Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the next month.

So the member who’s turn it was, was thinking of possibly doing a mystery. When our group met, she decided on this:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

Hmm…

Julia Stillwater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

This could get ugly.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

What have I gotten myself into?

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Seriously

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Hmm…

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Hmm…

So let’s start with what I didn’t care for or thought wasn’t as finished.

1)First of all Jillian is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable.

Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California.

2) What happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

3) There are a lot of little details missing.

Hmm…

In my class, The History of the Novel, we read an article about how hard it is for a nonfiction author to switch to fiction as there are a lot of little things they aren’t used to writing about-how they look, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, etc. Moore falls into the same issue as she doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Julianna “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut?

I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

4) The mystery isn’t really mysterious

I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal

So what was good?

1) The characters

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more of my book clubs reads, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

For more mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

So after this book it is my turn to pick the next book. I was going to bring a few choices to the meeting and pulled out a western, as you know I love stuff like that:

I also took out My Fair Godmother as that book cracks me up.

I was trying to think of a third option, when I decided on one book that’s been sticking in my mind:

Yes, my book club is going to read The Darcy Monologues. This will be very interesting as:

  1. One member has read the book and seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 versions.
  2. One member has only seen the 1995 and 2005 versions, never read the book.
  3. And the other member has not seen any film or read the book.

Will they love it? Will they hate it? I don’t know, but I am sure of one thing:

And we all know what I thought of it:

Read what I think of Part I: The Regency and Part II: Other Eras

Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

So a while back I reviewed a Jane Austen mystery, Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged).  I enjoyed  the first book, although I did solve the mystery quickly, but it was very well written and worth reading.

So while the first book focused only on Pride & Prejudice characters (and ones she made up) this one combines P&P with Sense and Sensibility.

A mashup

Sense and Sensibility actually takes place in the 1790s, twenty years before Pride and Prejudice. All the characters have been aged accordingly so they match up with the Pride and Prejudice ones. It can be a bit confusing when the characters are no longer how they were in their book.  To make it less confusing, I will give a brief reminder of the plot of Sense & Sensibility.

So the Dashwood family:

The estate of Norland belongs to Old Mr. Dashwood. When he was sick he was visited by his family and found young Henry Dashwood, John’s son, to be just so adorable that he entailed it to the men in his family. After he died Mr. Henry Dashwood, the elder, ended up dying and the estate passed over his second wife and daughters going to his son John, (which would ultimately go to his son, young Henry.)

John promised his father to help his sisters, but with an ambitious wife; that quickly ended.

John’s wife is horrible, just evil. Fanny, the demon wife, convinces John to give no money to the sisters as they really “are not his siblings”. She then rearranges the whole household and makes life unbearable for all.

John also has an incredibly bratty son, Henry:

When Fanny’s brother visits, she sees that he and Elinor like each other, but as Elinor is too poor for her soon to be wealthy brother Edward, she ends that immediately. The second Dashwood family all move from their home to renting out Barton’s Cottage, owned by Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin.

They spend a lot of time with Sir John, as he constantly invites them over so that they can eat well, as money is extremely tight. Eventually after all kinds of twists and turns, the two eldest girls marry the men of their dreams and the story ends happily. If you haven’t read it you should.

**Spoilers**

So Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana, and Kitty are all heading to London for a “London Season” as they are husband hunting for Kitty. They are invited to Sir John’s where they meet him and his wife (sadly I think Mrs. Jennings the mother-in-law has passed on) and their now adult children. Also there is the young Mr. Henry Dashwood, who is now no longer a boy, but a young man in his twenties. He meets Kitty and immediately finds her to be a fantastic partner, good conversationalist, and all around enjoys her company.

Only one problem, he thought she was Georgiana Darcy.

The next day it seems as if all the men were only interested in Georgiana, not Kitty, as she is going to bring an extremely large dowry.

Except for Mr. Henry Dashwood. After he discovered his blunder, he still spent the night with Kitty and fell for her. That works perfectly with Kitty as she has fallen head over heels for him.

While everyone finds him agreeable, and Elizabeth definitely thinks that he will be a good match for Kitty; Mr. Darcy thinks of him as a fop and a dandy wanting Kitty with someone who has more brains.

He goes to talk to Henry, and discovers that his lack of business isn’t from him not caring, but from not being instructed on how to run an estate. It turns out that his parents sent him away to school immediately and he has spent hardly any time with family or at Norland. However, he is eager to learn and Darcy soon takes him under his wing.

Henry has won over the whole family, but soon Fanny arrives to meet Kitty.

Here I am!

Fanny does not like Kitty as she is too poor and would rather spear Georgiana with her impressive dowry. But Henry will not be deterred, as he invites them to his 21st birthday and proposes to Kitty.

Everything seems to be going well, until Henry finds an old strange mirror and a painting of his notorious great-great uncle Sir Francis Dashwood. Soon after Henry starts acting completely different-gambling nonstop, drinking, carousing with all women (married and single of every class). What could have happened to him to make him so much worse than his nefarious relation? Could he be possessed?

So what did I think? Did I like it?

No

I thought this book ran into a few problems and wasn’t as good as the first one.

1) Henry Dashwod was too likable.

So when you read Sense and Sensibility, you don’t like Henry. He is a total brat and completely annoying.

But in this book they made him tooo likable. This caused problems as that reading about his possession made it sad because you knew it wasn’t him, and this poor guy has lost everything.

Secondly, because he is so likable, you know that he isn’t the one doing all these horrible things and that something has caused him to have a personality shift. It wasn’t a real mystery, like in the first novel, as you weren’t sure if Caroline was hypnotized or going insane.

2) No Mystery

In the first book, Caroline starts acting weird after she was married. This makes us wonder is someone making her act this way like in Gaslight or is she actually going crazy?

Crazy eyes

Secondly, there are a multitude of suspects:

  1. Mr. Kendall– He could be trying to kill the Bingleys because of the money he feels that he has been cheated out of. He also could be trying to get rid of Caroline because of his daughter being thrown over. Remember, his daughter was with Caroline when her horse bolted.
  2. Mr. Hurst– If his debts are as extremely high as Elizabeth suspects, he might be trying to kill his relations off for money.
  3. Professor Randolph– Professor Randolph has been drifting from place to place as most don’t feel his studies are legitimate. Now that Caroline is crazy, he has room and board as the prime caretaker for Caroline. Maybe he is making her seem crazy, and could even be trying to make it look as if she set the fire, to only further cement Mr. Parrish’s need of him.
  4.  Mr. Parrish- He only married Caroline for her money and is trying to remove her from the picture. He is supposed to be extremely wealthy, but for some people what they have is never enough. Besides, he could be lying about how wealthy he is, or have hidden debt that they don’t know about.

