Thursday, June 21, 2012

Two Books in One Week? It’s a Mystery!

I had the rare opportunity this month to read two books. Even stranger I got to read them both in the span of a week. And each one only took two days. Yes, I can be a fast reader when I have the chance.

The first book was “Dragons in the Water” by Madeleine L’Engle. The opportunity to read this book came as bitter sweet. Fiona was sick, and I read while snuggling her and watching her sleep in case she threw up. She only did once, but I read until 1 am that night just to be on the safe side.

The book was a nice return to the world of Madeleine L’Engle. I haven’t read all of her books, but certainly more than most non biliblophiles. “Dragons in the Water” was about a boy, just into his teen years, having set to sail to South America with his newly acquainted middle-aged cousin. They travel by freighter and Simon meets Mr. O’Keefe and his two eldest children, Poly and Charles.

The children amuse themselves upon the boat as only children with vivid imaginations can, until things begin to happen, including the murder of Simon’s cousin. The incident snowballs them all into a loop lies, deceit and corrupt policemen when they arrive at the Port of Dragons, Venezuela.

As a young adult mystery, I found “Dragons in the Waters” very enjoyable. Not to mention it’s renewed my vow to purchase, or at least read, more of Madeleine L’Engle’s tales. Especially since my favorite odd ball couple, Megan and Calvin O;Keefe and their family feature is a few of them (like this one)!

Next up on my reading list was Anne R. Allen’s second* Camilla Randell adult mystery, “Ghost Writers in the Sky”. I started this one under happier circumstances. I began it while waiting outside for my husband to pick me up from work. I finished it sitting in my backyard on our half day Fridays**.

Poor Camilla is having a rough time of it again, as we move twenty years forward in her life (she’s now older than me *giggles*). A marriage gone to hell, an alienated best friend, and once more not a penny to her name. Oh, and slander about her in the papers (again). Camilla just seems to be a trouble magnet, poor thing. But, like in the last book, she faces her problems with aplomb, drawing upon her ‘inner great aunt’ for strength.

In the hope of escaping the paparazzi, Camilla travels to California to attend a writers conference, and do a talk, for a no show celebrity. I’m not going to go into all that happens, though. Suffice to say, it’s a whirl wind of craziness on a dude ranch gone wine, with a rising body count. Is it one murderer or two? It couldn’t be her friend Plant, could it? Or the sexy widower cowboy Camilla has the hots for? And what is with the Camilla doppelganger, she keeps seeing?

Don’t worry the mystery gets solved by then end, though it seems impossible given the sheer number of loose ends. Anne does it, and does it well. I definitelyy enjoyed this read. I even remembered that the end would be at 66% of the way through the trilogy. *grin*

How did she manage to write them so similar in length?

*Second chronologically, but I think it was the first one she wrote. (Hoping Anne will stop by and correct me if I’m wrong.) :}

**My day has given us a very nice summer perk of letting us leave the office at 12:30 pm every Friday from June 1 to August 31. So far, I’m loving it.

:} Cathryn Leigh

P.S. I'll be moving my posting date to Thursday or Friday, due to the fact that, at least for the summer, Wednesday night is mine and I'm dedicating it to my writing tasks.


  1. L'Engle! The "Wrinkle in Time" series of books was a favourite of mine in middle school, and I've found myself coming back to them a few times since. Love that woman's writing. You should def read more!

    And if I may, might I recommend "Tailchaser's Song" by Tad Williams? I have a gut feeling you would enjoy it.

    1. Same for me. I've also read Wany Waters - which was the twins time to shine, and An Acceptable time, in which and older Poly has some 'fun'. :} I love the books and was totally happy to have come across Dragons in the Waters.

      And wouldn't you know, switching to a new phone has left me with no not pad on the phone. Anoying. Now I have to use pen and paper again. :}

      I think I've heard of Tad before, but can't think of where.

  2. Yay for Anne's Camilla Randall series! I've only read one of them, and I think it was possibly a little old for me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless (Sherwood Ltd was the one)

    Glad you had time for reading - and I hope Fiona's okay now! Being sick sucks, poor scrap.

    1. Sherwood Ltd, is the last book of the trilogy. It's on my July reading list. :}

      Maybe I could loan you the series, as the first book might be more your 'age' since Camilla is pnly 20 in it (and you can meet the Plant, who hasn't quite figured himself out yet *grins*)

      Fiona's perfectly fine. She's not alergic to peanuts, but when she accedentatlly eats soemthing with peanuts in them, she has a tendancy to throw up. I need to remember to bring that up ather next doctor's appointment.

  3. Great review of a L'Engle book I've never read. I'll have to check it out.

    And thanks SO much for this review of Ghostwriters in the Sky. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Camilla does get in a lot of scrapes. But she always prevails--politely. You may be the first person who's read and reviewed the books in succession, so I'm glad to know it worked for you. I wrote the first version of The Best Revenge (#1) in the 1980s. It wasn't a historical novel then :-) Shows how long it can take to get a book published. I wrote Ghostwriters (#2) , as a sequel when I was living in England and feeling nostalgia for California. Then I wrote Sherwood, (#3) a few years later, back in CA, when I was missing England.

    Charley--I think you'd like Best Revenge best. Camilla's only 19 in that one. (Yes, she ages verrrrry slowly.)

    Thanks again Cathryn!

    1. it's funny because, Mystery isn't what I normally consider 'my genre'. Yet here I was voraciously devouring two mystery books in one week!

      Well, I love series. And I love reading them in order. So it only makes sense to do so with Camilla. I did love how she 'used' her shoes and... well, I won't say more as it would probably give thins away, but the Camilla 'doppelganger' was awesome. *giggles*

      Anyway, expect to see the final review sometime in July. and then I'll try and conglomerate them and go have fun posting reviews on Amazon. *grins*

    2. I love the use of "conglomerate" as a verb. That's something Camilla would do. :-)