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Friday, February 18, 2000

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Mysteries

I am getting discouraged with the databases at work. I know I'm not doing too bad but I keep running into things that just do not work like they are suppose to. The fact that I'm doing this on a problem by problem basis, since I don't really know how the new upgrade works, is not helping since I feel like I'm just trying to keep ahead of the game.

I just dithered after getting off work and finally just came home and relaxed. Mid afternoon I decided I needed some light reading and walked over to the library to pick up some mysteries to read. I also picked up a couple slightly heavier novels but I haven't gotten to them yet.

The first one I read was "Political Death" by Antonia Fraser. I read this one fairly fast as I realized halfway through that I had read it before, but it was long enough before that I enjoyed remembering it. The detective is Jemima Shore who does television documentaries in England. This give her plenty of scope for meeting interesting people who are soothed by her good interviewing manner to let drop interesting tidbits.

This one involves an old political scandal that is coming back to haunt politicians, and their friends and families, who thought that was all behind them. The characters are well done and the plot is well written. As I already remembered much of the plot I couldn't say the outcome was a total surprise, and I don't remember how it was when I first read it, but I still kept reading to the end.

The next one was "Murder Gets a Life" by Anne George. The main characters are two sisters from Birmingham, one with a husband and grandchildren and the other going on after several husbands, dead husbands who left her quite a bit of money, as well as a child from each. One of their children marries a gorgeous blonde barbie doll who leads them into a chase that involves murder, backwoods junky trailer parks, porn queens and a fake indian chief.

This is a light mystery but the sisters, and their families are nicely drawn and the situations they get themselves into had me laughing. It was a fun look at southern housewives and how non-normal they can be.

The third book was "Pictures of Perfection" by Reginald Hill. Hill's policemen, Dalziel, Pascoe and Wield dare to venture into the wilds of Yorkshire and attempt to understand the centuries old currents that drive the inhabitants and the strange happenings in the village.

The plot is nicely done and I thought it shows how modern life becomes part of the old traditions. It was very well written and I always enjoy mysteries that bring old currents against modern trends. Money and sex may still be the best motives but often it's old events that set off the crimes.

I can see by looking at the list of books I've read this year that I do seem to be reading more mysteries than I've read in a long time. I've started several other books but they are much slower reading as they are non-fiction. I've also been reading quite a few magazines from Scientific American to Sierra to Archaeology. Actually I'm not doing too bad. I go through spells where I don't read anything and get sucked into staring at the television or spending hours working on a webpage, so I seem to have some balance so far this year.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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