In this however, we immediately know that Henry is being possessed as the writer gives it away in the beginning introduction and the back of the novel. Instead we are just waiting for events to unfold.

Yeah, I don’t like those kind of mysteries. That’s how Death Comes to Pemberley was (the book, not the TV miniseries. The miniseries is better.)

3) Hardly Any Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon, or Edward In It

I’m sorry but I don’t know why they were missing so much in this novel. We LOVE this characters so if we are reading something to so with Sense and Sensibility we want to have then in the book. It was a crime to not have very much of them.

4) Supernatural Seems Like an Afterthought

This is a supernatural mystery (not Supernatural) but it takes a long time for the characters to reach that point and even evoke in anything. Professor Randolph is there for a second, and then the weirdest thing-the ever staunchly “realistic” Darcy decides to do battle with the demon mirror? I don’t know, it just seemed hastily thrown in, instead of carefully worked like in the previous book.

So we will see what the next book holds. Will it get better? Or worse?

There is one question though that this book presented that I think is worth mulling over. Who should Georgiana marry?

So I started thinking, out of all the non-attached Austen men, who would be the best match for Georgiana (yes I know the author might just make a new character like P.D. James did, but forget that lets focus on what Austen made.)? I narrowed it down to three characters who I think might work.

3) Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice

Pros: Known Georgiana a long time, is kind, caring, funny, amiable, etc.

Cons: Is like a brother to Georgiana, she might not be able to see past that. She might also think he is too old (which he isn’t).

For more on Colonel Fitzwilliam, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

2) James Morland from Northanger Abbey

Pros: James is a kind, compassionate, caring, and hardworking guy. He has studied constantly and will soon be taking his orders to become a minister. He is a kind older brother and has many traits, in that respect, shared with her brother. Educated, well read, etc.

Cons: Not from a wealthy family, but still does alright; naive, and like Bingley, more easily persuaded.

1) Lieutenant William Price from Mansfield Park

This is actually my top pick, I think they would be good for each other. I just see them as being a great couple, him so sweet and gentle with fragile temperaments. Georgiana needing someone who can be kind and caring.

Pros: Kind, caring, compassionate, honest, and hardworking.

Cons: While his mother came from a high class family, she married down (although that wouldn’t really matter to Georgiana.) He is in the navy a peon, but he does get a great commission through Fanny’s connection to Henry Crawford.

For more on Lt. William Price, go to Let’s Hear it For the Boys

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Too Pretty

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

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

There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

the-secret-of-chimneys-v2

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

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

BookLifeNoBoredom

Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

Day 11) K is for Killer: Choose a book with a murderer

realmurders

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries #1) by Charlaine Harris

So you all know how much I love book sales.

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Part of the fun is the mystery that you never know what you are going to find at a sale.

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So one book sale I went to, it was the last day and they were trying to unload everything. It was a dollar a bag so I filled mine up with anything I found that sparked my interest.

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I can’t help it, it is an addiction.

BkHoarder

This one struck my eye as it was a mystery, involved a serial killer, and copying “real murders”.

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This was during my “I want to be a behavioral psychologist” phase, before Criminal Minds came out, and I would read anything on the subject. So this idea of someone copying real murders seemed like a hit idea to me.

loveitSupernatural

I enjoyed the book so much, that I reader it at least four times a year. The story is great, the characters fun, the mystery just perfect. It is a fantastic read and so engrossing! I just couldn’t put it down.

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I was shocked when I discovered that this was the same Harris that wrote the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries. I never would have made that connection as this isn’t as sex generated or full of supernatural characters.

Wow

Wow

And with Hallmark turning this book into a film, one that I can review for Horrorfest if I desire, what better time to choose to review this book?

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Aurora “Roe” Teagarden is in her late twenties and lives a pretty quiet life in Lawrenceton, Georgia. She works as manager for her mother’s condos and as a librarian.

MusicManLibrary

Her best friend moved away recently, and she isn’t seeing anyone romantically. The only other thing she  is really involved in, is the club Real Murders.

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A year ago there was a book signing of a true crime novel and several people from Lawrenceton traveled to the city to attend. When they realized they all shared an interest in true crime they created a group that meets once a month to discuss past crimes, try to figure out unsolved cases, and learn about police work or the criminal mind. Each time they meet a different person has a chance to create a program and share with the group.

Yes!

Yes!

Their group consists of Roe: Jane Engle, retired school librarian and substitute, specializing in Victorian murders, particularly Madeline Smith; LeMaster Cane, African-American and interested in the racial killings of the ’60s and ’70s, especially the Zebra murders and Jones-Piagentini shootings; John Queensland, Roe’s mother’s boyfriend, an expert on Lizzie Borden; Sally Allison, newspaper reporter; Perry Allison, Sally’s son, is not quite all there and shows an unhealthy interest in the Hillside Stranglers and the Green River killer; Gifford Doakes and his friend (boyfriend?) Reynaldo, who likes massacres such as St. Valentine’s Day or the Holocaust; Detective Arthur Smith, interested in studying old crimes and seeing how police worked the case; Bankston Waites and his girlfriend Melanie; Benjamin Greer, guy who has tried everything to “belong”; Gerald Wright and his jealous wife Mamie.

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Tonight is Roe’s night to share and she is covering the Wallace case from the 1930s, where William Herbert Wallace was convicted for killing his wife Julia. She is a little nervous and heads over slightly early. This month Mamie is the opener of the VFW hall they rent, followed by Sally who is in charge of refreshments. When Roe gets there she looks around for the others, but instead receives a phone call asking to speak to Julia Wallace.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

Roe cant find Mamie, but runs into Sally. As more people arrive, Roe finds it even odder they haven’t found Mamie in the building.

strange things are afoot at the circle k

Surprisingly Elizabeth Ann “Lizanne” Buckley, the  most beautiful and easily bored woman in town, comes to the meeting and brings Robin Crusoe, mystery writer.

