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Topic: Royal Who- Dunnit

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Subject: Royal Who- Dunnit
Date Posted: 4/22/2010 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,219
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This is the thread for posting comments, opinions, etc on books read in Category #3 for the HF Mystery challenge.

Date Posted: 5/5/2010 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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For this challenge I read The Rival Queens by Fidelis Morgan, a thoroughly enjoyable read filled with bawdy humor,  high jinks, silliness, and colorful characters,  but alas! - no royalty.  The two queens are actually actresses of the London Theatre.  When one of them quite literally loses her head, Lady Ashby de la Zouche, a relic of the Restoration Age, and her loyal, quick-thinking maid, Alpiew, are out to solve the crime.  I had a few chuckles and cleared off some cobwebs after reading this.  A fun read.

Date Posted: 5/8/2010 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Read (actually re-read) The Queen's Man by Penman, the first in her medieval mystery series. As always, Penman does an excellent job of recreating this time period -- and creates a likeable, intelligent, and appealing figure in Justin de Quincy who ends up becoming an aide (of sorts) to Eleanor of Aquitaine who is portrayed with a keen wit and keen intelligence. A highly engaging and satisfying read -- strongly recommended!

Date Posted: 5/9/2010 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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I read the fourth Justin de Quincy mystery, Prince of Darkness (See Deb's post above)

Penman is one of those rare authors who can create and then maintain a quality series; the characters are so believable, the plots rooted in history, the time period comes to life...and yes, I'm in love with Justin.  Just don't tell dh, okay?

Justin finds himself being tricked by his once-lover Claudine into rushing to Paris to her side...only to discover that he has been summoned to perform a "favor" for John.  If that's not bad enough, he must work with his old nemesis Durand de Curzon.  The story is paced so well, that it was impossible for me to put down for very long.  Knowing it's the last book (at this point) I wanted to make it last. 

Fail.

I too highly recommend this series!



Last Edited on: 5/9/10 8:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Mary (mepom) -
Subject: ROYAL WHO-DUNNIT
Date Posted: 5/18/2010 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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My choice for this is King of the Rainy County by Nicolas Freeling

I have not read any of his books, but have heard great 'things" about his work.

Mary

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I just finished Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen  I found it absolutely entertaining, I laughed out loud,  The heroine is Lady Georgie 34th in the line of succession who is broke and has to find a way to make a living in 1930's London.  After bolting from the family pile to avoid the Queen and her brother attempts at match making.  Murder happens her brother is accused and Georgie finds her own life in danger.  The historical figures were the Duke and Duchess or Windsor before they were married so for this story he was David Prince of Wales and she was "that horrible Mrs. Simpson", and Queen Mary.  I say it is charming and witty and the definition of a cozy mystery,  I fully intend on reading the other two in the series as well as looking into Ms. Bowen's other novels.  I had fun!

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 5/20/2010 7:06 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,360
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Jereylyn glad you like those books. I loved the first two, 3rd one is sitting on myshelf. Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors. She has a very nice website too. The Molly Murphy series is my favorite.

Alice

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 7:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Alice, I have the first Molly Murphy on it's way to me.

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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For my Royal Whodunit, I read A Royal Pain - the 2nd in the Lady Georgianna series by Rhys Bowen. (See Jerelyn's post above for her review of the 1st in the series & for appropriate background information.) Note: I think this series would also qualify as cozies.

In this story, we have same cast of characters; but the plot takes on a more global approach with anarchists, assassins and communists vs. fascists, all set against the backdrop of England's depression and the ever widening gap between the haves and the have nots. 

Linda & I follow several series that would qualify as "cozy" mysteries and every time I start one, it strikes me as rather silly & I wonder why I'm not reading something with a little more substance. Then, out of nowhere, I find myself completely caught up, enchanted, entertained & looking forward to seeing how our heroine is going to get out of trouble / save the day / solve the mystery. Linda and I both treat cozy mysteries as great "in betweeners"  - something to read following a really great book that  we might want to savor or that is going to be hard to trump - so why bother - or when we need to pull ourselves out of the Middle Ages or off the steppes of Siberia or out of the bloody streets of the French Revolution - you all know what I'm talking about. A 'cleansing of the palate' as Jerelyn & Cathy were discussing on another thread. Also, these books are rather formulaic and - for us, anyway - a steady diet of them would just be too much!

This series is particularly enjoyable, I think, because of the link we have to 'Buck House' (as Lady Georgiana refers to Buckingham Palace). They are fun, delightful mysteries - quick reads with witty dialog and a great cast of supporting characters - not the least of which is Georgiana's beautiful, glamorous, actress mother and the oh-so-handsome, oh-so-Irish Honorable Darcy O'Mara.

Kelly

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Ooh Kelly, that sounds good, I have that one on it's was to me as well. The third is avaliable in the PBS Market place, not that I need any more books but I will probablly be ordering that one too, I can't recall the title just this moment.  I am still chuckeling over her discription of the bathroom at the castle, and how she looked like a shrimp in her Harrods smock!

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Oh, great...another author and two more series to read -- thank you all so much.

