Shame Book Tag

So I was just checking out what dinged on my comments and I saw I was tagged in Audra’s Book Blabbing for the Shame Book Tag. Aw, thank you for tagging:

So I was tagged like a looong time ago but its taken me forever because this is actually really hard!

Uh oh

I don’t really get embarrassed or feel ashamed-so it took some time as I had to really think and come up with an answers to these!

1. A Book that Everyone Hates but You Love

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

So I have talked about this book before-but I just can’t stop. I LOVE it, yet everyone else seems to just feel okay about it or they can’t stand it. Why? I don’t know.

Why, not?

It is very different from Agatha Christie’s other books as it is a mystery, spy story, thriller, adventure story, and more. It actually contains five plots-yes, FIVE-that all interconnect. Missing memoirs, blackmail, a game of thrones, missing jewels, and a murder. Plus we have characters who they are one thing but are secretly something else-such as one is a prince, one a thief, one a Pinkerton agent, and one is an actress.

Plus Virginia Revel is an amazing character! Widowed, independent woman who is up for adventure, investigations, and more. She is AWESOME! Believe me!

I think some people struggle with it being so different from her other works, but I love it and completely recommend it.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

2. Unpopular Character You Love

Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

So Harry Potter, I’m sure you have heard of it. A boy finds out he is a Wizard and the Chosen One, and continues on a journey trying to learn magic, information on his family, and stop evil.

So I know a lot of people hate Draco Malfoy, but when I was reading it, he cracked me up. “Wait until my father hears about this!” “Potter!” I mean Harry was nice, but Draco was zesty! He’s just one of those you love to hate.

For more on Harry Potter, go to What Separates the Real Fans from the Fakes

3. A Book Boyfriend You Know You Shouldn’t Love

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I’ve talked about this many times, I love Wuthering Heights, it has always been one of my favorite books. The story is a man gets trapped at Wuthering Heights for the night and encounters a ghost of a woman, Catherine. He then is after the whole story and hears a tale of star crossed lovers, abuse, unhappiness, the moors, revenge, etc.

Heathcliff was one of my first book boyfriends, and even though I will always love him, I know he would be horrible in a relationship. I understand how Heathcliff feels-with no last name and known family-he is essentially without a social security card and has no way of really doing anything. However, because he is hurt, he then hurts others-and no matter what happened to him that behavior is never okay.

For more Wuthering Heights, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

For more Heathcliff, go to One of Many

4. A Book You Know Is Bad But Still Love

Bittersweet (California Historical Series #2) by Cathy Marie Hake

So this was the hardest of all. THIS IS NOT A BAD BOOK!  Instead I chose a book that was predictable. 

Laney Harris is the daughter of a wealthy landowner. She has been in love with Galen O’Sullivan as soon as she returned from finishing school. The problem is that he sees her as nothing more than a child. She continues to do all she can, but Galen has enough on his mind with running the farm; taking care of his mother and three brothers, being in charge of the pony express horses; and a family of squatters (father and twins-brother and sister) residing on one of his acres. But one day Galen realizes that Laney is a woman and strives to win her, but before he can pop the question he is accused of impregnating the squatter’s daughter and forced to marry her. Now Laney has to live out being a Christian even when everything she wanted has been taken away. And Galen has to release the love of his life. Will the story end in happiness or only sorrow?

So this book isn’t bad, (although they talk a lot about how thin she is and pulling the stays tighter and tighter-that I consider bad) but it is predictable and some of characters are a little bland, like Laney’s sister-in-law and brother. But the story was really cute, even though you had a pretty good idea how it will end.

For more on Bittersweet, go to Top O’ the Morning: 7 More Irish Heroes

5. Underrated Author

Carrie Anne Noble

This was a really hard pick as I’m not sure which authors were in need of some serious love and was wondering who I should pick. I was looking through my books read list and I settled on Carrie Anne Noble.

I first was introduced to her with The Mermaid’s Sister, getting a free pre-release copy from Netgalley. I LOVED it and began following her on Instagram. She followed me back and let me just say her instagram is sooo cute!! 

Then she saw my Saint Patrick’s Day book display I did for library and she gifted us her book The Gold-Son. I know, how sweet and thoughtful! She didn’t ask us for anything, or to post about her, she just decided to send her book to us completely free. Of course, after she gave us the book I had to read that one too!

I think her work is fantastic and she is such a sweet person. You should check her and her books out!

6. A Book that You Don’t Want People to Know You’ve Read

Masquerade by Jenna Ryan

So years ago I was checking out a library book sale and I found this book and bought it as the synopsis sounded great. Gabrielle grew up with a street gang, robbing from people like Fagen’s kids in Oliver Twist. Gabrielle, now Rielle, and her best friend Luke left that all behind-she becoming a famous fashion designer while Luke moved up to white collar crime. The Phantom, a serial killer taking out actresses, goes after Luke, the only one who knows its true identity. When Luke vanishes, Rielle teams up with Adrian De La Costa, Brazillian race car driver and Luke’s cousin, and they head to a midsummer event in a mansion on the Yorkshire coast to discover what happened to him. There are a group of really imaginative characters, and any of them could be the killer.

