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Fred Camfield (Vicksburg, MS USA)
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Fleur de Leigh's Life of Crime
Fleur de Leigh's Life of Crime
by Diane Leslie
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Something different, Sept. 26 2003
This is not really a novel, and not really a collection of short stories. The setting is greater Hollywood during the late 1950s, a time when I briefly lived in the area (in Hollywood, the Snake Pit in North Hollywood, and in Burbank). The writing is in a narrative form by the main character, Fleur, and covers a pre-teen period from the time she is 10 to the time she is 12. The chapters are incidents in Fleur's life relating to different people around her. The main problem is that people keep moving away, and there is no stability in her life. It provides an interesting picture of a child of career parents, largely neglected, and growing up in a partly child and partly adult environment.
The dustjacket cover seems to have little to do with the contents, and the title may be a little misleading (although everyone seems to steal, whether it is stories, identities, boyfriends, or material objects). The book comes to an ending of sorts, but one has to wonder if it is intended to lead into a sequel.

Circle Of Cats
Circle Of Cats
by Lint De
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 12.58

5.0 out of 5 stars An original childrens' story, Sept. 25 2003
This review is from: Circle Of Cats (Hardcover)
This is an excellent, 44 page book for younger children, filled with full color illustrations. The type style and formatting make it easily readable. It is the story of a young girl, Lillian, who lives with her aunt at the edge of the forest, far from the nearest neighbors. She spends her free time wandering in the woods looking for fairies. When disaster strikes, she is saved by cat magic. This is an original fairy tale, and seems a mixture of folklore and magic. It can be read to younger children, or read by slightly older children. I would put the age level at 4 to 12, although I am 67 and thought it was an interesting tale (I actually bought it to use as a gift for a young child).

The Rock Rats
The Rock Rats
by Ben Bova
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars A jumpy plot, Sept. 23 2003
This novel did not hold my interest. I found myself skimming forward. The plot skips forward in time from chapter to chapter, and skips between people in various sub-plots. It does seem to have a main character, more or less, but often is dealing with someone else. It seems to be left unfinished to lead into a sequel. The writing seems to be soap opera style.
The story is about competition to control the mineral wealth in the asteroids, a lawless frontier where competition can get deadly. Everyone has their own agenda. Like in real life, most prospectors die broke. The money is made by companies selling them supplies.
It is hard to find white hats in the story, as everyone involved seems willing to kill to achieve their goals.

A Twist In The Tale
A Twist In The Tale
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another collection of short stories, Sept. 19 2003
I am looking at the UK paperback edition which is 269 pages. It is a collection of 12 short stories of varying length, subject matter, and quality. As the author notes, 10 of the stories are based on real incidents. Like most collections, the reader will like some of the stories better than others. It is another collection that I refer to commuters, airline travelers, etc., who are looking for some light reading. The stories, as the collection title implies, have some interesting twists.

Quiver Full Of Arrows, A
Quiver Full Of Arrows, A
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting collection of short stories, Sept. 19 2003
In reading the reviews of other reviewers, I have to wonder if we are reading the same collection. I am looking at the UK edition (which is 265 pages). This is a collection of 12 short stories of various length and subject matter. As the author notes, 11 of the stories are based on real incidents. I personally found the stories to be entertaining (Jeffrey Archer is one of my favorite authors). It is an easy reading collection, and the type I refer to commuters who are looking for something to read in installments (also something to take along on an airline).

Death of a Stranger
Death of a Stranger
by Anne Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The seamier side of life, Sept. 18 2003
This novel is set in London, England, in the early 1860s. The Civil War is being fought in the United States while life goes on as usual in England. The situation described in the novel was usual for that time period, and is similar to the real circumstances that prevailed in my hometown, at that time a notorious sailing port in the U.S., during the later 19th century - a reformer trying to clean up the town soon discovered that most of the "good citizens" were getting their share of the pie, the prostitutes paid in cash and were a mainstay of the town's economy (see "Port Townsend - An Illustrated History of Shanghaiing, Shipwrecks, Soiled Doves, and Sundry Souls").
Hester Monk (who had been a nurse in the Crimea) operates an infirmary in a lower class neighborhood, offering medical services to the ladies of the evening who are suffering from injuries and diseases. Her husband, William Monk, is involved in an investigation of possible financial wrongdoing among the principals of a railroad company. The death of a "respectable" man outside a bordello in the area creates a turmoil and eventually events are drawn together.
Circumstances reveal a brutal form of loan sharking. William's investigation brings out information about his past - he was not always a nice person. Past relationships are revealed as the case draws to a conclusion. Overall, an interesting plot, with a good picture of the underside of Victorian London.

