Thursday, August 27, 2009


Referring to books, I am. Thousands are published every year and as technology changes, it becomes ever easier to publish. Ever more books are out there. We miss much in our busy lives so I've gone backwards a few years and picked out some books I read that I think are worth remembering and reading. Who knows if they are available. Check your local library. Here are three to draw to.

by Robert Goddard
ISBN 0-552-14224-7
pb Corgi, 1996

Robert Goddard is an outstanding mystery writer; for that matter, he’s an
outstanding writer, period. This novel tells the story of Harry Barnett, returned from “Into The Blue,” a loiterer, a failure at most things in his life, but a man who doesn’t quite mind that. Oh, he knows he’s not successful, at least in ordinary terms, but he’d rather wrap his fingers around a glass of good ale at the local pub, than think about all that.

He has a modest job that keeps him off the dole and life is fairly placid for Harry until... well, until he learns that he was successful at one thing. Harry learns that thirty years ago he’d impregnated a married woman during a brief fling. She never told him and now his son, David, who has become a well-known mathematician lies dying in hospital.

When Harry discovers there are a host of unanswered question about David and his missing notebooks, Harry develops a cause. And soon, Harry draws murderous attention.

Moody, introspective, exciting and very entertaining. Goddard draws you carefully inside Harry Barnett’s mind until you find yourself looking at the world in the same way as does Harry. Goddard will keep you guessing until the quite surprising ending and you’ll enjoy this fascinating ride inside English life.


Risking Elizabeth
Author: Walter McClosky
Publisher: Berkley, 1997,
ISBN: 0-425-16413-6

This is the author’s debut novel. It takes the reader to enthralling places inside New Orleans society. One is dazzled by the convoluted slick politeness on the surface, even when one is aware of the chicanery and double-dealing that takes place at the same time on other levels. None of the activity chronicled by McClosky is unknown to the wheelers and dealers in other cities around the world, but because New Orleans is the setting, there seems to be a special aura about this novel which enhances the plot and the characters.

Larry Preston is a successful widowed lawyer with an old-line prestigious firm. New Orleans is the city where he grew up and where legions of his relatives live and work. And play. So Preston brings his young son back to the bosom of his family. But Larry Preston discovers that he knows less about the convoluted undercurrents of the city and its power brokers than he imagined. How little he really knows he really begins to discover when he meets beautiful, willful, socially suspect, Elizabeth Bennett.

Set during Mardi Gras, Preston finds himself falling into a complicated swamp infested with some of the worst and some of the best of New Orleans residents. Big money, big oil, big power and murder are skillfully revealed. The pace is swift, the characters ambiguous and complex, and the atmosphere moody, damp and dark, even in the hot Southern sun. Well-written and very entertaining, rife with tension, Risking Elizabeth carries the reader carefully to its inevitable conclusion.


by Lisa Scottoline
Harper, 244 pgs.
Mass Market
ISBN 0-60-109411-0

Rapier wit abounds in the novel, another fine outing from this author. She's writing a series, but there just aren't any continuing characters, so you can read this, her fourth, without fear of missing anything. (But the rest of the series)

Our protagonist is poker-playing defense attorney Rita Morrone, daughter of a blunt, old-world Italian butcher in Philadelphia. The fact that Rita is cohabiting with the son of an important federal judge from the Main Line, and without the benfit of marriage, must drive the poor man nuts. But we only have a few allusions to this particular concern about his daughter, Rita's situation. There are more important things to consider.

Her lover's father-in-law is accused of sexual harrassment. Whoa. Who better to handle his very public defense than the judge's son's live-in-lover. Excuse me? I wondered if that would violate most ethical canons, but never mind. This author is a smart, former attorney herself, so she must know, right? Complications. The affair between son-of-judge and Morrone is going badly, and in fact, Rita is mightly disturbed to learn that she's contracted a non-fatal virus from her playmate.

Murder happens and the judge stumbles closer to ruin. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Marrone calls on her regular poker buddies to help her with the case. And who are these poker buddies. Why, old uncles! Family. An amateur Italian mob. This is very funny stuff. It is also very together, very well-written and holds your attention. Wonderful minor characters, good pacing and, as always, fine writing. I think it's just great. But if you're the kind of person who wants her good guys to be very upstanding and moral, this may not be your cannaloni.

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