I loved the gothic fiction, and how it referenced Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, Charles Dickens, etc. I was telling my mom about it and when she saw the book she realized it was a Harlequin romance. That was embarrassing-but not really. I loved the book and there wasn’t really any sex or even kissing in the book-that’s why I didn’t catch it. I still love it and read it as it is a fun little novel.

I Tag:

Don’t forget to tag me back as I’d love to see what you choose!

For more books posts, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Did the Niece Poison Mrs. Harlowe?: The House of the Arrow (1953)

Did the niece poison Mrs. Harlowe?

So I have been wanting to watch this movie Gosford Park for a while and when I saw it was returned to the library-I was so excited! Unfortunately, it was dirty and would not play for me.

I didn’t have any other movie planned and decided to fill the place I would choose something that was on my Amazon Prime queue suggested list.

So this movie is based off a book and is the second remake, (3rd version of the story) filmed in and by a production crew in England.

On with the review!

The story takes place in France, the old stately Lady Harlowe, has just died. Her brother-in-law, Boris Waberski, thinks that he will inherit everything- he has even borrowed against his future gains-but to everyone’s surprise-the money is left to her adopted niece-Betty Harlowe!

Boris becomes so angry he accuses Betty of murdering his sister-in-law. They have the body exhumed and it turns out that she was poisoned.

Uh oh

Betty’s friend, Ann Upcott, is worried and sends to England for help. Jim Frobisher arrives to investigate, aiding the very intelligent and top french detective, Inspector Hanaud.

I found the story very boring

Meh.

And the inspector a complete rip off Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. You have the accented inspector-“the greatest mind in the world” and an old manor house with a “locked room mystery” and puzzles. Except Poirot was much better.

I think it was incredibly boring and that the characters were just too bland. Skip the film if I were you.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Did the Niece Poison Mrs. Harlowe?: The House of the Arrow (1953)

For more private investigators, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

For more remakes, go to Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

So every year we review a Vincent Price film. Here we go!

Once, there was even a man who had scissors for hands

What?

Yes I said that right, Vincent Price.

Many of you may not know this, but this was Vincent Price’s last film. When I first saw this, I actually knew about Vincent Price than Johnny Depp.

In fact Vincent Price was supposed to have more screentime, but unfortunately was very ill at and they had to cut back on those scenes. Sad for us.

We didn’t get as much

This also fills another yearly notch, a Tim Burton film.

I have always loved Edward Scissorhands

So let’s not wait any longer. On with the review.

So the film starts off with a grandma, Kim Boggs (Winona Ryder) telling her granddaughter a story-of a man with scissors for hands.

Flashback years ago-Peg Boggs is the Avon lady, along with being kindest and sweetest woman ever. She tries to sell in her Suburban neighborhood but none are interested.

She’s finally reached the end of her rope-but then spots the creepy, spooky castle that exists at the end of the block. She decides to go in there and that is when everything changes.

Inside the worn and crumbling mansion-which she enters by herself! Very unsafe-and meets Edward.

Edward was created by the Inventor, but is unfinished-he still has scissors for hands.

Peg feels bad for him and takes him home with her-he meets her husband Bill (Alan Arkin), who is completely checked out and doesn’t see or hear anything, and son Kevin. Kevin is fascinated by Edward and wants to show him off.

That’s awesome

As many times as I have watched this I am just amazed with the character of Peg. She reminds me of the mom in My Boyfriend’s Back, but sweeter, kinder, and not nearly as psychotic. She is always encouraging and helping Edward.

Peg Boggs: Are you alone? Do you live up here all by yourself? What happened to your face? No, I won’t hurt you. But at the very least, let me give you a good astringent. And this will help to prevent infection. What’s your name?

Edward: Edward.

Peg Boggs: Edward… I think you should just come home with me.

And if anyone tries to say anything about him, she will go mama bear on them.

Audience Member #3: But if you had regular hands you’d be like everyone else.

Edward: Yes, I know.

Host-TV: I think he’d like that.

Audience Member #4: Then no one would think you’re special. You wouldn’t be on TV or anything.

Peg Boggs: No matter what, Edward will always be special.

So Pegg let’s Edward stay in her daughter’s room while she is camping with friends on her waterbed. Really Peg, he has scissors for hands!

Anyways, the neighbors are fascinated and want to take a look at him, forcing themselves on them with a BBQ.

Edward starts trying to get used to living with people. If you carefully watch Edward in the beginning he is moving his hands all over-but as he watches the others and as the movie progresses learns to better control his hands and be more humanlike.

And I do have to say I like the costume of Edward. I like Buster Keaton look carrying over from Benny & Joon and his Cure/Tim Burton-inspired hair. It wouldn’t always work, but it does on him.

