A New Look at Agatha Christie

Recent Books and Films inspired by the Queen of Crime

Mysteries

 Benedict, Marie. The Mystery of Mrs. Christiemystery of mrs. christie jacket

Buzzelli, Elizabeth Kane. And Then They Were Doomed

Cambridge, Colleen. Murder at Mallowan Hall

Christie. Agatha. The Last Séance: Tales of the Supernatural

De Gramont, Nina. The Christie Affair

Hannah, Sophie. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, The Mystery of Three Quarters

Rader-Day, Lori. Death at Greenway

Wilson, Andrew. Death in a Desert Land, I Saw Him Die

Non-Fiction

Thompson, Laura. Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life

Valentine, Carla. The Science of Murder: The Forensics of Agatha Christie

TV & Films

Crooked House

Death on the Nile

Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie & Agatha Christie’s England

Murder on the Orient Express

Triple Feature: Three Tales of Murder & Mystery

Coming Soonmarple jacket

Marple: Twelve New Mysteries 9/22

Cambridge, Colleen. A Trace of Poison 10/22

2020 saw the celebration of 100 years since the publication of A Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie’s debut novel. There continue to be new editions of her mysteries, as well as books and films inspired by the author and her characters. Enjoy!

Brenda

Recent Popular Science Books

I just finished reading First Steps: How Walking Upright Made Us Human by Jeremy DeSilva, and I was reflecting on how much I enjoy reading popular science books. I may only read a few each year, and I read them much more slowly than fiction, but I like learning about something new to me and appreciate the fine writing by a scientist or journalist who has really delved into a topic and is enthusiastic to share some of what they’ve learned with non-scientists. Other books I read this year include Kindred by Rebecca Wragg Sykes and The Arbornaut by Meg Lowman. Here is a list of recent popular science books in the library’s collection, along with a few about to be published. The variety of topics covered is remarkable, and I hope to enjoy more of these titles soon. Happy reading!

Brenda

Recent Popular Science Books

Biberdorf, Kate. It’s Elemental: The Hidden Chemistry in Everything

Black, Riley. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World

Bryson, Bill. The Body: A Guide for Occupants

DeSilva, Jeremy. First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human

Dettmer, Philipp. Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive

Ellenberg, Jordan. Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else

Everts, Sarah. The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration

Frank, Adam. Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

Kaku, Michio. The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Knoll, Andrew. A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters

Kolbert, Elizabeth. Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Levesque, Emily. The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers

Lowman, Margaret. The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us

Macfarlane, Robert. Underland: A Deep Time Journey

Nestor, James. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Panciroli, Elsa. Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution

Phoenix, Jess. Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life

Prescod-Weinstein, Chanda. The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime and Dreams Deferred

Raff, Jennifer. Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas

Raven, Catherine. Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship

Roach, Mary: Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Scales, Helen. The Brilliant Abyss: Exploring the Majest Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean and the Looming Threat That Imperils It

Seager, Sara. The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir

Sheldrake, Merlin. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Simard, Suzanne. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Widder, Edith. Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

Wohlleben, Peter. The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature

Wragg Sykes, Rebecca. Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

Zimmer, Carl. Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Living with Mochi

Living with Mochi by Gemma Gené

Comics about animals and their people are my comfort read. I used to have a stack of comic strip collections for when I was sick or in a reading slump. If I were to start a new stack, Living with Mochi would be on the top.

Mochi is a pug named after the Japanese sweet. His person is Gemma Gene—an architect who started doodling about Mochi on her way to work because she missed him so much. The drawings were a hit online (find them on Instagram @157ofgemma) and were turned into a book.

Each page is a little story with adorable drawings. Mochi enjoys the finer things in life and loves his Mami. He tolerates his Papi. He doesn’t realize he’s a dog and not a small human. I recognized my pug in Mochi and it was like having her back. The grunts, the dramatics, the appetite, even the smells. Anyone who’s had a beloved pet would enjoy the humor and the love that went into the comics.

For more light-hearted animal comics, I highly recommend Plum Crazy: Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat (adorable, family-friendly), She and Her Cat (introspective, teen and up), Chi’s Sweet Home (great for kids…and adults), and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu (by the artist known for his horror manga but the only scary thing here is how quickly he falls for two cats, and how they don’t care).

