St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the April 25, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Maze at WindermereThe Maze at Windermere : a novel

By Gregory Blake Smith

A richly layered novel of love, ambition, and duplicity, set against the storied seascape of Newport, Rhode Island. A reckless wager between a tennis pro with a fading career and a drunken party guest–the stakes are an antique motorcycle and an heiress’s diamond necklace–launches a narrative odyssey that braids together three centuries of aspiration and adversity.


Peculiar GroundPeculiar ground : a novel

By Lucy Hughes-Hallett

It is the seventeenth century and a wall is being raised around Wychwood, transforming the great house and its park into a private realm of ornamental lakes, grandiose gardens, and majestic avenues. Three centuries later, far away in Berlin, another wall is raised. In 1989, as the Cold War peters out, a threat from a different kind of conflict reaches Wychwood’s walls.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

35743047THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES by Elizabeth George

“More” is not always better.  I say this in reference to the length of this latest Inspector Lynley novel which clocks in at 690 pages.  I found it often tedious and repetitive, bogged down with the ongoing “bedroom olympics” amongst a group of teens.

DS Barbara Havers is paired up with DCS Isabelle Ardery as they are sent to the small, quiet town of Ludlow to investigate a death-in custody.  Their “pairing” isn’t simply to look at the events leading up to this death, but a deliberate attempt to sabotage Barbara into using her “creative initiative” once again, which will inevitably lead to her transfer to another jurisdiction – something that Ardery has been working towards for a very long time.  Meanwhile, Ardery is fighting her own demons and they get in the way of a proper investigation.

Call it what you will, but Barbara’s “creative initiative” discovers a web of mis-direction, lies, and obfuscation.  With Lynley by her side, they are able to slowly create a timeline of events which paints a clear picture of what actually happened.

This novel is all about power and the abuse of power.  My one question is: who in the story is the “she” in the title?  For I don’t believe that any of the female characters “deserve” punishment.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the April 18, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Chalk manChalk man : a novel

By C.J. Tudor

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same. This British debut novel is being touted as the “must-read” thriller of 2018.

HysteriaHysteria : a novel

By Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Heike Lerner’s life looks perfect from the outside. But lately, Heike’s noticed there are some things out of place – her husband Eric is becoming increasingly more controlling. Something sinister that Heike cannot quite put her finger on is lingering just beneath the surface of this idyllic life. Another nail biter by this up-and-coming Canadian author.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

41gmkewczal-_sx344_bo1204203200_THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP by Joanna Cannon

“Mrs. Creasey disappeared on a Monday.”  And so begins this delightfully funny, colorful story of a group of neighbors on the avenue and the secrets and lies that both bind and separate them.  Grace and Tilly, two ten year olds, decide that if they can find God, then Mrs. Creasey will come home.  So they go door to door, “looking for God”, but what they find is a conspiracy of silence which is slowly unravelling with the disappearance of their neighbour.

Oblique references are made to events that happened nine years ago – the kidnapping of a child, and an arson and he residents of the avenue believe that Mrs. Creasey’s disappearance is linked to these events and that she’s about to reveal the truth.

Grace and Tilly, unlike each other as chalk and cheese, are spunky and thoughtful and will make you laugh as they go door-to-door on their mission.  Slowly and without realizing it, these amateur detectives are helping bring the lies and secrets of the avenue to the surface.