So Edward is a hit, especially after he starts creating colorful topiaries.

Kim returns home from her trip in the mountains with her boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). The first time I saw this-I didn’t recognize him. I don’t what he did but he went from major nerd in the ’80s to playing football jocks in the ’90s. I  always think if him as being one of the lucky three who were able to go from “nerd” to “heartthrob”-him, John Cusack, and Patrick Dempsey.

Kim returns home after “camping” and goes to her room-only to find Edward. Proof why scissors and waterbeds don’t work out.

From lawns Edward goes into animal haircuts.

And here he becomes an even bigger sensation. But not everyone loves him.

Poor Edward-hopefully in love with Kim and he really is. At this time Depp and Ryder starting dating and even got engaged-and you can just see in his eyes how much he cares for her. In fact, re-watching it this time I realize they spend hardly any screentime together, but can carry the romance in their looks, body language, tone, etc.

Here is where we get a slight look into Tim Burton. The eccentric, weird kid in love with the cheerleader but the jock keeping them apart? Hmm…

Anyways, Edward keeps trying. Kevin takes him to school for show-and-tell, he is always there to lend a blade, and then begins haircuts.

Edward Scissorhands in Wonderland

In fact the scene when he first cuts hair is a wink at Sweeney Todd, which Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would make years later.

The sweetest thing is when Edward is going to cut Peg’s hair-he makes it extra special and neat for her-his mom. Aw.

Very cute

With all this Edward goes on TV and the idea of opening his own business is brought up.

Neighbor Joyce is going to help and takes him to the area where they will be having the salon. She then strips and assaults him. Edward flees and Joyce is very upset.

I’m out!

Peg is going to help Edward and takes him to the bank-but here is where I realize I am an adult. I mean I know I am one, after all I’m six and twenty-but here is where I KNOW. My first response was how will he get a loan? He has no social security card, birth certificate, anything. Poor Edward is sad and they are unsure what to do next.

Now let me take a moment here and just go over Vincent Price’s role in the film. Throughout the movie we have flashbacks to when Edward was first created. The Inventor (Vincent Price) has an assembly line making cookies. As he enjoys them he gets the idea to make his son-Edward.

I love these scenes as they are so endearing and said. What would have been if the creator lived. I love Vincent Price’s voice as well. I could just listen to him speak for hours.

One day Kim forgets her key and they are locked out of the house. Edward opens the door by picking the lock and Jim gets the idea to use Edward to rob his house. You see JIm is a Neanderthal that instead of getting a job to get his own car wants his dad to do it. And if dad refuses-well then the only way is to rob his house. What a baby-WAH BOO HOO I can’t get my way let’s make dad pay for it.

They lie to Edward that a guy stole Jim’s stuff and want to get it back. Kim feels bad and wants to stop, but they don’t listen to her. Instead-they go but when the alarm goes off abandon him.

Kim is angry wanting to go back, but they don’t listen to her and she doesn’t do anything. Now I like Kim, but she never tells the truth. It makes me so angry-all this awful things keep happening to Edward afterwards and they could have stopped it if she had just told the truth.

Very disappointed in you Kim.

So Edward is taken to jail and held until Peg and Bill can pick him up. After that he is a pariah. No one wants to be around him, have him cut their lawn, dog, or hair.

Kim gets angry with Jim, but he just taunts her with how she hasn’t said anything. Edward sees this and becomes even more angry as he did it for Kim and she is still with the jerk.

He gets depressed and ruins his creations-he also gets angsty and messes up the walls.

Peg is awesome-she continues to be there for Edward. She has him keep giving her haircuts to make him feel better. Se sweet.

So cute

All comes to a head on Christmas. Edward and Kim have grown closer. He works on an ice sculpture and accidentally nicks Kim. Jim comes and chases Edward off who goes on a rage destroying shrubbery.

Kim is done with Jim and he storms off drinking with his friend.

Kim’s hand is taken care of by her mom and it wasn’t a serious wound just a small one. They worry about Edward and go off to find him leaving Kim to wait in case he comes back or the neighbors come for the party.

Edward returns and they have a good moment, broken when a drunken Jim comes racing down the street and almost hits Kevin. Edward runs and pushes Kevin out of the way before he gets killed. But by doing so nicks Kevin, especially as Kevin doesn’t know what is going on.

Jim comes and tries to attack Edward, who nicks him too. Edward then storms off-followed by Kim. Meanwhile like in every monster movie the neighborhood storms together creating a mob to converge on Edward.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

In the mansion Kim approaches Edward, ecstatic that he is alive, but just like in Beauty and the Beast, Jim the jerk followed them and tries to kill Edward. He was going to shoot him-but Kim intercedes. Edward had not planned on doing anything-but when Jim slaps Kim he becomes angry and stabs Jim-throwing him out the window.

Kim and Edward see the dead body and know the mob won’t stop until Edward is dead. Kim kisses Edward and says good-bye.