If you want more about pugs, try these. For kids, families, or the young at heart there’s Two’s a Crowd and Yay for Vaycay!) by Flora Ahn and the picture book Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino. Teens and up might like The Worrier’s Guide to Life by Gemma Correll (Gemma’s pug makes appearances and there’s more pugs in A Pug’s Guide to Dating) or Battlepug by Mike Norton (a Conan-like fantasy comic featuring a giant pug).

Denise

Five Mysteries

Are you looking for some new mysteries? Mysteries have been very popular here this past year, so here are some mini reviews of four new mysteries I’ve recently read, and one classic mystery.

Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie has been keeping mystery readers up late since 1937. A new movie version featuring Kenneth Branagh as private detective Hercule Poirot is expected this fall. The setting is appealing, if a bit menacing, featuring a cruise on Egypt’s Nile River. A rich heiress and her new husband, a mother and daughter, a great aunt and her niece, an author and her son are all featured, along with the renowned Belgian detective and the jilted lover of another passenger. If you enjoy twisty plots with an atmospheric setting and an intensifying pace, this is still a wonderful read, if you can overlook some dated cultural references.

 

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the latest in the popular cozy Hannah Swendson series, where everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota drops into The Cookie Jar for a cup of coffee and all the latest news. A much disliked resident of Lake Eden is found by dead by one of Hannah’s sisters, and Hannah has to solve the mystery to clear her sister’s name. Full of tempting recipes, this is the perfect mix of mystery and comfort read.

 

An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch is a Victorian era mystery in which Charles Lennox, a private detective in London, visits New England and finds his detecting skills needed in opulent Newport, Rhode Island, when a young debutante is found dead on the beach. Charles misses his family dreadfully, and considers leaving his profession, especially after a close call.

 

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood will be published June 1. I won’t share too much of the plot yet, but I can guarantee that it’s a delight to read. It’s been several years since the last Phryne Fisher historical mystery set in Melbourne, Australia, but this is worth the wait. The popular television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, has been filling the gap for many fans of this Jazz Age series.

 

Mystery of the Drowned Driver by Shanna Swendson is the third novella in the Lucky Lexie cozy mystery series, featuring a young newspaper editor in small town Texas whose boss is the ghost of the founding editor. Lexie wonders if her days in town are numbered as she stirs up ill feeling with questions about recent sales of family farms.

 

All of these titles are available from Libby/Media on Demand and/or Hoopla, several of them as audiobooks. Enjoy!

 

Brenda

 

 

 

Readalikes for The Bridgertons

Readalikes for Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

The Bridgerton series begins with The Duke & I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Four others follow, along with three collections of novellas.

If you’re waiting to read some of the Bridgerton books, try these prequels first:

Because of Miss Bridgerton, The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband, The Other Miss Bridgerton, and First Comes Scandal. These are about the Rokesbys, the generation before the eight Bridgerton siblings.

Regency Romances

Ashley, Jennifer. A MacKenzie Clan Christmas

Balogh, Mary. The Proposal, A Matter of Class, A Very Special Christmas

Beverley, Jo. Forbidden, The Rogue’s Return, To Rescue a Rogue, The Secret Wedding

Britton, Christina. A Good Duke is Hard to Find

Byrne, Kerrigan. All Scot and Bothered, How to Love the Duke in Ten Days

Chase, Loretta. Ten Things I Hate About a Duke

Coulter, Catherine. The Sherbrooke Bride, The Sherbrooke Twins

Darcy, Clare. A Regency Trio

Dare, Tessa. Any Duchess Will Do, The Wallflower Wager

Enoch, Suzanne. Hit Me with Your Best Scot, Scot Under the Covers

Heath, Lorraine. Beyond Scandal and Desire, The Earl Takes a Fancy

Heyer, Georgette. The Convenient Marriage, Cotillion, False Colours, Frederica,  The Grand Sophy, Venetia

James, Eloisa. My Last Duchess, Say Yes to the Duke

Jordan, Sophie. The Duke Effect, The Duke’s Stolen Bride

Kelly, Carla. Libby’s London Merchant, Marian’s Christmas Wish, Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour, One Good Turn, Summer Campaign, The Unlikely Master Genius

Kleypas, Lisa. Chasing Cassandra, Devil in Spring, A Wallflower Christmas

Leigh, Eva. My Fake Rake, Would I Lie to the Duke?