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Roe can’t brush off Mamie’s disappearance and starts searching the building for her. As she looks, she comes across her dead body.

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Roe goes into shock over seeing her that way, but notices  the similarities between this and the Wallace case. So eerily similar that someone must have copied it and arranged the body.

OMG gasp

Everyone is subjected to long questioning, with Officer Arthur Smith making plans to meet with Roe the next day and get more information on the Wallace case.

The next day comes and Roe is finally able to give the talk she practiced.

Wallace Herbert Wallace was a Liverpool insurance salesman (like Gerald), and married with no children (just like the Wrights). Wallace had a regular schedule for collecting insurance payments from subscribers to his company and he bring the money home on Tuesdays. Wallace played chess and was entered in the tournament at his local club. There was a chart on the wall detailing when each person would play, one anybody could see.

Wallace didn’t have a phone at home and received a message from another member who had taken a call from a “Qualtrough” to meet him at his house the next evening.

Now the call came when Wallace wasn’t at the club so he could have left it himself at a phone booth down the way. H talks about the message with his friends at the club; is he puzzled or just trying to instill the message in other’s minds?

The next night Wallace goes out to meet Qualtrough. Qualtrough left the address Menlove Gardens East, but no such place exists. Wallace asks many people for help, even a policeman. Is he set on getting the new client or is he just trying to create an alibi?

Wallace returns home but his key won’t work. Julia has bolted the front door for some reason and won’t answer any knocks on the door. A couple who lives next door hears him as he heads in the back to get into the house; Wallace and the couple enter the house and see things out of place.

The box where the insurance money is usually held has been rifled. Wallace checks the house and finds his wife in the parlor, a room rarely used. Julia is lying in front of the gas fire with a raincoat under her, and she has been beaten to death brutally, but not raped; just like Mamie.

There was no real case against Wallace, just a lot of circumstantial evidence and pressure to arrest the killer.

Roe is absolutely disgusted with this killer. They killed Mamie not because she was Mamie or they had an issue with her; something that would be partially understood psychologically, but only because she was an insurance salesman’s wife and childless.

you're evil

And who will be next and which criminal will they be following next? Jack the Ripper? Ed Gein? The Blackburn Baby Killer?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Later Roe heads to the store and right into Robin Crusoe. Robin is interested in the case, and wants to know more along with getting away from his disheveled house.

While he is there a package comes to Roe, but it is actually for her mother, Aida Teagarden, and sent by Roe’s father. Roe lets her know and she comes right over.  The package is Mrs. See’s chocolate, her favorite!

Chocolate makes everything better

But it is a bit odd that Roe’s father, Aida’s ex, would send her chocolate; and even stranger that it took six days to get from the city, an hour away.

weirdtwilightzone

Aida opens up the container and picks up a caramel filled one, when Roe notices that there is a puncture underneath.

OMG gasp

She stops her mom and they look at all the cream filled ones. They all have punctures.

suspicious Hmm

Arthur and his partner, Lynn Ligget, come to question the group about the event and later it is revealed that the chocolates were poisoned. This murder copies the Botkin Case, as it appears someone is trying to kill all those in the group, or their family, copying real murders.

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Aurora calls a meeting of Real Murders to see if they can figure out who the killer might be, who dislikes any of them? But no one is helpful and the group disbands.

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Unfortunately that does not stop the killing, as Benjamin Greer’s boss, potential mayoral candidate is killed in the bathtub, the same way as Marat during the French Revolution.

ouch Hermione

Meanwhile, amidst the killings, Roe has struck the interest of Robin and Arthur. Both men she finds very attractive, and who will win out as the series progresses? (For me I like Robin. Arthur is too egotistical and just expects her to go along with him even though he doesn’t really ask her like he should.)

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But Roe has more on her mind than love, what murder will be copied next and which of her friends will be the next victim?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

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I won’t reveal any more as the ending is great. You will definitely have to check this book out for yourself. What a twist!

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The other thing I like about this is that it isn’t gruesome but very intellectual, with all the past true crime that was researched, it is just fascinating to boot.

loveitSupernatural

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Midnight in Austenland

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For more on Charlaine Harris, go to Life’s A Journey

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For more on serial killers, go to The Butcher of Burtonsville High: The Death of the Queen Bee, Bones (2010)

For more Alex Flinn quotes, go to I Don’t Wanna Be in Love (Dance Floor Anthem)

christmas-flowers-banner Today I thought we would go all Southern, as this this book takes place in the South. So we are going to have Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley.

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This song was written in 1948 by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson, but didn’t become a popular Christmas Carol until the King recorded it in 1957. What can I say? We love Elvis.

ElvisPresleypandemonium

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For more on Elvis, go to Fandom Love

For more Christmas Carols, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

Midnight in Austenland

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on...

Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.

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I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.

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This book was AMAZING!!!!!

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It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Putting on my crime-solving cap on.

I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.

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So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park, is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.

While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

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Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.

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Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.

Wow

Wow

She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.

heartbroken

Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.wantYoutoStay

She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Not good

Not good

She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30

  • Get married [✓]
  • Have a baby [✓✓]
  • Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro…
  • Understand Physics [✓ish]
  • Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
  • Read Jane Austen…?

Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading

JaneAusten

And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.

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And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.

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Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books

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And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.

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Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.

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And possibly a proposal…

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Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.

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As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.

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Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…

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Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.

the-grady-twinsPride&Prejudice Elizabeth Jane come play with us the shining

That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?

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As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.

And run fast

And run fast

When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:

Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.

shiver

The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.

The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.

No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”

Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….

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The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.

I love it!

I love it!

Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.

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The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.

(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)

“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.

Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”

Gilmore girls creep

Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.

When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.

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However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.

Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.

That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.

That guy!

That guy!

This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.

im-back

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This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.

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That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.

CaptainPlanetFireWheeler

Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.

weirdtwilightzone

The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues.  After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.

ouch Hermione

Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.

Not good

Not good

She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Not a good call at all.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.

Jerk

The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.

regency christmas 4

But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.

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They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.

irongiantreallyhmmokayyeahright

Hmm…

That night is stormy, spooky, gray…

rainydayperfectday

Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!

