Tag Archive | humour

Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Anyone who knows me, knows I am seriously addicted to library book sales. They are for me an opiate addiction. Very deadly. So it’s not surprising that at one of those things held somewhere in the Lower Mainland, I picked up a copy of The Moai Murders by the late, Canadian author, Lyn Hamilton. FYI Moai is pronounced Moe-Eye.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ms. Hamilton, but I can tell you, it certainly won’t be the last. I’m glad she wrote several before her untimely death. It had all of my favourite story contents in it: humour, action, adventure, history, mystery, a great plot and a well written storyline.

Hamilton had a nice, dry sense of humour which was sprinkled liberally throughout the story. The editing was pretty good, though there were a few typos missed. And you know I’m a stickler for typos. It kept me stumped right to the very end. And that, is a rarity where I am concerned. I love to profile books, TV shows and movies. I honestly couldn’t figure this one out, but then neither could the heroine, so I don’t feel so bad. Lol!

The only slow part of the story happened at the very beginning. The forward, titled Veri Amo—presumably named after a relatively famous woman from Easter Island who lived from 1830 to 1936, according to Stephen R. Fischer’s work Rongorongo: The Easter Island Script: History, Traditions,Texts—got me thinking and I had to read it twice. When Chapter One jumped into the present, I had to go through it twice as well to get the ball rolling. Once the characters started on their adventure, it was a great read. There were a lot of characters, but each was important to the plot. If you get momentarily lost, go back and check it again until you are caught up. It’s worth it.

Here’s a brief outline of the story from Amazon.
From Booklist:
“Antiques dealer Lara McClintoch and her friend Moira Meller head to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to celebrate Moira’s return to health. When they reach their hotel, they find it’s the site of the Rapa Nui Moai Congress–an academic conference to exchange information on the moai, giant stone carvings that populate the island. After the two join the conference, planning to attend the lectures and field trips, one of the attendees is found dead, thought by police to have been trampled by wild horses. Lara disagrees with the verdict and begins her own investigation as further participants die. Fascinating details about the island’s history and the moai enhance this ninth adventure in the archaeologically rich series.” Sue O’Brien of the American Library Association.
Here’s a couple of links to interviews with her.
http://poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.ca/2008/02/canada-calling-lyn-hamilton.html
http://typem4murder.blogspot.ca/2009/01/sundays-guest-blogger-lyn-hamilton.html

http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/oct03/a-conversation-with-lyn-hamilton-10036
I thought it was important to include some of Lyn’s obituary in this. If you read it, you will see she was an amazing woman who made a huge impact on a lot of people. We should all be so lucky.

“LYN ELIZABETH HAMILTON August 6, 1944 – September 10, 2009 Smart, funny, creative, strong, loyal and brave – Lyn was all these and more. Beloved daughter of John (deceased) and Gwen Hamilton and cherished sister and sister-in-law of Cheryl Hamilton and Michael Cushing. She is also fondly remembered by the Collins family, her uncle Harris (aunt Elizabeth is deceased) Collins and cousins Peter, Kelly and Nicki. Lyn had many friends. A group of the closest helped her celebrate her 65th birthday last month with a party filled with laughter and love. Lyn kept her battle with cancer private, but the few friends who knew provided wonderful support during her illness. She had a great career, moving back and forth between public service and the private sector, working in public affairs, communications and program management. Then at the age of 50, she decided to add a writing career, using her lifelong interest in archeology to create a mystery series. The first of 11 novels, The Xibalba Murders, was published in 1997 and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel in Canada. The eighth, The Magyar Venus, was nominated for an Ellis for best crime novel. These books feature feisty heroine Lara McClintoch, who owns an antiques store in Lyn’s hometown of Toronto and travels the world for her business, solving murders along the way. Lyn managed to write and promote most of her novels during vacations, unpaid leaves and weekends. The books reflect her passion for heritage and culture, her sense of humour and her love of travel. She was Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked with many others to bring a new opera house to reality, an accomplishment that gave her much joy. Before that, she was Director of the Cultural Programs Branch in the Ontario government. In her earlier days in the government, she worked on women’s issues and was particularly proud of a ground-breaking public awareness campaign on domestic violence. She was involved in education and mentoring of new writers. Over the years, she worked with over 100 authors on their manuscripts. She was writer-in-residence for the public libraries in North York and Kitchener. She taught a mystery and suspense writing course at the School for Continuing Studies at her alma mater, University of Toronto.”

