A Miss Marple Mystery

Publication year: 1942
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2011
Format: audio, 6 cds
Publisher of the Finnish translation: WSOY
Finnish translator: Ragne Rossi
Narrated by Lars Swedberg

Colonel and mrs Bantry get a horrible shock one morning: there’s a body of a young woman in their perfectly respectable library. She has been strangled and is sprawled in the library rug in a cocktail dress. Nobody knows who she is and mrs Bantry is at first thrilled to be part of an actual murder investigation. She calls her friend miss Marple to solve the case.

Meanwhile, two police officers take charge of the investigation: colonel Melchett and inspector Slack. Soon enough, they find out that the girl, Ruby, had been a dancer in Majestic hotel which is in the neighboring county. There, a rich and eccentric old man had taking a liking to her, but his relatives had not liked that.

To make matters even worse, soon rumors are flying around in the small village of St. Mary Mead that the poor old colonel has strangled his mistress in his library. This, of course, affects his standing in the village.

This story has a lot of suspects. The most eccentric of them is Conway Jefferson who was crippled in a plane crash but his adult children died. He has had difficult time with it; he doesn’t allow himself to stop and grieve but pushes his body and mind. He also keeps his daughter-in-law and son-in-law close to himself and they’ve both started to resent that. Then there’s Ruby’s dancing partner and her cousin who invited her into the hotel in the first place. I didn’t guess the culprit. The book has quite fun moments, too, because of the characters.

Most of the investigation is done by the police officers who are actually pretty bland compared to the other characters. Much like in the previous Christie book I read, miss Marple doesn’t appear much.

Excellent diversion.

A short story collection.

Publication year: 2014
Format: audiobook
Running time: 7 hours, 50 minute
Narrated by: Jerimy Colbert, Jane Kennedy, Barton Cover Howe, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith
Publisher: WMG Publishing

This isn’t an ordinary urban fantasy collection because most of the main characters aren’t Buffy-like. Instead it has more variety.

Once again, I enjoyed all of the stories in this Fiction River collection. I really enjoyed the thee stories which deal with various arts, two with music and one with theater. I don’t play any instrument nor can I sing but I’ve always associated music with magic but I haven’t seen it used much in fantasy. I also really liked ”the Fox and the Hound”.

“King of The Kingless” by Jay Lake is story about middle-aged wizard who has cancer. In this world, wizards are mostly homeless because their power deals with marginal places and destruction. They’re also warring against witches who steal the wizards’ magic.

In “Speechless in Seattle” by Lisa Sliverthorne a young wizard just coming to his powers makes a terrible mistake. In order to make things right, he has to go to the Seattle Library of Hidden Arts and get help from the youngest magical librarian.

In “Thy Neighbor” by Nancy Holder a young witch is babysitting a child she and the other sitters call 333. However, she’s taken the job for a completely different reason than money.

In “Somebody Else’s Problem” by Annie Bellet Verity Lee’s a police officer who specializes in magical detection and in order to do that she has been bonded to a rat who can smell illegal magic. They make a great team. One day Verity hears screaming from her neighbor’s apartment and investigates.

In “A Thing Immortal As Itself” by Lee Allred vampires are predators. They have a secret society but some politicians know about it, and want somethings.

“Geriatric Magic” by Stephanie Writt is a charming story about an old man who gets an unexpected gift.

“Red As Snow” by Seanan McGuire is part of the InCryptic series. Istas and her boyfriend Ryan are kidnapped… by Istas’ brothers and father.

In “Music’s Price” by Anthea Sharp a young Irish musician has seen fairies from young age, when he plays his cello. Jeremy was scared at first but then his grandmother gives him a charm and the fairies seem to go away. But then his grandmother dies and Jeremy has to play again.

“The Sound of My Own Voice” by Dayle A. Dermatis: the MC is the half-sister of a popular teen singer but her parents have always said that she herself shouldn’t sing because her voice is so bad. But after her boyfriend leaves her, she ends up in a bar, drunk, and singing karaoke. Then she finds out the real reason why she shouldn’t sing.

