Musings & Miscellany

A Murder a Day

Happy day, dear reader!

My mother’s mantra is “A murder a day keeps insanity away!” Since my 87 year old mom isn’t a homicidal maniac, it should be clear that she means “murder mystery.” For her, usually in book form, sometimes TV. One of the best presents we have ever given her is the Mystery a Month subscription from Bas Bleu. They send her a new murder each month of the year, and we renew every year as her Christmas gift. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, as if the irony of murder as a gift honoring the birth of the Prince of Peace isn’t enough. If murders aren’t your cup of tea, they have other monthly gift options available…

(This is not a sponsored post. I’m just sharing the joy because finding presents for the man or woman who has everything they need can be a real challenge!)

My reading habits are more omnivorous than Mama’s. As an opportunist, I regularly read her leftovers, They are there. I need something to read. Hence, I read lots of mysteries. Our oldest d-i-l asked if the genre gets boring since murders are so formulaic. My response was along the lines of “Compared to what?” Lots of Fantasy and Sci-Fi is formulaic, too! So are romances, sit-coms, and even reality television shows. Isn’t that often why we’re there? We know the milestones along the way, but the scenery and traveling companions on each journey will be different. Altogether, there may be something said for Mama’s obsession, because she’s still as sharp as a tack.

Plaid and Plagiarism was one of the recent selections. It was a light and amusing read, set in a small town in Scotland. The heroines of this new series are Americans who have decided to make the small town their home by buying a bookshop to run. I always enjoy mysteries set in the UK; we lived in England for a time, and even the mention of chain grocery stores, or typical brands of biscuits can make me a bit wistful.

One of the treats of Mystery of the Month is meeting new (to us) authors and sleuths. The pair of Bryant & May are so ill-suited to each other that they make a perfectly complementary odd couple. Hall of Mirrors is set in the 1960’s, and I loved all the cultural/historical tidbits, especially the outfit descriptions… Go figure. As for the murders (and those attempted), the resolution took me completely by surprise. (And no, it was not the case of last minute information. That makes me batty!)

What’s next? Or should I say “Who’s next?” Agatha. This one is Raisin, not Christie. This Agatha is abrasive, poor tempered, a fool for gorgeous shoes, and a notoriously bad chooser of men. She’s also totally and entirely human. I’d love to hang out with her, even if I’d give her grief for smoking. She’d give it right back.

Here’s the one I’m reading right now… I’m not a Jane Austen fan; I know that’s sacrilege, but I prefer works that clip along at a faster pace. I think it’s an energy thing? It takes a few pages to adjust to the language patterns, but the heroine (Jane herself) is smart, drily funny, and thoroughly independent. I’m looking forward to seeing how she resolves this murder… I’ll update you when I finish! (I’m also reading C.S. Lewis right now, but that’s another genre altogether.)

This one (also by an author with whom I am unfamiliar) is next on my list. How can I resist a half-death? And is Evelyn a man or woman? The premise and format look interesting, kind of like a cross between the game Clue and the movie Groundhog Day.

How about you? Do you have a genre to which you default? Or are your reading habits more omnivorous? Do you read more than one book at a time, or are you a literary monogamist? Have you read any of the works above? What did you think of it or them? Let me know in the comments below; I do so love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours, (Or maybe I should say Murderously yours?)

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