I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…

The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.

StarWarsComaSleep

They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.

They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.

One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.

mrtilneynorthangerabbeysass

Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.

She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.

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The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.

They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.

strange things are afoot at the circle k

She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.

Whatever.jpg cheese fries

Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.

Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.

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After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!

Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.

-James saw the children 75% less than before

-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes

-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners

-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended

That night they read the diary:

Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?

The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?

suspicious Hmm

Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.

You're so cute

Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?

Gilmore girls creep

The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.

letter

After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.

Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.

Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!

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They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.

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The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:

Among the dusty tomes stands

The work of the saint

And one girl’s confessions

Penned without constraints

They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.

OMG gasp

That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:

  1. The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
  2. The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
  3. Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
  4. Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
  5. Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
  6. The next morning the body was gone.

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Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.

They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.

suspicious Hmm

Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.

Broken Heart

Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.

OMG gasp

They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!

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Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?

WhoDoneItMystery?whodunit

Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!

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So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.

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And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.

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And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.

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I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!

find mr.tilney

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to Austenland

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?

In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.

I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Day 3) C is for Childhood: Choose a book you used to check out repeatedly when you were a Child.

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So there are lots of books I used to read over and over again as a child.

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The ones I remember reading the most were The Chronicles of Narnia and the children’s version of The Phantom of the Opera.

But there is another book(s) that I used to read over and over, Sherlock Holmes short stories.

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As I have mentioned before, I grew up reading the Great Illustrated Classics series and that introduced me to the character Sherlock Holmes. After I read one children’s’ collection, I read every short story there was about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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I even read stories based on him, like the Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries, (which was like Choose Your Own Adventure), and I was a giant fan of Basil of Baker Street.

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So yeah, I was obsessed.

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I thought Sherlock Holmes was so cool and wanted to be like him.

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The only thing I didn’t read were the Sherlock Holmes novels, I guess because my library didn’t have those available in children’s form. I actually didn’t read those until I was an adult.

Oh well.

Oh well.

I remember one day we were traveling somewhere and were listening to Sherlock Holmes on tape; and I was the only one in the car who had read the ones being read before hearing them on cassette. It was weird as a child to think I knew something my parents didn’t.

Thinking Hmm

So there are a lot of stories to choose from and of course I don’t have the time to talk bout them all. In fact out of all the stories I remember the most, they are from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, so I choose that collection over any other.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So I will only pick three stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man With the Twisted Lip, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.

***Spoilers***

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A Scandal in Bohemia

So many have probably read this story, seen the Sherlock version (which I hated), or heard of it.

I know this

I know this

A Bohemian Prince comes to Sherlock, first in disguise but of course Sherlock sees through that, to ask for his help. He is to be married, but before the engagement had sent letters and a photograph with the beautiful Irene Adler. He has tried to get it back through begging, payment, bribery, theft, etc; but nothing has netted it.

NO ONE

Sherlock does some reconnaissance on her and ends up being the witness at her wedding!

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Whattheheck

This strange turn of events doesn’t prepare Sherlock for how things will turn out for him.

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Sherlock continues on his plan, dressing up as a minister and having Watson create a fuss about fire in order to determine the secret hiding place of the photo. He sees it as she goes to protect it; and thinks the case is finished, preparing to return the next morning before she leaves.

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On the way home he is greeted by a young boy, one he does not know but that isn’t very odd, after all he is a known figure. People are always addressing him.

The next day the three men set out to retrieve the painting, and find Irene gone.

Say What

She left a note explaining that she thought there was something suspicious about the “minister”, dressed up as a boy to research him, and figured out the plan of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of allowing him to do his plan, she bests him by leaving that night instead of the next day.

Not good

Not good

She leaves the picture behind, as married she no longer needs it; forever going down in history as the one who bested the greatest detective, and becoming the woman. The only one that ever beat him.

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The Man With the Twisted Lip

A wife is worried about her missing husband and calls upon Sherlock Holmes to help her. One day her husband was at work and she was walking down the street running an errand when she just happened to look up at a building and sees her husband!

What's going on?

What’s going on?

He’s in a room above an opium den! And he is so scared!

OMG gasp

She rushes up there as quick as she can but no husband, only a disgusting, deformed, dirty man.

What

What

She calls the police and as they investigate they discover his clothes in the river, blood in the room, but no body. They believe him to have killed her husband but they can’t figure out what happened to the body. For now he sits in a jail cell, with nothing being able to get him to talk or bath.

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Sherlock is puzzled and looks into the history of the man, but there is little to be found. All he can find out is that he moved there and makes good money to care for his family.

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

Sherlock believes the husband has been killed, but then a letter turns up in his handwriting with his signet ring. Sherlock is stuck…

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Until he goes to the bathroom and solves the case by looking at a bar of soap.

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He goes to the jail where they are holding the man and force him to clean up, revealing that he is the husband.

OMG gasp

It turned out that he used to be a reporter and went undercover to write a story about beggars. He was a great actor and did so well at doing nothing, he ended up making more money that way than being the reporter.

Whattheheck

He continued this lifestyle, hoping to never be found out and was surprised to find his wife; reacting quickly and not thinking of his actions. Sherlock makes him stop the begging as it is against the law, and another case solved.

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

Ever since I read that story every time I see people beg, this story comes back to me. He made more money begging than working? It just shocked me and makes me wonder if people today are like that guy in the story.

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The Adventures of the Copper Beeches

Violet Hunter goes to Sherlock Holmes for advice about whether or not she should take a position as a governess They are willing to pay her £120, but she has to get her hair cut short. It seems odd as her previous position only paid £48.

weirdtwilightzone

Nothing else seems amiss so Violet takes the job, Sherlock telling her to telegram him if they need anything.

After a fortnight (14 days), Sherlock gets a telegram. Things have gotten weirder since she started working at the house. They have her sit in the window wearing an electric blue dress and have her back to the window. After doing this for a while she hides a mirror in her handkerchief and sees a man staring up at her through the window.

irongiantreallyhmmokayyeahright

The child she is supposed to care for is a psychopath

Gilmore girls creep

There is a mastiff that is always hungry and let out at night, keeping Violet from being able to leave in the evening.

She also comes upon a drawer with her her hair in it!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it turns out to not be her hair but someone elses.

What?

What?