Noooo!

Downstairs, the people are calling for Edward’s blood. Kim notices a machine and grabs a scissorhand-using it as proof that Edward is dead. She tells them it is all over.

This scene definitely has a Nightmare on Elm Street feel to it with the scissors-which Johnny Depp is also in.

That ends it and all goes back to how it should be-except the Boggs family. Years pass and they all move on-but Kim always remembers Edward.

And Edward never forgets her. His garden growing and he’s making an ice sculpture of Kim to grace his garden.

Such a great story with a gentle sweet character. I love this film and could just continue to watch it over and over again.

And this little extra for you guys!

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

For more Edward Scissorhands, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Tim Burton, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Vincent Price, go to They’re Coming for Me Now…And Then They’ll Come for You: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

For more Johnny Depp, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For more Winona Ryder, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Anthony Michael Hall, go to Don’t You Forget About Me

For more teen monster films, go to I Died for You! I Came Back from the Dead for You! I Love You!: My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

The murderer is never the one you initially suspect.

I love Agatha Christie:

This was one of the first stories I ever read of hers. When I was about 10, my nana heard I liked mysteries and asked if I had ever read Agatha Christie. I hadn’t so she gave me a collection of stories in a book: Murder in the Mansions, which contained The Seven Dials Mystery, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House.

All of them amazed me, but especially Crooked House. When I saw it on Amazon Prime, I had to watch it right away.

The film starts off with millionaire Archimedes Leonides’ death. He is survived by Brenda Leonides, his 30-year old widow; his sons, Phillip and Roger; his daughter-in-laws, Magda and Clemency; his grandchildren: Sophia (Stefanie Martini), Eustace (Preston Nyman), and Josephine (Honor Kneafsey); along with his sister-in-law, Lady Edith de Haviland.

Charles Hayward (Max Irons [Jeremy Irons’ son]) is an ex-embassyman in Egypt, and OSS agent, and has become a private investigator. Things haven’t been booming, but it appears that today will be different. He has a client today!

When he goes in he sees Sophia Leonides, otherwise known to him as Sophia de Haviland, an old flame.

Sophia and Charles met in Egypt when she worked for Sotheby’s, using her mother’s maiden name to hide her true identity. They had a relationship but it was broken off when Sophia found out that Charles was dating her not only for her, but to also find out information on her grandfather.

She comes to him to ask him to investigate as her grandpa did not die of natural causes. Someone poisoned him with his eyedrops. In order to avoid scandal she would rather he come in than Scotland Yard. Charles agrees and goes to the “Crooked House”.

With this term you know that no one in here will not be a suspect. All characters are duplicitous and dishonest. And all have a reason to kill Archimedes. He’s was a mean man who would tease and pull and play with all those around him, enjoying his power. Everyone is stuck in this crooked house and have to follow his rules-there is no ability, money, or anything they can do to leave.

We’re trapped

First we have Lady Edith de Haviland (Glenn Close), she always cared for Archimedes, but he married her sister. After her death Lady Edith stayed on in the house helping to raise the boys and their grandchildren. Could his marriage to Brenda finally made him snap? Did she hate how he was controlling the children and grandchildren?

Brenda Leonides (Christina Hendricks) is the 30-year old widow and the one who gave her husband his medicine every day. She’s the most likely to slip it in, but why? Could it be she regretted being cooped up with that old man? His family? Could she have a lover that she wants to be with, but with Archimedes’ money?

Phillip (Julian Sands) burnt through his trust fund with gambling and had to be rescued by his father. He is stuck there as his history books and screenplays are nothing nobody wants. He wrote a new play, something his wife could star in, but his father won’t fund it. It could help him break away-could he have murdered his father for freedom?

Magda (Gillian Anderson [Yes Scully from X-Files]) is a former actress in the theater. Her husband and father-in-law have both thrown money at her plays and lost and lost. Now this screenplay could be her ticket back to stardom but Archimedes would not pay. Did she do it?

Roger (Christian McKay) inherited one of the family buisnesses, the catering and restaurants. He completely dropped the ball on it, his dad constantly having to pull him out of a black hole. This time his dad said no more money. Did Roger take care of it?

Clemency (Amanda Abbington) has never wanted to stay in the crooked house. She has always wanted to leave, but her husband was Daddy’s boy and never could. Did she finally snap and take care of it?

Sophia was called back from Sotheby’s to “help” with the family business, however she didn’t do much. Did she regret being in the house? Did she want to leave and felt there was only one way out?

Eustace had polio when he was younger, giving him a limp in one leg. His grandfather made him be tutored at home, i order to “keep him from being bullied.” But Eustace has always resented this control and being stuck in the house his whole life. He wants to go out, be with real people, out in life. Did he finally snap?

Hmm…

Josephine is always writing and scribbing in her notebook-a Harriet the Spy. She goes from room to room watching, observing-mostly undetected. Did she see something? Or was she mad that he stopped her dream of becoming a ballerina?

