It’s July already and that means with June’s post I’m halfway through Read Women 2014. The pickings are mighty slim this month. I spent a lot of time on a book I finally decided not to finish and after Blue Monday I began a lengthy nonfiction history that I’ll have to finish up for July’s post. I think it’s odd that many people seem to read more in the summer (all of those beach reads I guess) but with the nicer weather I find I read less as I spend more time outside riding my bike or swimming or going to festivals and baseball games.
Book #23: The Murder Farm- Andrea Maria Schenkel
The Murder Farm is based on a 1922 murder of an entire family plus their maid in the German countryside ala In Cold Blood. However, this murder was never solved. The Danner family wasn’t well liked in their community and Schenkel’s portrayal of them doesn’t lend much sympathy to the adult Danners (father, mother, and adult daughter). The murders of the granddaughter and maid evoke greater pity. Schenkel offers several viewpoints in the recounting of the murders including the maid’s sister, the adult daughter’s lover, and the granddaughter’s friend. The murderer is included in these narratives along with a few red herrings. It was a fast read and an interesting story although I felt a bit cheated by the ending and the revelation of the culprit. It felt like it was just plopped out on the page by the author as she tried to wrap up the story. She spent a lot of time with the varying viewpoints and motives and it finished with a “oh and by the way it’s this person.” Since the actual murder is still unsolved it is interesting to wonder whether she was correct. I’m not so sure…
Book #24: Blue Monday- Nicci French
Blue Monday is a thriller (first in a series) with more twists than a French braid. It opens with the abduction of a little girl and then fast forwards to about twenty years later when a similar abduction of a boy takes place. Therapist Frieda Klein and Chief Inspector Malcom Karlsson work together after Frieda begins to suspect one of her patients is involved in the latest abduction. Frieda has her own problems she’s dealing with but has to set those aside in her efforts to save the little boy. The glimpses of her personal life were probably my favorite part of the story, her flaws and uncertainties help make up for some of the vigorous stretching of belief you have to perform to swallow some bits of the plot. The final twist had me saying “Oh hell no!” both in a “Wow, I didn’t see that coming” and a “Yeah… no, that would never happen” way. I still enjoyed the book and its thrills and will have to read the next one soon.
Coming up next…
Right now I’m reading America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops by Christine Sismondo and have so far gotten to the temperance movement that spawned the disaster of Prohibition. Cheers!