Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Five: Decisions, Decisions

Rev. Songbird posted this at RevGalBlogPals.

Since I've been in the midst of a discernment process, I've done a lot of reflecting on how we make decisions. But don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to reveal a dark story about a poor decision, or a self-flagellating story about an embarrassing one. Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them.

Here are my decisions!

1.  Cake!!  Wins out over pie 99.99% of the time, although there are a couple of pies that are strong contenders (pecan, a homemade lemon meringue, and a toasted almond cream pie to die for at a local restaurant.) But give me a cake, preferably "Mrs. Crossley's Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting", or the wonderful toffee-ish  Burnt Sugar Cake, which sounds awful but is indescribably delicious!

2.  Train.  However, train travel rarely is a possibility for us.  Loved taking the train in England from London to Penzance, and I took the train from New Haven, CT to Cincinnati, OH once.  That was a 24 hour trip that took me to Washington, DC, Stoughton, VA and Charlestown, WV before depositing me EXACTLY 24 hours at a station in a seedy part of the city.  I hate air travel, though it does get you there more quickly than other modes.  

3.  PC.  

4. Equivocal.  I can always see the other side.  Too much so, sometimes.

5.  Peter.  I've always felt a bit sorry for him.  He's the rock but Paul got the publicity!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Easy Knit

I finished this blanket this morning.  It's the Easy Lace Baby Blanket  from the July 2010 issue of Creative Knitting. I used almost 4 skeins of Plymouth Encore from Webs  in honeydew and size 7 needles.

Good Reads!

Once again, I offer my comments about the books I've been reading.  As usual, it's escape reading, and it's mostly more books in the various series to which I'm addicted.

 Water Like a Stone (Kincaid/James, #11)Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has really fueled my desire to travel England's canals on a narrow boat.  We saw some of these the first time we were in England, and they fascinated me then!

Book #68

Duncan Kincaid has brought Gemma James and their sons home to visit his parents and sister Juliet for Christmas.  Gemma is nervous about spending so much time with Duncan's parents, while Kit and Duncan are at odds with each other over school performance. Kit is also having nightmares about his mother's murder, but refuses to let anyone know. In addition, Juliet's marriage is on the rocks and her daughter Lally is keeping secrets.  Juliet discovers a mummified infant's body inside the wall of a dairy she is renovating.  Kit  is intrigued with Annie Lebow, a canal boat owner he meets, but when he finds her body next to the towpath, it brings back all the horror he's been trying to forget.  This was a tightly plotted mystery, with several stories woven in.  Crombie's characterizations are realistic, and sympathetic, and her gift for creating setting is also apparent.  This was a top-notch read!

View all my reviews >>

Book #69

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ian Rutledge has returned from the World War I battlefields of France to take up his post at Scotland Yard investigating murders.  He wonders whether he can slip back into his job with his sleuthing skills intact, or whether he's gotten stale.  But even more worrisome, is that he is suffering from shell-shock, or what is known today as Post-Traumatic Shock Syndrome, which he has kept secret from his employer.  However, unbeknown to him, his supervisor has discovered his secret, and he seeks to bring Rutledge down.  So Rutledge is assigned to investigate a murder which may have been committed by a popular war hero who has friends at the highest level of the government.  It's a tough case, and one that Rutledge seems destined to bungle. One of the potential witnesses is a shell-shocked, alcoholic veteran, and the other is a rabble-rouser.  

This was a well-plotted mystery, dark in tone, and rich in atmosphere. Rutledge hears voices, or rather a voice, which speaks his deepest conflicted thoughts.  The voice is that of Hamish, a soldier who Rutledge condemned to a firing squad for cowardice. Through Hamish, the author develops Rutledge as an extremely intelligent man, broken by the horror of war, but who is struggling to heal. 

I am interested to see how this series develops.  This is the first book in a long series, and while, I found this book to be quite dark and despairing, I will read a few more in the series.

