Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness)

I’ve been especially looking forward to this one since it is enticingly set in Africa (Kenya, to be exact.)
As usual there is a little of the Queen, Mrs. Simpson and cousin David (the Prince), and fussy sister in law Fig. (Fig, Binky, Diddy–these names crack me up) which is all very entertaining, but the bulk of the story has Georgie and Darcy in Kenya, ostensibly on their honeymoon, but really Darcy is investigating something and then of course someone gets murdered and they investigate that.
It is so interesting to read about how they get to Kenya–a long and difficult journey, which included a surprising amount of glamorous air travel. And once there everything was new to me–how the Brits were “settling” in valleys and farming, but also being aristocrats, terrible to the natives, and so on. Just like Lady Georgiana I was fascinated by the big animals and how they were just in the wilderness with them-but also horrified by how casually people talked about killing them.
The biggest surprise of all I won’t explicitly state here-I’ll just say that I was TOTALLY surprised and the author’s note afterward explains that she didn’t make it up-it really happened. Fascinating.

 

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A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

I was so excited to only just recently read the first book and therefore be able to have #2 give me some instant gratification by being available. I had hoped for a bit more of a  Marion Chesney’s  School for Manners vibe with the series set up at the end of book #1 (helping young American ladies through a London Season), but I still found this very satisfying. As before, the countess and her special friend, George, end up investigating a crime, in this case the unseemly murder of an acquaintance. Countess Harleigh’s independent household is filling up with women-in addition to her aunt, there is also her young sister, and the sister’s friend. All of the women pitch in with the mystery solving in some way, while also working on their own potential matches.
I can see this will be a reliably delightful light historical mystery series.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

I read this back in the winter, but I guess didn’t ever write anything here….

Catching up:

For my second foray into Agatha Christie mysteries I tried a Poirot. I liked it very much (though I think I might prefer Miss Marple) and I particularly enjoyed the Nile cruise aspect of it. Did I figure out whodunnit? I had some ideas but couldn’t really figure it out.

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Can you believe……this is the first Agatha Christie I’ve read?! I know! It’s crazy! But I was rereading a bit of Dear Fahrenheit 451 and when I read the Agatha Christie letter I thought “I really need to read these.” After all, though I don’t consider myself a mystery reader I do like Sherlock Holmes and there are some other mystery series I’ve read. So, next time I was at the library I went to the Christie shelf to pick one out. I chose The Body in the Library. What a treat! A touch prissy and old-fashioned and British in a way that I love (people describing others “Oh yes, she was quite shrewd”.) As for the mystery it was clever and I didn’t know who did it. Also, I appreciated what an efficient story this was. This is the way I like my mysteries-not a ton of character development, very much a telling of what is happening. Miss Marple is a delight with her village observations. I’m looking forward to reading more!

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

When I read Truly Devious I loved it up right until the end and then I got so mad at it that I said I wouldn’t bother reading the second one. Well of course that was a lie and here I was, back for more, but prepared this time to get angry all over again at some cliffhanger.
The basic set up of this trilogy is going to be “one mystery solved, another mystery begun” for each book.  For Truly Devious did solve one mystery (mostly) but left us still wondering about the historical mystery, and ultimately introducing yet another.
I didn’t quite remember the details of book #1, but everything I needed to know was very neatly and seamlessly included.
In this installment Stevie (who seems more and more like a savant detective) is putting together clues new and old to figure out the ancient Ellingham kidnapping case. But maybe someone doesn’t want this mystery solved?
I found the bits with David and Edward King a bit tiresome, mostly because I was really interested in the clever mysteries.
And while I gasped at the end this time I didn’t throw the book since I was prepared to be left on a cliffhanger.

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

I’m startled to see that this is #12 in the series because I’m fairly certain I haven’t read twelve Her Royal Spynesses. I guess that means that I can always go back and have more to read-it certainly doesn’t make you unable to follow what’s going on. I love this series so much. It’s mystery the way I like it-light and British and historical. And, although I consider these light and fun books, Bowen’s historical detail is wonderful.
In this latest installment Lady Georgiana is finally (FINALLY) about to be married to Darcy, having received approval to renounce her right to the throne (because honestly, if she were to be queen a crazy plague would have had to wipe out at least 35 members of the royal family.) I was getting a bit annoyed with how drawn out this was, so was glad it was finally about to happen.
I enjoyed this one very much, in part because I enjoyed seeing Lady Georgiana finally get bold and assert herself in various areas of her life (that nasty Fig! those terrible servants flaunting her instructions! even Darcy!)
As usual she is able to pick up on all sorts of clues that something is not quite right and bravely investigate and put pieces together.
Tremendously enjoyable

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

I loved this until I got to the last page. WTF, Maureen Johnson? Why is this “to be continued”?  This was a super exciting classic mystery with nods to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, with flashbacks to a crime in the 1930s meshed with a present day situation in the same location, which happens to be an eccentric and elite boarding school for brilliant teens. I mean, it’s great right? Not unlike Johnson’s Jack the Ripper boarding school awesome story. But things were rolling right along with a good level of excitement and tension, everything about to be solved when… the end. Seriously, this book could have just used 20 more pages to finish everything up and I would have given it 5 stars. Instead it’s being strung out into a trilogy, which is ridiculous. As you can tell I became quite enraged at the end.