Look Out Below!

Friends in High Places by Donna Leon

When Commissario Guido Brunetti receives a visit from a bureaucrat from the Ufficio Catasto (at his home on a Saturday, no less!). It appears that the apartment he and his family have been living in for years was built without any of the proper permits being filed and therefore he must either provide documentation proving it was built legally or vacate the premises.

Brunetti assumes it is either at best a garden-variety example of Venice’s legendary bureaucratic inefficiency or at worst a clumsy attempt at some kind of official “shakedown”. Like any Venetian he forgoes any official channels and immediately begins to think of who amidst his circle of family, friends, acquaintances, and individuals who owe him a favor he can call on to resolve this problem. But when time passes and he hears nothing more regarding the matter his dismisses it from his mind and gets back to his police work.

The matter is soon brought to his attention again when the young official is found dead not too long after contacting Brunetti and wishing to talk to him in his capacity as a police Commissario. Was this young man’s death an accident as much of the evidence gathered at the crime scene suggests, or is there a more sinister behind the death of someone who’s only crime seems to be overzealous dedication to his job?

Interesting Times

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff


Though he occasionally entertains thoughts of travel and adventure in the wider world Erdemoglu Selim abd al-Rahim, is perfectly content staying where he is brewing tea and fulfilling his duties as a lieutenant in the Ottoman Empire’s Janissary Corps, duties which are not exciting or even slightly interesting. That is until he comes in contact with Delilah Dirk.

Born to an aristocratic English father and a Greek mother (reputed to be one of the finest artisans in her homeland) Delilah Dirk has traveled the world learning marksmanship in France, survival techniques in the jungles of India, acrobatics in Indonesia, and has spent seven years studying fighting techniques in a Japanese monastery . A high-ranking member of at least three royal courts she is reputed to be able to fly and is the master of forty-seven different sword-fighting techniques which she has used to face down, twenty-nine Sikh swordsmen; thirty-two conquistadors; fifty-one Australian aboriginal warriors; a small pride of lions; and “one very large Mongolian man with a large sword, a small brain, and a bad temper.”

If Lieutenant Selim was looking for adventure he certainly has found it. Or perhaps it has found him, whether he wanted it to or not.

You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan

The British arrested him for treason and exiled him to Tasmania after he tried to raise a rebellion against the Crown. He escaped.

Bigots and political rivals tried to shame him when he spoke out against them. His words proved them wrong.

The soldiers of the Confederacy tried to kill him when he led a brigade of his countrymen against them. He survived.

Those who sought to take the law into their own hands thought that with his death his legacy would be forgotten. His legacy lives on to this day.

Poet, orator, revolutionary, soldier, statesman, leader, crusader, this is the story of Thomas Francis Meagher.

Perhaps You Have Heard of Me?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“‘The story will take three days,’ Kote interrupted. ‘Starting tomorrow. That is what I am saying.’

Chronicler closed his eyes and ran his hand over his face. The earl would be furious, of course. No telling what it might take to get back in his good graces. Still…’If that’s the only way that I can get it, I accept.’

‘I’m glad to hear it.’ The innkeeper relaxed into a half smile. ‘Come now, is three days really so unusual?’

Chronicler’s serious expression returned. ‘Three days is quite unusual. But then again – ‘ Some of the self-importance seemed to leak out of him. ‘Then again,’ he made a gesture as if to show how useless words were. ‘You are Kvothe.’

The man who called himself Kote looked up from behind his bottles. A full-lipped smile played about his mouth. A spark was kindling behind his eyes. He seemed taller.

‘Yes. I suppose I am,’ Kvothe said, and his voice had iron in it.”


Recipe for Hilarious

Blandings Castle by P.G. Wodehouse

Welcome to Blandings Castle. One of England’s largest and most pleasant stately homes it is renowned for its magnificent Early Tudor architecture, elegant rose garden, and stately Yew Alley.

Even more notable are its inhabitants: Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth an almost terminally absentminded old gentleman who hobbies include gardening, feuding with his Scottish gardener McAllister, and pig husbandry; his son the Honorable Frederick “Freddie” Threepwood, noted among his acquaintances for being amiable sort of fellow but rather lacking in the brains department; Lady Constance Keeble, Lord Emsworth’s sister, a woman of forceful character who spends most of her time laboring to manage the affairs of her extended family (her brother and any single relative of marriageable age in particular); and the Empress of Blandings, the apple of Lord Emsworth’s eye and several times winner in the “Fat Pig” category at the Shropshire Agricultural Show. Add to that a highly efficient secretary; a grumpy Scottish gardener; a port-swilling butler; and a cast of various nieces, nephews, unsuitable suitors then let simmer and enjoy.

Next Stop….Murder

Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood

Some people take their work home with them, but for Phryne Fisher, her work not only follows her home, it goes traveling with her as well.

What should have been a pleasant trip by train across the Australian countryside from Melbourne to Ballarat is disrupted in a most villainous fashion by an attempt to chloroform all the passengers in train’s first-class carriage.

If that were not enough, the strange disappearance of one the passengers and the even stranger appearance of a young girl with no memory of who she is or how she even got on the train add even more bother to what should have been a pleasant and uneventful trip.

Maybe Phryne should have taken her car after all.

Parcel of Rogues

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

They have one job, to steal a book. Easy enough, except the book is locked in Crown Tower the legendary impregnable fortress guarded by fanatical (and highly skilled) military arm of the Nyphron Church. Oh and the two men hired to steal the book have never worked together before…and hate each others’ guts.

Mysterious treasure, impenetrable fortress, ever-vigilant guards, and a dysfunctional pair of thieves. Either a recipe for disaster or the makings of a truly legendary adventure.