Hmm…

To make things worse, Charles still has feelings for Sophia. Will this cloud his judgement?

Which one which one? And will Charles survive the crooked house?

Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels, nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are actually a prince
  • One is  a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it  vulgarly, what do you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

St-Patricks-Day-Flowers.jpg

Yes it is time for our annual countdown of great Irish heroes from film and books. Let me tell you, this year was hard. I had two, then that grew to seven in August. After a lot of thinking, it finally rounded out to seventeen.

I’m great

But then I realized one of those on my list wasn’t actually Irish!

I was sunk.

It was down to the wire…but with a little luck I finally found someone.

irishblessing

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17) Lady Bess Sedgwick from At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie

At Bertram’s Hotel is a Miss Marple mystery, in which Miss Marple goes on vacation for a fortnight to the place she though was the most delightful place of her youth, Bertram’s Hotel. Miss Marple enjoys the hotel, it looking as if it hadn’t changed a bit since she was young, but at the same time feels uneasy. It almost seems as if there is evil lurking about the place. Besides old friends she sees Lady Bess Sedgwick, best described as an adventurer, and also becomes interested in the interactions of a young girl, Elvira Blake. Soon a train is robbed, a Canon goes missing, jewelry is stolen, young girls are running off to Ireland, a race car driver is causing discord with mother and daughter, the doorman is murdered: and Bertram’s is right in the middle of it.

Why Lady Bess Sedgwick is Awesome: *Contains Spoilers*

Bess Sedgwick is an amazing person who has done everything daring you can think of. She was a member of the French Resistance, she fought German troops, she flew solo across the Atlantic, driven racing cars, saved two children from a burning building, and is the second best dressed woman in England. But she isn’t all great- she has a string of marriages, gave her daughter up to her ex- husband (and guardians after his death never having contact with her), is a crime syndicate boss and thief. However, what earned her a spot on this list was that even though she spent her whole life being selfish and just doing what she wants and likes, is that when her daughter was in trouble she was there for her and tried to take the blame for her to let her daughter live. It might not have been the morally right thing to do, but it showed how much she loved her daughter in that she was willing to sacrifice everything for her daughter.

For more Agatha Christie, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

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16) Shannon Christie from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter, Shannon (Nicole Kidman), on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanent, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land in the West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West will not be an easy one.

Why Shannon Christie is Awesome:

At first she appears to be nothing but a spoiled brat, but as we continue to watch the film Shannon has some real hutzpah. She will not live off Joseph, but sets off to help provide for their travel West, working in horrible conditions of a chicken factory. When she and her family finally go West, she is instrumental in showing them the skills she learned and teaching them what they must do to survive now that they are no longer gentry, but just like everyone else.

For more on Far and Away, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

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15) Professor Laurence MacKay from Please Don’t Eat the Daises

Professor Laurence MacKay (David Niven) is leaving the academic world to become a drama critic. His wife, Kate (Doris Day), is at first thrilled for him, but as he becomes more sought after and being invited to parties nearly every night; she starts to wonder if the fame will go to his head and that he will change for the worse. When the lease comes up on their apartment, and they find themselves going to homeless, they decide to live their dream of being in the country. However, Laurence finds it hard adjusting to country life and the constant repairs of the house. Kate sends him back to New York to finish his book, while she completes the house. Throw in the mix a Broadway writer angry at his bad review plotting revenge on the MacKays and a starlet setting out to seduce Laurence; and you have one highjink-filled film.

Why Professor Laurence MacKay is Awesome:

Laurence does spend a majority of the film a jerk as fame and flattery have turned him from the person he was into this stranger; but when such things are pointed out to him, he realizes his mistakes and the old Laurence resurfaces. Above all he loves his wife and his children, turning down the siren and staying true to them.

For more on David Niven, go to On the 7th Day ‘Til Christmas: The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

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14) Regan Reilly from The Regan Reilly Mysteries by Carol Higgins Clark

Regan is the daughter of mystery writer Nora Reilly, and funeral director Logan Reilly. Instead of joining either parent’s professions, she decides to become a private investigator.

Why Regan Reilly is Awesome:

She is a great private detective who is always looking in every direction for the answer to any problem that may come her way. She is a likable character,intelligent, along with being caring and compassionate. I am looking forward to reading more of her novels.

For more on Regan Reilly check out my sister blog Mysterious Eats with Decked

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13) Bridget Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, middle child, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is the youngest, an adorable sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Bridget Hennessy is Awesome:

While at first Bridget only cares about her looks and popularity, we see that as the show progresses and she grows up that her character develops and she begins to extend in her interests and hobbies. She cares about her family and tries to be there for them; especially after the death of her father. The fact that her ex-boyfriend is dating her sister bothers her at first, but ultimately she cares more about her sister and wants her to be happy. She may not be the most intelligent person in schoolwork, but her kindness and compassion grows with her.