Book #70

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jerusalem Inn is the fifth book in the Richard Jury series.  It's Christmas, and Jury is visiting a cousin near Newcastle.  He meets Helen Minton and they are attracted to each other.  Then Helen is found murdered, and Jury wheedles his way into the investigation.  Meanwhile Melrose Plant is attending a house party nearby, and Aunt Agatha has invited herself along.  The house party is snowed in, and of course, another murder occurs.  Once again, Martha Grimes creates a mystery with an interesting twist, but more importantly, also entertains me with her characters.  Plant watches with amusement as Jury and Vivian Rivington joust with each other, and Aunt Agatha continues to shamelessly attempt to appropriate status.  Plus, Grimes creates fascinating interactions between Jury and various children -"Tree" at the orphanage, and Chrissie at the inn.  Another good entry in the series.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Five: Pets or Not?

From RevGalBlogPals:

My friend Judy told a group of friends last week that her beloved hermit crab Al died. She missed Al--after six years of his company, even though she was not sure how pronounced his personality was or if he had one!

With the chewing exploits of our third dog, puppy Maisie, I am wondering about the pets we presently own and have had in the past.What about you? Tell us about the animals in your lives. If you have no pets, give examples of friends' pets or imaginary ones!

1. Did you grow up with pets?

We had several pets when I was a child.  My first remembered pet was Jimmy, a parakeet.  He was blue and yellow, and it was my job to feed him and change his water.  One day I came home from kindergarten and my mom told me that Jimmy had flown away while she was cleaning the cage. I believed her.  While I missed Jimmy, I was happy he was outside playing with other birds. I didn't realize what had REALLY happened 
until I was in high school!  Jimmy was followed by Mitch, a canary, named after Mitch Miller of "Sing Along with Mitch" fame.  My sister also had canaries - Pippin was one of them, from the Hobbit.  When the birds died, we buried them in check boxes under a tree, and made small crosses for them out of popsicle sticks.  I remember holding a funeral for one of them.  Our first dog was mixed breed, mostly Sheltie, named Fidel.  My father was from Cuba, and he named the dog Fidel because they were sons of b--tches. Fidel was followed by Max, another mixed breed, named for Maxwell Smart.  Guppies were also part of our household for a while, and we had a series of small turtles.  

2. Do you have any pets now?

Right now we have 2 cats and a bird.  The official names for our cats are Phoebe and Clio, however, I'm not sure which is which!  They usually go by "Hairy Cat" and "Not Hairy Cat", and both of them respond to "Beautiful Cat."  My sons gave me my parakeet 7 or 8 years ago as a Christmas present.  They were in college at the time,  and one afternoon went to a pet shop.  They brought the bird home and hid it for almost a week.  Every time I went up to one son's bedroom, the door was shut tight, and when I knocked, there was always a minute or two of rustling and "just a minute, Mom"s.  You can imagine what I was thinking at the time!  

3. What is the funniest or worst thing any of your pets have ever done?
We were blessed for a few years with a wonderful chocolate Lab named Rosie.  As a puppy she chewed everything, and what she liked most was wood.  She chewed chair legs, table legs, baseboards, and shutters. We still  have evidence of her gnawing in various places.  The worst thing she chewed was the black walnut arm of an antique chair.

Rosie was very docile and gentle.  She had a crate in a corner of  the kitchen as her hidey hole, and she enjoyed lying there.  One afternoon we left her at home, in her crate, unlocked.  We were gone 3-4 hours.  When we got home Rosie was sleeping in the unlocked crate.  We'd been home for a bit when my sister called. She and her family had driven up to our town to climb our local mountain, and stopped by the house.  We weren't home, but they came in to use the bathroom and get drinks. She said that they had walked into the kitchen, past the dog's crate without seeing it.  She assumed that we had taken Rosie with us. It wasn't until about 10 minutes later that Rosie noticed they were in the house.  Rosie got out of the crate, and ambled over to my niece, (about 4 years old at the time), and sat down next to her.  Some watch dog!!  

Rosie also loved to roam the neighborhood (no leash laws at the time -- it's a very rural area), and didn't always want to come home.  She also LOVED to ride in the car.  So sometimes, when she was being stubborn about returning home, we'd start the car.  It never failed!  She'd come running home.