“The 13th Floor Problem” by Dean Wesley Smith is a Poker Boy story. This time Lady Luck informs Poker Boy and his superhero collages that in two days every 13th floor in Las Vegas is going to disappear. They have to prevent it.

In “Dead Men Walking” by Annie Reed lawyer Dalton Garvin seems to be plagued by a group of undead. But reanimating the dead is a crime so Dalton has to quickly prove that he doesn’t have anything to do with it.

“One Good Deed” by Jeanne C. Stein is a ghost story set in her Anna Strong series. Anna and her new husband are in a hotel, trying to banish a ghost. Apparently, the ghost is a young woman and now she’s strangling men who stay in her room.

“Fox and Hound” by Leah Cutter is set in Beijing, where Gao rides an illegal bicycle rickshaw. He’s desperate to get money and takes on a Japanese customer who turns out to be stranger than Gao thought.

“The Scottish Play” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Porchia is one of three sisters and three witches. Their family tree of witches can be traced back to several centuries, only their methods have changed. Her job is to get rid of curses and other magic in theaters. Because acting, and writing, can produce magic, they can also produce curses so she and her two sisters are in high demand. However, something goes terribly wrong in the Lancaster theater where their mother is working on a curse and is killed.

The first Modesty Blaise book based on the comic strip heroine.

Publication year: 1965
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1997
Format: print
Page count: 311
Publisher of the Finnish translation: Otava
Finnish translator: Seppo Harjulehto

I’m a fan of the comic strip. I started to read it when I was an impressionable teenager and I collected the strips from the local (Finnish) newspapers. Modesty is a female equivalent of James Bond and Simon Templar, so she’s not a realistic hero. Neither is her sidekick Willie Garvin who calls Modesty ”Princess”. They’re both superhuman and that’s why they’re so much fun to read about. Also, they’re both amazing fighters and have a lot of other skills, too. For example, Modesty has jeweler’s skills and Garvin builds new weapons.

Modesty grew up desperately poor and without a family. She had to fend for herself for as long as she can remember and that left her an independent and hardened woman. She ran a criminal organization called the Network until she and Willie were rich enough that they could retire before they turned 30. She also rescued Willie from a life a violent criminal and put him to work in her service. This gave Willie a purpose in his life for the first time and makes him unshaking loyal to her. However, when they retired, they were both quite addicted to danger and when Sir Gerald Tarrant from British Intelligence wanted them to work for him, they weren’t hard to convince. However, they’re not regular agents but choose their own jobs and often enough adventure finds them. They’re not lovers, in fact they each have their own lovers who often also get mixed up in the adventures.

Both Modesty and Willie are ethical criminals; they didn’t deal with prostitution or drugs and in fact sometimes punish others who abuse humans that way. I love them to bits!

That said, I have to admit that I like the comics better than this book.

In this book, Modesty and Willie meet Sir Gerald for the first time. Both have been in retirement for a year and both have been getting bored. In fact, Willie’s so bored that he got mixed up with a dangerous situation and is not sitting in jail, waiting to be executed. Sir Gerald gives this information to Modesty and in exchange Modesty and Willie agree to do a job for him. After rescuing Willie, the duo are ready for a far harder work.

Sheik Abu-Tahir has sold oil to Britain and was paid in diamonds. The ship carrying the diamonds worth 10 million leaves from Cape Town and sails to Beirut. Until then, Tarrant is responsible for them. According to intel his has received, a criminal mastermind is going to steal them and so he wants Modesty to guard them.

Modesty uses her old contacts and agrees with Tarrant that the man aiming for the diamonds is Gabriel, a cruel and very wealthy criminal whom Modesty avoided during her criminal career. However, now she has to outwit him.

The book moves at a good pace and Modesty has to use both her wits and combat skills. However, their success rests on their forward planning which isn’t shown to the reader but comes as a surprise, much like in the comics. But somehow it almost feels like a cheat in a book. The main POV of the book is Modesty herself with sometimes abrupt changes to other characters, such as Sir Gerald, Paul Hagan, and one of the criminals.