I love the episodes when she dates her tutor Jeremy, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I wish they had had more of him.

For more on 8 Simple Rules, go to It’s Fantastico!

12) Finn O’Finnegan from Too Many Leprechauns Or How That Pot o’ Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow by Stephen Krensky

Finn O’Finnegan returns home and finds that leprechauns have invaded his town of Dingle, making shoes and keeping anyone from the town from sleeping, working, or cooking, etc. O’Finnegan comes up with a plan to out trick them, and be able to enjoy his mother’s soda bread.

Why Finn O’Finnegan is Awesome:

This is a cute children’s book with a great main character in O’Finnegan. He looks like a rogue or a rascal, so a lot of people don’t trust him; but it doesn’t matter what he looks like, he has brains in his head and uses them to not only outsmart the Leprechauns, but save his whole village. A hilarious story and perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day.

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11) Sharon McKendrick from The Parent Trap

Susan is traveling to camp from California. She meets Sharon from Boston. This wouldn’t be unusual except for the fact that they look exactly alike. That’s right, Sharon and Susan are twins, separated after their parents divorced, as each took one sister home with them. The two become friends and decide to switch places in order to get to know the other parent and reunite their parents. Unfortunately, a lot has changed while Susan was away. Her father met someone and is engaged! Now the girls are trying to reformulate their plan to break up her dad and his fiancé, and get their mom and dad back together.

Why Sharon is Awesome:

So both girls are Irish on their mom’s side, but as Susan wasn’t really raised by her mother, I decided to include only Sharon.

Sharon is very talented in music, conversation, art, elocution, etc. She is also very intelligent, putting together the fact that they are siblings long before Susan.

We also see that out of the two, Sharon is quieter and kinder; trying to be friends, or at least civil, with Susan in the beginning, only going to war after the first shots were fired. Sharon is also very brave as she lets her untrained sister cut her hair and pierce her ears, (there are some things I would never let my sister do even though I love her). A fun and sweet character you can’t help but love (and so much better than the remake.)

For more on The Parent Trap, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more Hayley Mills, go to That Darn Cat

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10) Paul Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules

Paul Hennessy (John Ritter) is a sports writer, protective father, and loving family man. His wife is Cate, a nurse, and they have three kids: Bridget the eldest is beautiful and only cares about fashion, looks, and boys; Kerry, suffers from insecurities about her looks and is the smart, studious one; and Rory is adorable and a sports nut. With each episode we balance comedy and drama as they deal with real life issues.

Why Paul Hennessy is Awesome:

Paul Hennessy is a great dad. At times he can be a little overprotective of his girls, but he only wants the best for them. He knows how guys are and he wants to help their teen years be good ones, (he also is having a hard time letting go). As always John Ritter is hilarious, I just like to think of Paul Hennessy being Jack Tripper with a family.

For more on John Ritter, go to She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

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9) Sarah Nolan from Must Love Dogs

Sarah (Diane Lane) is a 40-year old, divorced, kindergarten teacher. Her brother and sisters are all happily married, and her father is dating (on the internet); so they all think it is time she put herself out there and started again. After an embarrassing snafu in which she ends up accepting an email invite from her father, she tries to navigate the dating world, both electronically and physically. As she begins dating, she finds herself drawn between two very different men: the strong, silent, divorced, father of one of her students (Dermot Mulroney); and the talkative, less orthodox, unexpected, recently divorced boat craftsman (John Cusack). Whom will she choose? Or will this voyage into dating confirm that she is better off with a dog?

Why Sarah is Awesome:

I like that Sarah is a very real character, expressive of people today who are lost in the new way of dating; along with being comfortable in herself and what she likes/wants. She enjoys a quiet life of being with friends, family, animals to love, old movies to watch, etc. You connect to her because she could easily be you, a friend, a family member; she just feels so real.

Also Sarah is brave to begin dating after her jerk of a husband. She also is sweet and funny (only negative, it takes her a while to spot the real winner of the two men.)

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8) Lady Henrietta Flusky from Under Capricorn

This film takes place in early 19th Century Australia. Australia has formerly been a place where England sent their criminals: serving out their sentence and living there, or returning home to England. Now however, more and more “good” citizens have found themselves emigrating to Australia and civilizing the towns. The new Governor, Sir Richard, arrives bringing along his foppish, indolent, “rich boy” nephew, Charles Adare. Charles meets, Samson “Sam” Flusky, an ex-convict, former murderer, and prospering land owner. He intrigues him in a business deal and brings Charles to his house, in which he meets Sam’s wife, Lady Henrietta, who turns out to be an old family friend. Charles soon spends all his time at the house and finds something strange about Henrietta’s actions, as she is no longer the same woman he knew. As with all Alfred Hitchcock films, there is suspense, mystery, and an old secret’s truth is revealed.

Why Lady Henrietta Flusky is Awesome:

Now if my little synopsis has encouraged you to watch the film, then stop reading. If you aren’t interested in watching the film, proceed.