And then there is the mysterious wing that they can’t go in.

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

One day she sneaks in and she a shadow…

thebat1959shadowclaw

It freaks her out so she hurriedly leaves and gets away as soon as she can to post the telegram.

Sherlock arrives with Watson in tow and the two investigate. It appears that the family has been hiding someone away. As Sherlock studies everything, he comes to the conclusion that the family’s daughter is the one they are hiding. They chose Violet because she could pass for the daughter and used her to get rid of the daughter’s fiancé.

They look in the room, but the daughter is missing. The father, Mr. Rucastle, gets angry at them and sets the dog out after him. The dog has been starved more than usual and kills Mr. Rucastle.

Afterwards, they find the daughter, Alice, and her fiancé. It turns out that when Alice came of age she came into money from her mother’s will. The father was trying to get the money, but when the daughter wouldn’t give it she became sick with brain fever.

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As thought earlier, he hired Violet to pretend to be Alice and get rid of him. After this experience all go their separate ways, with Violet later becoming a principal of a girls’ school.

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I liked this one because it was really creepy. The child is horrid, and the rest so mysterious.

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So those are just three out of the many wonderful Sherlock Holmes stories. If you haven’t read them, you should get started immediately. They are sure to wow you at every turn. And if you have read them already, they are always worth another read; no matter how many times you do it!

Overandoverreadabookoscarwilde

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

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For more Sherlock Holmes, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

For more mysteries, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more Oscar Wilde quotes, go to When You Least Expect It

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Today’s Christmas Carol is Away in a Manger. 

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It was first published in 1883, and has stayed a popular carol since. Many attributed it to Martin Luther as being the writer, but that was discredited a long time ago. We don’t know who read it, but I’m sure Arthur Coan Doyle heard it so I thought it would be the perfect pairing with this book.

I love this song, as like the book reviewed, it was a big part of my childhood. It was probably the first Christmas Carol I ever learned and is one I sing every year.

The artist I choose was Bing Crosby, I just can’t get enough of him.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)

For more Christmas Carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

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That’s what we’re trying to find out! We’re trying to find out who killed him, and where, and with what!

So last year I had planned to review this film as it had just reached its 30th anniversary, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to and it was pushed back to this year.

I love the game Clue. I have been playing it as a child and still do. Out of everything this is my game. I didn’t read/watch all those mysteries for nothing!

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I rarely ever lose, that’s how good I am at this.

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

So one day after playing, my friend Stella asked if we had ever seen the film version of the game.

What

What

I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THERE WAS A FILM!!! We decided that we must watch it immediately.

So six strangers are invited to a mansion on a hill. There they meet the English Butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), and French maid Yvette (Colleen Camp). It turns out that all are being blackmailed and have been invited here.

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Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren) is the owner of an escort business and was found out by Mr. Boddy. Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) has had five husbands who “disappeared”, the last having “killed” himself by cutting off his head and manhood. Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd) lost his psychiatric license when he slept with his patients. Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull) has been caught in the act with prostitutes, Mr. Green (Michael McKean) is a homosexual, and Mrs Peacock (Eileen Brennan) was taking bribes.

When Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving) shows up, he gives each of the six invited guests a weapon.

Clue

Mr. Boddy reveals his plan:

Mr. Boddy: In your hands, you each have a lethal weapon. If you denounce me to the police, you will also be exposed and humiliated. I’ll see to that in court. But, if one of you kills Wadsworth now, no one but the seven of us will ever know. He has the key to the front door, which he said would only be opened over his dead body. I suggest we take him up on that offer. The only way to avoid finding yourselves on the front pages is for one of you to kill Wadsworth. NOW.

The lights go out but Wadsworth hasn’t been killed, instead it was Mr. Boddy. With all having a reason to kill him, there is only one question.

WhoDoneItMystery?whodunit

I won’t continue as this is a film you should see on your own. It is comedic, mysterious, and has a good sense of drama. The only thing I didn’t care for was that the characters don’t dress in the colors they are in the game. The beginning introduction moves a bit slow, although the dialogue is fast, but otherwise I thought it was a fun film.

I love Tim Curry, so he was a favorite in this.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to But If Any of It Fell Into the Wrong Hands…:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze (1991)

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For more on Clue, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

For more Horror-Comedy, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more mysteries, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

For more Tim Curry, go to Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play on Halloween

For more Christopher Lloyd, go to The Future is NOW!: Happy Back to the Future Day!

For more ’80s films, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

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So I am so excited about Death Comes to Pemberley.

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It’s not because I liked the book and wanted to see how it converted to screen, but because this means I will finally have something Jane Austen to review for Horrorfest!

Double double yay

The only thing I’ve been able to do that was Jane Austen in the month of October was a post where I dressed the Austen men up in costumes, but nothing like this! I can finally review something real! Oh, yay!

This is great

This is great

So the book, I didn’t really care for, and you can check out my post on that if you wish, but for now: let’s look at the TV show.

So this is the first time I have reviewed a miniseries for my blog and I thought about it and figured the best thing would be to review it episode by episode, rather than all at once like the Emma (1996) film review.

So I will just review episode one, and will continue to review the episodes every month or every two months. I haven’t decided yet.

Well that’s enough chit chat, am I right?

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

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So we begin with very serene landscape. Is this supposed to be contrast for what is to come or just the cinematographer showing off?

suspicious Hmm

Two maids are out in the forest, although they are not supposed to be. One is scared while the other, Joan is braver. What looms in the forest?

Stay out of the forest!

Stay out of the forest!

Both take off screaming. What have they seen?

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Were they afraid of the remains of his crazy grandfather?

So we move back to Pemberley

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There all are getting ready for the Queen Anne’s ball. Elizabeth is doing well with her preparations but is interrupted when the girls return and shout about seeing Mrs. Reilly’s ghost. Who is Mrs. Reilly? I thought it was Mr. Darcy’s ghost that haunted the woods.

GHostFantasia

I’m not sure I like this actress as Elizabeth Bennet-Darcy, she just doesn’t seem right, but of course there is still time to change my mind. I’ll reserve judgement until the end of the episode.

Something about you just doesn't seem right.

Something about you just doesn’t seem right.

Darcy seems so crazy, with his introduction of him yelling at everyone, I don’t like that. He’s not one to loose his temper easily, especially as this is something he does every year.

