Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Mma Ramotswe and her friends are back solving problems big and small in the latest visit to Botswana and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.  The book begins with Mma Makutsi, partner in the firm, suddenly ordering stationery, name plates, and office upgrades which make it seem SHE is in charge of the first detective firm run by ladies in that country.  Mma Ramotswe, the founder and force behind the company, is alarmed but decides to see where all this is going before confronting her friend about the situation.

The orphan farm, run by the well-known and beloved Mma Potokwane, gets a new bookkeeper in the form of a young woman named Patience. It turns out that Patience, like Mma Makutsi, comes from the village of Bobonong.  Since everyone knows everyone there, the two ladies are acquainted with each other and happy to reconnect in the relatively cosmopolitan city of Gabarone.  While catching up, Patience reveals that she has moved to town with her 14-year-old son because she was escaping a bad relationship but has fortunately met a very nice man.  Her son, however, is making all of their lives difficult with his surly behavior.  Mma Ramotswe may just have a plan to solve the problem . . .

At the same time, Mma Makutsi's husband, Phuti Radiphuti, is also facing worrying times.  His furniture store is being undercut by a new, flashy furniture company in town.  While they don't sell the same type of furniture, exactly (the new store places more worth on style than comfort), Phuti's business is in serious decline.  It doesn't help matters when everyone's nemesis, the glamorous but evil Violet Sephotho is hired to be a model and CELEBRITY OPINION FORMER for the rival company.  But once again, Mma Ramotswe can outmaneuver dirty business tricks with her own brand of wholesome revenge.

It is a pleasure to revisit all the characters and to find them pretty much the same as always:  Mma Ramotswe enjoying red bush tea, Mma Makutsi and Charlie, the apprentice detective, sniping away at each other, Violet up to her old tricks, and Mma Potokwane baking and eating her fruitcake.  It is lovely to step into their gentle and kind world and to know that everything will work out in the end, and the reader will have an enjoyable journey getting there!

I received a copy of A Song of Comfortable Chairs from NetGalley 

Sunday, August 7, 2022


If you ever think you're having a bad day, it's nothing compared to the day Amber Jamison is having at the start of Killing Me. Just a few months shy of graduating with a degree in psychology, Amber is abducted on her way home from class. When she regains consciousness, she's tied up in an unfamiliar basement. She knows what's happened: she's the latest victim of the serial killer known as the Pikachu Killer, who sends news outlets GPS coordinates to find the bodies.  Amber is, of course, terrified, but at the same time has a plucky, almost upbeat attitude when confronted with her upcoming fate of being dismembered by an insane killer. Luckily, before that can happen, a tall blonde woman enters the situation from nowhere. It turns out that her savior, Grace, spends her time tracking down serial killers -- anonymously. This is just fine with Amber, who doesn't want to speak to the police due to some questionable events from her past.  When Amber has to quickly leave town, it becomes apparent that her interactions with Grace have caught the eye of the most dangerous serial killer of all.

When the book started out in nearby (for me) Johnson City, TN, I was excited to read a book set in this area. However, soon after escaping the Pikachu Killer, Amber and all the action moves to Las Vegas.  Once in Vegas, Amber, Grace, and an assorted group of colorful characters set out to trap a serial killer, without becoming his next victim. I really enjoyed the suspense of the book and the somewhat humorous tone, which lightened up the serious and violent subject matter of the book. There is something of a twist at the end that leaves the reader guessing about all that has happened up to that point. The afterward by the author promises a sequel, so I am looking forward to seeing what Amber gets up to in that one! 

I received an Advanced Readers's Copy of Killing Me from NetGalley

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Things aren't looking too good for Callie in The Lying Wife as she informs us in the first few sentences of the book that she's a wife, mother, friend and murderer.  She's being interviewed by police about the aforementioned murder when the book opens.  The chapters alternate between Callie in the interview room being questioned and the events leading up to that.

Callie was coming out of a relationship and working in a coffee shop when she met widower James.  He sweeps her off her feet and they soon marry.  She moves into his house, but his sons 15-year-old Dillion and 12-year-old Luke aren't so thrilled to have a new step-mother.  The boys make life miserable for Callie, especially when James is at work, which is most of the time.  Callie is studying to be a counselor but doesn't seem to have many ideas on how to deal with her own difficult situation.

As the situation with the boys continues to be difficult, Callie struggles to cope.  Her father is suffering from mental health issues, and she sneaks off from time to time to visit him, since she's not told James about him.  She fears that James will think she has inherited her father's mental instability (in truth, she worries about this herself).  Her struggles with the boys, trying to keep up with her father, and continuing her studies all put Callie under so much pressure that she does some things that, with a clearer head, she would certainly not have done. 

It's hard to know if we can trust everything Callie says.  Are the boys really so terrible, or does she just take everything the wrong way? Is her husband James faithful, or are her suspicions about his relationship with a co-worker well-founded? I liked the way the story kept me guessing and trying to figure out just what was true.  The story is certainly a page-turner and has a twist at the end, but after I thought about it a little, I was quite annoyed.  Callie seemed to be taken advantage of by everyone and never really put herself first.  James, her husband, was never home and seemed to want her only as an unpaid babysitter.  She was the one keeping up with everything and doing all the heavy-lifting, while all the male characters around her were sullen and entitled.  I was very angry on Callie's behalf by the time I finished the book!

About Me

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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