by Jacqueline Winspear
My favorite mysteries feature women detectives who rely on pure intellect to solve their cases. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Dorothy L. Sayers Harriet Vane come to mind. Add to this list Maisie Dobbs, nurse, veteran of the First World War, Cambridge educated, psychologist and private detective. This series by Jacqueline Winspear begins with Maisie Dobbs and continues with the seventh volume, Mapping of Love and Death, due out in March 2010.
Begin with this first volume, for background on how a bright working class girl developed into the remarkable Maisie. Starting out as a servant after the death of her mother, she is taken under the wing of Lady Rowan, the vivacious and progressive aristocrat who recognizes Maisie’s talent and sees she receives a first rate education after intense tutoring by her friend psychologist Maurice Blanche. During WW I Maisie finds herself a nurse in a field hospital in France where she treats victims of mustard gas and other horrific injuries before she and her fiancé, surgeon Simon Lynch are both injured themselves.
This war experience provides the foundation for all of Maisie’s work as a private detective, giving her compassion and understanding as she navigates the harsh realities of post war England when the tremendous death toll of the war left many damaged souls as well as social and economic devastation. Somehow, the conclusions she reaches while solving her cases move Maisie and her clients a little closer to healing the wounds of war. For mystery lovers who relish plowing through multiple volumes at once, this character driven series is a prize.
I’m a lady that’s gaga over an artist who goes by the name Ladyhawke. Wait a minute, isn’t Ladyhawke that movie from the 80′s with Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfiefer, and a pre-Ferris Bueller Matthew Broderick? Yes, you’re correct! But if your musical influences and pop culture obsessions hail from that decade, what better movie to name yourself after…
Ladyhawke (aka Pip Brown) grew up in New Zealand, and joined her first band named after a movie: Two Lane Blacktop. Pip later relocated to Australia, participating in various musical projects, before branching out on her own. She then moved to London and co-wrote and recorded her debut album with the help of various producers. If you love 80′s pop music, listening to this album will evoke those songs you adore, while maintaining originality and enthusiasm for the genre. Standout tracks include the album opener “Magic,” and power pop anthem “My Delirium,” but all the songs are instantly accessible to the pop-friendly ear. So put on your “Frankie Say Relax” t-shirt and give Ladyhawke a spin. -Crystal
My Soul to Take
By Rachel Vincent
Ah, teenage romance. It’s fun for everyone. Teens. Vampires. Bean Sidhes (also known as banshees). In Vincent’s newest series, Soul Screamers, high school student Kaylee Cavanaugh is about to learn that things are not always what they seem. Pretty girls around her keep dying, which is really freaking Kaylee out. Literally. She sees about-to-be-dead people and all she wants to do is scream. Unfortunately, that’s what got her locked up in the psych ward.
But she can’t help feeling the way she does. Turns out, Kaylee’s a bean sidhe. Screaming around dead people is what she’s genetically programmed to do. Doesn’t mean she has to like it. Take the angst of Twilight, the female empowerment of Buffy, and add just a dab of that creepy I-see-dead-people kid from The Sixth Sense, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for with this one.
This series wasn’t quite as enjoyable as Vincent’s Werecats, but it did have its own unique take on banshee mythology. A little predictable in places, Vincent’s left herself quite a few possibilties for future story lines. Before you pick up My Soul to Take, though, make sure you read the prequel, My Soul to Lose, which is a free download from Vincent’s website. It’s short and if you don’t read it, you’ll be lost through most of the book. Just FYI.
Alrighty. Well, you better get reading. After all, you’re not going to live forever…or are you? (insert evil laugh here)
Johnny Depp celebrates a birthday on June 9th. Happy Birthday, Johnny!