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2002-2003 Book Club Reads

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2003 Selections (listed by author's last name)


January 2003

To Ruin A Queen TO RUIN A QUEEN - Fiona Buckley
(Ursula Blanchard, No. 4) This is the 4th in Fiona Buckley's series with her female sleuth, Ursula Blanchard. This one finds Ursula in France with her French husband, Matthew de la Roche. She is awaiting the arrival of her child. When this fails to happen and the child turns up missing, Ursula begins to think it is all a part of a plot to lure her back home. She follows a lead to Vetch Castle which is the ancient home of the Mortimer family. Philip Mortimer boasts that he will force Queen Elizabeth I to restore the once great family's fortunes. Danger grows for all involved, including Ursula. Happy reading! Debbie

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover/Audio CD or Cassette/Adobe Download)


February 2003

Poodle Springs POODLE SPRINGS - Robert B. Parker (completing a manuscript left by Raymond Chandler)
(Philip Marlowe) Philip Marlowe is alive and well and living in Poodle Springs, Cal. He's married to a wealthy heiress now. However, living in the lap of luxury hasn't made a dent in Marlowe's cynicism --- or his talent for attracting trouble. Soon he's on the trail of greed, lust, and murder as dark and cunning as any he's ever seen. I picked this book out of a curiosity about Raymond Chandler but he doesn't fit our group's parameters for volunteer reading as historical. However, if you like this I suggest you go to Amazon and put Chandler's name in and try one of the several reprints of his more well known novels to compare with how Robert Parker did on finishing this one. Happy reading! Debbie

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover/Audio CD or Cassette/download)
The Amazon UK link is for used copies, since they have it as listed out of print


March 2003

The Right Hand of Amon THE RIGHT HAND OF AMON - Lauren Haney
(Lieutenant Bak, No. 1) The time is the 18th dynasty and the ruler is Queen Maatkare, divine ruler of Egypt. The detective in this is Lieutenant Bak, a loyal servant of the royal house and commander of the Medjay police force in the frontier fortress of Buhen. He is in charge of the golden idol of the god Amon, which is on its way up the Nile to heal the son of a powerful tribal king. Unfortunately, crocodiles are not the only thing in the Nile on this trip.

The great river yields up a body of a soldier horrifically slain for unknown reasons. The drawings of a missing mute boy are essential in assisting Bak in unraveling the mystery of the officer's death before it can unravel the empire. Enjoy!

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Mass Market Paperback)


April 2003

A Mystery of Errors A MYSTERY OF ERRORS - Simon Hawke
(Shakespeare & Smythe, No. 1) When a backer's daughter is double-crossed by a would-be suitor, the reluctant bride turns to Shakespeare and Smythe for help. Little does anyone realize that these simple affairs of the heart and an arranged marriage will lead to a vast web of conspiracy, mistaken identity, and murder that finds the playwright targeted for assassination and the ostler hopelessly in love.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)


May 2003

Face Down Upon An Herbal FACE DOWN UPON AN HERBAL - Kathy Lynn Emerson
(Susanna, Lady Appleton's 'Face Down' Series, No. 2) January's read gave us one flavor of solving mysteries in Elizabethan England. With her herbalist heroine Lady Appleton, Kathy Lynn Emerson gives us a very different person's viewpoint. Yet in the end, both stories have at their core the sorts of intrigues, conflicts, and treachery both private and political that seem to have been an integral part of living then. With her husband off in Scotland spying for the Queen, but also typically taking advantage of the opportunity for a bit of self indulgence and dalliance, Susanna is also sent off under the Queen's orders: to visit Madderly Castle, ostensibly to help Lady Madderly complete her own book on herbs. A series of murders, starting with an obnoxious Scot found dead, lying on a copy of Susanna's own book soon puts paid to that idea. To solve them, Susanna must juggle detective work with a range of personal issues: from dealing with her erring husband's attitudes and their mixed emotion arranged marriage so she can get some needed assistance from him, to the apparently unsuitable romance that same husband's unacknowledged daughter from another relationship gets caught up in. There's a bit of locked room, some interesting herbal lore, and vivid period detail bringing to the story to life. Enjoy!

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)


June 2003

The Eyre Affair THE EYRE AFFAIR - Jasper Fforde
(Thursday Next Series, No. 1) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde starts by introducing you to the heroine who has the improbable name of Thursday Next. She is a Special Operative in the literary detection division. Her father is a time traveler who has the ability to stop time but has to spend his life moving through it, never able to stay in one place long. Thursday is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a Dickens manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit. That is just the beginning of her troubles. There is a mad man loose killing literary characters and he takes Jane Eyre. Thursday must travel back through the books to solve the mystery and track down the world's Third Most Wanted criminal. Let your imagination go along for the ride and enjoy the mystery.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover


July 2003

A Spy for the Redeemer A SPY FOR THE REDEEMER - Candace Robb
(Owen Archer Series, No. 7) This time Owen is in Wales finishing his latest mission for the Duke of Lancaster and ends up investigating the murder of a stonemason with treasonous ties to the Wales rebel cause. Owen, a Welshman himself, contemplates taking up arms with the rebels. Meanwhile his wife, Lucie Wilton, an apothecary and his son are left alone to deal with her father's death. She even begins to suspect Owen's loyalty to England and his desire to return to her. The rebel leader, Owain Lawgoch, would like Owen to stay and enter the fight and never return home. All of the Medievalists will enjoy the descriptions of the high sheriff's castle, the smells of Wales, and the sights of the lives of the poor. For those of you who are not medievalists, the author has provided maps and notes on the historical background which you will find most helpful. She also includes a glossary to help with terms. Enjoy!