This is a five star *****read. Purchase or borrow it with confidence.
Have a great day!
Lynne

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Book Review: The Hardy Boys Book 3, The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon et al

Book Review: The Hardy Boys Book 3, The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon et al

A Trip Down Memory Lane

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When I was young, just about every kid I knew was reading either a Hardy Boys Mystery or a Nancy Drew Mystery. I used to get one for every birthday and Christmas. If I was really good, there was the occasional one in between. By the time I was grown up, I had almost the complete set. When I moved away from Ontario, I gave the set along with all my encyclopedias to a family of five little girls. Sometimes I think about that action and mourn slightly, but, of course, it was the best thing to do at the time. You can only have so many books. I have enough for three lifetimes or a small village library.

Since the day I gave up my Nancy Drew set, I have been slowly buying them back again ( yeah, so I missed them. Don’t judge me.), plus the occasional Hardy Boys Mystery. The other day, it was lousy outside; rain, snow, darkness, you know a typical British Columbia winter day. I looked at the bookshelves where my short and sweet books are and lo and behold, there sat The Secret of the Old Mill by Franklin W. Dixon. A Hardy Boys Mystery!

So who was this Franklin W. Dixon fellow? I decided to check online and see what came up.

http://www.answers.com/Q/Who_wrote_the_Hardy_Boys_book_series)

According to missy7  on answers.com  a heckuva lot of ghost writers were Mr. Dixon, either that or the guy had the worse case of multiple personalities known to man. There were so many that I couldn’t bother to be as thorough as Miss missy7 was.  Wow! We are talking a whole pile. The series was the brainchild of the Stratemeyer Syndicate ( no we are not talking organized crime here) later bought out by Simon and Schuster in the 1980’s. So nowadays, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are being pumped out by the ghost writers of Simon and Schuster. So there you have it—Franklin W. Dixon in a nutshell! Quite a guy.

This particular book is number three in the series, but already it had labelled the brothers as young detectives, and they were just taking after their Pa, a real life (or fake life….or well, just a fictional real life…) private eye. Yup, daddy was a detective too. So they were just taking after the old man.

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During this story they drive around in their buddy Chet’s ( real name Chester Morton, wow, which today would just mean a whole load of misery, and a kid in his thirties who ends up completely covered with tattoos and on death row) bright yellow, souped-up jalopy named Queen. Oh wow, those were the days. I remember naming my first car. They were always French names and male. My current Dodge Caravan (be nice) is named Anton; not quite Antonio as in Banderas, but in my mind he looks almost the same as we whisk along the highway, with our hair blowing in the breeze from the passenger windows open slightly at a safe level and the only rear window which works, open to get a little counter breeze.
I have, in my youth, driven in a few jalopies, which were fun and required no doors to open. You simply hopped in! Over the existing, seemingly always shut, door. Back then, I hopped. Today, it only happens in the kitchen when I step on something. Or in the bathroom when Mr. Lloyd Kitty has been particularly flamboyant with his cat litter.

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Back to the story…Chet is described as plump and constantly eating junk food, a description today which would have led to cyber bullying indeed. His buddies tease him in a good-humoured way because back then we just teased people out loud and to their face, not online—since there was no online. (Well, that’s not exactly true. I loaded the line every other day with the wash and my mother regularly asked, “What’s on the line? Did you bring everything in?” So yes there was “on line” but not the online we mean today. Whew!) Back to Chet. Chet is a constant homey in the Hardy Boys’ crib. He and Tony, their other buddy, show up here and there throughout the story and near the end help them jump a bunch of guys and get in a fight. Not quite your sweet little angels now, eh?! Heh heh heh.

Eighteen-year-old Frank and his one-year-younger brother, Joe, who is described as “blond and impetuous” (in other words, some little punk kid who probably gave his mother all the grey hair on her head) get involved with a boy on a bicycle who nearly gets hit by a car. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know they are involved with counterfeiters and Mill Wheels, and tracking paper at the local stationary story ( can you imagine walking into Staples and saying, “Can you tell me who bought this piece of paper?” ) wandering through tunnels, getting trapped in trucks, and having their dad get sort-of blown up and stuff like that. All the things which would put hair on the chest of a young lad in the 1950s!

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Throughout it all, they interact peacefully with the local sheriff who has no trouble telling them everything that’s going on in the rich underbelly of crime in their little berg. Today, if the cops know you by name when you walk into the station, it’s not because they respect your dad and want to give you an award or have you help them solve a crime. Nope, no way. We will leave that one there.

