A psychological murder mystery that takes place in a bankrupt exurban neighborhood in the Dublin hinterlands. The detectives have an open and shut case against their suspect, a strange stalker. Or do they? The senior and rookie detective partners have an interesting relationship - the junior partner keeps coming up with fresh angles, until things go sour. Meanwhile the senior partner gets distracted by his insane sister's troubles. Actually there is quite an bit of insanity in this book, from many quarters. Gripping.
Bohjalian steps into unusual territory with this historical mystery. In 1955, eleven years after World War II has ended, Francesca Rosati is brutally murdered. Then her mother-in-law is murdered in the same fashion. Clearly somebody has it in for the Rosatis. It could be a crazy serial killer, but detective Serafina Bettini has a feeling that it has something to do with the Rosati family's involvement with the Germans during the war. Bohjalian slowly reveals both the Rosati family's and Serafina's war stories as the murder investigations proceed.
Chester Nez has quite a story to tell. He was born on a reservation and thoroughly enjoyed his childhood which involved herding the family’s livestock. At 8 years of age, he was forced to go to a American government run boarding school staffed by sadistic instructors who tried to beat the native Navajo language and customs out of the children. In an ironic twist, it is the hated Navajo language that made him so valuable to the Allies during World War II. From the title, I expected this to be a war memoir, but was delighted to find it offers so much more. It provides wonderful insight into the lives of the twentieth century Navajo and the invaluable service of the Code Talkers.
Things have radically changed for Thomas Pitt, former Chief Inspector of Victorian London’s Bow St. Police Station. Newly assigned to Britain’s Special Branch, he is charged with clearing a prominent diplomat while maintaining the uneasy peace in Egypt. Perry‘s previous novels have made Victorian England come alive to her readers. In this one, when Pitt’s investigation requires a trip to Alexandria, she paints a vivid picture of life in late 19th century Egypt Although Pitt is often charged with revealing the seamy side of Britain’s upper class in order to see justice done, this time he must decide whether it’s appropriate to let innocent people die for the good of society.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Van Lew is extremely dismayed when Virginia secedes from the Union. Watching her neighbors and sister-in-law devote their time to the Confederate cause becomes unbearable. Using some smooth talk and her status in the community, she begins to care for Union prisoners in Richmond. It is there she begins to collect names of inmates, which she sends by secret currier to Union contacts. As the war progresses she finds herself secretly immersed in the Union cause, while she dodges potential obstacles along the way. If you love Civil War fiction, this book is for you.
The story of Joseph Needham, a celebrated biochemist at Cambridge, who, through his lab assistant/lover, became fascinated with the Chinese language which he mastered in short order. He went to China and criss-crossed its vastness in the midst of WW2, unearthing astonishing evidence of Chinese contributions to science and technology which he later substantiated in the ongoing encyclopedia Science and Civilization in China. See the 11 page list of inventions and discoveries in the appendixes. Needham also helped establish UNESCO and is credited with inserting the S - for "science."
A monument of 20th C. literature, The Magic Mountain (1924) by Thomas Mann remains a timely book in light of our current "value wars." Protagonist Hans Castorp, in his early twenties, visiting his cousin at a sanatarium high in the Alps, is diagnosed with a touch of TB and stays and stays. Thrown in with a cast of quirky characters, Hans accumulates insights and experiences that profoundly alter the projected path of his life. Mann suggested the book be read twice to appreciate its musical structure. Critics have pointed out the magnificent interaction of the prosaic and the poetic throughout each episode in the book.
Creating a garden using native plant materials is the main concept of this book, but it can be enjoyed on a visual level as well. Just looking at the photos is uplifting. They fill this book with delightful looks at the changing light, depth, and foliage of woodlands in each season. He has patiently made a photographic diary showing how time over several years has changed one view of a nearby creek. The text offers insight into how a deciduous forest sustains itself with the interaction of trees, bushes, flowers, mosses, rocks and creeks. Regularly on speaking tours, Mr. Darke’s gardening principles remain in demand. This book introduces the reader to his world and the inspiration he has found in it.