Thursday, October 21, 2010


It began, as it often does, with a woman putting her ducks in a row. It had occurred to Iris a few weeks back--at the height of summer when tourists jammed the post office with their oiled bodies and their scattered, childish vacation glee--that if what she thought were going to happen was going to, she ought to be prepared. She ought, really oughtn't she, to be ready to show Harry that though she was forty, as old as the century, he would be the first. The very first. And she had always put more stock in words set down on a clean white piece of paper than any sort of talk. Talk was...

The Postmistress
Sarah Blake

(I think this was from the book fly-leaf)
Blake traces the lives of three women in the months leading up to the United States’ involvement in World War II. One is the titular postmistress, one is a newly married doctor’s wife, and one is a radio reporter covering the Blitz under the tutelage of Edward R. Murrow. Can you doubt that the paths of these three are going to intertwine in life-changing ways? If so, you’ve never read a historical novel.

The Postmistress examines the question of truth-telling in wartime, and the fact that we can never learn the whole story, as the reporter takes her recorder on trains across Europe, interviewing the last wave of Jewish refugees trying to get out before the exits slam shut. The vitality inherent in that vocal record, fragmentary though it of necessity is, is the most resonant part of the novel.

Friday, October 15, 2010



We puttered out of the marina, under a bridge from which two black boys were fishing with what looked like homemade poles, down a winding canal flanked my mangroves. The knobby, twining roots rose from the water. I saw on a cushioned bench and Marse say in a captain's chair at the helm. She handed me a scarf and told me to tie back my hair, which I did. We passed an egret standing stock-still on a mangrove root, then emerged from the canal into the wide, open bay. The Miami shoreline stretched out in both directions...

There was nothing there but sea and sky, but then a few matchbox shapes formed on the hazy horizon. They grew larger and I saw that they were houses, propped above the water on pilings. Ii counted fourteen of them. As we neared, I saw that some were painted, some were two stories high, some had boats moored at the docks, and some were shuttered and still. They stood on cement pillars, flanking a dark channel along the rim of the bay, as if guarding if from the open ocean.
Susanna Daniel

Monday, October 11, 2010


It was indeed a long time since she'd spoken to Prue, she reflected, starting to unpack her bags. Her career as a biographer had been on hold for eighteen months or more, following the abortive ending of her last project due to murder and a legal minefield her publishers were unwilling to enter.

While she regained her balance, she'd reverted to her secondary--and, up to then, spasmodic--work as a freelance writer for the glossy monthly Chiltern Life. But, incredibly innocuous pursuits such as writing-up eight-hundred-year anniversaries, tracing birth parents, and researching the history of local firms had also resulted in death and disaster. Even befriending her nest-door neighbors had proved a perilous undertaking.
Unfinished Portrait
Anthea Fraser

Seventh in a series of Rona Parish mysteries. Well written in the English murder mystery genre. Not sure I'll read more in the series, but I may...