Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Nevermore: Tursten, Secret Service, Appalachian Women, Turton, Bardugo, Jones

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore revisited a humorous little book which made the rounds last year, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten. Translated from Swedish, this small book of stories revolves around Maud, an 88-year-old who plans to keep her inherited rent-free apartment for as long as humanly possible. Morals be damned, Maud knows what she wants and will do whatever she needs to make that happen. Our current reader called this a must-read, and noted that she loves this woman because she knows how to solve problems.

Another reader highly recommended The Secret Service: The Field, The Dungeon, and The Escape by Albert Deane Richardson. This account is not about the current day Secret Service, but written by a New York journalist who covered events before and during the Civil War in Mississippi. Our book club member noted that the language used was slightly different than we usually hear today, but that it was really good and easy to read.

Returning to the present, another reader picked up Voices Worth the Listening: Three Women of Appalachia by Thomas G. Burton. This powerful slim volume recounts the stories of three women from different backgrounds, although with common threads. Two were white women and the other was black, and our reader was able to empathize with their stories of family, drugs, education, and poverty set against the backdrop of the Appalachians. The depth of the struggles and the enduring hopes make these voices well worth the listening.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton has been making the rounds of Nevermore. This week, our reader only commented that it was hard to get started and that the story kicked in after about fifty pages. (Read past bookblog posts for more!)

Another thumbs down was given for Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. While this thriller received some rave reviews online, the murder and mayhem set at Yale University just didn’t feel realistic to our reader, and she moved on to another.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones was also declared unrealistic, but hilariously funny and well worth reading. Charley Davidson is a private investigator with some pretty unusual abilities, such as being able to see dead people, and help them with their unfinished business so that they can move along to the afterworld. The paranormal aspects of the story are handled in a very humorous manner, and our reader called this first in a series of thirteen a very fun book.

Another reader agreed that Darynda Jones was rather funny, and noted that she was reading A Bad Day for Sunshine, the first in a new series featuring New Mexico sheriff Sunshine Vicram. Returning to her hometown of Del Sol after more than a decade away, Sunshine finds all sorts of challenges such as feuding neighbors, kidnapped teenagers, and hot men. While our book club member did not find it to be quality literature, it was light reading, which is sometimes needed in these trying times.

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