Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Sight For Sore Eyes

"You are a sight for sore eyes" was an expression I remember Mom and Grandma using. It meant they were glad to see you.
Ruth Rendell used the phrase for the title of a book. A Sight For Sore Eyes tells the story of three divergent characters and what happens when their lives converge. Francine has been scolded and sent to her room. When she peeks downstairs she glimpses a visitor as he brutally murders her mother.
Teddy was born to barely socialized parents. He was never played with, cuddled or even talked to. He becomes a very handsome man who never questions that killing is an easy way to get what he wants.
Harriet is an aging, fading beauty bored with her marriage to an older, wealthy man. She scans the local classified ads for handymen to perform odd jobs and alleviate her boredom.
There are several murders, but the only real mystery is who killed Francine's mother. Rendell's characterizations and descriptions are once again, masterful. Her books are thrillers not of the horror genre, but of the psychological. They make me grateful I live in a 'normal' world.

I've been reading my way through Anne Perry's series featuring William Monk and Hester Latterly. With the reading of Slaves of Obsession I only have six more to read which is why I started reading her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series with the first book The Cater Street Hangman. (There are twenty-six books in this series.) I think I will enjoy the Pitt books as much as I have the Monk ones. Perry's Victorian era details captivate me. They are intelligently written and historically fascinating.

Anne McCaffrey is an author I have been acquainted with for many years. She is most likely best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. It was either some of those books or some from her Crystal Singers series that I remember reading probably in the 1970's. She also has a handful of romances written in the '70's and '80's which I've enjoyed. (The Lady was probably my favourite.) I hadn't read Stitch In Snow (1985) before. It is a story about two travelers who share a magical snow-bound weekend in Denver. Dana is an American writer, living in Ireland who comes to the USA on a book tour. (As McCaffrey is an American writer living in Ireland, I wondered if this story had some reality in it - even if it was only being stuck in the Denver Airport during a blizzard.) Dan is in Denver on business - but what business? When his ex-wife is found murdered, he is the prime suspect. Dana can save him by testifying he was with her at the time of the murder, but she has already moved on with her book tour. Can she be located in time? Will the authorities believe her? Will the feelings she has for Dan amount to anything?
This quick-read little romance was a light escape after the psychological thriller. It was a reminder of what times were like thirty years ago.

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