4. Who is/was your favorite pet?
Rosie, our still-missed, Chocolate Lab.  We had her for only a short while.  When she was 5 she developed diabetes.  We gave  her insulin shots twice a day for almost a year, but she got progressively worse.  She started going blind, and then had problems with her bowels and her hip.  My husband had a heart attack, and at the same time (same day, in fact) my mom went into the hospital for what was thought to be appendicitis.  That turned out to be colon cancer.  Between helping my husband recuperate, and helping with my mom's care, and knowing that Rosie was really in pain, we made the decision to euthanize Rosie.  We still miss her!
5. How did you train your different pets?
Train pets??? I thought they trained us!!  We did take Rosie to obedience school, but we didn't do our homework.  

BONUS: Pictures of a pet or one you wish you could have.

Book #67: More Marcus Didius Falco

What can I say?  I love this series.  I really miss teaching ancient Rome too!

A Dying Light in Corduba (Marcus Didius Falco, #8)A Dying Light in Corduba by Lindsey Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the best books in the series so far. An important imperial official, has asked Falco to investigate whether or not olive producers are attempting to form a cartel.  Anacrites, the Chief Spy, has been brutally beaten, and may be dying. Helena Justina is 8 months pregnant. All clues are in southern Hispania. Of course, Helena and Marcus head to Spain (via the sea, his least favorite mode of transportation) to investigate.  As usual, Falco encounters beautiful women, strong wine, more murder, and more than a few bumps, bruises, and lacerations.  Lindsey Davis continues to provide  good plotting and characterization, and at the same time, lots of authentic cultural and historical details. Another great read!

View all my reviews >>

A Trip to the Past

I've been revisiting my childhood with some of the books I've read lately.  These two are both books I downloaded for free on my Kindle.  My grandmother's house was a huge 3 story Victorian.  The 3rd story was an attic crammed full with all sorts of treasures, and  at least once a week, I'd ask permission to go up to the attic to treasure hunt.  I was fascinated by the old furniture, cast off china, trunks filled with old clothes and keepsakes, what-have-you.  One of my "finds" was a chocolate set:  a pitcher and 6 cups of white china, trimmed with an intricate web of gold.  I was allowed to keep this, and still have it. It's Nipponware, now collectible, although not particularly rare.  But it was the basis for a small collection that I've amassed over the years.  The real treasure, as far as I was concerned, was the collection of old books.  My grandmother was a reader as were the previous occupants of the house, and the attic was filled with books.  I would grab several each time I visited the attic, and each time I went up there, I found a few more.  Most of the books were from the early 1900's and most of them were children's books.  This is where I was introduced to the Bobbsey Twins,  Mary Jane, Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue, and Prudy, who risked damage to her hearing when tried sticking a knitting needle into one ear to see if what went into one ear came out the other!  Later I discovered some real tearjerkers:  The English Orphans by Marjorie Holmes, and Rainbow Cottage, by Grace Livingston Hill.  I still have many of these books, although SOMEBODY in my family decided Rainbow Cottage was theirs.  Anyway, here are two books I didn't read as a child:

Book #65

 The Bobbsey Twins Go to WashingtonThe Bobbsey Twins Go to Washington by Laura Lee Hope
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was trip down memory lane for me.  I loved The Bobbsey Twins series when I was a kid, and I read all that I could put my hands on.  I had discovered a set of them in my grandmother's attic, and they were all the original editions, published in the early years of the 20th century.  This is a title that I never found.  I loved visiting with Nan and Bert, and Freddie and Flossie.  The plot is simple:  Mr. Bobbsey takes the family to Washington, DC on an extended business trip.  The children go sightseeing, and locate some missing china for an elderly neighbor.  The writing is dated, and certainly reflects the attitudes and culture of the turn of the century. As an adult, I can cringe, but I can also be transported back to my childhood.  This Kindle edition has not been rewritten for present-day children, and as such, would not appeal to present-day young readers.

View all my reviews >>

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I first read Pollyanna, as a youngster, probably around the time the first  Disney movie was released.  I loved the book, probably more because of the movie and my crush on Hayley Mills.  I never read this sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up so when I found it for free for the Kindle, I downloaded it.  As a nostalgia trip, this book was okay.  Otherwise I found it cloying and predictable.  Pollyanna spends a winter in Boston while her aunt and new husband Dr. Chilton head to Europe.  Pollyanna brings the Glad Game to a unhappy wealthy Boston Brahmin, and meets another orphan, this time named Jamie.  There is a missing child mystery that is solved, and of course lots of happy endings.  Pollyanna also falls in love, and after a series of misunderstandings, is happily united with him.  The plot is definitely dated, and the book does not pass muster for inclusion in my classroom library.

