that I am really grateful for this quiet time of year. While I still haven't completely caught up from tax season, I'm working on it and I've taken advantage of a few phone-free hours to indulge my inner bibliophile. I read the latest in the Isabel Dalhousie series from the wonderful Alexander McCall Smith and while it's not a murder mystery, it's still a mystery. It's a gentle sort of story - that's the only way I can describe The Forgotten Affairs of Youth. A couple of ongoing plot issues are resolved, a couple of new ones are introduced and Isabel helps a young woman find her biological father. Or so she thinks. As always, I recommend anything by this wonderful author and this book is no exception.
Eleven-year-old sleuth, Flavia deLuce is back in I Am Half-sick of Shadows, the fourth mystery in Alan Bradley's series set in 1950s England. Christmas is coming and Colonel deLuce has rented out Buckshaw, their crumbling country estate, to a film company in the hope of boosting the ever-dwindling family fortune. Of course, there is a murder and Flavia is determined to expose the killer - and maybe catch Santa Claus while she's at it. A fun read, but still not nearly as good as Flavia's debut in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
And finally, rounding out today's reviews: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - a delightful first novel by Helen Simonson. The retired (and widowed) major lives somewhere south of London in the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary. Sounds vaguely Christie-esque, doesn't it? Mrs. Ali is the widow of the Pakistani shopkeeper in the village. The two strike up an unlikely friendship; will it turn to romance? You'll have to read it and see - it's a lovely little book and I am looking forward to Simonson's next novel.