November 29, 2011

Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer

Powder and Patch is a lighter piece of fluff for Georgette Heyer, and much shorter in length than the majority of her novels. The book centralizes on two characters, Philip and Cleone. Here is the synopsis:

To win her hand, he must become what he despises . . .
Cleone Charteris's exquisite charms have made her the belle of the English countryside. But Cleone yearns for a husband who is refined, aristocratic and who is as skilled with his wit as he is with his dueling pistols . . . Everything Philip Jettan is not. As much as she is attracted to the handsome squire, Cleone finds herself dismissing Philip and his rough mannerisms. 

With his father's encouragement, Philip departs for the courts of Paris, determined to acquire the social graces and sirs of the genteel -- and convince Cleone that he is the man most suited for her hand. But his transformation may cost him everything, including Cleone . . .

The charm of Powder and Patch, as with many of Heyer's other novels, is her discourse on the social customs of the time, revealed through character exchanges and descriptions of dress and mannerisms for both ladies and gentleman. There is certainly a lot of great description of the clothing and accoutrement from the Georgian period in Power and Patch. Of course, what constitutes a gentleman has changed from era to era, in the Georgian period gentlemen must have great "love making" technique, have a certain air and posture, be a wonderful dancer, have a sly wit and, of course, must have great swordsmanship for all those duels to defend "my lady's" honour. Anyhoo, Powder and Patch is a fun read. I highly recommend for fans of Georgette Heyer but would recommend The Grand Sophy, The Nonesuch or Arabella instead for Heyer first timers.

My Rating: 3.5

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From TIME Video: The Making of a Romance Novel Cover

TIME goes behind the scenes of a romance novel cover shoot.

Read more:,32068,1292273354001_2100414,00.html#ixzz1fA3S2dm9

A rare look into the making of the the romance novel cover...all
kinds of good stuff in this video.

November 7, 2011

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Soldier Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they start to die...

Possibly her most famous book, and certainly the most adapted, Christie used different endings for the novel and her stage adaptation, giving the stage version a happier ending. The Boston Transcript

I love a good mystery. Strike this case a 'great' mystery.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie has actually been called the greatest mystery novel of all time and the author spent months researching before she started writing the story.

So I thought it was finally time to read this novel. As I was reading the first few pages, I started to ask myself questions about how 10 characters could die. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write all these questions down first...get my thoughts in order and make some assumptions before I read any further and then after I read the novel I could go back and reflect. Create for myself a sort of logic puzzle research project. This book is also known as, "Ten Little Indians," so with no insult intended to indigenous cultures, I am going to call a participant an Indian. Stopping at page 27, the end of chapter two, I have the following:
  1. There are 10 strangers and they all die. But the book summary does not state they are all murdered, just "they die". A death could be faked.
  2. Crimes of passion are committed because of jealousy, greed or revenge. It could be revenge. The deaths likely are not crimes of passion but of justice.
  3. There must have been at least one person who investigated each "Indian" on the island. If each Indian committed a crime then the common thread is the law - justice.
  4. The external characters are the boatman (Fred Narracott), the old seafaring gentleman, the jew (Mr. Isaac Morris), the porters and taxi drivers.
  5. Only Justice Wargrave was NOT invited by Owen, but supposedly by Lady Constance Culmington. Rather Wargrave is the only one who thinks he was invited by her and not Owen.
  6. A doctor, someone who can save lives, is one of the Indians. 
  7. Someone could be hiding out on the island.
  8. Could one of the individuals have a twin?
  9. Use of the word prisoner = military.
  10. Mr. Isaac Morris arranged and paid for transportation of the Indians to the Island as stated by Norracott. Mr. Blore may have been contracted by Morris.
Wow, ok so after reading the novel I have determined that all my logical assumptions above hold true. But I really can't discuss the plot of the book any further without giving away spoilers. This has been an interesting exercise though!  And Then There Were None is an unforgettable mystery. Its not very long but it has great impact. I highly recommend to fiction and mystery lovers.

My Rating 5.0