Monday, September 24, 2012

Title: The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken
Author: Tarquin Hall
Genre: mystery

Tarquin Hall's mystery series featuring Vish Puri keep getting better and better. In this third book in the series, the reader must wade through a more complicated storyline while envisioning the colorful food and cultural mashup that is modern day India.
Vish Puri takes on a case that really doesn't suit his private detective reputation-the world record holder for the longest mustache is in need of Puri's detective skills when he wakes up one morning to find half of his mustache gone. While ruminating over the silliness of the case and possible motives, Vish Puri is witness to a dramatic death/murder of a visiting Pakistani while at a dinner party. While not officially investigating this case, curiosity and the behavior of his Mummy-ji at the dinner party compel Vish Puri to seek out justice. Vish Puri soon finds connections between his Mummy-ji and the murdered man- a connection that goes back 60 years!
When you are done with this book, you will want a heaping plate of Indian food!  Contains a glossary which defines the food and slang mentioned throughout the book and some recipes too. If you want a mystery that's not graphic, yet not saccharine sweet, you need to check the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Title: City of Dark Magic
Author: Magnus Flyte
Genre: fiction, a wee bit of paranormal, sci-fi and some time traveling too

Wow! What a great book! I actually stayed up until midnight one night reading this book- it was that good. Sarah Weston is a P.h. D. candidate in musicology who grew up on the tough streets of South Boston. She is hired to work at the Lobkowicz Castle in Prague to catalog and perform archival work on sheets of music penned by Beethoven. While in Prague, she learns of her beloved professor's "suicide" and vows to look into the circumstances of his death. While performing her job duties, she is surrounded by the drama of Czech politics and history and falls hard for the prince of Lobkowicz Castle. Alas, the castle has secrets of its own- a conniving U.S. senator with ties to the KGB, a 400 year old dwarf, and a drug that lets you see into the past. Read and you'll agree with me and the book jacket: "one of the most entertaining novels of the year."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Title: Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony
Author: Lee Miller
Genre: American history, non-fiction

Most Americans are familiar with the legend surrounding the Lost Colony of Roanoke: a small group of English settlers attempts to create a colony in the New World only to vanish under mysterious circumstances. Unfortunately, most history books gloss over Roanoke in a paragraph and it's on to the next fact.
Lee Miller digs deeper and comes up with a complicated, yet interesting theory. She theorizes that the Roanoke colonists were a Separatist group seeking asylum and a fresh start in the New World. Unfortunately, they were sabotaged by a member of the royal court who was the archnemesis of Sir Walter Raleigh. Lee Miller also theorizes that the colonists were kidnapped by the local Native American tribes, enslaved by them, and intermarried with them. She based this theory on reports of explorers in the late 1500s and early 1600s that came across "Indians with beards," "Indians with grey eyes," and sightings of Native Americans in English-style houses.
This is a fascinating aspect of American history and Lee Miller spent much time researching this, but the only fault with this book is her writing style. I had read other reviews online that criticized her writing style and I thought the reviewer was being harsh. Now I know what they were talking about. She sprinkles fragmented sentences throughout her paragraphs, like they were quick notes and ideas that were jotted down but not fleshed out. I don't know how this passed by an editor, but it drove me crazy and it took me longer to read this book because of it.