The last two book books I’ve read (I Capture the Castle & Divining Women) mentioned the “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Deciding to fix this gap in my education, I picked up a copy of the 24 page/6,000 word short story. Published in 1892, it is written as the secret journal of a woman living in a rented country house while undergoing a rest cure for depression. Although she has been forbidden to do so, the unnamed narrator writes down her feelings. Her frightening descent into madness manifests itself in a chilling rendering of the creature she believes resides beneath the bedroom’s yellow wallpaper.
Throughout Louise Penny's award-winning mystery series, this Bible verse has been a constant theme, most significantly in The Beautiful Mystery. Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir travel to a remote monastery populated by an order of monks who escaped the Inquisition and have lived in solitude for hundreds of years in the woods of Quebec, Canada. Gamache and Beauvoir’s mission is to solve the murder of the order’s choirmaster. With the suspect list limited to the other monks in the monastery, the hunt begins – slowly, painfully, as these men are not accustomed to outsiders. Two even more unexpected and unwelcomed guests heighten the anxiety for the inspectors and the monks, and for good reason. These men are heralds of chaos.
I had a bit of trouble connecting with the book at first, but that quickly changed. The monastic setting really does convey a cloistered feeling, making the characters seem a bit distant. Eventually, I found myself completely sucked into the facets of the central mystery and felt a growing sense of dread for my beloved Gamache and Beauvoir. The ending left me gasping, a little heart-broken, and immediately wanting more.
The irrepressible child chemist and detective, Flavia de Luce, is at it again in the fifth installment of the award-winning series that began with The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie. The town folk of Bishop’s Lacey, an English country village, are eagerly anticipating the unearthing of the bones of St. Tancred, the 500 year-dead patron saint of the village church. Flavia, as always, is ahead of the game and discovers the body of a much less saintly person instead – St. Tancred’s organist, Mr. Collicutt. With the help of her trusty bicycle, her chemistry lab, and her boundless tenacity, Flavia sets out to discover who would have wanted Mr. Collicutt dead and why.
I’ve loved every one of Bradley’s exceedingly charming, funny, and sharp mysteries, but this might be my new favorite. The central mystery is intriguing enough, but the real gems here are the secret of Flavia’s lost and presumed dead mother and the precarious hold Flavia’s family maintains on their ancestral home, Buckshaw. Of course, Flavia herself is dripping with mischief, charm, and mud, as is her bicycle, Gladys.