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)


August 2003

Brunswick Gardens BRUNSWICK GARDENS - Anne Perry
(Thomas & Charlotte Pitt Series, No. 18) Thomas and Charlotte Pitt find themselves trying to solve a murder against the background of the controversey stirred up by Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The theory had caused an outrage in the Anglican church. One clergyman who is especially upset is the Rev. Ramsay Parmenter who finds himself being challenged by his assistant Unity Bellwood. Unity is "new woman" whose feminism Rev. Parmenter finds appalling. Thomas has become the commander of the Bow Street station. When Unity falls down the stairs at Parmenter house, Thomas is convinced that either the Reverend Parmenter, his handsome curate, or his Roman Catholic son committed the murder or all three did it together. The Powers that Be demand that the scandalous affair be settled quickly. However, Thomas and Charlotte will not settle for less than the Truth! Enjoy!

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)


September 2003

A Bone of Contention A BONE OF CONTENTION - Susanna Gregory
(Matthew Bartholomew Series, No. 3) Life in the wake of the plague hasn't gotten any easier for Matthew Bartholomew, physician and teacher of medicine at Michaelhouse College in 14thC Cambridge. The always strained town/gown relations have descended into active riots. Relations within the University aren't much better. A match is thrown into this waiting tinder when bones are found in the town ditch, next to a new school that is aggressively looking to make its fortune and reputation. What better way to do that than to find a holy relic for display: surely the bones of a martyred town hero, no matter what Matthew says about them being the wrong size. Add in a missing daughter, thefts, and a murder or two to provide subplots around the usual conflicts deriving from Matthews obligations to friends, relatives, his students and his patients, and you have a nicely boiling pot full of medieval flavor. Enjoy.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)


October 2003

The Alienist THE ALIENIST - Caleb Carr
(Dr. Laszlo Kriezler Series No. 1) Police commissioner Theordore Roosevelt calls on two unusual sources to help him solve a murder. One is John Schuyler Moore, a crime reporter and the other is Dr. Laszlo Kriezler, a psychologist or alienist. The murder is of a adolescent boy prostitute from one of Manhatten's infamous brothels. He has been horrible mutilated and is found on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge.

Roosevelt relies on Kriezler's calm intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York to solve this crime. The two men are joined by a brave woman named Sara Howard who is a secretary in the police department. The three work in secret because alienists and psychology are viewed with great skepticism by the public. The focus of the three is to construct a psychological profile of the killer. In doing this they discover that this man has killed and will kill again unless they can stop him. Read and discover how they accomplish their task and learn about early views of psychology from an author who is also a historian of some note.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover/Audio Cassette/Download)


November 2003

----- not avail----


December 2003

(American Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes Series No. 2) Here is yet another "newly discovered" manuscript by Dr. Watson. The year is 1896 and St. Paul's magnificent Winter Carnival is underway where Holmes and Watson are summoned by a powerful railway magnate named James J. Hill. A wealthy young man disappears on the eve of his wedding and his fiance suspiciously discards her wedding dress. A grisly discovery is made and the "game is afoot". Holmes even takes up with a part-time private investigator and saloon keeper named Shadwell Rafferty. Don't let the occupation fool you, he is a quick thinker and that is just what Holmes likes!

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover/Audio Cassette)


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2002 Selections (listed by author's last name)


January 2002

Ambush of My Name AMBUSH OF MY NAME- Jeffery Marks
(US Grant Mystery) / When General Ulysses Grant returns to his hometown of Georgetown, Ohio just following the end of the Civil War, he gets an unexpected welcome. A stranger lies dead on their hotel bed.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover - Paperback)


February 2002

Someone to Watch Over Me SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME - Jill Churchill
(Grace & Favor, No. 3) Robert is tearing down a dilapidated icehouse on the property when he inadvertently stumbles upon the last thing he expects or wants: a mummified corpse. The nameless cadaver is well dressed and the obvious victim of foul play with no identifying marks except the label of an exclusive New York City tailor sewn into his "burial" clothes.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover)


March 2002

(Sister Fidelma Mystery, No. 1) As the leading churchmen and women gather at the Synod of Whitby in 664AD to debate the rival merits of the Celtic and Roman Churches, tempers fray. When the Abbess Etain is murdered suspicion rests on the Roman faction. Sister Fidelma is called on to investigate the murder with Brother Eadulf.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover, Paperback, Large print)


