Tuesday, December 29, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: Mystery in White


Hello, and welcome to First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers share the opening of a book they're reading or planning to read soon.

I've been reading selections that have a holiday theme. Next on my list is Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon (originally published in 1937). I'm really enjoying the books that are part of the British Library Crime Classics series.

From the back cover:

"On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea--but no one is at home. 

Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst."

The opening:

"The Great Snow began on the evening of December 19th. Shoppers smiled as they hurried home, speculating on the chances of a White Christmas. Their hopes were dampened when they turned on their wireless to learn from the smooth impersonal voice of the B.B.C. announcer that an anti-cyclone was callously wending its way from the North-West of Ireland; and on the 20th the warmth arrived, turning the snow to drizzle and the thin white crust to muddy brown."

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

All the best for a Happy New Year!



Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: High Rising by Angela Thirkell


Hello and welcome to First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea where bloggers share a bit about what they're reading or planning to read soon.

I've been away from my blog for awhile, trying to get over a sinus infection. The hardest part has been wanting to read but not being able to concentrate. I'm feeling much better and looking forward to getting back to reading.

This month I've read a couple of books on my list with a Christmas theme--a children's book, I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge, and a serious novel, The Very Dead of Winter by Mary Hocking. Next on my list is High Rising by Angela Thirkell (1933). I've read the first chapter and can tell that High Rising is going to be fun. Thirkell's writing reminds me a bit of Barbara Pym but with the wit of Nancy Mitford.

From the back cover:

"Successful novelist Laura Morland and her boisterous son Tony set off to spend Christmas at her country home in the sleepy surrounds of High Rising. But Laura's wealthy friend and neighbour George Knox has taken on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer threaten the delicate social fabric of the village. Can clever, practical Laura rescue George from Miss Grey's clutches and, what's more, help his daughter Miss Sibyl Knox to secure her longed-for engagement?"

The opening:

"I.

The Prizegiving

The headmaster's wife twisted herself round in her chair to talk to Mrs. Morland, who was sitting in the row just behind her.

"I can't make out,' she said reflectively, 'why all the big boys seem to be at the bottom of preparatory schools and the small ones at the top. All those lower boys who got prizes were quite large, average children, but when we get to the upper forms they all look about seven, and undersized at that. Look at the head of the Remove for instance--he is just coming up the platform steps now.'"

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Have A Lovely Weekend.

John Henry Twachtman, Winter Harmony, c. 1890/1900
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: The Very Dead of Winter


Happy Tuesday! I'm participating in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers share a bit about what they're reading or planning to read. It's a fun way to see what other people are reading. I'm starting the first of some holiday reading with The Very Dead of Winter by Mary Hocking (1993).

The opening:

"The beginning of the journey had been quite enchanting. Porcelain blue sky and the sparkling white canopy transformed dingy streets into fantasies of unimaginable purity and, passing out of the town, they came to broad fields where sunlight reflected a trellis of branches like veins across the snow. But as they drove, the small towns and villages, the farms, field and hedgerows blurred, became intermittently discernible, and finally dissolved and there was only a moving whiteness against a grey background, as if a great speckled blind were being drawn endlessly down into a bottomless well."

From the back cover:

"In this haunting novel, echoing mystery play and fairy tale, a family is forced to confront the grievances and emotional confusions of their shared past. In the very dead of winter they assemble at a remote country cottage enveloped by snow. Ostensibly they are celebrating Christmas, but festivities are marred by the presence of Konrad, who is dying. Florence, his manipulative wife, views Konrad's imminent death with annoyance; their two grown-up children bear the scars of this imperfect union. At the heart of this novel is Sophia, Florence's unorthodox sister and their host, who seems able to stand aside from family combat, yet guards a secret that has relevance for them all."

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Friday, December 4, 2015

Have A Lovely Weekend.

John Singer Sargent, Simpion Pass, 1911
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
From the Corcoran Collection (Bequest of James Parmelee)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: Black Ship by Carola Dunn


Happy Tuesday and Happy December 1! Today, I'm taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where bloggers share a bit about a book they're reading or thinking of reading soon.

My reading plans for December have to do with some mysteries and some light reading. I came across a Daisy Dalrymple mystery, Black Ship by Carola Dunn, at a book sale recently, and I love the cover. 

The opening:

"A last teeth-ratting sneeze escaped Daisy as she stepped out to the front porch. The tall, spare solicitor, locking the door behind them, gave her a worried look. That is, she thought she detected anxiety, though the layer of dust on his pince-nez obscured his expression."

From Amazon:

"In September 1925, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, her husband Alec Fletcher (a Scotland Yard detective) and their new twin infant children inherit and move into a new larger house on the outskirts of London proper, in a stage of slight disrepair. Set in a small circle of houses and a communal garden, it seems a near idyllic setting. That is until a dead body turns up half-hidden in the communal garden, rumors of bootlegger, American gangsters, and an international liquor smuggling operation via black ships turns everything upside down. And it's up to Daisy--well, Alec with some help from Daisy--to find out who the dead man is, why he was murdered, and who did him in!"

What do you think? Would you keep reading?