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So of course, they solve the mystery and their last words are nice and corny and no one ever swears, not even the bad guys. It was a nice time back then. Post WWII when the world was shiny and bright and mom was at home all day (not working like Rosie the Riveter in the munitions factory anymore and sitting out back smoking cigarettes, chewing gum and drinking beer with her buddies after work)

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cause the war was over, and dad smoked a pipe constantly (not worrying about his future lung cancer or emphysema) and sat in an easy chair and was home to listen to your troubles and give you good advice which rivalled the advice God gave Moses in the Bible.

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Man, I love the Hardy Boys. I think I’ll check the second hand store and see if they have anymore of the old ones. I don’t want to read the new ones in case Chet’s car is now a Jaguar XK XKR-S GT convertible which does zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds, and instead of having twenty bucks in his hand, he thinks nothing of popping a hundred in the tank every other day.

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And Mr. Hardy is smoking pot in the garage and rhyming off clever little gems that sound more like a Cheech and Chong rerun.

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Mrs. Hardy has just returned from drug rehab and had a couple of fentanyl scares. And Frank has piercings everywhere which occasionally get painfully ripped out in a fight or while he’s crawling through a tunnel underground somewhere chasing Columbian Drug Lords. And Joe, dear little Joe, has green and pink hair; no sweet little blond-headed moppet is he anymore, no he’s got muscles like the Rock,

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and mimics Vin Diesel on a good day.

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No, give me the old Hardy Boys. I like those guys. I’ll just sit in my rocker and daydream.

You can buy the Hardy Boys mysteries all over the place and especially at second hand book stores. Enjoy!

Have a nice day!

Lynne

 

Book Review: Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun by Lois Winston

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Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7387-2802-5

First E book edition January 2011    Link to book on Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/qhcwnj3 

Published by Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

www.midnightink.com

            This is a quick read with lots of one-liners. The book starts out with a bomb having dropped on, main character, Anastasia Pollock’s head that her husband has dropped dead, and before doing so, cleaned out and gambled away every cent of their finances.

            With two teenagers to support, she is devastated. To top it off, her elderly mother-in-law, Lucille, a card carrying communist, and member of the Daughters of the October Revolution, has just moved in with her little dog after her own home burned down, taking with it all her life’s savings.

            Anastasia works at a magazine as the craft editor and so there are also little spots throughout the book where plans for craft projects are included.

            When one of the magazine’s bosses is murdered, she becomes a prime suspect. But this is not her only worry as a mafia loan shark is also after her to pay up her husband’s debts.

            There follows a series of events which drag our heroine into almost complete ruin. But we are kept laughing as her sense of sarcasm and humour never flounders for a moment.

            This is a fun read. Five stars all the way! *****

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Links for Lois Winston:

http://www.loiswinston.com/

To contact Lois send an email to: lois@loiswinston.com Follow Anastasia (and Lois) on Twitter: @anasleuth   Lois’ Blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.ca/

BIO from her website:
Lois Winston straddles two worlds. She’s an award-winning
author of romance, romantic suspense, humorous women’s
fiction, and mystery under her own name and as Emma Carlyle.
She’s also an award-winning designer of needlework and
crafts projects for magazines, craft book publishers, and
craft kit manufacturers. Like Anastasia, the protagonist in
her ANASTASIA POLLACK CRAFTING MYSTERIES series,
Lois worked for several years as a crafts editor. A graduate
of the prestigious Tyler School of Art, she often draws on
her art and design background for much of the source
material in her fiction. She lives with her husband a stone’s
throw from Manhattan (assuming you can throw a stone
across the Hudson River.)

WRITING AWARDS
– 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award, finalist
– 2012 ForeWords Book of the Year, finalist
– 2012 Salt Lake City Library System Readers’ Choice Award, finalist
– 2012 Canyonland Press Readers’ Choice Award, finalist
– 2008 Winter Rose Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction, 1st Place
– 2008 Laurie Awards, 1st Place
– 2008 More Than Magic Award, 1st Place
– 2008 Beacon Awards, 2nd Place
– 2008 Golden Quill Awards, Finalist
– 2007 Readers and Book Buyers Best Award, 1st Place
– 2007 Beacon Awards, 2nd Place
– 2007 Laurel Wreath Awards, 2nd Place
– 2007 Golden Leaf Awards, Finalist
– 2006 Golden Leaf Awards, Finalist
– 2006 Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Finalist
– 2005 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, Finalist
– 2004 St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Competition, Finalist
– 2004 Dorchester Publishing American Title Competition, 1st Runner-up
– 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, Double Finalist