Books 4/10/06

I’m behind again. Luckily the books I’ve been reading lately haven’t been too deep. To catch up:

Swing by Rupert Holmes was very enjoyable. It’s set at the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939, where a jazz musician stumbles upon a mysterious death. One night he’s propositioned by a young French woman who is looking to marry for citizenship; the next morning he’s present as she jumps to her death off of the Tower of the Sun. The question of why she died is at the center of this mystery which he finds himself drawn into even as he works feverishly on an orchestration for a young musican’s composition. His attraction to the musician, and the strangeness of her familiy add to the drama as things get more and more complex. The characters are three dimensional and compelling, as is the setting. I’m interested in learning more about the Exposition; like many of the World’s Fairs it was built to be gorgeous and then come down, something I find fascinating, and it was built on a man constructed island that was supposed to become the site of the airport. (I don’t know if it did, I need to find that out.)

I went on a further mystery binge and read Dead in the Water, A Mourning Wedding, and The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn. I enjoy her books; they’re decently complicated mysteries in a milleu I appreciate. She does have a tendency to repeat phrases over the course of her series, but I suppose that’s to be expected, and I deal with it. (The one that gets to me every time, however, is that people open up to Daisy, the detective, because of her guileless blue eyes. That’s actually one of the things that inspired me to write my own mystery with a detective who wasn’t really the kind of person people confided in.) Each of these three was solid, with the culprit coming as a suprise. I was the closest in my deduction of who did it in Dead in the Water, which was the closest to actually having clues you could put together. The other two fell into the “can’t solve it until you know the piece of information that you don’t get until the end” style, and I still enjoyed them.

I don’t know what I’m going to read next. I checked out about eight books from the library that all look fantastic, but I’m having a hard time concentrating. I had to put down both The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World by Ellison and The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner because I just couldn’t focus on them. And I have the feeling that The Sound and the Fury takes more focus than normal. So, I put them off until a later time when my mind isn’t wandering away every couple minutes. I think I’ll try either The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (the guy who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), or Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding by Dorothy Ko.

Current total: 27
Just Finished: The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
Next Up: who can say?

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