One of the things which I really enjoy about Modesty is her large circle of friends and allies. The sheik is one of them. He and his men practically worship Modesty and call her the Princess. She also uses her old contacts from the Network but some of them resent that and want to make sure that she isn’t returning and thinking control away from them. Another old friend is Paul Hagan, British Intelligence agent in France. Hagan is both a painter and a spy, and he’s crazy about Modesty. Unfortunately, this means that he has a huge problem with working under her. O’Donnell describes this as a male ego problem; he just wants her in bed and not to follow her orders, especially when actual danger is involved. Fortunately, Modesty realized this.

If you’re interested in reading Modesty Blaise, I’d recommend starting with the comics and not this book. And if you value your sanity, stay away from the movie.

The second book in the mystery series about Venetsian Comissario Brunetti.

Publication year: 1993
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 317
Publisher of the Finnish translation: Otava
Finnish translator: Titia Schuurman

Early in the morning a body of a young man is found from a canal. Comissario Brunetti is called to the scene and he finds some American coins from the body’s pockets. So everyone thinks that the brutally stabbed body is an American. Brunetti’s boss Patta is worried that the incident could affect tourism or even American-Italian relations and wants Brunetti to close the case as soon as possible.

The body turns out to be an American soldier, Foster, from the nearby American army post. Foster’s superior comes to identify him – and the fact that his boss is a woman is something the Italians find hard to swallow. Despite being an army captain and a doctor, Foster’s boss throws up after seeing him, so Brunetti suspects that something was going on between them. He also doesn’t believe that Foster was killed in a simple robbery but his boss wants him to just dig up a covenient scapegoat and close the case.

At the same time, Brunetti has another case: a wealthy Italian business man was robbed. He saw the two or three robbers but not well enough to identify them but he knows which three paintings they took. Brunetti suspects that he’s not telling the truth but Patta is again more interested in closing the case quickly – and in a way that the business man wants.

This second book in the series brings to clear focus the level of corruption rampart in Venice. Patta is the prime example – he just wants to further his career and cares nothing about anything else. Fortunately, Brunetti can ”handle” him rather easily. The book also deals with toxic chemical dumping and the characters discuss the corruption in their governments. The canals have so dirty water that Brunetti doesn’t want to touch it.

Brunetti teams up with a Carabineri major from the American base and they talk some about how Americans and their habits are different from Venetian people and their habits. Immigration is also touched on. The characters and the setting feels very much true to life.

The end is realistic and so it’s quite possible that it’s not satisfactory to pure mystery readers. But it’s very much in character with the world we live in.

A short story collection centered on modern crime.

Publication year: 2014
Format: audiobook
Running time: 8 hours, 11 minute
Narrated by: Jerimy Colbert, Jane Kennedy, Dan Boice
Publisher: WMG Publishing

The collection has 15 stories. Only a few of them have someone trying to solve a case but all of them have a prominent criminal element. Sometimes the characters are criminals or other people in whose lives crimes are somehow prominent.

