Joanne’s Mystery Picks

peters-11excellentmystery-ebooksAN EXCELLENT MYSTERY by Ellis Peters

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to start at the beginning of a series and read each book in order, then this is the perfect book for you.  It’s XI in The Cadfael Chronicles and stands very well on its own.  There’s little in the past books that affects this story so you’re able to enjoy seeing how Brother Cadfael unravels this “excellent mystery” without feeling that pieces to the puzzle are missing.

In just a few short paragraphs Peters is able to transport us to a time long ago – to the summer of 1141.   The tranquility of the Abbey at Shrewsbury has not yet been affected by the civil unrest between King Stephen and the Empress Maud. When the Abbey of Hyde Meade is totally destroyed by the warring forces, Brother Humilis, badly injured in the Crusades, and his attendant, the mute Fidelis, seek refuge in Shrewsbury. This pair is soon joined by Nicholas, once squire to Humilis, who seeks the Brother’s blessing to woo the lady who was once Humilis’ intended bride.  And there begins the mystery – for the lady has vanished.

Brother Cadfael begins to slowly unravel the truth from the fiction but not before tragedy strikes.  With the compassion that seems to come so naturally to him, Cadfael assuages the grief of the victims and shows them a way forward, while still maintaining their deepest secrets.

Weekend Picks

Belated Golden Globe Ed.

There’s always a good time to view some very good film & television, right?

Here’s some of the best from our collection, so far…

Get Out
Nominee: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor.

Battle of the Sexes
Nominee: Best Actress and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Loving Vincent 
Nominee: Best Animated Film. 

Big Little Lies
Winner: Best Television Series, Best Actress and Best Actor in a Television Series, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series.

The Wizard of Lies
Nominee: Best Actress and Best Actor in a Television Series.

The Young Pope
Nominee: Best Actor in a Television Series.

This is Us
Winner: Best Actor in a Television Series.
Nominee: Best Television Series. Best Actress in a Television Series.

Mr. Robot
Nominee: Best Actor in a Television Series.





St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the January 10, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Ghost orchardThe Ghost orchard : the hidden history of the apple in North America

By Helen Humphreys

Delving deep into the storied past of the apple, Humphreys explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships. In telling this hidden history, Humphreys writes movingly about the experience of her research. The result is a book that is both personal and universal, combining engaging storytelling, historical detail, and deep emotional insight.


Apron stringsApron strings : navigating food and family in France, Italy and China

By Jan Wong

When Wong set out to write a book about home cooking in France, Italy, and China, she asked her 22-year-old son, Sam, to join her. The result is a memoir about family, an exploration of the globalization of food cultures, and a meditation on the complicated relationships between mothers and sons. Apron Strings is complex, unpredictable, and unexpectedly hilarious.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9780727886958COVER UP by Patricia Hall

It’s been years since I’ve read a mystery by this author so I was pleased to see this new publication. I was a faithful reader of Hall’s Laura Ackroyd/DCI Michael Thackery series so it was interesting to read Cover Up, the sixth mystery in her Kate O’Donnell series.

It’s 1964 and Kate has been given a magazine assignment in Liverpool to showcase the many changes that the city has undergone since the war. Her feature is to coincide with the release of the Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. The city is teeming with reporters and fans, anxious to get a glimpse of this musical foursome.

Meanwhile, Kate’s partner, DS Harry Barnard, has been investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found in Soho days earlier. Finding her identity is proving very difficult and Harry is determined to investigate the death in spite of his DCI’s request that he drop it.

As Harry carries out his investigations in London and Kate digs deeper into the regeneration of Liverpool, they both find evidence of cover-ups and corruption, leading them into dangerous situations.

51wo9pwuvwl-_sx308_bo1204203200_BRYANT & MAY: WILD CHAMBER by Christopher Fowler

The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate the murder of a woman whose body was found in a private garden.  She’s been strangled but her body is lovingly positioned.  Before the body is even cold, another murder takes place – another woman, in a park, with her body positioned.

With these two murders, the Unit pulls out all the stops to find the killer.  Fowler takes us on a wild ride around London, with Arthur Bryant in the driver’s seat as we are treated to a delicious history of its green spaces.  Little by little, Arthur puts together the pieces of the puzzle, relying on his great wealth of the arcane and the help of his retinue of strange acquaintances.

This is such a clever, brilliant novel, ripe with British humour that you can’t help but laugh as you turn page after page.  Fowler is a master of wordplay and this novel doesn’t disappoint.  The characters are funny and colorful and as he builds up the suspense, we are almost holding our breath.  Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve reached the last page.  That’s what  happened to me!