Lady Henrietta spends most of the film going insane from her guilt at killing her brother, the guilt of Sam taking the blame for it, not understanding Sam’s drive (he feels unworthy of her), unable to figure out how to talk to him, and being harassed by a maid who is hoping to replace her as Mrs. Flusky.

However, we discover later how much Henrietta cares for her husband. She loves only him and would do anything to help him. When an accidental shooting looks like he will spend the rest of his days in prison, she is willing to speak up and admit who really killed her brother, (something she would have done in the beginning to save him but was stopped by Sam), and go to prison if it means securing Sam’s freedom. She loves him and would do all she can to help him in any way.

For more on Under Capricorn, go to I Would Suffer Anything to Save You: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more Ingrid Bergman go to Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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7) George McFly from Back to the Future

In Back to the Future Marty McFly, Michael J. Fox, accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents not to meet. So not only does he have to discover a way to get back to the future, he also has to get them back together before he ceases to exist.

Why George McFly is Awesome:

George is an incredibly sweet, intelligent, and talented guy. He’s the type that you always want for a friend. A geek, he has never dreamed of stepping out and taking a risk; even though he is in love with Lorraine. However, with a little encouragement from Marty, (and Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan), he will do anything to stand up and protect the person he cares most about.

For more on George McFly and Back to the Future, go to I Will Face My Fears for You: Back to the Future (1985)

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6) Macaulay “Mike” Connor from The Philadelphia Story

Tracy Lorde (Katherine Hepburn), high society girl, is planning on getting married again and wants everything to go perfect, but unfortunately that is not in the cards. First, her ex-husband C. K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) returns to her life trying to reunite. Spy Magazine wants to do a feature on her and have sent in a reporter, Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Jimmy Stewart), and a photographer to do the story. She has to contend with them snooping around and try to hide that her father has run off with a dancer. She enlists her uncle to pretend to be her father, which as you can tell brings on gaffes and guffaws. As Tracy spends time with Dexter Haven, Connor, and her fiancé George Kittredge; she starts to wonder who it is she is really in love with and wishes to marry.

Why Mike Connor is Awesome:

Mike is a top reporter: sarcastic, snoopy, cynical, sharp edged, cold, and full of wit. However, while he seems like your typical newshound, there is much more to him than meets the eye. Connor has a romantic soul; a compassionate and tenderness about him that is revealed in the short stories he has written and when he romances Tracy. At first he is a little prejudiced at the upper class, seeing them as snobs looking down at him; but when such judgement is proved false he realizes his mistake and finds himself enjoying the company of the upper crust. A great character and played wonderfully by the fantastic Jimmy Stewart.

For more on Jimmy Stewart, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

5) Detective Phoebe O’Hara from Kindergarten Cop

Detective John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been on the case of putting away drug dealer Cullen Crisp for a long time. Every time they get a witness, Crisp somehow finds out and takes them out. The only one left is his ex-wife, but she took off with their child, and changed their names. They have managed to locate the area she was in, but have no idea their names or what they look like. All they know is that the child is six years old. He is partnered with Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed), ex-kindergarten teacher turned detective. They are going to pretend to be husband and wife while she teaches at the school in order to hunt out which kid is Cullen Crisp Jr. Unfortunately, O’Hara gets food poisoning and Kimble has to be the teacher. He thinks it will be a cinch, but those of us who have worked with kids know nothing is ever that easy.

Why Detective Phoebe O’Hara is Awesome:

I just love this character. Here is a petite woman who is is incredibly strong and able to hold her own against the toughest criminals. She is intelligent and quick witted, assessing situations and navigating them on the fly. For instance, when she realizes that Kimble is attracted to one of the teachers, she rewrites their cover story in seconds, becoming his “sister” and flawlessly speaking in an Austrian accent. I also love that she is always eating, and not just healthy food, but good food, calories don’t matter. Besides that she is hilarious, every time she is on the screen I am cracking up. A fantastic and fun character.

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4) Doris Walker from Miracle on 34th Street

Doris is in charge of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade but is experiencing a major problem when the person she hired to be Santa is drunk! Luckily she finds a man who is the exact image of Santa and can have him fill in, a man who goes by Kris Kringle. He is then hired on at the store and becomes even more invested in her life as he moves in with her  neighbor (and guy she is interested in); along with befriending her daughter and helping teach her how to be a child. But when Kris insists that he is the “real” Santa Claus, it lands him in a mental facility, the only way out?A huge court case to determine whether or not Santa is “real”.

Why Doris Walker is Awesome:

So some of you might be wondering, how do I know that Doris Walker is Irish, after all, Walker is an English name? Well, first of all Walker is her married name so it has no bearing on her ethnicity, and secondly: every character that O’Hara plays is Irish because she is Irish.

