What We’re Reading

LUCY BURDETTE: Ok Reds, time to restock the TBR piles! The past month has been so hectic, with a cross country trip to visit the new grandbaby, lots of Friends of the Key West Library work, and my own work too. I have been reading though–especially on that plane trip. (It kept my mind off the prospect of virus particles circulating…). In the department of Francophile lit, I enjoyed THE KEEPER OF HAPPY ENDINGS by Barbara Davis about a family of women who made magical wedding gowns, and LOVE AMONG THE RECIPES by Carol M. Cram, Paris and food–what else to say?

I also finished Mia Manansala’s ARSENIC AND ADOBO, a charming foodie cozy set in the restaurant of a Filipino family, and at the exact opposite end of the spectrum, BLACKTOP WASTELAND by S. A. Cosby. That book is a wow–the tension, the pace, the violence, the writing! Our pal Barbara Ross interviewed Sean for our Friends’ speaker series–you’ll want to listen in!

At the moment, I’m reading THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE, by Richard Osman. I’m late to this phenomenon–what a hoot! (You'll also see some upcoming reads in that stack of mine.)


Next up in my TBR pile are books my daughters gave me for Christmas. Looking forward to Elizabeth Strout’s OH WILLIAM! (her OLIVE KITTERIDGE is one of my favorites of all time) and Susan Orleans essay collection ON ANIMALS. 

Then moving on to Lee McIntyre’s THE ART OF GOOD AND EVIL. I read an early version of this book years ago and I am really looking forward to seeing it newly polished. Lee is a philosopher and the questions he raises in his writing set his mysteries in a class by themselves. Is crime ever justified?  I can’t wait to see what he does with that fundamental question.

RHYS BOWEN: I haven’t had much time for reading, recovering from fifteen guests for Christmas and then proof reads for one book, polishing the next Royal Spyness and then starting on the next stand alone. Then the reading I’ve done is almost all blurbs—one of which I thought was fantastic. It’s called Widowland by C J Carey (who also wrote a Berlin series as Jane Thynne that was really good). It has been published in UK but will be released here in May, I believe. 

The story has the same feel as The Handmaid’s Tale—dystopia, women suffering. The premise is that England surrendered to Germany in WWII and now life is regulated with awful punishments. Widows are at the bottom rung of society because they are no longer useful. But maybe they are cleverly plotting against the government. Great tension and lots to think about!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I am on such a run of incredible books!  I just finished Adele Parks’ WOMAN LAST SEEN–Adele is amazing. Brilliant book.  Another definite absolute must read is Janice Hallett’s THE APPEAL. One of the cleverest most intriguing books I have ever read–it’s all in emails and documents, and my first thought was “NO I am NOT reading this.” But I had to, to do an interview with the author, and I am still thinking about it. She is a genius, and completely deconstructs the way we look at storytelling. It’s almost–interactive. Read it, you’ll see what I mean. And I cannot wait for her next book, The Twyford Code. 

I am now in the happy midst of THE DEPARTMENT OF RARE BOOKS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS by Eva Jurzyk. And as you can tell by the title, it’s sort of quirky Agatha Christie meets The Midnight Library. I love it. And: do not miss THE MAID  by Nita Prose. So so so good! A locked room mystery in a grand hotel–and the main character is the most charmingly unique person ever.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm afraid I'm writing writing writing so am hardly reading at all at the moment. My treat at the end of the day is a chapter or two of Rhys's GOD REST YE ROYAL GENTLEMEN, which I saved for a Christmas read and am just now getting to! Such fun!

Next up in my to-read stack are Karen Odden's DOWN A DARK RIVER and Richard Osman's THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB. And I have on order the new Charles Todd Ian Rutledge novel, A GAME OF FEAR, the new Stephanie Barron Jane Austen, JANE AND THE YEAR WITHOUT A SUMMER (out Tuesday!), and the new Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway book, THE LOCKED ROOM, which is just out in the UK. It doesn't publish in the US until June and I didn't want to wait, so ordered it from the UK.

JENN McKINLAY: SO many great books! I’m listening to PROJECT HAIL MARY by Andy Weir - it’s brilliant - the narrator makes the story so incredibly engaging. I’m reading LOVE HYPOTHESIS by Ali Hazelwood and so far it’s ridiculously charming, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid and, as always, I am blown away by her writing, and rounding it all out, I just started Hot and Sour Suspects by Vivien Chien and it is perfection because Vivien is just that good.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I need to subscribe to some publisher’s newsletters or something, because I am hopelessly behind on what mysteries and thrillers are coming out and when. Right now, my nonfiction read is THE BRIGHT AGES: A New History of Medieval Europe by Matthew Gabriel and David M. Perry. It’s a fascinating, well-told survey of the recent scholarship which reveals Europe in the Middle Ages was far more sophisticated and globally connected than we’ve all been told. My fiction right now is a re-read: MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE by my friend Jessica Ellicott. If you like Rhys’s Lady Georgie books or Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple mysteries, you will love Jess’s Beryl and Edwina series. Finally, my audiobook is DEEP WORK by Cal Newport, pursuant to my word of the year, which was DEEP!

How about you Reds, what are you reading?

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