July: from the bag (101-103)

One of the features of our vacations for the last 5 years (at least) is my Big Bag of Books. C starts collecting books that have been recommended by book sellers, or that he notices advertised somewhere, and packs them all up for our time in Kentucky. So my reading for the next six weeks (until the middle of August) is drawn (mostly) from the bag.

101: The Sanatorium, Sarah Pearse

A super-remote sanatorium is turned into a fancy hotel– they added lots of amenities, but kind of doubled down on the scary atmosphere. Setting reminded me of the Poirot episode in the hotel (Trials of Hercules?… something like that– the one that combined several of the short stories from that collection); the murder could have been more closely integrated with the setting or with the characters– I was caught off guard, didn’t figure it out, but also don’t think I missed anything, I think it just needed more *something* to justify the conclusion. (This might be a problem of genre: maybe this is a suspense, not a mystery– I read everything as mystery, expect the conclusion to be gestured to and worked toward, but that’s a genre-specific thing.) Enjoyed it. Loved the setting, super spooky.

102: The Postscript Murders, Elly Griffiths

This was good, reminded me of The Thursday Murder Club. Old lady dies, is it murder, and who would want to kill an old lady? (Answer: plenty of people, obviously) In the way that an out-of-print book affects the plot, this reminded me of the Joanne Dobson mystery… but details of that plot are escaping me. Some long-dead scandal recorded in a racy novel that nearly nobody remembers. Anyway. This was good, and I need to reread the Karen Pelletier novels.

103: The Messy Lives of Book People, Phaedra Patrick

She name-checked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo near the beginning, and that was wisely done. This isn’t that story, of course, but it is similar in the setup: someone gets close to a reclusive icon and kind of investigates what happened in their life. Didn’t see this ending coming, enjoyed it.

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