Saturday, July 16, 2011

Letters From Home

There was no chance of me not picking up this book when I saw its romantic, nostalgic cover. And when I read that it was about the correspondence between a young woman and a soldier she danced with once at a USO club before he shipped out during WWII, naturally I had to read the book. Then I read the author's notes wherein she related her grandmother had given the letters written by her grandfather from the war to her to read. That just added to my reading anticipation. Letters From Home is Kristina McMorris's first novel. It is a lovely, emotional, book.

It also made me think about the anticipation, excitement and pleasure of receiving a letter in the mailbox that we no longer experience - nor will today's youth ever know - what with the instant communication via texting, skyping, e-mails and face book. Does 'mail call' at some foreign base mean anything anymore? Does S.W.A.K. on the back of an envelope? Or an upside down postage stamp? How well I remember not being able to wait until I got home to see if I had a letter - I would go to the post office and ask before the mail went out on the route for delivery.




Shakespeare wrote about 'a pound of flesh' in the Merchant of Venice in 1596. The reference is to something which is owed that is ruthlessly required to be paid back.


I read two Simon Brett, Mrs. Pargeter books - Pound of Flesh and Mrs. Pargeter's Package.
Brett's mysteries are new to me. I almost failed to find them in the library as I had written down 'Brett Simon' and was looking in the S's. Brett has written many books including the Charles Paris series, the Fethering series, and others as well as the Mrs. Pargeter series. I chose the latter because I liked the sounds of a 60+, overweight, amateur sleuth. (I wonder why?) Of these two titles, I liked Pound of Flesh best. Brett's light comedic mysteries are fun. His dry sense of humour caused many chuckles. I'll be reading more of his works.


Sadly, I read the last two of Anne Perry's WWI series - At Some Disputed Barricade and We Shall Not Sleep. I would very much like knowing what happens to Joseph, Matthew, Hannah and Judith Reavley after the end of 'the great war'. Perhaps she will change her mind and write some more in this series. It is hard to beat Perry's historical mysteries.



Lastly, I read another Catherine Aird mystery, Parting Breath. "Oh, what is death but parting breath?" (Macpherson's Farewell by Robert Burns) In this case, the final utterance of a young student of ecology, murdered in the quad at the University of Calleshire, was, "twenty-six minutes". What those words and a long-lost letter purporting to identify Jane Austen's unknown lover have to do with each other is up to Inspector C.D. Sloan to figure out before another murder takes place.

As I've said before, I like my English mysteries.....




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