And Book #66

I have a few more kids books on my Kindle to read, and I have several more to read/re-read in preparation for teaching 7th grade reading/language arts this year. So stay tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


This seems to be the week of repairs.  One of the "perks" of living in a rural area are the number of times things go wrong with technology.  We lose our power frequently (not always due to major weather events!) and also experience frequent power fluctuations, so over the years we've purchased a generator for those long hauls without electricity, and we early on purchased a battery backup with surge protection for our computer and printer.  We noticed recently that our backup system was failing so two weeks ago, we purchased a new battery back up at our favorite office supply store. Another "advantage" of rural life is the necessity of a satellite dish for TV. About 2 weeks ago we began having a great deal of difficulty with it.  Lots of interruptions in service and "Signal lost, wait for signal acquisition."  We checked everything we could check on our end, so I finally called the tech support line of the provider.  They very helpfully walked me through a few more sophisticated tests, and concluded that I needed a technician visit.  That visit was destined to cost me just shy of $100.  Of course, if I wanted to sign up for the service agreement ($72 per year), then the visit would only cost $15 and there would be no charge for replacement parts should parts be needed.  After doing some math, and realizing that we have needed a tech person several times over the past 3 years, I signed up for the service plan.  I was promised that a repair person would arrive sometime between 8-12 am.

We've also been experiencing connectivity problems with our DIAL UP internet, so I've been in conversation with our provider to see where the issue is.  That issue is still not resolved, but I still have some tests to finish running.

Meanwhile, the very same day, the phone line we use for our DIAL UP internet (another "perk" of our location) died.  We tested the phone line outside to determine that the problem was OUTSIDE the house.  The phone company promised to send a repair person out sometime in the succeeding 24  hours.

So yesterday was "Wait for Repair Person" day.   I was ready and waiting for someone to show up at 8 am.  I had a ton of stuff to do, but all of the potential chores were the kind of chores that needed a stretch of uninterrupted time, so I didn't want to get started, at least until I knew how long/what type of repairs were needed.  At 10 am I checked the offending phone line.  It was still dead.    At 10:45 the phone repairman arrived.  He did whatever it is that phone repair people do outside, and then knocked on my door.  "The phone is working fine, Ma'am.  Are you sure you don't have a dial tone?"  I checked.  Yup, there was a dial tone.  He assured me that I hadn't imagined the problem.  He said that with all the power fluctuations (due to the heat waves we've been experiencing,) it's probable that a switch was tripped in the electric box down the road.  So, that was fixed, painlessly.  I was still waiting for the satellite person to arrive.    At 11:59 the phone rang.  It was the repairman stating that he was running late but would show up by 12:30.  He did.  It took him about 2 hours to determine that we had a faulty switch out at the dish hookup.  At that point he gave me a choice:  replace the switch or upgrade my satellite.  My response:  How much to upgrade?  His response:  Nothing.  To be sure, I called the satellite provider and got the same answer from the sales department.  So he spent another hour replacing the dish.  

Both repairmen were very friendly, very helpful, and they actually fixed what needed fixing.  It was just weird to have both on the same day.  And of course, as luck would have it. A friend with whom I've lost touch, called while I was waiting, and invited me out for the day.  I had to refuse because I waiting for the repair people.  That made me sad.  She and I used to be very close friends, but life took us in different directions.  We ran into each other earlier in the week at the grocery store, and both of us wanted to renew the friendship.  I hope we can!

I'm still having connectivity problems with the internet, but I hope to get those resolved soon.  The icing on the cake for yesterday, is that last night as my husband was unloading the dishwasher, he opened the cupboard where we keep the glasses.  There was a horrible snapping sound.  The hinge on the door snapped -- not from where it's attached to the wood of the frame or the door, but right in the middle. It looks like metal fatigue -as though a rubber band snapped.  Now the cupboard door is listing as it's no longer connected to the bottom!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some Pretty New Socks or More Correctly Some New Pretty Socks!

