The Hercule Poirot Reading List: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

BLOG“No, my friend, I am not drunk. I have just been to the dentist, and need not return for another six months! Is it not the most beautiful thought?”

Poirot may be the world’s greatest detective, but he fears the dentist as much as many people do. So it is with great hesitation and plenty of nerves that he enters the offices of celebrated Dr. Morley. Following the examination he is relieved, never once imagining that he would be back at the dentist’s only hours later examining the body of Dr. Morley, apparently dead by suicide.

Having been in contact with the gentleman earlier in the day, Poirot cannot believe that the facts are exactly as they appear. Why would a celebrated dentist decide to kill himself that day? What may have occurred following Poirot’s exit from the office? A thorough investigation follows, as Poirot interviews the other patients and step by step starts to reconstruct the events of the day. But unexpected twists and turns lead to more questions and an even bigger mystery.

This was an interesting mystery that had my attention with every question posed and every unexplained occurrence. I wanted to know the why and the how and who, every step of the way. The piecing of a puzzle is always intriguing to me, and this book takes it up a level as it not only seeks answers to the original questions but also introduces a new mystery into the mix that is just as odd. It does feel like everything gets more and more complicated and at a point I stopped trying to figure things out and just went along with it. There are aspects to the story that walk the line between complex and convoluted, but I did not mind that so much. Overall a solid, cozy mystery.

The Hercule Poirot Reading List: Five Little Pigs

BLOG“What are you going to do?”
“I am going to visit these five people – and from each one I am going to get his or her own story.”
Superintendent Hale sighed with a deep melancholy.
He said: “Man, you’re nuts! None of their stories are going to agree! Don’t you grasp that elementary fact? No two people remember a thing in the same order anyway. And after all this time! Why, you’ll hear five accounts of five separate murders!
“That,” said Poirot, “is what I am counting upon. It will be very instructive.”

Anytime I have trouble focusing on reading, I grab an Agatha Christie mystery to get back in the swing of things. This time around I picked up Five Little Pigs, and it was the perfect book and the perfect time to read it. I quickly became immersed in the mystery and could not put it down until all the answers were revealed.

In Five Little Pigs, the daughter of a woman convicted of murder asks Hercule Poirot to find out the truth regarding her deceased mother’s case. It is sixteen years after the fact, and having been just a child when the crime occurred, she remembers little and wants the facts set straight as she embarks on her own future. Poirot decides to take on the case, carefully interviewing those involved, with the focus on five main suspects who bring to mind an old nursery rhyme:

Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee) who had roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none; and Angela Warren (the sister) who cried ‘wee wee wee’ all the way home. Continue reading “The Hercule Poirot Reading List: Five Little Pigs”

The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

BLOG“Kaz leaned back. ‘What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?’
‘Knife to the throat?’ asked Inej.
‘Gun to the back?’ said Jesper.
‘Poison in his cup?’ suggested Nina.
‘You’re all horrible,’ said Matthias.”

Six of Crows was one of those books that sat on my bookshelf for a while. Purchased amidst the praise and rave reviews, and even though I was eager to experience the story for myself, the reading mood was never quite right. Recently, however, when I saw that a friend was going to read it, I finally grabbed it off my bookshelf and dove in. I do love a good heist story, so the premise of this one completely had my attention: Kaz, a leader of one of gangs of the city of Ketterdam is offered an opportunity that would bring him immense wealth, but the deadly and near impossible heist requires a skilled crew of individuals. Being a skilled and resourceful criminal himself, he knows just the people he will need to achieve the impossible. What we get is a team of compelling characters that makes this such a page-turning read:

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Continue reading “The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo”

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

BLOG“I’d been wrong about the ways we move past the versions of ourselves that no longer fit. I’d thought it involved running, as far and as fast as your feet could carry you, from your former selves. I didn’t understand that was the surest way to wind up exactly where you started.”

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all as a cooking video sensation with millions of fans, a line of cookbooks and the soon to be star of an upcoming show on the Food Network. People fall in love with her down-to-earth persona and story of humble beginnings that led her to a new life in New York with her devoted husband. Yep, Sunshine is living the ideal life. Until she gets hacked. With her secrets revealed to the world, Sunshine loses her show, her fans, her apartment, and her husband all in one fell swoop. And where else can a person go when they lose everything, but straight back to the beginning. Back in the childhood home that she had left firmly in the past, Sunshine is forced to rethink her reality and what kind of life she wants to lead.

Hello, Sunshine is a breezy, charming read that I enjoyed quite a bit. It gave me those wonderful summer reading vibes providing a lovely escape. I loved the way Sunshine tells her story and the way the book is narrated. She does not paint herself as a victim or a hero, just someone finding her place and making mistakes along the way. The twist in the story is an interesting choice that you may or may not see coming. I wasn’t particularly surprised but I do wish it was addressed more clearly because aspects of it felt really problematic. I do appreciate that the story did not go the typical route and overall had a more realistic feel — examining the price and consequences of opening ones life to social media and the many dangers of living a “curated” life.

This was a pleasant, enjoyable novel and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

BLOG“There’s things happen at Jamaica Inn, Mary, that I’ve never dared to breathe. Bad things. Evil things. I dare not even admit them to myself.”

On a gloomy November evening, Mary Yellan finds herself on the way to Jamaica Inn and into an uncertain future. Her mother’s dying wish was for Mary to find a home with her beloved sister, Aunt Patience. However, upon her arrival Mary is greeted by a crumbling structure that acts as a home to violent acts and dark secrets. Her Aunt Patience is a shadow of the woman she used to be; meek, frightened and at the mercy of her abusive husband. Mary is thrust into the eery environment of her new home and as she slowly uncovers her uncle’s crimes, she gets swept up in the madness. Meanwhile, an unexpected connection and attraction to her uncle’s brother develops, leaving her questioning just who she can trust.

“Dead men tell no tales, Mary.”

I absolutely love Daphne du Maurier’s writing. She creates atmosphere like no other and I cannot help but be completely drawn into whichever story she tells. This is my third du Maurier novel, after Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, and Jamaica Inn is no exception. As soon as I started reading I was transported to this eerie, unsettling environment and became completely engrossed in Mary’s story. What secrets hide within Jamaica Inn? What will happen to Mary? Who is there to trust? Question after question kept me engaged and the atmosphere was absolutely chilling. The constant air of uncertainty kept me guessing and I was truly not sure where the story would go. There were a couple of sections where I would have preferred a quicker pace and for the story to progress a little faster, but I never wanted to put the book down. Atmospheric and captivating, Jamaica Inn is another must-read Daphne du Maurier novel.