Lorret, Vivienne. Lord Holt Takes a Bride, My Kind of Earl

MacLean, Sarah. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, Daring and the Duke, The Day of the Duchess, How the Dukes Stole Christmas, Wicked and the Wallflower

Quick, Amanda. I Thee Wed, Wicked Widow

Quincy, Diana. Her Night with the Duke

Quinn, Ella. The Marquis and I, The Most Eligible Lord in London

Riley, Vanessa. The Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

Sebastian, Cat. Two Rogues Make a Right

Spencer, Minerva. Notorious

Waite, Olivia. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows

Waters, Martha. To Have and to Hoax

Regency Anthologies

How the Dukes Stole Christmas

A Homespun Regency Christmas

Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection

The Last Chance Christmas Ball

Seduction on a Snowy Night

Victorian Era Romances

Dunmore, Evie. Bringing Down the Duke, A Rogue of One’s Own

Garwood, Julie. For the Roses

Shupe, Joanna. A Daring Arrangement, The Devil of Downtown, The Prince of Broadway, The Rogue of Fifth Avenue

 

Happy reading!

Brenda

Favorite Reads of 2020

Favorite Books We Read in 2020

These are some of the best, most enjoyable, or most memorable books we read this year.

Fiction

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Korey)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Chris)

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher (Brenda)

Resurgence; Divergence by C.J. Cherryh (Brenda)

Finna by Nino Cipri (Denise)

Well Played by Jen DeLuca (Brenda)

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst (Katie)

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Chris)

Mother Land by Leah Franqui (Brenda)

Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Meghan)

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (George)

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Chris)

V2: A Novel of World War II by Robert Harris (Chris)

The Resisters by Gish Jen (Chris)

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles (Brenda)

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim (Brenda)

A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Chris)

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Korey)

A Royal Affair by Allison Montclair (Brenda)

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler (Brenda)

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Brenda)

The End of October by Lawrence Wright (George)

The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson (Brenda)

Nonfiction

Your Hidden Superpower by Adrienne Bankert (Chris)

No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox (George)

Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy by Alastair Gee and Danie Anguiano (George)

Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen (Chris)

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma (Brenda)

Always Day One by Alex Kantrowitz (Chris)

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker (Debbie)

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova (Chris)

The Last Stargazers by Emily Levesque (Brenda)

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert MacFarlane (Brenda)

Mudlark: In Search of London’s Past Along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem (George)

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben McIntyre (Chris)

Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World by Tom Rath (Chris)

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson (Chris)

The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager (Brenda)

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght (George)

Teen Fiction

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Korey)

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (Korey)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Korey)

Camp by Lev AC Rosen (Chris)

Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Brenda)

Illustrated Novels and Manga

Fangs by Sarah Anderson (Denise)

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa (Katie)

My Hero Academia by Kōhei Horikoshi (Denise)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Chris)

Our Dining Table by Ori Mita (Denise)

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (Korey)

You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez (Chris)

Audiobooks

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews (Brenda)

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (Chris)

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (Chris)

Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith Harper (Chris)

Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson (Katie)

A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost (Katie)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis (Katie)

Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran (Katie)

Heartwarming Holiday Stories

Here’s a virtual display of some of the many winter holiday novels and stories we have on shelf. For curbside pickup of some heartwarming reads, place a hold, call us or email and we’ll help you select some titles.

Here’s a list of more holiday books published in 2020:

Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight by Grace Burrowes

A Dog’s Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron

Her Christmas Cowboy by Jessica Clare

Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan

Gingerdead Man by Maya Corrigan

A Very Merry Christmas by Melinda Curtis

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey

Heart of Gold by B.J. Daniels

Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

A Garland of Bones by Carolyn Haines

The Widow’s Christmas Surprise by Jenna Jaxon

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber

Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery

Christmas on Reindeer Road by Debbie Mason

Christmas Card Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Peggy Erhart

The Brightest Star by Fern Michaels

The Gift of Family by Mary Monroe

One More for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

A Christmas Resolution by Anne Perry

Christmas Carol Murder by Heather Redmond

Joy to the Wolves by Terry Spear

Four Christmas Matchmakers by Cathy Gillen Thacker

The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past by Traci Wilton

Happy holiday reading! Brenda

 

 

Fall Reading

What I’m Reading Now

I’m currently reading several different books. It’s an eclectic assortment of titles, that I’m reading at home, at work, and in between. I don’t finish all the books I start, but these are keeping my interest so far.