The first story is ”Hitler’s Dogs” by Doug Allyn. Doc is a former member of Fat Jack’s gang and has returned for his former boss’ funeral. Someone drove over Fat Jack and Doc is determined to find out who.
”Wheel of Fortune” by Steve Hockensmith: The main character is a young girl moving around US with her mother and Biddle. The adults are conmen, doing insurance frauds and other stuff. For fun, the girl and Biddle do a trick with a raffle ticket.
”The Good Brother” by Brendan DuBois is a story about two brothers. One of them is a criminal on the run who turns to his brother, the lawyer, for help.
”FoL” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Nico is a rich young man cruising his way through law school. Then his room in his dorm is burned down and he’s framed for it. He’s left with a strange calling card: FoL. His father makes the charges go away and Nico turns his life around and graduates with honors. But when he tries to apply for an excellent job, strange letters smears his character. Once again, he encounters the strange letters FoL.
”These boots were made for murder” by Julie Hyzy is written in the first person POV. The young female narrator is sleeping with a middle-aged cop Brody because her mother has a deal with him. But a new neighbor, Mal, takes the young girl under her wing and teaches her actual skills. Unfortunately, neither Brody nor the girl’s mother like that.
”Because” by Melissa Yi is one of the shorter stories about motherhood.
”City of Light and Darkness” by Daemon Crowe is set in the year 1968. Kevin Cooper has been stranded penniless in Paris because he doesn’t want to fight in the Vietnam war. He asks help from acquaintance but it has price that Kevin has to decide to pay.
”No good deed” by Libby Fischer Hellman is set in the 1960s. Luther is a member of Klu Klux Klan and was sentenced to prison for lynching a black person. Then, a young black man sent to the same prison for raping a white woman.
”Rationing” by Karen Fonville is set in USA during WWII. The 13-year old narrator needs more money after an accident. She goes around the village looking for anyone who can trade food stamps for work, but she finds a body instead. The body is of Mrs Schmidt who has lived in the village for years with her husband. But now the government has taken her husband away and the villagers treat her with hostility.
”Neutrality” by Karen L. Abrahamson: The narrator, A. C. Turner, works as a family counselor in family court. She sees a lot of broken, angry families. She’s now assigned a case where she has to decide if a little girl is going to go to her drug using, prostitute mother or her drug using, entrepreneur father. Both have said that they’ve stopped using, but Turner has seen too much to believe them.
”Plan B” by Kate Wilhelm has a fun twist on a familiar plot. Jackson is looking for a companion to his elderly aunt. He meets Ruth Leary at a local old folks home and she seems a perfect fit to make the old aunt laugh every now and then. However, Ruth soon finds out that things aren’t what they look like.
”Gas, Tan, Video” by M. Elizabeth Castle is a mystery in Haiku form.
”Jackrabbit DMZ” by Annie Reed is a story about patrol deputy Jill Jordan. She patrols Highway 50 which is a long and lonely patch of road in Nevada desert. Lots of people think that the rules don’t apply to them, here. Also, in such small rural towns the good old boy networks even try to suppress crimes which are considered minor, but they can be life threatening.
”Eyes on my cards” by Dean Wesley Smith starring Doc Hill, a professional poker player, and narrated by the author. Doc and his team, Annie and Fleet, are called in when a friend suspects a cheater in his casino. Doc is a former detective. His friend knows who the cheater is but he isn’t able to figure out how it’s done.
”Jokers” by M. Elizabeth Castle is set in a mapping company where socially awkward and sexist Stanley works. As a joke, he sometimes adds non-existent roads into the maps. The new intern, Britney, isn’t quite as bad as usual, but she makes him nervous in a strange way.
”Photo World” by J.C. Andrijeski starts during the first day of the year 1990. Meg works as a printer in a photoshop. In fact, she’s the best printer in the shop and the local police station brings to her crime scene photos to print. To her shock, she realized that this time the dead woman is her former roommate and she sees a clue in the pictures.

I enjoyed all of the stories. The most memorable ones were ”The Good Brother”, ”These boots were made for murder”, ”Plan B”, and ”Photo World”. ”No good deed” is also quite memorable and was uncomfortable to read, but in a good way, I guess.

A stand-alone mystery book.

Publication year: 2002
Format: print
Page count: 390 + a reader’s guide and excerpt from her next book, the Seduction of Water
Publisher: Random House

Jane Hudson is a Latin teacher in the Heart Lake School for Girls, which is situated right next to an actual lake, the Heart Lake. She has recently divorced from her husband and lives a cottage near the school with her young daughter Olivia. In the lake itself are three big rocks which are said to remind of three sisters who killed themselves by drowning in the lake.

Jane was also a student in this school twenty years ago and her time ended with a tragedy: both of her roommates died; they killed themselves. Now, someone leaves pieces of Jane’s old diary to her which brings the memories back to her mind and it even seems as some of Jane’s students want to kill themselves.

