“O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being.
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
It’s time for NaNoWriMo, so my book reviews are likely to be a bit sparse during November. But I send you into the darkening, chill days with a list to keep you busy until I can resume more regular posts.
HOME BY NIGHTFALL by Charles Finch
For fireside, cocoa-sipping reading, it’s hard to beat a good mystery. The reader is hooked into the daily work of Charles Lenox, one of a London firm’s leading investigators. He’s been hired to help discover what happened to a German pianist who disappeared from backstage.
But the real mystery is found at the family estate in Sussex. Charles decides to leave London for a spell and stay with his recently widowed brother at the manor where they grew up. Among the wizened faces from their childhood is someone who knows more than they are admitting. What begins as puzzling but small thefts turns to murder and Lenox brothers must find out who is behind it.
He took his cup over to the piano and found on the deep black shine of its surface a letter and a telegram waiting for him. (This was where Edmund always had Waller leave his post, and Lenox followed suit when he visited.) There was also a large stack of official pouches from Parliament, and he smiled, remembering the ceaseless flow of documents and constituents’ letters and blue books from his own time in the House, and feeling glad that his cataract fell upon Edmund now, not him. He picked up the wire with his name on it and read it. ~Pg. 63
Set in the 1870s, it has the sensibilities of a Christie cozy with Dickensian characters.
Thank to Hector with Minotaur Books for the review copy.
Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries (Book 9)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (November 10, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 inches
A STRANGENESS IN MY MIND by Orhan Pamuk
Pamuk never ceases to amaze. The simplicity of his style masks the depth of the characters. And no matter the topic or plot, Pamuk is always Pamuk. He is an auteur in the truest sense. A murder mystery, a tale of a king or the story of humble boza seller — the all bear the stamp of a writer trying to reconcile and understand his native culture. And it is impressively accessible to any reader. There is no attempt to be coy by the author.
Mevlut is the son of a street peddler, who takes up the father’s trade. The boy attends a wedding and falls for a girl sees there. He begins to write letters and the two agree to elope. On the night they meet to get on a train out of town, Mevlet realizes this is the sister of the girl he loves, and she is not nearly as beautiful. Embarrassed, he cannot bring himself to say anything and the two embark on a life together.
The rain peppered the roof, the windshield wipes wailed, but Melvut knew they were entering a place of endless silence. The forest, dimly lit by the van’s pale orange headlights, was thick with darkness. Mevlut had heard how wolves, jackals, and bears met with spirits of the underworld after midnight; and many times at night, on the streets of Istanbul, he had come face-to-face with the shadows of mythical creatures and demons. ~Pg 8
The novel is about family and the struggle for traditional culture in a world that is moving faster than a peddler can run.
Thank you to Knopf for the galley.
Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 20, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
THE BOOK OF MEMORY GAPS by Cecilia Ruiz
This odd and charming book is composed of very short stories and lovely illustrations that describe the phenomena of memory. And what it feels like to not be able to grasp one. The simplicity of the words and the wistfulness of the images are very affecting.
Pyotr possessed the ability to repeat with accuracy what he had only heard once. He enjoyed whistling from memory, especially on lonely days, the song of a bird he had once heard.
While definitely for readers of Edward Gorey, the style and emotion of Ruiz’s characters is wholly unique. Where Gorey is surreal and ambiguous, Ruiz is succinct and cutting.
Visit the site of Cecilia Ruiz, the talent illustrator.
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Blue Rider Press (March 10, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 5.8 inches