Monday, July 13, 2015

Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell

This one had been on my reading list for ages, and when I saw my library owned a digital copy I checked it out. It is a delightful mystery told in a nontraditional way, and I enjoyed it very much. A group of young lawyers is alarmed when one of their own is accused of murder while away on a vacation in Venice, and the story unfolds in a series of letters sent by their friend and accounts by other people who become involved.

Our main sleuth and first-person narrator is one Hilary Tamar - and it is never actually stated if Hilary is a man or a woman, which was kind of annoying but kind of fun. He or she is a law professor and, while he or she interacts with the others, acts more as an observer than anything else. This was a really fun read, a sort of Wodehousian mystery novel, with humor and heart, and I was so sad to see that the author has died, and that there are only four books in this series. The writing is truly delightful, and I’m very much looking forward to the next mystery in this series.

Books in the Hilary Tamar series:

1. Thus Was Adonis Murdered
2. The Shortest Way to Hades
3. The Sirens Sang of Murder
4. The Sibyl in Her Grave

Thus Was Adonis Murdered (#1 in the Hilary Tamar series) by Sarah Caudwell (Scribner, 1981)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dead Ice by Laurell Hamilton

It’s hard to believe that this is the 26th book in this series, which I started back when the first one was published in 1993. I continue to care about the characters, and the cast has grown enormously since the early days.

This series started out as one of the first urban fantasy/paranormal series out there, and I will forever be fond of Anita Blake, who is tough but not unbelievably so, and has been through some terrible things yet strives to maintain her ethical beliefs even as more and more difficult choices keep coming her way. I’m not sure that I would be as engaged by these books were I to pick a volume up at random, never having read any of them before, but since I’ve been with them from the beginning, the series has become a part of my life. It just doesn’t seem like summer until I’m sitting outside on my deck on a beautiful day, reading the latest Anita Blake novel.

In this installment, the mystery element involves someone raising zombies, putting their souls back inside the bodies, and turning them into slaves for adult movies. The mystery is pretty thin, and I found it fairly obvious who the perpetrator was. Perhaps Anita is slow on the uptake because of the usual upheaval in her always fascinating personal life. I didn’t really mind - it was Hamilton's usual gripping read with plenty of fun moments among characters I’ve known for decades. I’ll be looking forward to the next one!

Books in the Anita Blake series:1. Guilty Pleasures 
2. The Laughing Corpse
3. Circus of the Damned

4. The Lunatic Cafe 
5. Bloody Bones
6. The Killing Dance
7. Burnt Offerings
8. Blue Moon
9. Obsidian Butterfly
10. Narcissus in Chains

11. Cerulean Sins 
12. Incubus Dreams

13. Micah 
14. Danse Macabre
The Harlequin 
16. Blood Noir
17. Skin Trade
18. Flirt
19. Bullet
20. Hit List 
20.5 Beauty
21. Kiss the Dead
22. Affliction
22.5 Dancing
23. Jason
24. Dead Ice

Dead Ice (#24 in the Anita Blake series) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley Books, 2015)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke

Wow! I just loved this graphic novel. Our heroine is a witch who finds herself out of work - the life of witch just isn't what it used to be. She ends up (with help from her familiar/dog) finding a job as the cafeteria lady at a nearby school.

Unfortunately, her secret identity is threatened by one of the students, a girl who needs some witchy assistance. The child threatens to blow the witch's cover if she doesn't do a spell for her. Fun and madcap high jinks ensue.

Great story, delightful characters, surprising plot - what's not to like? The illustrations are fantastic, too - the quirky style and monochromatic color scheme are a perfect fit for this engaging tale. Oh, and the bats. I love the bats! Check this one out. You won't regret it.

The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke (Papercut, 2015)