Just so you all know, I now have a spreadsheet that I never needed before joining this forum to keep track of my books -- books I own, books I want to read, books I "have" to read, books I can get from the library, books I can order from PBS, books that are out of print, books featuring historical hunks, books featuring medieval sleuths, books featuring badly-behaving royals, books featuring medieval sleuths tangling with badly-behaving royals, books set in ancient Rome, ancient Greece, 12th century England, 19th century America, 6th century Timbuktu, and 1st century Lithuania, books whose titles or authors or main characters start with X, Y, or Z, books featuring time-traveling heroines who encounter historical hunks
riding chestnut palfreys who are chasing serial killers while bearing medieval wet noodles, etc, etc.

I think it's time for my nap (or medication)....

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Deb, you kill me!!  ROFLMAO!!!!

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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Yep. I would love a peek at your list(s) ... I'm not nearly 'data-crazy' as you are (or shall we say OCD? Hmmm?) 

However. You can leave out that last category. Serial killers scare me. Or, wait. Maybe it's the wet noodles that scare me.

solomon-linda-j-ooooodles-of-noodles-2406753.jpg

cheeky

Kel

Date Posted: 5/21/2010 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Well, I can imagine being scared of wet noodles especially when wielded by certain HF challenge coordinators (or serial killers). But mayhap if chivalrously borne by historical hunks, methinks your fear would dissipate. wink

Date Posted: 5/21/2010 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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Well, indeed. I'll shamelessly admit that I wouldn't even play hard to get! 

Le sigh.

Kel

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Yeah, I know -- I originally read Penman's The Queen's Man for this challenge (see post above) -- but due to our challenge coordinator's rule against using books read for other challenges, I did a little juggling and decided to use Penman's Prince of Darkness instead for this challenge. No point in posting a review -- just read Vicky's above -- I "ditto" everything she writes.

Aahh -- to paraphrase little Joey: "Justin, come back, Justin!"*

 

*For the young'uns on this forum, see "Shane."

Date Posted: 5/30/2010 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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A spreadsheet!  That's what I need....

I see certain threads come to the top, and I think, "Don't click on it.  Just don't.  You know what's going to happen." 

Date Posted: 7/3/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,867
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The Winter Queen by Boris  Akunin:  What a read! Loved it! This is a book that keeps you wondering what will happen next. The hero, Erast Fandorin, is young, charming, bright and dedicated to solving crime. The tale begins with the suicide of a talented young student from a wealthy family. From there the plot twists and turns as Erast does not believe that the death is as simple as it seems. His investigation leads him to many cities and many places as he investigates the suicide. He meets many people including the beautiful Amalia Kazimirovna who seems to be the center of a group responsible for the young man's death but the plot is not so simple. As it unfolds one begins to wonder if young Erast can survive this investigation. A most exciting read! 

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 7/5/2010 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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 King of the Rainy County by Nicolas Freeling was so interesting that I just purchased 3 of his books from Albiris. They are having a .99 sale this weekend. If you dare, check it out?

Mary

Date Posted: 7/17/2010 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
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After seeing R E K's post, I ordered thru swap, rec'd, and read The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin, a mystery set in 1870s Russia.  Enjoyed the mystery, but did NOT like the ending.  Realize this is the first of the series, but don't plan to continue it.

Linda

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/17/2010 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,360
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Linda I tried to get through the Winter Queen, just couldn't get into it. I love historical mysteries of all eras and locations that one just didn't grab me.

Alice

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/28/2010 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,360
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I just finished my book for this category. The Queen's Head by Edward Marston, set durign the reign of Elizabeth I. Good begining and good ending the middle was forgetable. Great description of Queen Elizabeth with her black teeth and red wig. It has been on my shelf for a while glad read it.

I also read Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness. Very good, fast paced fun with likable characters. good discussion of the depression in England.

Alice

Date Posted: 8/20/2010 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,452
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Reading Prince of Darkness by Sharon Kay Penman completed this challenge for me.  In this book, the last of four (for now) mysteries featuring Justin de Quincy, Prince John is actually accused of a conspiracy against his brother King Richard that he didn't participate in.  John enlists the aid of Justin, the Queen's man, to help discover the actual perpetrators of this latest plot.  I don't know if my opinion was colored by the fact that I knew this was the last book in the series or not, but I was a bit disappointed.  All the traveling to and fro got confusing but I liked the last couple chapters a great deal.  Still, a fair book by Ms. Penman is better than a good book by many others.



Last Edited on: 8/20/10 10:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2010 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,219
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Yesterday I finished "Death of a King" by P C Doherty and this book completes this mini challenge for me. I found this book quite fascinating since it raises the definite possiblity that EdwardII was not killed, but escaped and lived the rest of his life in virtual seclusion. I made a comment about this book on the" Sept. What are you reading" thread. It was also interesting to me as it was Doherty's first novel and it does not read like a first novel!

Date Posted: 10/1/2010 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Jeanne I have this on the TRB shelves.  I need to get medieval again I have been hanging out to much on the 19th century.