Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie

I have said it before and I will say it again. I love Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot, mustachioed and infatuated with himself as always, is back.

Hallowe'en Party centers around the death of a child, drowned at a Halloween party. Ariadne Oliver, a famous mystery author, calls Hercule Poirot for his help. As Poirot begins to piece together the story behind the murder, he discovers more and more secrets hidden in the small town. Forgeries, disappearances and murder all appear throughout the book.

Hallowe'en Party is unique among her other works in its subject matter and the issues it tackles. I have yet to read through all of Christie's works, but I do not know if she deals with the murder of a child in any other book. Christie wrote prolifically for years, and this book was written just seven years before her death. Obviously, her writing style will change as time goes on. Her early books are purely whodunits. This is a little darker than normal.

It is most definitely worth the read, as all of Christie's books are. I hope you enjoy this book.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Death Do Us Part, ed. by Harlan Coben

Death Do Us Part, ed. by Harlan Coben

Death Do Us Part is a collection of short stories about "love, lust and murder," quotes the book cover (which is a terrific shade of green, by the way). I didn't particularly enjoy them all (read: "Wifey" and "Blarney") but I didn't dislike them in particular, either. Several endings grabbed me ("Safe Enough", "One True Love").

But the ones I enjoyed the most were "The Last Flight" and "Part Light, Part Memory." I've never read anything before by the two authors. "The Last Flight" by Brendan DuBois shows a veteran on his last flight with his wife. Her ashes in a small jar beside him, he relives pieces of their lives and snippets of his experiences during the war. You can feel his pain -- you just want to hug him.

"Part Light, Part Memory" by Bonnie Hearn Hill takes place at the very end of the Civil War in America with the story of a young slave girl's thirst for revenge. I don't think the author intended this, but in one moment of her story she brings up the hymn, "Amazing Grace." I caught a slight parallel between the young girl and the hymn. The author of "Amazing Grace," John Newton, began his adult life as a slave trader and a bitter, cruel man. It isn't until he accepted Christ and became a Christian that he began to change his ways, and he actually became a huge proponent of the abolition of slavery. Newton wrote the hymn as a testimony of how his life had been changed. Slight parallel, as I said.

Authors and Stories
Ridley Pearson ("Queeny")
Lee Child ("Safe Enough")
Charles Ardai ("The Home Front")
Brendan DuBois ("The Last Flight")
Bonnie Hearn Hill ("Part Light, Part Memory")
Steve Hockensmith ("Blarney")
William Kent Krueger ("Heat Lightning")
Tim Maleeny ("Till Death Do Us Part")
Rick McMahan ("The Cold, Hard Truth")
P. J. Parrish ("One Shot")
Tom Savage ("")
Charles Todd ("Home Coming")
Tim Wohlforth ("The Masseuse")
Jeff Abbott ("A Few Small Repairs")
Jim Fusilli ("Chellini's Solution")
Laura Lippman ("One True Love")
R. L. Stine ("Wifey")
Jay Brandon ("Pushed or Was Fell")
Harlan Coben ("Entrapped")