AFTERNOON OF A GOOD WOMAN
Penelope has always done her best to be a good wife, a good mistress, a good mother, and a good magistrate. Today she is more conscious than usual of the thinness of the thread that separates good from bad, the law-abiding from the criminal. Sitting in court, hearing a short, sad case of indecent exposure and a long, confused theft, she finds herself simultaneously examining her own sex life, her own actions and intentions. A tour de force, Nina Bawden’s ingeniously constructed novel counterpoints public appearance with private behavior. The result is a marvelous picture of a not always admirable but engagingly complex, very human heroine.
The summary doesn’t thrill me particularly.
HALO FOR SATAN
Raymond Wirtz has something everyone wants. His Grace, the Bishop Of Chicago; Lola North – “a girl who could turn out to be as pure as an ester lily or steeped in sin and fail to surprise you either way”; Louis Antuni, Chicago Godfather; Constance Benbrook, who “wasn’t the type to curl up with anything as inanimate as a novel” and mysterious super criminal Jafar Baijan – all want what Wirtz has… the ultimate religious artefact. Private Eye Paul Pine is right in the middle. In the middle of a deadly obstacle race strewn with copses, cops and beautiful women.
Even the summary seems confusing.
THE GREEN EAGLE SCORE (Parker #10)
Here’s Parker—planning to steal the entire payroll of an Air Force base in upstate New York, with help from Marty Fusco, fresh out of the pen, and a smart aleck finance clerk named Devers. Holed up with family in a scrappy little town, the hoisters prepare for the risky job by trying to shorten the odds. But the ice is thinner than Parker likes to think—and Marty’s ex-wife is much more complicated.
I have heard of Parker, never read him. Is this a good place to start?
A HIDDEN PLACE
In the hard years of the Depression, young Travis lives with his uncle and aunt. Upstairs lives the mysterious Anna. Anna says she’s going to be “changing,” and she needs Travis’s help…for purposes she won’t explain.
Robert Charles Wilson’s A Hidden Place is a science fiction tale of passion, terror, and hope, opening out to a great, dark, and unsuspected universe.
Except for Star Trek, I am not a great sci-fi fan.
BRING THE MONKEY
When the adventurous Zarl Osterley is invited to an English country house for the weekend, she is told to bring her monkey Percy. She also takes her friend, who is disguised as a maid and monkey-minder.
During their stay the peaceful, idyllic atmosphere of Tattingwood Hall is wrecked by a dastardly crime. Famous diamonds go missing, the Chief Inspector called in to investigate is discovered horribly murdered.
The monkey, the maid and the magnetic Zarl all get inextricably involved in the whole nasty business, and it takes the women’s brains and shrewdness to sort out a mess that spoils the weekend for everyone.
This reprint of the 1933 original is a delightful spoof on the popular British detective series of the late 1920’s and 1930’s by Miles Franklin, author of the best-selling Australian classic My Brilliant Career
Seems extremely farcical.
In 1988 Ericka and Julie Ingram began making a series of accusations of sexual abuse against their father, Paul Ingram, who was a respected deputy sheriff in Olympia, Washington. At first the accusations were confined to molestations in their childhood, but they grew to include torture and rape as recently as the month before. At a time when reported incidents of “recovered memories” had become widespread, these accusations were not unusual. What captured national attention in this case is that, under questioning, Ingram appeared to remember participating in bizarre satanic rites involving his whole family and other members of the sheriff’s department.
Remembering Satan is a lucid, measured, yet absolutely riveting inquest into a case that destroyed a family, engulfed a small town, and captivated an America obsessed by rumors of a satanic underground. As it follows the increasingly bizarre accusations and confessions, the claims and counterclaims of police, FBI investigators, and mental health professionals. Remembering Satan gives us what is at once a psychological detective story and a domestic tragedy about what happens when modern science is subsumed by our most archaic fears.
Even reading the summary leaves a bad-taste in my mouth.
RESUSCITATION OF A HANGED MAN
Leonard English, a sad and intense young man recovering from a suicide attempt, comes to Provincetown on Cape Cod to take a job as a disc jockey-cum-private detective. Provincetown is a last outpost of civilization, an end of the earth, a resort town emptied by autumn, where many of those who wear skirts are not women and many of the women do not love men. On his first day there, English encounters a beautiful young woman at Mass and falls desperately in love with her, but Leanna turns out to be gay; and English’s first assignment as a detective, a search for the elusive artist Gerald Twinbrook, is equally frustrating. As autumn turns to winter and Leonard’s anguish mounts, his desperate quests – for Twinbrook, for love, for redemption – take on an increasingly apocalyptic coloring.
Author trying too hard?
“I never truckled. I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. I told them the truth. They liked it or they didn’t like it. What had that to do with me? I told them the truth,” declared Frank Norris, shortly before his death at the age of thirty-two. Of his novels, none have shocked the reading public more than McTeague, and few works since have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic immediacy as does this portrayal of human degradation in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Its protagonists, men and women alike, are shown as both products and victims of a debasing social order. Heredity and environment play the role of fate in a tale that moves toward its harrowing conclusion with the grim power and inevitablity of classic tragedy.
Seems too depressing.
The brilliant debut that’s sold over a million copies-now in trade paperback for the first time!
Rediscover the “wonderfully funny, deliciously mean” (New York Times) novel that launched Susan Isaacs’ New York Times bestselling career-and introduced Long Island housewife Judith Singer, her most beloved character. Judith is smart and funny, with a gorgeous husband and wonderful kids. She’s also incredibly bored, having put her Ph.D. plans on hold for a life of housekeeping and nose-wiping. So when a local dentist is found murdered, and the police suspect her neighbor, that’s all the excuse Judith needs to jump in and begin her own investigation. It seems the deceased periodontist was quite the Don Juan of the PTA, with a habit of taking incriminating photos. In between school runs and making dinner, Judith is drawn deeper into the case-and closer to the sexy police detective in charge.
Tired of brilliant debuts.
THE INVOLVEMENT OF ARNOLD WECHSLER
Just the beard is enough to put me off.
Have you read these? Are the summaries (all from Goodreads) correct? Which ones do you recommend I should read? Which ones you also think I should strike-off?
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