Monday, August 24, 2009

Hazy, Hot, and Humid

The only good thing about hazy, hot, and humid weather is that it provides an excellent excuse for finding a relatively cool spot and reading the day away. Last week was just perfect for reading mystery novels and letting the chores slide. Now of course I'll have to pay for that neglect of reality, but that's a small price to pay for reading time.

I had stocked up on mysteries at the recent book sale, so I read J. A. Jance's "Justice Denied" and Martha Grimes' "The Grave Maurice." This Richard Jury novel is about the abduction from a stable of a young woman who loves horses. Actually I had read the Grimes novel several years ago but could only remember the story as I read so I enjoyed it all over again. There aren't many authors I could say that about, but Martha Grimes is a wonderful novelist who just happens to write mysteries.

J. A. Jance writes two series, one about a detective named J. P. Beaumont in Seattle and the other about Sheriff Joanna Brady in Arizona. I love both series. This one was a Beaumont story I hadn't read that begins with the sudden murder of a young man who has been released from wrongful imprisonment. He had been working at a charity and caring for his mother so his killing was all the more shocking. Although I figured out some of the solution early on, there were several surprises at the end.

One of the things I like about mysteries is their settings especially when I'm familiar with the area. For instance, I used to love Sara Paretsky's stories set in Chicago but apparently she's abandoned the series in favor of her other work. My love for Boston has a great deal to do with my love for Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, but who wouldn't love his characterizations and plots? It's strange but I enjoy his concise, spare writing and I also enjoy someone like P.D. James who writes lush description and goes deeper into stories.

I've also been catching up on magazines but how I love to settle in with a good book. Summer and mysteries - they just go together like sand and surf.

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