I knit these socks over the past two weeks.  I used size 2 needles for the cuffs and leg, and size 1's for the foot.  The yarn is On-line Supersocke 100 Harlekin in color 1140 purchased from Webs.  I cast on 66 stitches and just knit a 1x1 rib cuff; the rest is stockinette.  I used Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks as a reference, but didn't really follow a pattern.

From Knitting Gallery

From Knitting Gallery

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Reviews: #61-64

Book #61
Blindfold GameBlindfold Game by Dana Stabenow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This stand-alone thriller from Dana Stabenow was so plausible and that  made it a somewhat frightening read. Korean terrorists have decided to launch a dirty bomb over a well-populated area of Alaska and it's up to a CIA agent Hugh Rincon and Sara Lange, a Coast Guard XO and his estranged wife,  to stop them.  This is an extremely well-researched book.  I felt as though I was aboard the Coast Guard cutterSojourner Truth.  The novel was well-plotted and kept me reading.

View all my reviews >>

Book #62
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sara Miles IS a Jesus freak who tries VERY hard to live her faith.  This short but extremely compelling book shares not only her core theology, but her very human struggle to do what The Boyfriend (her name for Jesus) teaches her to do.  This is the second book of hers that I've read, and I continue to appreciate her articulateness around how hard it is to always live the Christian faith.  I would love to use this book or her first book, Take this Breadin a study group at church!

Book #63
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Maisie Dobbs is back in this very introspective book.  The body of a  young American cartographer killed in WWI is uncovered 16 years after his death, and it appears he has been murdered.  He apparently had had a relationship with an English nurse.  Maisie is asked to locate the nurse and to investigate the homicide.  At the same time,Maisie's mentor Maurice is failing in health, and she discovers that she is falling in love with someone she never expected.   This was a more hopeful book than some of the earlier ones, and I enjoyed it.

And book #64
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reading a China Bayles book is like visiting with an old friend.  You spend a few minutes getting reacquainted, and then you're chattering away as though you've never been away.  In this installment, there's a little more "getting reacquainted" than usual, but as usual there's an interesting plot, lots of great recipes, and lots of information about the titular herb.  I wouldn't call this my favorite China Bayles book, but I did really enjoy the time I spent reading it.

The Eyes Have It

I have been struggling with eye problems since early May.  Actually maybe even longer, now that I think of it.  I had a bout with conjunctivitis in March that took a couple of weeks to clear up.  Anyway in early May I thought I'd contracted conjunctivitis again, but when my PCP checked me out, I was referred to the opthalmologist.  She examined my eyes and prescribed an antibiotic drop.  A week later I went back and things were improving, so she reduced the dose.  On the next visit, things were still improving, so she switched my drops to a steroid.  This is where things started to get interesting. She also said that my eyes were exceptionally dry so I needed to add artificial tears.  For a week or so, both eyes felt almost back to normal, but then one morning my left eye was again a brilliant red and was feeling very irritated.  I called the doctor who had me come in. This time she cultured my eye for chlamydia, often carried by birds, and since I have a parakeet, she thought this might be the problem.  That culture was negative so we were back to square one.    I went back to using the ointment in addition to the steroid drops.  My eyes still feel irritated, and often have a pinkish hue.  There is no discharge although occasionally the corners feel a bit itchy, but usually only for a few minutes after I put in the drops.  The eye doctor is one of the best in her field, but she can't figure out what is going on.  At my last appointment on Friday, she changed the drops to a stronger steroid to reduce inflammation, and added a prescription for the name brand eye drop advertised on TV to help your eyes produce its own tears.  She thinks what's happening is that because my eyes are so dry, they are picking up every virus that they come in contact to.  She's hoping that if I can get the tears flowing, they can resist infection.

It's a bit scary.  My eyes are so important to me.  Aside from all the reasons why sight is important, I also rely on them for my hobbies - reading and knitting, especially.  Every time I see a magnificent star-spangled night sky, or a garden of cheerful flowers, or the beautiful face of a loved one, I am grateful for the gift of sight.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday Five: Forgetful Jones Edition

This was the weekly Friday Five posted at RevGalBlogPals,  I didn't post the video because it takes too long for my dial up account to download it!

