Monthly Archives: September 2010

Donna Leon, “Willful Behavior”

I thought I had read my way through Donna Leon’s books but here is one from 2002 that I missed. Willful Behavior involves the murder of an appealing young woman, Claudia Leonardo, one of Paola Brunetti’s students. As always, Commissario … Continue reading

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Bo Caldwell, “The City of Tranquil Light”

I would have said that a novel about missionaries in China would not be something I loved. On the face of it, the subject sounds earnest and possibly dull. But then there’s this title, The City of Tranquil Light: so … Continue reading

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Julia Glass, “The Widower’s Tale”

Near the end of The Widower’s Tale, in a segment narrated by the widower of the title, he says, “I have always been an avid and fairly ecumenical reader of fiction: I relish the pretend, the invented, the convincingly contrived.” … Continue reading

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Fred Vargas, “Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand” or “Sous les vents de Neptune”

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand opens on a frosty October day with Parisian police commissaire Jean-Pierre Adamsberg in the basement of his office building, leaning against the inactive boiler. He is not especially perturbed by the cold; it … Continue reading

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Katharine Davis, “A Slender Thread”

It’s a pretty good recipe for a novel: take a group of attractive characters, subject them to a new kind of pressure, and see what happens. Joanna Trollope has been writing versions of this book for years, and Julia Glass … Continue reading

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Edmund de Waal, “The Hare with Amber Eyes”

I read much less nonfiction than I do fiction. I suppose I am always looking for a story, and nonfiction so rarely provides a narrative thread that I find appealing. But I’ve had Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber … Continue reading

Posted in art history, memoir, nonfiction | Tagged | 7 Comments

A Cup of Tea with That?

I read a lot of books by English authors; here are some of my favorites. Arnold Bennett, The Old Wives’ Tale Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh-Fermor, In Tearing Haste Jane Gardam, The Man in the Wooden Hat Stella Gibbons, Nightingale … Continue reading

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