Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Road to Grantchester coverThe Road to Granchester by James Runcie

Though not a mystery in itself, this volume is a prequel to the Grantchester mystery series (books) and gives us a picture of what led Sydney Chambers to his calling as a vicar.  It is 1938 and war is on the horizon. Sydney Chambers spends the next seven years serving his country, gaining a Military Cross, and suffers the loss of friends and companions. Everything that’s happened to him during this time shapes his future as a private citizen and a member of the clergy.  It gives us an understanding of why he thinks the way he does and helps explain the reasons for the actions that he takes in his day to day life. 

This is a must-read for everyone who has enjoyed reading the Grantchester Mysteries.

4 Daggers
Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”

madoc and janet rhys.pngThe Madoc and Janet Rhys Mysteries by Charlotte MacLeod:

  • A Pint of Murder
  • Murder Goes Mumming
  • A Dismal Thing to Do
  • Trouble in the Brasses
  • The Wrong Rite

This cozy mystery series by Canadian author Charlotte MacLeod features Inspector Madoc Rhys of the RCMP and his wife Janet.  For the most part, the stories take place in New Brunswick. I look at them as being a cross between a good Agatha Christie novel, a bit of the Murdoch Mysteries (the TV series) and a touch of the Beverly Hillbillies.

The books are peopled with funny, colorful, and eccentric characters.  The plots are intricate and well-crafted and the mystery of “who dunnit” is not easily solved.  It’s a delightful series, providing many laughs as I paged through each book. How unfortunate that there are only five books to this series.  I would gladly have read an additional five if they existed.

4 Daggers
Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”

Seniors Book Club October Selection

The Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, October 9 in the Training Room toRelated image discuss the novel Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson.

About the book

From 70-year-old debut author Anne Youngson, a novel about a farmer’s wife and a museum curator seeking second chances.

In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.

Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, they begin writing letters to one another. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to one another about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?

About the author

How to write a smash-hit debut novel at 70 (by the retired grandma who’s done just that)

The intimacy of letter writing: an interview with Anne Youngson

Interview with Anne Youngson

Review: Bonding over bog bodies in ‘Meet Me at the Museum’

Review in Kirkus

Tollund Man (Wikipedia)

Europe’s famed bog bodies are starting to reveal their secrets


Monday Evening Book Club October Selection

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael FinkelThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, October 7 in Forsyth Hall to discuss The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.

About the book

Many people dream of escaping modern life. Most will never act on it—but in 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight did just that when he left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another person for the next twenty-seven years.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Knight himself, journalist Michael Finkel shows how Knight lived in a tent in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and stave off frostbite during the winters. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges—and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life. By turns riveting and thought-provoking, The Stranger in the Woods gives us a deeply moving portrait of a man determined to live his own way. (Publisher)

About the author

A hermit’s lonely path: an interview with Michael Finkel

‘There have always existed people who’ve simply wanted to be alone’: an interview with Michael Finkel

Review in The Globe and Mail 

Review in The Guardian

Review in the New York Times

This reclusive life: what I learned about solitude from my time with hermits

Hermitary: hermits around the web


St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Sept. 25, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

y648-2.jpgThe Wake: The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami

By Linden MacIntyre

A compelling account of the devastation caused by the tsunami which hit Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula in 1929. Beyond the immediate devastation, MacIntrye unpacks the consequences resulting from the destruction of the local fishing industry as workers turned to mining for a steady income. When the mines in the area turned out to be radioactive, many more people died or suffered through shortened lives.

Come enjoy Linden MacIntyre in conversation with Ken Davis on Oct. 18 at 7:30 PM as part of STARFest 2019.

9780771050671.jpgEvery Little Piece of Me

By Amy Jones

Ava and Mags are living out their personal dramas on the public stage.  As the reluctant star of her family’s reality TV show, Ava is dealing with the unwanted consequences of fame, while Mags is a struggling musician whose personal demons rise the surface after a traumatic event. Ava and Mags develop an unlikely friendship which empowers them to reclaim their narratives.

Learn more from Amy Jones about her life and work when she joins us on Oct. 19 at 7 PM as part of STARFest 2019.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Sept. 18, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

y648Immigrant City

By David Bezmozgis

David Bezmozgis’ collection of short stories explores the lives of Jewish immigrants as they navigate their adopted homeland amidst the lingering effects of the past. From long-forgotten letters that unearth a secret life to tech innovations that allow people to visit their past, the stories highlight the diversity and complexity of immigrant lives. Learn more from Bezmozgis on his life and work on Oct. 16 at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall. Tickets for this and all StarFest events are on sale at the Library or on Eventbrite.


By Emma Donoghue

Noah, a retired professor, is looking forward to a vacation in the French Riviera when he is notified at the last minute that his great-nephew, 11-year-old Michael, needs a home temporarily. Truly an odd couple, the two of them argue over everything on their trip. As they learn more about their family’s past, they discover that they are more similar than they could have imagined. Experience Donoghue in conversation with Paula Simons at the Arden on Oct. 17 at 7:30 pm.