Most of the book is told in flashbacks which are written in past tense. The current day events are written in present tense. The POV is from Jane’s first person narrative, so the reader gets a really intimate look into her and her life. She’s always been a lonely person and even though she tries to please her mother, she never succeeds. When she was a teenager, she took a Latin class and became friends with two of her classmates, Lucy and her brother Matthew. They became very tight. Jane and Lucy when together to Heart Lake and were roommates. The third girl in the same room was Deirdre, whom they didn’t know at all but who quickly becomes a part of their gang. She smokes pot and introduces the other girls to it, too. Lucy has a magnetic personality and Jane is completely fascinated by her. Unlike Lucy or the other girls in Heart Lake, Jane comes from a poor family.

The book has a great, spooky atmosphere. Most of the events take place during autumn and winter, and the freezing lake is described beautifully. Since the vast majority of characters are girls, there’s also wonderful description of friendships between girls. Some of the friendships are genuine and some less so, just like in real life. Things are going on which Jane doesn’t know about but readers can see or guess. Goodman also uses literary metaphors a lot and I enjoyed the descriptions of her Latin classes and the classic texts they were reading. The mix of classics and the eerie atmosphere was great.

However, the present day mystery was overshadowed by the events in the past and since there weren’t many suspects I was able to figure out the guilty party before the narrator (for once). Also, the romance came quite out of the blue and felt almost an afterthought. Jane’s daughter also felt more like a plot complication than a person. Of course, she’s only four.

Yes! A new October Daye book!

Publication year: 2014
Format: audio
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Running Time: 11 hrs 58 mins
Publisher: Daw

With this story, Toby’s life turns again upside down and many of the things she knew about her past turn out not to be true. Unfortunately, it also drives a wedge between her and some of her friends. She also learns something new about her powers.

Toby’s life is, for once, going well when she’s summoned the Queen of the Mist’s Yule festival. Even though the new queen is Toby’s friend, she’s very reluctant to attend. In fact, Tybalt has to force her to. But it’s worth it: Toby is named a hero of the realm.

However, when she and her merry band return home and finally get to bed, Simon Torquill comes calling. Simon is, essentially, Toby’s nemesis: he turned her into a fish for 14 years and destroyed her life with her mortal family. Simon is also Toby’s liege lord’s twin brother and he kidnapped Sylvester’s wife and daughter, damaging them beyond repair. Toby is more than surprised to see him and when he tells her that he works for someone else. However, that someone has put a geas over Simon so he can’t reveal who that person is.

After an exchange of spells, Simon flees and Toby decides to warn her liege, whom Simon could be impersonating.

This is another emotional roller-coaster for Toby and for us readers. The final enemy is revealed and it came as a surprise to me, even though the clues were there all the time. Toby trusts her allies more willingly than before, which is great. The motivations of some the characters remained vague but I think it’s partly because Toby didn’t really listen to them. Maybe in the future we’ll get a better explanation for some of the things. Otherwise, I throughly enjoyed this book.

The familiar cast returns but Tybalt and Toby’s squire Quinten take the clear center stage. I’m not complaining; they’re my favorites! Along with the Luidaeg, who was awesome, too!

Excellent addition to the series.

The short story.

Publication year: 1820
Format: audio
Narrator: Tom Mison
Running Time: 1 hrs 16 mins

I’ve seen the movie starring Johnny Depp and the first season of the TV show, and enjoyed both, so it was high time to read (or listen) the original. The audio book is narrated by Tom Mison, a British actor who plays the part of Ichabod Crane in the TV show Sleepy Hollow. The story is available for free in several places on-line, for example:

The story is written in the style of the times, which might make it a bit difficult for a modern reader. Also, the story has a clear narrator who reminisces about his time in the town and interjects his own opinions to the story but we never find out who the narrator is.

Ichabod Crane is a school master and a music teacher in a small town called Tarry Town or Greensburgh but the valley itself is known as Sleepy Hollow because of its haunting atmosphere and several ghost stories related to it. The people also seem to walk around ”in reverie”.

Ichabod is tall and lanky and quite poor. However, the townspeople like him because he always helps out on the farm he’s staying and has a lovely singing voice. He’s also considered to be very educated because he’s read several books. But by today’s standard he would be considered superstitious because he believes in ghosts and magic.