I don't like it 11

He and Elizabeth seem to be having issues, the way they interact, but then he writes her a love note. I don’t know, that scene seemed off for some reason.

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Darcy needs to get out of the house so he takes his son hunting with him. In the book I thought they had two sons. Oh well, neither one played a large role in the novel so I guess it doesn’t really matter of they only have one.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

When Mr. Darcy is about to get his horse ready, he and the butler have a few words. The butler’s son Will Bidwell, is incredibly ill. His father is heartbroken that he can’t do anything and that his son won’t take up his legacy.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Back inside, Elizabeth’s duties are done so she and Georgiana are having a private chat. Georgina has a secret smile which means only one thing.

Cinderella

So this is love…hmm…So this is love…so this is what makes life divine…

She’s in love. But with who?

Hmm...

Hmm…

Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives early as he has something on his mind. He wants to marry Georgina as he cares for her, has just inherited the family fortune (as his brother, the eldest died), and will be returning to war soon. Elizabeth isn’t sure how Georgiana feels about him, but has no objections as long as she cares for him.

Col. Fitzwilliam says he will have to ask Darcy first, and Elizabeth gets all mad saying it is Georgiana’s decision.

Whattheheck

Uh, seriously Elizabeth? You know how the world works. One has to ask the father, of if absent the guardian, and present his interest to them. It’s not like you just ran off to elope unless you wanted to disgrace your family like Lydia Bennet or Julia Bertram from Mansfield Park.

No thank youhowaboutno

So one thing I notice about this show is that it does  A LOT of shots of the beautiful scenary and landscapes. Now this isn’t something I would normally mind, but this is a mystery. You know it needs suspense, a different type of mood.

sensationhorrorshock_VincentPrice

Instead it is very light and pretty.

I don't like it 11

We then see Elizabeth visiting the Bidwells to deliver books to the sickly Will. Will’s sister has just returned from visiting their oldest sister and brought back her baby to visit, George.

They try to lift Will’s spirits, but his death is approaching and there is little that can be done, other than to try and make his last days happy.

And taxes

So all these pretty landscape shots are actually starting to get on my nerves. This is a MYSTERY!!  DEAT IS IN THE NAME.

It should be a certain way!

It should be a certain way!

Elizabeth suddenly comes across a well-dressed women in purple just standing in the forest. That was a bit creepy. She chases after her, but all that remains is her hat.

weirdtwilightzone

Then the music starts taking a creepier twinge and we hear rustling.

Now you are getting it!

Now you are getting it!

And the woman suddenly appears behind!

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And hisses?

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I don’t remember that in the book.  I’m pretty sure I would have remembered a hissing woman.

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Anyways, it does not bode well for the ball, no it does not at all.

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Mr. Henry Alveston arrives, a lawyer, and Georgina is ecstatic to see him.

Mmhm great gatsby

So this is what she was smiling about.

Then Mr. and Mrs. Bennet arrive.

Pride&PrejudiceMrBennetandElizabethBennet

Back at the local Inn, Denny and Wickham have been talking. Denny and him are fighting over something Wickham wants him to do, a note he would like delivered. Lydia joins them and they stop their arguments, continuing to the carriage.

Mr. Bennet sneaks off to the library for relief from the crowds.

LibraryOK

 They are all in the parlor where Georgiana is looking at the a book which has pictures of Col. Fitzwilliam’s castle. What started as a friendly discussion turns into a measuring contest between Fitzwilliam and  Alveston, as to who is the better man.

Men

Men

Colonel leaves suddenly for an evening ride. Strange….

Why is he leaving?

Why is he leaving?

Night comes and Denny yells for the carriage to stop, getting out. Wickham chases after him, leaving Lydia all alone in the carriage.

I don't like it 11

Mrs. Bennet finds a portrait of Wickham, and Elizabeth tries to get rid of it as it upsets both Darcys, but Mrs. Bennet can’t take the hint.

as always

as always

Luckily music always can change the subject.

MusicMakesaDifference

To stop Mrs. Bennet from going on, Darcy goes to ask Lizzy for a dance. While the two are dancing, Elizabeth lets Darcy know what is going on with Georgiana and how there are two men interested in her. Before they can finish their conversation they are interrupted as a carriage comes barreling through.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

It turns out to be Lydia who is in hysterics. She is so out of it that she has to be slapped to speak. When she finally can talk she tells them Wickham was shot.

OMG gasp

She heard the shot and came rushing back. She relates all that happened between Wickham and Denny being angry, them going off into the woods, etc. Just as they are preparing to go out. Col. Fitzwilliam rides up to the house.

Just at the exact time?

Just at the exact time?

 Lydia stops her freaking out to ask for her trunk as she doesn’t want her dress ruined.

Classic Lydia

Classic Lydia

Darcy just ignores it; calls for the doctor, and gets an expedition ready to head out. As they start, Darcy notices that Col. Fitzwilliam has a gun with him. Just in case he says.

suspicious Hmm

Now we go finally have some spooky shoots.

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FINALLY

 So the men split up as they start searching for Wickham.

Back at Pemberley, the doctor gives both Mrs. Bennet and Lydia a sedative as they are in hysterics. Elizabeth is hoping for the best, and that she can give them a hot meal and send them on their way, not planning for the Wickhams or Denny to stay long. Oh how our plans never quite go as imagined, eh.

The-best-laid-schemes-of-mice-and-men-often-go-awry-erobertFrost

They find Wickham with Dennys, him shouting that it is all his fault. His only friend in the world and he killed him. Fitzwilliam finds a pistol, and it has been recently fired.

Looks like Wickham is the killer.

Looks like Wickham is the killer.

It rains as they move everything back to the carriage to bring to Pemberley.

When they return to Pemberley, Wickham starts yelling that there is a killer out there somewhere, they need to go back and look in the woods.

Do the woods hold a killer or a ghost?

Do the woods hold a killer or a ghost?

Georgina has to face Wickham after years of hoping never to see his face and does quite well. But of course she is in love with Alveston, so it doesn’t affect her as much.

Over You

While Wickham is okay, Darcy has to call in Sir Selwyn Hardcastle the nearest magistrate, and must go get him immediately so as not to look like he is covering anything up. Darcy himself rides out to Hardcastle to inform him of the death.

