despite the fact that it was the Hound of the Baskervilles II. But try as I might I simply cannot get engrossed in this book!
O Jerusalem takes place chronologically in the midst of the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, when Russell and Holmes were still in the process of getting to know each other. To protect themselves, the two go off to Palestine with the assistance of Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft. In Palestine, Russell and Holmes meet several British spies, encounter the Holy Land, and solve some dark political problems.
Russell is occupied during most of the novel either deploring the dirt and smells or fighting for respect from their two closest companions, Mahmoud and Ali. The whole thing left me cold, and I am not encouraged that the forthcoming book in the series is more of the same.


Defend and Betray: An Inspector William Monk Novel
Defend and Betray: An Inspector William Monk Novel
by Anne Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
95 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a whodunnit, but a whydunnit--absolutely brilliant!, May 29, 2000
You might think that a confession in the first few chapters of a mystery novel would be a bad idea. Why keep reading? Anne Perry proves she knows best once again in this, the third novel in the William Monk series. Here we read on page after exciting page because we want to know WHY Alexandra Carlyon would murder her husband, Thaddeus.
Fans of Anne Perry know that the author is fascinated with secrets, who keeps them, and why. Because this book focuses on disclosures in Alexandra Carlyon's murder trial, rather than a murder investigation per se, we are able to follow each labrynthine path that the author lays down. Did Alexandra murder her husband because of jealousy? Because she was in love with someone else? Or to protect someone she loved?
This book is gripping and intriguing--a real page-turner. If you like Victorian mysteries and the modern TV series Law and Order you will love this book. Part detective work, part legal work, the case will keep you guessing!


Jane and the Man of the Cloth: Being the Second Jane Austen Mystery (Being A Jane Austen Mystery)
Jane and the Man of the Cloth: Being the Second Jane Austen Mystery (Being A Jane Austen Mystery)
by Stephanie Barron
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.99
166 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent mystery, and an enjoyable read, May 28, 2000
Jane and the Man of the Cloth is the second in the series of Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron. In this tale Jane and her family visit Lyme for a restful time by the sea. Before they reach the town, however, the Austens are beset by storms and forced to take refuge in the house of the secretive but arresting Mr. Sidmouth. After reaching Lyme, Jane is soon woken to the sight of a gibbet erected on Lyme's Cobb (think of the French Lieutenant's Woman!). Rest Jane does not get, but there are hints of romance, smuggling, and the aftermath of the French Revolution to keep the reader entertained.
I personally found the mystery slightly more engaging than that in Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, which I found completely predictable. This plot did not surprise, but it did go down some surprising blind alleys on the way to its conclusion.
I would recommend this book to anyone travelling to England on a plane, to someone vacationing by the sea for good recreational reading, and to people fond of Jane Austen. (I just wish the author would stop footnoting her novels! )


Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (Jane Austen Mysteries)
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery (Jane Austen Mysteries)
by Stephanie Barron
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
154 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give your video of Emma a rest--read this! It's enjoyable!, May 26, 2000
Now that my videos of Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion are beginning to show signs of wear, I was delighted to discover this series of Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron. I opened the first in the series, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, with curiousity and a bit of trepidation. Who, after all, can really recapture Austen's superb sense of character and language?
Stephanie Barron comes pretty close! She has obviously steeped herself in the language of Austen, and in the history of that period. As a result, she is able to craft a completely plausible mystery for Jane to solve.
The only thing I didn't like was the author's decision to use footnotes to explain things in the text that we modern readers might miss. I found this VERY distracting, and finally learned to ignore them. I hope that in time Ms. Barron learns to explain the terms within the text and leaves off this practice.


Cardington Crescent: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel
Cardington Crescent: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel
by Anne Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
102 used & new from $0.01

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ellison family's bad luck continues..., May 26, 2000
In the first mystery in the Pitt series, the Ellison family lost a daughter to the Cater Street Hangman. Since that time friends have suffered unspeakable tragedies, and now Emily Ellison March, Lady Ashworth, is suspected of murdering her husband George by putting belladonna in his morning coffee. Families with this kind of luck need to have someone married to a police detective!
If you are reading the stories chronologically, you will have followed the relationship of George and Emily through several novels. While I was initially sad to think his good-natured presence would be missing from future stories, I have to confess that there was little spark between the two. Maybe a change of pace is what Emily (and Perry's loyal readers?) need.
Charlotte (Emily's sister) and Thomas Pitt continue to develop as characters and sleuths in this story. Charlotte is even beginning to learn a bit of judicious caution and investigative skills! While the solution to the mystery was not entirely surprising, the twists and turns of the plot take the reader into some interesting and unforgettable aspects of late Victorian England. I highly recommend this book, and even if this is the first one you read you will enjoy getting to know the characters.
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