Sunday, February 28, 2010

Abracadaver, A Father Dowling Mystery by Ralph McInerny

A Father Dowling Mystery

by Ralph McInerny

A magic show at St. Hilary’s Parish sets the ball rolling for murder. It’s the dead of winter in Fox River, Illinois and we soon learn the community is upset by the disappearance of the wife of a well to do real estate developer.

At first, the newspapers depict a loving marriage and grieving husband but as the weeks eked by with no news for the reporters, they turned on the husband and implicate him as having an affair with a coworker.

Is it true? Did he bump off his wife to make way for a new missus? Or did the “new woman” get rid of competition?

Father Dowling finds himself in a mess of rumors and deaths. Can he help the police or will he become the next victim?

I didn’t particularly care much for this book, which came as a surprise to me. I was all set to sink my teeth into Father Dowling in book form, having religiously watched the show as a kid.

The book had a little humor (what was there was good) and little character depth.

(I crave character-heavy stories.)

To be fair, there were 148 pages so something's gotta give.

There was no Sister Steve, either. I confess I don’t remember the show but for the slightest impressions – I do remember the nun named Steve as a bright and colorful character and a cool, 80’s woman.

I liked the descriptions of a Chicago winter as it was so accurately portrayed (and I read it during a snowstorm so I only had to look out the window to picture the scene McInerny set so perfectly).

I had trouble following the narration. Maybe it was me, maybe not. There were so many ‘he’s’ and ‘she’s’ that I often didn’t know who was speaking or thinking about whom.

Then there’s the lack of Father Dowling – it was barely his story, the narration moving from one investigator to another. (As far as I could follow.)

I can recommend this book because the mystery is well done – the story just didn’t match up with my particular tastes. It could be my preconceived notions, comparing the book to an old TV show I barely remember - you know how it is when you expect one thing and get something else.

Has anyone read this series? Did you watch the TV show? What are your thoughts?

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Friday 56 - Zorro, A Novel

This is a cool weekly thing from Story Time With Tonya.

1. Grab the book nearest you right now.
2. Turn to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like).
5. Post a link with your post to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.

"In October, when the town was still talking about nothing else, they were attacked by pirates."

-Zorro, A Novel by Isabel Allende

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings - Keeping Books

Thanks for Rebecca's blog 'Just One More Page' for Monday Musings...

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a keeping books.

Do you keep all the books you ever buy? Just the ones you love? Just collectibles? What do you do with the ones you don’t want to keep?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

I've kept most books I've ever bought.

When I junk out, I just can't let go of books. When I was a kid, I was born into books - Mom had every Agatha Christie, Nero Wolfe and Dick Francis book not to mention dozens of other series or sets.

I was maybe a teenager when I found out I could actually take out 30 books on my library card - not the number Mom told my sister and me while she'd walk out with like sixty books every three weeks!

The books that I got as gifts were very special to me because they were mine - I could read them as many times as I wanted and never had to return them to anyone. Growing up, we didn’t have much money but there was always money for books. Whenever I asked for a book, my parents bought it for me. I’d feel a little guilty so started asking for them for Christmas and Birthdays. (I’d argue with myself that I don’t need to own a book when this city has such a fantastic library system. But I loved my little collections.)

When I got older, I realized how powerful a gift it was to pass a book on to another human being.

I love buying used books because I always imagine their history - who read it before me? What did they think of it?

I love buying new books because they're mine and I if/when I pass them on, I know how that book's history started. (Am I being corny again? Probably.)

Books and Paperwork. My nemesis when junking out because I can't seem to get rid of any of those piles.

Paperwork I'm beginning to master.

Books will always master me...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Musings - Reference Material

Thanks for Rebecca's blog 'Just One More Page' for Monday Musings...

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a reference material.
Do you keep reference books on your shelves at home? What’s your first port of call when you need information – the internet or a book?
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks.

I have reference books on writing mysteries, publishing, alternative medicine and cooking. I used to go to those books for any information but now I go online for pretty much everything.

Of course, I triple-check (or more) any information I find online. I like online sources because they're the most up-to-date and/or I love to read what people have to say.

I can read a reference book about a cure for allergies for example but online, I can find a forum of people's actual experiences with something.

There's a certain human element, human interaction you can't get from a (non-fiction) book.

The thing I despise about online, is when you need that specific piece of information I just can't seem to find it!

In a reference book, you can go to the index and find the section that would have the information.

Online, I can google 'origin of padded room' and get 'the origin of yodeling'.

Go figure.