Last Place
Last Place
by L Lippman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Tess Monaghan mystery, Sept. 13 2003
This review is from: Last Place (Mass Market Paperback)
The novel starts out with an interesting prelude to the main story when Tess and her friend Whitney defoliate a would be rapist. From there the story progresses to the main plot about a serial killer with a strange compulsion. Tess and a new found associate link together a number of seemingly unrelated homicides, including a disappearance and an "accidental" death from the distant past. Details of her own past emerge, partly from discussions with a psychiatrist she is seeing as part of a plea bargain agreement.
Tess still has her boyfriend, Crow, and her two dogs, but they play minor roles. She bumbles about a bit, and almost gets herself killed in the manner of independent investigators created by various authors. There are some side details of Baltimore, Maryland's eastern shore, etc., and a view of some of the sleazy underside of life.

Massacre Island: A Novel
Massacre Island: A Novel
by Martin Hegwood
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Jack Delmas mystery, March 13 2003
The novel starts with a 40-page out-of-place chapter as PI Jack Delmas and Sheriff's Deputy Jimbo McInnis spend a night on the town. Jimbo majored in football at Mississippi State University where he was a starting lineman. After drinking tequila shooters, Jimbo has a way of picking fights, e.g., going into a redneck bar filled with Univ. of Alabama fans and criticizing Bear Bryant's trademark hat ("What French Quarter queer joint you reckon he was cruising when he found that..."). The next morning he can't remember the brawl, doesn't know why he has a sore foot and mud all over his pickup, and he has a massive hangover.
The story then flashes back to the start when Jack was hired by a woman to determine why her daughter, along with three other young people, was murdered in a summer cabin on Dauphine Island. Matters are complicated when Jack's ex-wife runs her mouth about Jack's case. She only told her friend on Dauphine Island, but that was like telling the tabloids. Jack receives a death threat before he half begins his inquiries. The 220 pages following Chapter One are divided into 26 additional chapters.
The case involves possible smuggling, sports betting, environmental fanatics, various local watering holes with hard-drinking pool-playing rednecks, and assorted women (Jimbo is usually on the prowl). The reader learns various details about Jack's past life, and his incompatibility with his ex-wife - their preferred lifestyles are a mismatch (he was from a family of shrimpers and boat builders and played baseball at Ole Miss, she was a Rebelette from a cotton-planting banking family in higher society). Jack's ex- is jealous of the new women in his life, particularly if they have a bigger bust than she has.
The novel has an interesting plot, and contains helpful maps of Dauphine Island and the Mobile County, Alabama area. It will probably be of particular interest to people familiar with the Gulf Coast.

I Am The Only Running Footman
I Am The Only Running Footman
by Martha Grimes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
58 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Another Richard Jury novel, March 8 2003
This is a reprint of a novel copyrighted in 1986. As in other novels by this author, the title is the name of a pub. Inspector Jury is joined again by Melrose Plant who has an estate near Long Piddleton on the River Piddle. In this novel, Jury is assigned to a case where a young woman has been strangled with her own scarf. The investigation reopens an older, unsolved case where another young woman was also strangled with her own scarf. Inquiries into the pasts of the two women turn up love affairs that may be related - both women were sleeping around to some degree.
The questions are whether these are serial killings or well-planned murders, and what would be the motive. Various odd characters are introduced including the odd family that owns and operates the Mortal Man. While the plot is interesting, digressions into discussions of the various characters (many not involved in the main plot) tends to detract from the main story line. At times, the story seems to wander.
When events are finally drawn together, it seems a bit abrupt. The story comes to a climax as the solution to the mystery is revealed, but it seems to leave some loose ends. A short added chapter might have closed things out better. One is left to wonder what finally happened to some of the characters.

GREEN EYED HURRICANE: A Novel
GREEN EYED HURRICANE: A Novel
by Hegwood Martin
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A well developed plot, Feb. 28 2003
Martin Hegwood is another Mississippi attorney turned author. He has set this novel's plot on the modern Mississippi Gulf Coast where private investigator Jack Delmas, a native of the area, finds himself between a declining shrimping industry and a booming tourist industry with luxury hotels and casinos. there are wheelers and dealers, corrupt politicians, shrimp fishermen, and businessmen ranging from a shade-tree mechanic to a successful restaurateur. The novel presents a good picture of an area in transition where most people want a piece of the pie, but some people would rather be beach bums. The novel contains lots of local color about the area.
When Jack's longtime friend, the Croatian shrimper Casper Perinovich, dies in an explosion and fire at his home, Jack is drawn into the investigation and stirs up things people would prefer to keep buried. The story has considerable action, and Jack sustains some damage to his person and his pickup (messing with a southern boy's pickup can be as bad as messing with his woman). Along the way, Jack rekindles an old flame.
This is a good novel for commuters as the 272 pages are divided into 41 chapters.

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