Harcastle comes in and he doesn’t mess around. He looks at Wickham and is angry the housekeeper for cleaning his face, and tampering with evidence. They then go look at Dennys.

Dennys was bludgeoned to death, first smacked in the front of his head and then pounded in back. The news of this comes as quite a surprise.

What?

What?

But if he was bludgeoned in the head, why did everyone hear gunshots? What were they for?

Something just doesn't seem right.

Something just doesn’t seem right.

Elizabeth is wandering about Pemberley as she just can’t sleep. She then comes upon Col. Fitzwillliam burning a letter, Suspicious.

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Hardcastle stays on to interview Wickham as soon as he wakes. Elizabeth is told of the murder and she an Darcy just hold onto each other as they try to ponder this evil that has come to their home.

The next day Darcy tells Elizabeth the story of the “ghost” in the woods. A young boy Reilly was found poaching and instead of just getting a slap on the wrist they hanged him. His mother was extremely upset and and hanged herself in Pemberley woods. And now superstition is that her ghost appears whenever misfortune is about to strike.

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Elizabeth thinks maybe the woman that hissed at her is the “ghost” the maids saw in the beginning. But that woman was a real women, and who is she?

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They are called back to the house were Lydia is raving and ranting. Darcy’s son is upset and his father goes to comfort him, which gives us another touching scene of Darcy as a family man.

You're so cute

Hardcastle goes to talk to Wickham. Wickham says that he found Dennys dead and saw someone fleeing through the forest. He fired the gun at the guy, and then fired in the air again for help. When they ask about why Dennys was so upset, he left the carriage, Wickham tells him it is because he didn’t approve of Wickham crashing the party.

Classic Lydia

That just screams of a lie. Why would that make Dennys so infuriated that he couldn’t stand being around Wickham for another second. No, there is another reason…

But Wickham continues to proclaim his innocence.

“George Wickham: There is a murderer out there somewhere and you…you are wasting your time.”

Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, and Alveston are sitting waiting to see what will happen next when Alveston gives them some lawyerly advice. The best thing right now would be to think of sharing Wickham’s character. Do you think he could have killed him?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

Darcy doesn’t think so as he knows Wickham would do a lot of shifty and immoral things, but murdering his friend is not one of them. Alveston brings up that maybe he was changed by the war, but Col. Fitzwilliam quickly nixes that idea.

But the next question Alveston brings up is very interesting. When Denny got out of the carriage why did he go into the woods? Why didn’t he follow the road back?

Why not ask?

Why, indeed?

So Hardcastle has searched the carriage and found £30 in Wickham’s hat. Hardscastle sees him as the most likely man; money, a confession heard by three men to the death being his fault, only one in the woods, etc.  He going to stop looking and have Wickham arrested.

Not good

Not good

Elizabeth decides to scrounge in the fireplace searching for remnants of the note Fitzwilliam burned.

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She finds a piece that says “thank you for your support” and “meet me”. What does it mean?

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They take Wickham away, with Lydia in hysterics and Wickham cooly taking it.

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So while this is a review of an episode for Horrorfest V, this is also a review for a Jane Austen item, so we are going to go a little more in depth.

Set Design

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So the set design was really nice. They used the same Pemberley that they had in the 2005 film version. I liked the sets, the lighting, etc. The only thing that bothered me was how much time they spent on showing the beautiful and tranquil landscapes. It felt like they were padding the episode and just didn’t seem to work with a mystery. I mean Midsomer Murders shows the beautiful landscapes, but always lets you know their is something dark simmering, as murder shortly occurs. I think they should have done more of that, rather than having the beginning just a pretty Jane Austen film. I guess they were trying to pull a David Lynch and try and show beauty, then the evil; but it just didn’t feel as good as his work either.

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Costumes

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So I thought the costumes looked great. We’ve mostly been in everyday wear as all are preparing for the ball, traveling, or going out hunting. I especially like how Georgiana always looks pure, sweet, and ethereal in her pastel and light gowns. Lydia on the other hand, just looked perfect in her deep maroon traveling gown. The men also look dashing and I have to say good choices were made for all, so far, in this production.

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So let’s talk about characters, and I’m only going over the ones I felt we spent a lot of time with. How did everyone do?

Colonel Fitzwilliam

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Colonel Fitzwilliam is played by Tom Ward (who funnily had a bit part in P&P (1995) miniseries) and I hate his portrayal. Granted it probably isn’t him as I’m sure he is only doing what the script and director say. But he is just so cold, cruel, rude, and unlikable. It is totally weird from how he was in the book, which this is supposed to be a “sequel” or continuation of. In the book, Col. Fitzwilliam was the opposite of Darcy; fun, full of laughter, able to converse with anyone, liked to dance, etc. As a second son, he never grew up with the same responsibilities as Darcy did, so his character is lighter rather than burdened down with all he must take care of. Also as the second son, he has never had to deal with the throngs of daughters and mothers trying to ensnare him, and allowed him to be more open. Yes, I know this takes place years later and he has been through war; but his whole demeanor and the way he talked to everyone, even Georgiana, was so foreign from the original character. And I know they are trying to set him up as “the possible suspect”, but it would have been better if he wasn’t so harsh and rough all the times. I didn’t like him at all.

Elizabeth Bennet

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Elizabeth is played by Anna Maxwell Martin, but I didn’t like her performance. She always looks tired and out of it. I don’t know if she was trying to play overworked or stressed, but she just comes off really bland and boring. I didn’t like her at all.  Plus she keeps getting mad at the idea of Georgiana and Col. Fitzwilliam getting married. Why? Its not like he is a bad guy, I mean you even thought about the idea of him, until he said it wasn’t possible for a second son to marry whomever.

The sad thing is that Elizabeth is such a cornerstone character that she has to be spot on, or else everything is going to fall flat.

Mr. Darcy

What?

What?

At first I didn’t really like this Darcy. He wasn’t physically what I was imagining, but hey its hard when this was what came before.

Laurence Olivier Mr. Darcy mr darcy

You expect every Darcy to be as good looking. I also didn’t like his outburst in the beginning, and thought this guy isn’t Darcy. But as time went on, I began to enjoy Matthew Rhys’ portrayl of the character and thought that he captured who the Austen charater is better than any of the other actors in this production. He was kind, jovial, stern, serious, commanding; the perfect combination of married, fatherly, but still in charge of others Darcy. Good job Rhys.