I have skimmed a digital review copy of Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoë Francois, which will be published in March. Zoe is the coauthor of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I don’t bake many cakes, but the photos look appealing and there are recipes for bundt cakes as well as fancier layer cakes.

I am almost done reading Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear, a long science fiction novel. I’m reading this on my breaks at work.

Fun, lighter reads for my current mood include The Case of the Curious Crystals by Shanna Swendson, Well Met by Jen DeLuca, and Cat Me If You Can by Miranda James. These make enjoyable reading at home. I’ve read other books by these authors, so they are a sure bet. I’m also listening to the audiobook An Amish Christmas by Amy Clipston, mostly during my commute.

At work I’m also reading Musical Chairs, by Amy Poeppel, a contemporary novel about the founding members of a musical trio. This is a book I’m considering for a future book discussion.

Another review copy is Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life by Jess Phoenix, a memoir by a woman geologist/volcanologist. Science memoirs have been great escapist and informative reading for me this year. This will be published next March.

 

Up Next

I will reread The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, for an upcoming library book discussion. For consideration for a future book discussion, I will read or listen to In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.

I plan to read The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie. I’m creating a book display for the 100th anniversary of the first Agatha Christie mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I haven’t read many of her mysteries featuring Hercule Poirot, and this one is recommended.

I’m looking forward to reading a new fantasy novella by Lois McMaster Bujold, Masquerade in Lodi. Bujold is one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors.

A couple of review copies I want to read include Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food by Mark Bittman and Project Hail Mary, a science fiction novel by Andy Weir, author of The Martian, to be published next May.

That’s a lot of books, even for me! What’s on your list of books to read?

Brenda

Frightfully Good Mysteries

 Halloween Mysteries

The Crystal Cave Trilogy by Susan Wittig Albert

Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson

15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco

Dressed to Kill by Kathleen Delaney

Death of a Wicked Witch and Haunted House Murder by Lee Hollis

Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

Murder in the Corn Maze by G. A. McKevett

McPherson, Catriona. Scot & Soda by Catriona McPherson

Halloween Murder by Leslie Meier

Mrs. Morris and the Witch by Traci Wilton 

 

Three Mysteries

A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd, Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth, & Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel

Travel back in time with me to three mysteries set in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1921, Inspector Ian Rutledge travels to Avebury in Wiltshire, to investigate a death by a standing stone, part of the largest stone circle in England. Since then, many more of the stones have been uncovered, but even then it was apparently an uncanny place. Rutledge, having solved a similar crime in Shropshire, is asked to take over Chief Inspector Brian Leslie’s case. When some new evidence, painstakingly discovered, contradicts Leslie’s report, Rutledge has to decide where his loyalty lies. There are many twists and turns along the way, an atmospheric setting, and even a pursuit at night on horseback. One of the best in this long-running series.

In 1929, Charles Moray has come home to England to his inherited house, only to hear voices and see a light in the supposedly vacant house. His former fiancée Margaret, is mixed up in a gang of criminals, but is willing to help Charles save the life of a lovely but naïve young girl, Margot. This is the first mystery featuring Miss Maud Silver, retired governess turned sleuth, and the mystery was suspenseful and fast-paced. I found the book hard to put down, surprising me as this book was published in 1929. Perhaps a new mystery with a similar setting and plot would have more violence, but maybe not. Miss Silver was a contemporary of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, but is not as well known.
The first Inspector de Silva mystery is set in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in the 1930s. Shanti de Silva is enjoying his work in the town of Nuala, driving his Morris car and picnicking with his wife, until a complaint is made against an English tea plantation owner, and then a body is found at the plantation. Shanti’s wife Jane, a former governess, befriends the plantation owner’s wife. A lovely setting, a cricket game, and some fine detecting add to the reader’s pleasure. Dark Clouds Over Nuala is the next book in the series.
I enjoyed all three mysteries, and plan to read more by these authors.
Brenda