One day he sees Katrina van Tassel who is the only daughter of a wealthy Dutch farmer. She’s only 18 years old and ”plump as a partridge; ripe and melting and rosy cheeked as one of her father’s peaches” and because of her beauty and her father’s wealth, Crane starts to woo her. However, Katrina has another suitor: Brom van Brunt also called Brom Bones. He’s the leader of a local gang of rascals, an excellent horseman, and very strong. Apparently, Katrina’s father doesn’t favor either suitor but Brom’s lads starts making all sorts of mischief on poor Ichabod.

The story is told in a haunting way, but the Headless Horseman himself enters the story quite late (if at all). Irving also uses irony to exaggerate things, just as the characters’ appearances and Icabod’s lust for food and other things he will get by marrying Katrina. But Katrina is also described as a coquette who plays with the affections of men. Greed seems to be the central theme of the story. Also, while there’s no actual violence in the story, Ichabod’s suit and the rivalry between him and Bram Bones is described with knightly terms.

The story is quite different from either the movie or the show.

A collection of urban fantasy short stories.

Publication year: 2009
Format: ebook
Page count: 320
Publisher: Daw

This collection has 16 stories, all in some way related to UF. Most of them were a twist on a familiar story. Most of the have been written in first person.

”Web Ginn House” by Phaedra Weldon: Zoe Martinique earn her living by astral projection. She spies on people or places and gets paid for it. She’s sent to spy on a haunted house but when a ghost busters type of people are in at the same time, things go terribly wrong. It’s written in a Valley Girl type of language and the main character doesn’t seem to be terribly bright.

”The Hex Is In” by Mike Resnick: Someone is using magic and making improbable things happen in various sports events. This isn’t good for the bookies. So, they’re going to find out who that person is and make him pay. Written in a pulp crime style.

”If Vanity Doesn’t Kill Me” by Michael A. Stackpole: The main character is called to a crime scene because his mother’s husband has been killed. The main character is a former detective and he uses his inborn talent to investigate even though he’s not in good standing with his family. They’re religious and think that all people with magical talent are devil’s spawn.

”Witness to the Fall” by Jay Lake: A man has been murdered in a small village. The local preacher has been accused of it and the preacher’s daughter asks for the local Truthsayer to listen to the winds and decide if he is guilty or not. A pretty story with a lot of flowery language but unsatisfying to mystery fans.

”The Best Defense” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: John Lundgren is a public defender and despite his huge case load, he’s assigned to defending Mr. Palmer who is accused of arson. When John hears of Palmer’s poor treatment by the police, he thinks it’s easy to win the case. However, Palmer claims to be a wizard.

”Call of the Second Wolf” by Steven Mohan, Jr.: Valeri Kozlov works for to the Russian Mafia as the boss’s right hand. Unfortunately, a war is brewing between the Chinese Mafia and the Russian Mob, and Valeri is sent to smooth things out and figure out who is behind it.

”The Old Girlfriend of Doom” by Dean Wesley Smith: One of Poker Boy’s adventures. Poker Boy has superpowers which can be only used in a Casino. An old girlfriend comes asking for help: gray aliens are trying to steal her fake boobs. Poker Boy knows about the threat and it’s real but the only way to get out of it is by taking the silicon off and the former girlfriend doesn’t want to do that. Very funny and not a mystery.

”Second Sight” by Ilsa J. Bick: Jason Saunders is a detective who has the Sight. However, he hasn’t been trained to use it so it not entirely under his control. A young white slave and prostitute Lily has apparently gone berserk and killed her pimp. When Jason is sent to the hospital, he sees a drunk man with strange tattoos and even weirder things. This story had quite a complicated magic system which seems to use Jewish mysticism.

”The True Secret of Magic, Only $1.98, Write Box 47, Portland, ORE” by Joe Edwards: This is a sweet and melancholy story set in 1963. Ella Redheart is a mail-order fortune teller and quite an old woman. A postal inspector catches her in a fraud but he isn’t interested in busting her; instead he wants some information from her. Ella’s father’s spirit tells her some things some time in answer to questions and she’s learned to be cautious in what to tell other people.