What's the last thing you forgot?
don't remember???  Seriously, the last "major" thing I forgot was to include our passports when we packed for Michigan.  It wasn't a huge deal; it just meant we couldn't go home through Canada to take in some sights.  And since our plans changed anyway, we wouldn't have had the time.

How do you keep track of appointments?
Mostly in my head, but I also put them on the scenic calendar in our kitchen by the phone.  I could put them on my phone, but as my son says, "Mom, your cell phone looks like a toy!"

Do you keep a running grocery list?
Yes.  We have one of those shopping list pads on the refrigerator that we add to all week.  Since my husband does all the shopping, and I do the cooking, it's how we communicate our food needs!!

When forced to improvise by circumstances, do you enjoy it or panic?
Both.  As a teacher, I'm always improvising, even though I've thoroughly planned.  In fact, I've discovered that my best lessons happen when I improvise.  I've also discovered that the more thoroughly I've planned, the more likely I am to improvise. Someone told me that I'm able to improvise so well, because of the planning.  I don't know!
I must enjoy improvising, since I do it often!

What's a memory you hope you will never forget?
That's a tough question.  There are many moments I hope I don't forget:  when our children were born, the summer I spent caring for my mom as she died, holding my father's hand as he died, sailing in the Caribbean, visiting England and Greece,  a really scary experience in the center of a labyrinth, laughing with friends in a dorm hallway at a Halloween party so heartily that others thought we were intoxicated --- and all we were drinking was ginger ale and Tang!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Trip and Another Book Review

It's been quiet on this end because we took a short trip to the upper midwest for the July 4th weekend.  We traveled 15 hours to southeastern Michigan for a mini-family reunion at one of my sisters' home.  She and her family live just south of Ann Arbor in a lovely little community.  It was the first time we'd made it to her house, and we enjoyed our visit.  My other 2 sisters also were able to make it there over the weekend, so we all had a chance to visit and catch up with each other.  The states of New Hampshire, New York, Indiana, and of course, Michigan were well-represented.  We only missed our brother and the state of Virginia!  We are planning a trip to his home later this month to help him celebrate his daughter's engagement.

It was hot throughout the whole trip, but we had the luxury of air-conditioning in our car and in our hotel room.  We do not have that luxury here in our own home, so we have been suffering over the past few days in the heat and humidity.  I definitely prefer cooler weather and have a much easier time getting warm than I do getting cool.  When my bedroom is 88°F at midnight and it's still that temperature at 5:30 am, you know it's been a tough night to sleep.  It feels a bit cooler this morning, but the humidity is at 86% so it's still pretty uncomfortable.  Yuck!

 The Dirty Duck (Richard Jury Mysteries 4)The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Richard Jury has been asked by a friend in Stratford-upon-Avon to help investigate the disappearance of Jimmy Farraday, the 9 year old adopted son of a rich American tourist.  When the murder of a member of Farraday's tour group is found murdered, Jimmy's disappearance takes on greater urgency.  I had a hard time staying focused on the story. Perhaps it felt too dated; there was a great deal of emphasis on the wonder of a portable computer one of the tourists was carrying, and much of the character description relied too much on caricature.  I did enjoy the setting details.  I've visited Stratford-on-Avon, and ate a meal at the Dirty Duck.

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back to the Usual: Book Review

In a Dark House (Kincaid/James #10) In a Dark House by Deborah Crombie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In a Dark House was what I call a "filler" novel.  It fills the time between major storyline events, building the suspense to major turning points.  Significant "little things" happen that will ultimately be crucial.  For example, Kit's preliminary custody hearing takes place, but we don't know the judge's decision yet.  Kit makes a decision that will be extremely important.  Gemma and Duncan independently realize something about their relationship and the direction it may need to take.  But neither of them talks to each other about it.  The actual plot - investigating a series of fires, a homicide, and some missing persons cases - isn't as compelling as usual, and in fact, neither Duncan nor Gemma are the chief investigators in most of the cases.  One of the reasons I really appreciated this novel was the setting around Southwark Cathedral in London.  Two years ago we were visiting London, and stayed in a hotel near both the Borough Market and the Cathedral.  We had a great lunch from a tiny outdoor restaurant in the alley next to the Cathedral.  So the setting was quite familiar!  So while it wasn't the most engrossing installment, it was enjoyable.

View all my reviews >>