We’re still reading nightly — Grenville has been using his iPad to enjoy some FREE digital Kindle downloads from the public library (the selection is limited and as small as the library) and through an Amazon Prime membership. He’s found some police procedural mysteries and one dealing with two chefs and murder, perfect recipe?.
I’ve stayed with crime fiction/mysteries too, reading several of Donna Leon’s mysteries which are set in or around Venice and feature Commissario Guido Brunetti. Ms. Leon is a former NJ native, like ourselves though our paths haven’t crossed, yet. This series is now at 21 books since 1992 which have been translated into over 20 languages.
Ms. Leon lives in Venice and also is the Sunday Times crime reviewer. Her U.K. based website provides more book details.
Recently, I read "The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection," which is the 13th book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, which feature Mma. Precious Ramotswe — Botswana's leading and only female private detective. If you’re looking for violence, murder or suspense, you won’t find them in this series. Mma Ramotswe solves cases using her intuition, common sense, and moral values.
The books are easy reading; it’s best to read them in order to maintain continuity with the characters:
- The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
- Tears of the Giraffe
- Morality For Beautiful Girls
- The Kalahari Typing School For Men
- The Full Cupboard of Life
- In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
- Blue Shoes and Happiness
- The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
- The Miracle at Speedy Motors
- Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
- The Double Comfort Safari Club
- The Saturday Big Tent Wedding
- The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
This photo shows recent Patterson book buys from local thrift stores, there are many, many more. These are for a road trip in mid-July (another one) and will make handy, and disposable, reading. After checking our finances, Grenville said we could afford the expense.
Lucky we didn’t have buy NEW. List cost of this group is nearly $85 (excluding tax). My cost = $2.63 (including 5% state tax).
Patterson’s books share so many similarities: light on plot, heavy on action, with very short (2-3 page) chapters. There’s no long, winding verse to think about and no messages. Sentences are simple and terse. These are page turners, not brain teasers, so don’t expect lots of descriptions or scene settings.
PERFECT to read 10 or more chapters before bed time !
Last week, I finished 2 library hardcovers within 3 days.
Many Patterson books are standalone thrillers; others are series: Alex Cross, a black crime-solving single father; Michael Bennett, a detective with the New York Police Department; The Women's Murder Club where four California women - a police detective, a medical examiner, a DA and a reporter - help each other solve crimes; Private, centering on a detective agency with worldwide branches.
Too many Patterson books to list here; find out more than you wanted to know at his website. Some quick facts (of so many):
- Published his breakout book, “Along Came a Spider” in 1993 — less than 20 years ago.
- Had over 50 New York Times bestsellers; 35 at No. 1.
- Since 2006, one out of every 17 hardcover novels bought in the U.S. was written by James Patterson and/or a co-author.
- In addition to 2 editors, Patterson has 3 full-time publishing employees (plus assistants) devoted exclusively to him.
- Is VERY prolific - using a stable of co-authors, he’s published almost a book a month for the past few years.
- Former ad executive who ran J. Walter Thompson’s North American branch before becoming a full-time writer.
- Started as a junior copywriter and later become the youngest creative director in the firm’s history.
- Created the ad slogan: “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid.”
- Doesn’t use a computer to write, but writes longhand on a legal pad, then gives the pages to an assistant to type up.
- Handles all his advertising and closely monitors nearly every step of the publication process, from jacket design to the timing of his books’ release to their placement in stores.
Patterson’s books may not be to everyone’s liking as I’ve read in many online reviews. But the books are quick reads, perfect for entertainment or escapism; sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
Your turn — What are you reading lately ?