Reviews of 5 books read during December for the Monthly Reading Challenge
|Reading for December = 5
The Mountaintop School for Dogs by Ellen Cooney (Library Book-overdrive)
This story will keep you guessing and cheering all the way through. It is full of suspense. The
people characters are seekers in the movement of life. The dog characters are needy creatures, helpless within the human realm. What can a dog expect out of life?
We start the story as we are introduced to Mrs. Auberchon. She thinks, “She only knew the gender,female, and the age, twenty-four.” Mrs. Auberchon is the manager.
The second human character you meet is, “Hi, I'm Evie.” She never had a “pet of any kind.”
This is the beginning.
How do you find out if a person is going to work out as friend to dogs? The Mountaintop School of dogs has unique ways of putting dogs and people together to draw them into a circle of learning that never stops. In this story people learn about love, training dogs, interesting things about themselves and other people; the learning never stops even in the last chapter.
The dogs learn, and learn, and learn, and learn. Dogs are “Jack Russell, King Charles, Parson Russell, St. Bernard. Short hair, long, straight, curly, hairless.”
A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King (library book-overdrive)
The preface of the Mary Russell books is all ways relevant to the stories. It illuminates the plot and adds to the mystery. This story takes place in 1920.
The quotes at the beginning of each chapter make a point as the story unfolds. These are the only stories I have ever read about the wife of Sherlock Holmes. They bring a humanity to Holmes and evolve his life as a detective.
This particular story is the second in the Mary Russell series. It is about woman’s suffrage in England. There is a murder and lots of mystery to read. The first book in this series is The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It is set two years earlier in 1918. You will meet many of the Holmes characters in this story. Watson is here, Mrs. Hudson, Billy and others.
Mary Russell is a Hebrew and an oxford scholar. She studies scripture which is extremely relevant to the plot of this story. Mary meets, then, becomes an acquaintance of a women named Margery Childe, a charismatic character, who is building an organization that aides women and children, who are in trouble, called New temple in God . Margery speaks to the congregation, “Humankind, male and female together, is in the image of God, not just male humans.”
A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King (Library book-overdrive)
This is the third Mary Russell book. The chapters are introduced by letters of the Greek Alphabet. Mary Russell is always involved with words. As a character she speaks more than one language fluently. She is able to use disguises and fits into Sherlock Holmes social niche easily. She is still learning about detective work under the tutelage of the greatest of all detectives. In this manner, she continues to proclaim feminism to a masculine society.
The story opens as an old friend of Mary's (Dorothy Ruskin) comes to visit and gives Mary a relic she obtained in Palestine. Later, Dorothy Ruskin is run down by an automobile. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes become deeply involved as they look into the situation.
They marriage of Russell and Holmes becomes harmonious in this story. They work separately and in unity as the case evolves. Holmes says, “Admit it Russell. You've been bored.” “His words so echoed my own analysis of his mental state that I could only gape at him.”
In this story, the readers meet Holmes' brother Mycroft and the Detective Lestrade. They become valuable helpers in solving the mystery.
Mary becomes takes on the disguise of a secretary to Col. Dennis Edwards to gain information that will lead the group to the murderer. As his secretary, she chooses to fulfill her duties to her employer while keeping her feminist views from obstructing the progression of the case. So many interesting situations occur in this scenario it is its own story.
If the reader likes the Mary Russell series there are more books after this about Russell and Holmes.
Christian Mysticism by William Ralph Inge (Amazon E-book)
(“The Bampton Lectures, 1899”) The Extract from the last Will and Testament of Rev. John Bampton and the preface by the author are important to read before you read this book.
There are 8 lectures which are the result of the author delving into the writings of early christian mystics. Inge writes, “What we can and must transcend, if we would make any progress in Divine knowledge, is not reason, but that shallow rationalism which regards the data on which we can reason as a fixed quantity, known to all, and which bases itself on a formal logic, utterly unsuited to a spiritual view of things. It is interesting to realize that the meaning of the phrase, “Known to all” is ignored in a lot of spiritual writings and in Christian literature.
The lectures contain excepts from scripture in the context of its need and poetry written by early mystics. Although there are some Greek and Latin phrases included most of the text is explained in English and can be followed easily.
If you read this book remember the true christian has always been subject to philosophers. Knowing more about ideas that have been floating around for a whole lot of centuries is very enlightening. A great deal of Christian history is simply not “Known to all” or even very many
so Inge's writings are still relevant today.
Samson's Deal (a Jake Samson Mystery) by Shelley Singer (Amazon e-book)
This is a mystery story. The copyright is 1983. The story progresses in a traditional detective style.
Jake and Rosie are the two main characters. The story centers itself around the Berkeley campus and one of the professors. A group called corp is picketing Professor John Harley.
One of the picket signs say, “John Harley is Red.”
The case soon escalates when Professor Harley's wife is murdered.
This is the start of an investigation that weaves and sways many directions as Jake Samson investigates. Samson is trying to get the information while avoiding unnecessary contact with the police. He also assumes a cover identity while moving through the story.
Rosie is Jake's tenant but she is also a friend who gets involved in solving the crime. She helps Samson take care of his cats and persists in being in the middle of the crime solving tactics.
During the course of the investigation Samson manages to come in contact with several different women with whom he conducts more than a business, less than a friendship, interaction.
In one meeting with Rebecca Jake says, “Why did you lie to me?” He is put in many positions during the mystery of discerning who is truthful and what amount of information is relevant to the case. As an interviewer, Samson is not always truthful as he trys to pry information out of different characters that are involved in the mystery.
The consistency of a conventional crime novel is maintained throughout the book.