What I Read in June ’13

Hey, I’m back!  I took a break for a couple of months.  My work schedule was in flux and honestly I just didn’t feel like writing on my blog.  I feel more like writing now, at least sporadically.  So I’m back with more book reviews.

I read three books in June.  Not my eternal goal of four, but one of them was so good that I don’t mind.

whose

Whose Body

Dorothy Sayers

I’ve been wanting to read some classic mysteries, so stumbling onto a handful of Sayers’ Peter Wimsey books on sale at Amazon was some good luck.  Whose Body, you might guess, is the first of those.  It sets up Lord Peter, a gentleman detective, who tends to babble and seems a bit useless, but has strong deductive powers and has made being a detective something of a hobby.  He is helped by his assistant/manservant/butler Bunter as he solves crimes.

As for this book, it involves a missing banker, an unidentified body and one of the most gruesome solutions I can remember.  It is well paced and well written and just generally good fun.  A good mystery is like comfort food and Whose Body is like a nice slice of cake.

elegy-225

Elegy for Eddie

Jacqueline Winspear

Another Maisie Dobbs book.  Here she heads back to where she spent her youngest years, as some men from her old neighborhood ask her to look into the death of a man who today would be called autistic.  Her investigation takes her to still mechanizing factories and high brow parties with dignitaries.

There are two big undercurrents in Elegy.  The first is the preparation for WWII.  This series has moved past its looking back at the first World War and is now foreshadowing the world war coming. The second is the Maisie looking back at her life apart from that war.  In the last book she went back to where she went to school, to the life she might have had if she had not went to war as a Nurse.  In this one, she sees the life she might have had if she stayed with her father in the poorer section of London.  The other important thrust of the book is Maisie’s deepening relationship with James.  I liked this entry in the series very much.

Cover of "Shades of Grey: A Novel"

Cover of Shades of Grey: A Novel

Shades of Grey

Jasper Fforde

This book is now my answer when anybody asks me what is my favorite book.  Sure, I’ll have to clarify that I don’t mean the yeah its porn 50 Shades of Grey, but this book is good enough to be worth it.  Especially if my gushing gets anybody else reading this phenomenal book.

Shades is set in world where people’s ability to see color is limited and they are stratified by what colors they can see.  At first this color based world is a source of amusement, but soon it becomes apparent that this society is built on some rather sinister foundations.  We are lead through this world by appealing protagonist Eddie Russet.  Eddie is young and naïve, but kind.  He doesn’t at first question the rightness of his world.  Why would he? It’s all he’s ever known.  However, he does show a willingness to break the rules  for small personal gain or to help people.  A trait he learned from his Dad.

Thanks to a mistake on Eddie’s part, Eddie and his Dad are shipped out to the boonies.  There he must confront some unusual townspeople and the increasingly hard to ignore flaws in the system. Fforde beings his signature wit to the book, but in service to a much more serious story than usual.  It all just works so well together to make a truly excellent book.

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