Doris Walker is a great character because here is a woman who was so totally destroyed by her husband’s misdeeds (we are never told what they are but they must have been bad), but works hard to not only provide for herself and her daughter; but be sure to spend as much quality time with her. She is kind and caring, not wanting Kris at first in her life, but once she gets to know him finds herself falling for his charm and wanting to help him in any way. She stands up to others trying to trick him and get rid of him, vowing to be no part of their evil plan. She spends a lot of time going against imagination, blind trust, and faith for realism; but in the end realizes she is wrong and tries to raise her daughter to believe in those intangible things and to believe in Kris. “I was wrong when I told you that, Susie. You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him.” She even “writes a letter to Santa”, encouraging and supporting him.

For more on Miracle on 34th Street, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Maureen O’Hara, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

3) Andrew O’Brien from Copper

Copper is about the NYPD in the mid 19th century. New York is a crazy place with the Civil War  going on bringing tension between Southerners and Northerners; the racial clashes between “Americans”, “White” Europeans, Irish, and African-Americans. Corky is one of the “coppers” trying to keep the notorious Five Points in line with its murders, thievery, prostitution, opium trade, etc.

Why Andrew O’Brien is Awesome:

Andre O’Brien is a good man. He is good to his woman, making her his one and only, along with not staying out too late but being home at night (as if he didn’t she would probably belt him). He’s a good friend, always  there for Corky when he is needed, no matter the job. Honorable and loyal to the end. He is also a good cop; protecting, patrolling, and caring for the people in his community. That’s why I put him up so high, he’s all around a great man and as everyone knows a good man is hard to find.

For more Copper, go to Simply Fantastic

2) Father Lonergan from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born Boxer Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one but Father Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland Thornton tries to adapt to the culture and at the same time falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Father Lonergan is Awesome:

Father Lonergan is a kindly priest who cares about the people in the community and tries to help them in any way he can. He is the first to accept Sean Thornton into the community, as others are not quite so welcoming of an “American” (they don’t recognizing him as Irish). Father Lonergan is helpful in not only explaining the culture and the way life is to Thornton, but there to counsel him and Mary-Kate through their matrimony.

Even though Father Lonergan is Catholic, and is most of the people, when the Protestant church is about to be shut down by its overseers for lack of members, Father Langoren gets his congregation to pretend they are part of the church so that Rev. Playfair can remain in the area. Even though he might not agree on everything, Father Lonergan is there for any one who needs help in the community, no matter what.

But while Father Lonergan is a kind priest, there is a lot more to him than one would imagine. He is an avid boxing fan (which is how he knows Thornton’s secret) and the leader of the local IRA. For him he doesn’t want to have bloodshed or bombings (which is what most of us think of when we hear IRA), but he wants to unite the Irish people so that they achieving independence and freedom.

For more on The Quiet Man, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

1) Jessica B. Fletcher AKA J.B. Fletcher from Murder She Wrote

Jessica Fletcher is a retired, widowed schoolteacher from Cabot Cove, Maine. When she writes a book for fun she never dreamed it would take off as it did or that she would become one of the best-selling mystery writers in the United States. Besides writing her stories, Jessica always manages to come upon a mystery and murder. Using her Miss Marple-ian way of observing; she manages to solve every case she comes upon (and still have time to write).

Why Jessica B. Fletcher is Awesome:

No matter how wealthy, famous, or powerful she becomes: Jessica always stays the same. She never uses any of this to abuse others, manipulate those she comes across, or have it mold her into a different person. She still visits her extensive relatives, always having time to aid them in anything they need. She is never too busy to make new friends (from all walks of life), help a struggling writer, give advice when needed, tutor those who need help, fundraise for charities, etc. Even when she solves case after case, she never lords over the police or tries to take over investigations; she is respectful and offers her observations. She is kind, caring, understanding, compassionate, adorable, sweet, intelligent, and never says I told you so.

For more on Murder She Wrote, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

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So that ends my list for this year. You all know what I’ll be doing with the rest of my day. Eating some soda bread made by my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. And my yearly tradition, watching the Disney Channel Original Movie: The Luck of the Irish.

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For the 2013 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes 

For the 2014 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover: 17 More Irish Heroes

For the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day post, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

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I Started a Book Club

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So you all know how I enjoy reading:

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For years I’ve been trying to start a book club. I thought about doing one where we read a book, than watch the film version:

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But did that happen?

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Then I wanted to do a Jane Austen book club, where we read the books and the adaptations.

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But did I do that?

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Then I thought about doing a book club where we read the book and then do something like in the book; in essence “living” the book or acting it out. Like in Daring Chloe

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But did I do that?

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So finally I started one, but this one is simple. We read one book a month, each member having a month where they choose the book (any type), and then we meet and discuss it with good food.

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I don’t know how it will turn out, but if we make it to next year I’m planning on choosing Northanger Abbey or Persuasion to honor their 100th anniversaries.

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Right now the book we are reading is The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie. I’ll post after our meeting to see how it turns out!

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