April 2002

(Abel Jones Series, No. 1) A recent immigrant to this land -- where American has taken up arms against American -- Abel Jones finds himself mysteriously chosen as confidential agent to General George McClellan, the "savior of the Union." No stranger to the cruel paradoxes of war, Jones is asked to investigate the death of Anthony Fowler, a young volunteer captain shot through the heart outside an encampment of raw recruits. Fowler was one of the North's "golden youth," envied and idolized, an impassioned abolitionist and sole son of a powerful merchant dynasty. Instantly, his murder is blamed on the Confederates -- but whispers haunt the death of this fallen martyr, leading Abel Jones from the blood of the battlefield through the intrigues of Washington, D.C., and into a web of secrets and sinister relationships where evil and good intertwine... and where heroes fall prey to those who cherished them the most.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover, Paperback, Abridged Audio Cassette)


May 2002

(An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery, No. 3) 1919, England. The weathered remains found on a Scottish mountainside may be those of Eleanor Gray, but the imperious Lady Maude Gray, Eleanor's mother, will have to be handled delicately. This is not the only ground that Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard must tread carefully, for the case will soon lead him to Scotland, where many of Rutledge's ghosts rest uneasily. But it is an unexpected encounter that will hold the most peril.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover Paperback)


June 2002

(Tonneman family, No. 4) 1675, New York. The first three books in Maan Meyers historical mystery series followed the Tonneman family from New Amsterdam in 1664 to 1808 New York. Now, in The Dutchman's Dilemma, we return to 1675 and the original Tonneman, Pieter, once sheriff of the island, now husband, father, and businessman, married to his beloved Racqel.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Hardcover, Paperback)


July 2002

(A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, No. 1) A cozy history mystery. Era is 1923, England. Daisy has traded her silver spoon for a pen and camera to cover a story for " Town and Country" magazine. Her planned interviews with the inhabitants of Wentwater Court give way to interrogation when suave Lord Stephen Astwick meets a dire fate on the tranquil skating pond.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Paperback)


August 2002

(General Loring Mystery, No. 1) Confederate General W. W. Loring's troops are camped near Winchester, VA, in Feb 1962 when a soldier is murdered. When General Loring discovers the victim was a woman, he is horrified and determined to find the killer. The camp is not isolated. A troupe of entertainers, a photographer, a Kentucky doctor and an English noble arrive the night of the murder. General Loring must use all his wits, with the help of his aide, to seek justice.

Amazon US - Amazon UK (Trade Paperback)


September 2002

Unnatural Fire UNNATURAL FIRE - Fidelis Morgan
(Countess Ashby de la Zouche Mystery, No. 1) Restoration London, 1699 -- Anastasia Ashby de la Zouche, Baroness Penge, Countess of Clapham, and former mistress to King Charles II, has astonishingly been jailed in debtors' prison. Joining forces with her loyal ex-maidservant, Alpiew, the formerly pampered and proper Countess sets out to make a living by working for the scandal sheets. She and Alpiew find a welcome additional source of income when they are approached by a stranger who asks them to gather evidence to prove her husband is committing adultery. But the uncomfortable job of trailing after the handsome merchant in the depths of winter ends abruptly in a Covent Garden churchyard with a brutal murder.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Trade Paperback)


October 2002

Fortune Like the Moon FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON - Alys Clare
(Hawkenlye Abbey Mystery, No. 1) Late 12th-century England -- On the eve of her son Richard's coronation, Queen Eleanor opens England's jails to release prisoners as an act of Christian charity in Richard's name. The public relations gesture looks to backfire when a young nun is found shortly after violently murdered near Hawkenlye Abbey, with suspicion readily turning to the newly freed felons. Richard sends one of his knights -Josse d'Acquin- to Hawkenlye to investigate, where Sir Josse finds a surprisingly sympathetic ally and investigative partner in Hawkenlye's highly intelligent and world-wise Abbess Helewise.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback)


November 2002

The Anubis Slayings THE ANUBIS SLAYINGS - P. C. Doherty
(Judge Amerotke, No. 3)This is the third in the series with Amerotke, the trusted judge of female Pharoah Hatusu. The Mitanni are preparing to enter negotiations with Egypt which are delicate. The worst thing that can happen is a series of murders to happen in the inner sanctum of the most sacred temple and the mysterious deaths of several Mitanni ambassadors. Are these caused by humans or the god Anubis come to earth to end negotiations between the two peoples. Only Amerotke can solve the puzzle.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback)


December 2002

THE SAMURAI'S WIFE - Laura Joh Rowland
(Sano Ichiro, No. 5) Laura Joh Rowland takes us once again into the land of 17th century Japan and the life of Sano Ichiro, Most Honorable Investigator for the shogun. In this story, his strong willed wife Reiko insists that he go to the emperor's palace and unmask the murderer who possesses the secret of kiai or "the spirit cry". This is a powerful scream that can kill instantly. Sano Ichiro is surrounded by a web of intrigue, intricate plots, and forbidden passions and must struggle to stay ahead of the killer and prevent a war. His and Reiko's survival depends on his catching the thief and still keeping his favor with the emperor. The plot's twists are suspensful and the characters fascinating.

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA (Paperback/Hardcover)

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