The Daily Bongo
Sunday, October 21, 2012 -- Evening
Murder Goes Mumming by Alisa CraigThe second book in the Madoc Rhys/Janet Wadman series was Murder Goes Mumming. Alisa Craig (aka Charlotte Macleod) set the book at Christmas time, hence the mumming part of the title. Madoc Rhys and his new fiance, Janet (pronounced Jennet), are invited to Graylings, a huge estate in the north of Canada. The Condrycke family was interested in Madoc because his father was a famous conductor, and his brother and sister were famous operatic singers. Donald Condrycke, who was on the board of the company where Janet worked, didn't know that Madoc was just a lowly Mountie. When the family matriarch and her sister wound up dead, Madoc started his investigation. Well, he had to because the family was snowbound due to a blizzard. Of course, no one seemed to realize that Grannie Rosa was murdered, but Madoc guessed it. Then It looked like Cyril Condrycke killed his Aunt Adelaide while high on speed. Madoc, of course, figured out the murder, and had ample aid from his Janet.
The book was a nice pleasant read. I will admit that I was confused with all the characters. I was having trouble keeping all the brothers, sisters, and married partners straight. The Condrycke family was not very likable, so it didn't matter that one of them was murdering the others. After the murderer was announced, it did make sense, but I was just confused trying to keep them all straight. I'll continue on with the series because it is pleasant enough, and there are so few books in the total.
Friday, October 12, 2012 -- Evening
A Pint of Murder by Alisa CraigI came down with a touch of flu, and I really couldn't seem to wrap my mind around anything. This was a problem because I had to grade proposals from my technical writing class. I put that off though, and I read A Pint of Murder by Alisa Craig. Alisa Craig was a pseudonym for Charlotte MacLeod, a prolific mystery writer, who wrote several series, including the Sarah Kelling/Max Bittersohn mysteries that I loved when I was younger. It's been ages since I read any of MacLeod's work, and I wanted to start with something that was brand new to me. The Madoc and Janet Rhys series was new to me, and A Pint of Murder was the first in the short series.
Madoc was a Mountie, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He got called into a the suspicious deaths that happened next door to Janet (pronounced Jennet) Wadman. Janet had a bad experience with a jerk of a boyfriend, and she went to her brother's farm to recuperate from an appendectomy. The woman next door died from botulism from a jar of home canned green beans. Janet thought it might be murder, and when she found a jar with cut beans instead of cracked beans, she wanted to take it to the doctor (and family member) of the murdered woman. When Janet arrived at the doctor's home office with the beans, she found the doctor dead from a head injury. It looked as if the doctor had slipped on a rug while his wife was upstairs getting ready for an afternoon tea. Janet was sure both cases were murder, and she finally convinced the local marshal to call in the Mounties. Madoc appeared on the scene, fell in love with Janet, and found another murdered person. Madoc caught the murder, and paved the way for a future relationship with Janet.
The book was a very quick and easy read, and Janet and Madoc were very pleasant characters. A Pint of Murder was perfect for some light mystery reading while sick with flu. It was so good in fact, that I already started the second in the series, Murder Goes Mumming.
Sunday, October 7, 2012 -- Evening
Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildI've read their individual novels, but I never read one by both Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They have been writing the FBI Agent Pendergast series. Well, the best place to start a series is at the beginning so I got Relic from the local library. The book was written in 1995, and told the story of the Museum Beast. The Beast lived in the sub-basement of New York City Museum of Natural History. As the museum was setting up its Superstition exhibit, looking at various religious superstitions throughout history, two children visiting the museum are found disemboweled and headless. Agent Pendergast had investigated a similar killing in New Orleans, and he came to NY to help NY Police Lieutenant D'Agosta with the investigation. Dr. Flock, one of the museum associate directors, and his graduate student, Margo Green, found themselves investigating the murders and the possible Beast. Of course, political pressure in the Museum came to bear on Pendergast, D'Agosta, Flock, and Margo, but they steadfastly continued their investigation. When the jerk FBI agent, Coffey, allowed the Superstition exhibit to open with fanfare, I just knew that the shit was going to hit the fan. It did.
I found myself engrossed in the book. Yes, there was a good deal of gory description, but the thrills and excitement of the investigation and the horror of the Beast, kept me turning the pages. I was barely a quarter of the way through the book before I requested the next in the series, Reliquary. The gore didn't bother me as much because it was supernatural gore. This wasn't the horror of a human serial killer; it was the horror of a Beast, the Beast who hides in the dark down the hall and the dark corners of all of our minds. The end was especially good. Preston and Child gave a twist that left me gasping in wonder. Relic is a great suspenseful thriller, and I highly recommend it.