East Bay Mystery Readers' Group - 4 March 2003 Meeting Recap

TO WEAR THE WHITE CLOAK - Sharan Newman

The seventh installment of Sharan Newman's critically acclaimed Catherine LeVendeur medieval mystery series, To Wear the White Cross continues the story of this most remarkable woman and her unique family. Set against the backdrop of twelfth century France, Catherine's life is both a reflection of the bonds placed upon a woman in her society and the ways in which a strong personality could triumph and succeed in spite of those strictures.
Good: We found the setting interesting, and the characters enjoyable. However, the portrait of the social structure of that time was definitely more interesting than the mystery.
THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES - Elizabeth Redfern
Elizabeth Redfern's debut novel takes place in 1795 London. There's espionage and evil walking the shadowy streets of that city as England is at war with France. Jonathan Absey of the Home Office is charged with tracking down spies. He attempts to soldier on but he is also consumed by the still unsolved murder of his 15-year-old daughter. There have been a number of killings - all young red haired ladies of the night.
While Libby really liked this; Andrea, Charlotte and I really can't recommend it. We found it to be way too long, overwrought, not believable and without much of a mystery. If you like reading lots of detail, you may enjoy this. If you're looking for a good mystery with interesting characters, most of us recommend passing on it.
CUT TO THE QUICK - Kate Ross
Imperturbable sleuth Julian Kestrel, a stylish gentleman of Regency England, investigates, along with his manservant Dipper, the death of a young woman at a friend's estate. A leisurely developed closed-room murder mystery story set in a lovingly rendered 1823 England. It is an "onion peel" mystery, wherein a small number of suspects is peeled down, layer by surprising layer.
Excellent - This was the definite hit of the three. It was very much enjoyed, provided interesting characters and an excellent commentary of the social structure of the time. The most unfortunate aspect is that the author, Kate Ross, passed away from cancer at a very young age only having written four books.
Books for April 1st are:
WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE (Detective Fiction): Reed Farrel Coleman
THE ANALYST (Suspense): John Katzenbach
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE (Amateur Sleuth - cozy): Cynthia Riggs
Books for May 6th are:
A TERRIBLE BEAUTY (Horror): Graham Masterton
THE WHITE CROW (Historical): Cynthia Peale
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER (Amateur Sleuth - noncozy): Jill Spencer-Fleming

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