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So what did I think? I liked it a lot better than the book. The book was a bit dull in places and at times felt it would bring something up and then never come back to it. With its transference to film, things can be shown instead of just talked about; they tie the ghost into the mystery deeper with the maids in the beginning, and I think they are trying to make the ending more mysterious and less a straight telling account of what occurred. Yes I didn’t like how some of the characters were, but BBC you have intrigued me and actually made me want to see what happens next.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’ll Be Watching You: Cat’s Eye (1987)

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To read the review of the book this is based on, go to Death Comes to Pemberley

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

For more Pride & Prejudice adaptations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen films, go to Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

For more TV series based on books, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

That Face-I’ve Seen Her Before…: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1997)

Let Me Call You SweetheartMaryHggonsClark

That face-I’ve seen her before…

Let Me Call You Sweetheart is based on a book of the same name by Mary Higgins Clark. So first let me say that this is a made-for-Tv film. As you know those can go one of two ways, either they are pretty good:

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Or they suck.

This film suck!

This film suck!

This movie is in between. It was pretty good and entertaining, but had a few sluggish and not as well done moments.

So I first came upon this movie by accident. I was working on 2014’s 30 Days of Disney, Songs to Get Over a Heartbreak Series, or Horrorfest III; and while I was working on that I was watching films and TV shows on my phone.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

After I would watch one film I would look over the recommended list, and check one of those out too. One such film that I saw was this one. Its mystery was very intriguing that at times I had to stop my other work as I was too distracted.

Ringu Watch TV

Afterwards I found the book in a library book sale and took it home to read.

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Clark’s book is way better than the film as they cut out key characters and even creepier moments, but if you haven’t read the story then the film is good. It only pales when you have the full version. But let’s get on to the review.

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Let Me Call You SweetheartMaryHggonsClark

So the film starts with Kerry McGrath, assistant attorney general, running late to an appointment at the plastic surgeon. Her daughter, Robin, was recently injured in a car crash when she was visiting her father and he forgot to check her seat belt. Kerry has disliked her ex-husband, Bob Kinellen, ever since he decided to trade in his wife and daughter for the the boss’s daughter (a much younger model); and this little accident has helped heal that.

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Robin’s face was badly scratched, but they’ve been seeing a genius doctor, Dr. Charles Smith, who is phenomenal at plastic surgery.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

While waiting for her daughter, as Dr. Smith always makes them wait and then goes over the appointment time, Kerry sees a familiar face.

Hi!

Hi!

But she can’t figure out where she saw this face.

Hmm...

Hmm…

She checks the sign-in list and spots the name Barbara Tompkins. Unfortunately, it doesn’t ring any bells.

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Kerry goes over that evening to spend time with her “adopted parents”, state senator Jonathan Hoover and his wife Grace, that is a couple she befriended in college when she was away from her family. They having no children, adopted her right back.

Family

Jonathan has used his influence to get Kerry an appointment for judgeship and all she has to do is await until the decision is made.

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The face is still bothering Kerry, and the next time she takes Robin to her doctor she sees her again. But this time the woman is a Pamela Worth.

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What is going on? This is getting stranger and stranger. Why would the doctor give two people the exact same face?

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Later at work she is focused on another case, when one of her coworkers get roses delivered. Then it hits her…

OMG gasp

The Sweetheart case was why the woman looked so familiar. She looks just like Susan Reardon.

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Susan Reardon was a beautiful woman who had men fawning over her everywhere she goes. Everyone loved her and how she looked, well except for one person.

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Ten years ago Susan Reardon was found murdered in her home, a bunch of sweetheart roses scattered about giving the case the name. Her father was a key witness, giving information about the fights Susan had with her husband Skip, and painting him as evil, controlling, and abusive.

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Susan was known to be dating other men, which upset Skip. It was an easy open and shut case.

Done and done.

Done and done.

Kerry can’t get over the fact that Susan’s father created two women to be in her mirror image. She starts wondering if there is more to this case.

Gilmore girls creep

However, most people are not very happy with Kerry’s involvement. The attorney general Frank Green, Kerry’s boss, used that case to lock him in his job and now he is trying to move up to mayor. If it turns out he imprisoned the wrong person he can kiss that good-bye.

This is bad

This is bad

Bob, Kerry’s ex, is currently defending James “Jimmy” Weeks. He is a dangerous man known to deal with mobsters. He doesn’t like Kerry investigating as he had a relationship with Susan. He tells Bob that Kerry needs to stop or else she and Robin might have injuries no doctor can fix.

OMG gasp

As Kerry starts investigating, she finds one person who is happy to see her on his side, Geoff Dorso, Skip Reardon’s lawyer.

Geoff came on the case after the trial as he thought everything was done completely wrong. First there were a lot of inconsistencies in the story. Dr. Smith painted Skip as a horribly violent man but no one else ever saw or could confirm it.

Something is not right!

Something is not right!

Skip said that he left a message on the machine, being his alibi, but when the police checked the house the message was stolen. There was also a frame with Susan’s picture in it and a piece of jewelry; both never recovered.

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Skip also shares the relationship between Susan and her father. He was controlling, and obsessed with her and her beauty.

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Kerry is unsure if she wants to pursue the case as it is sure to kiss her appointment  as a judge good-bye, but then something happens that changes everything. She discovers that Susan didn’t look that beautiful all her life. She was average and not very attractive. It wasn’t until after she left her mom and stepdads for her dad that she “became” this beautiful swan. The fact that her father operated on her is weird, but add that to the fact that he has been stalking his patients that he recreated to look like his dead daughter.

That is not right!

That is not right!

Then Kerry is sent threatening notes and Robin is almost attacked, just managing to get away in time.

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This has really opened a can of worms and cemented for Kerry that Skip isn’t the killer. But if he isn’t, who is?

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Now it would be wrong for me to reveal the end if you haven’t read book or seen the film. I figured it out, but even so I thought it was extremely well written and that the final reveal was a true pleasure. You should definitely check this one out for yourself.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to The Mad Killer: Dial 1119 (1950)

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For more films based on books, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more mysteries, go to A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)