”The Sweet Smell of Cherries” by Devon Monk: An Allison Beckstrom story. I haven’t read her books but I’ve heard about them. Allie tries to decline a job to track down a missing person but ends up being involved anyway.

”Eye Opening” by Jason Schmetzer: Eddie Timmer has the ability to see through solid objects and he’s using it for crime. He’s tried to go to the straight and narrow but something always happens to stop that. This time, he and his partner have been hired to ”retrieve” some rings but things go so badly wrong that Eddie’s partner ends up killed and when Eddie runs to his employer, the person he was trying to steal from, follows him. And is quite angry.

”Faith’s Curse” by Randall Bills: Adrian Kohl is a magus, a sorcerer, who gets his powers from belief. Therefore he has to act in a way that causes shock and awe in other people and always to reinforce his image. He even has a bumbling assistant he doesn’t like nor respect. So, when he finds a man killed by magical but mysterious means, he’s not happy.

”The Wish of a Wish” by Robert T. Jeschonek: An IRS agent pays a visit to a man who as genie and he has wished himself very rich. It turns out though, that he’s also a sadist and the agent is actually trying to save the genie. This turned out to be a far darker story than the beginning led me to expect.

”RPG Reunion” by Peter Orullian: A table top roleplayer gets really angry about what happened in a game. So angry in fact, that he makes it his business to learn real magic. And then, the group is called back together. I’m a roleplayer and I don’t like these ”roleplayers are insane” stories.

”Treasure” by Leslie Claire Walker: Addie is a old woman, who did a deal with a Fae some fifty years ago to get out of a desperate life. Now, she’s a pawn shop owner and also accepts magical items, although she doesn’t sell them. Unfortunately, her deal comes back to haunt her. Interestingly, Addie’s not a very likable character but for me she was far more interesting than most of the characters in this collection.

”She’s Not There” by Steve Perry: In this story, the main character, Darla, is a conwoman and a thief. She can use Glamour to change her appearance but only to people whom she has touched. She also, can’t mimic a voice so that limits the ways she can use her power. She robs rich people but usually from stuff which they don’t use much and don’t necessarily miss soon, if ever. She’s just completed a score and gotten the money from her fence, but then she’s robbed and needs to get more money, quickly. I’m a sucker for a likable rogue.

This was a somewhat mixed collection but I enjoyed most of the stories. My favorites were by Bick, Walker, Perry, Jeschonek, and Rusch. Perhaps a bit surprising, most of these were more reflective than action/thriller stories.

It’s September, so Carl at the Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the ninth R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, or R.I.P. IX. I’ve had fun with the challenge in previous years so I’m joining this time, too.

I’m currently enjoying a sci-fi binge but I’m also a mystery/supernatural fan so I’m looking forward to enjoying some RIP books.

September 1st is right around the corner. It is time to begin.

Dark Fantasy.

Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

That is what embodies the stories, written and visual, that we celebrate with the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event.

As time has wound on I’ve honed this event down to two simple rules:

1. Have fun reading (and watching).
2. Share that fun with others.

As I do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have too many other commitments) but want to participate all the same.

R.I.P. IX officially runs from September 1st through October 31st.

I’ll be joining

Peril the First:
Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux… or anyone in between.

TBR: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman (mystery), Vampire Empire book 1: the Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffiths, some Elizabeth Peters’ books, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.

Happy reading, everyone!
1, Crime spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Loren L. Coleman
2, Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
3, Seanan McGuire: The Winter Long
4, Carol Goodman: The Lake of Dead Languages
5, Kristine Kathryn Rusch ed.: Fiction River special edition: Crime
6, Donna Leon: Death in a Strange Country
7, Agatha Christie: A Pocket Full of Rye
8, Peter O’Donnell: Modesty Blaise
9, Kerrie L. Hughes ed.: Fiction River: Hex in the City
10, Agatha Christie: The Body in the Library