Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Still Reading, just not blogging about it...

Word for the week 'sycophant' - a person who acts obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain advantage.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The City of Blood- Review & Giveaway

My Thoughts 

Art is subjective. While there are some art that maybe loved universally, there are many that are loved by some and are controversial and questionable to others. When Artists yearn for immortality and being displayed in Galleries is never going to be enough. Once they reach the heights of fame in their artistic career, immortality through their art is something they court with. How to be remembered beyond your time? We bury time capsules for posterity. Why not bury an entire banquet in one of the important landmarks in Paris? That's what artist Samuel Cassian did in the eighties in the 'City of Blood', former slaughterhouse area in Paris in this instalment of Paris Homicide novels. Now decades later it is time to dig up the past and find out what remains of the banquet. And what did they dig up? Remains, alright but, remains of a dead person who seemed to be buried along with the banquet. Who was he/she? How did that person end up buried in this banquet? What is that person's connection to the Banquet? Samuel Cassian yearned for immortality and here is the kind of macabre immortality that people would remember for years. Well when you bury something in the City of Blood, you would expect to see some bones, wouldn't you? 

Nico Sirsky is in-charge of the case. Will he find the answers? Nico's mother is hospitalised and Nico makes a pact with himself, that his mother would survive the crisis if he find the truth about the remains in the buried banquet. Will he keep his end of the promise and his mother survive? 

The City of Blood is a short and interesting police procedural that could be read in a few hours. Like the earlier novel in the series 'Crossing the Line', this novel also has an interesting setting 'The city of blood', formerly abattoir of the City, and invokes the place with interesting information. 

 I do like my twists and turns and the final surprise that authors spring on us. While the police procedural is interesting, after a point finding the killer is straightforward, I was hoping there would be a final surprise. Having said that, Nico is an interesting character and I wouldn't mind getting further acquainted with him. Flesh and Bones in the City of Blood! 

Author Frédérique Molay

on Tour

January 15 – February 3


The City of Blood

[police procedural / thriller]

(translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman)

Release date: January 20, 2015
at Le French Book

212 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474186

Website | Goodreads



When a major Parisian modern art event gets unexpected attention on live TV, Chief of Police Nico Sirsky and his team of elite crime fighters rush to La Villette park and museum complex. There, renowned artist Samuel Cassian is inaugurating the first archeological dig of modern art, twenty-seven years after burying the leftovers of a banquet. In front of reporters from around the world, excavators uncover a skeleton. Could it be the artist’s own son? And does that death have anything to do with the current string of nightclub murders by the “Paris Butcher”? On the site of the French capital’s former slaughterhouses, the investigation takes Nico and France’s top criminal investigation division from artists’ studios to autopsy theaters and nightclubs in hopes of tracking down the murderer who has turned this Paris park into a city of blood. [provided by the publisher]



Frederique MolayCalled, “the French Michael Connelly,” Frédérique Molay graduated from France’s prestigious Science Po and began her career in politics and the French administration. She worked as chief of staff for the deputy mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and then was elected to the local government in Saône-et-Loire. Meanwhile, she spent her nights pursing a passion for writing she had nourished since she wrote her first novel at the age of eleven. The first in the Paris Homicide series, The 7th Woman, won France’s most prestigious crime fiction award and went on to become an international bestseller, allowing Molay to dedicate her life to writing and raising her three children.

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Jeffrey Zuckerman was born in the Midwest and lives in New York. He has worked as an editorial assistant, a lifeguard, and a psychology researcher. Now an editor for Music and Literature Magazine, he also freelances for several companies, ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to old-fashioned book publishing. He holds a degree in English with honors from Yale University, where he studied English literature, creative writing, and translation.

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Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

International giveaway:
US residents: print or digital copy
Other residents: digital copy
8 winners


The City of Blood banner

Friday, 2 January 2015

Color Coded Challenge 2014 Wrap up

Here are the books read for the Color coded challenge hosted by Bev @ Myreadersblock blog. 
1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue in the title. -Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Aykwei Parkes
2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red  in the title. Nightmare in Burgundy by Jean-Pierre Alaux
3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow in the title.  The Yellow turban by Charlotte Jay
4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green in the title. The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson
5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown in the title. Encyclopaedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donold J Sobol
6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title- The Black Mountain by Rex Stout
7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc) in the title. The Ivory grin by Ross Macdonald
8. A book with any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).The case of the Black-eyed blonde by Erle Stanley Gardner
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).-The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald
Through the Glass, darkly by Helen McCloy

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge 2014 Wrap uo

Happy 2015! 

Here are the books read for the Vintage Mystery Bingo Challege. I Completed the Golden card and claim two bingos in the silver card. While i read so many I reviewed only one. Maybe 2015 will be a better year for blogging!  

Colour- The Black Mountain by Rex Stout
Anywhere except US or Uk-The Yellow turban by Charlotte Jay 
Crime other than murder- Dorothy Dixon solves the Conway case by Dorothy Wayne
Locked room- The moving toyshop by Edmund Crispin
Academic - Through the glass, darkly by Helen McCloy
entertainment- Vintage Murder by Ngaio Marsh 
More than one title- Death in Cyprus by M M Kaye 
Number- Death in five boxes by Carter Dickson
Free Space - The Case of the Deadly Toy by Erle Stanley Gardner 
New author- The blank wall by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding
Method of murder- The African poison murders by Elspeth Huxley
Women- Laura by Vera Caspary
Spooky - Beat not the bones by Charlotte Jay
Movie- The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White
Amateur detective- Death in Zanzibar by M M Kaye 
Man- The Hollow man John Dickson Carr
Country house- No wind of blame by Georgette Heyer
Mode of transport- Strangers on a train by Patricia Highsmith
Author read before- The case of the Waylaid Wolf by Erle Stanley Gardner 
Courtroom-  The Case of black eyed blonde by Erle Stanley Gardner 
Fellow challenger- A shilling for candles by Josephine Tey
Professional- The Ivory grin by Ross Macdonald
Water- Singing in the shrouds by Ngaio Marsh 
Outside comfort- A Coffin of Dimitiros by Eric Ambler
Detective team- If death ever slept by Rex Stout
Time- The clock strikes twelve by Patricia Wentworth 
Short story Collection- The labour of Hercules by Agatha Christie
Translated- Maigret in Exile by Georges Simenon
England- The Beast must die by Nicholas Blake
Borrow- A kiss before dying by Ira Levin
Animal- The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
Place-  Death in the wrong room by Anthony Gilbert
Size- A dram of poison by Charlotte Armstrong 
Medical- Man Missing by Mignon G Eberhart
Pseudonym-The secret of the old clock by Carolyn Keene 
U.S- Beast in view by Margret Millar

Two Bingos 

Last Horizontal line and Four Corners Bingo
entertainment: Assignment in Andorra by May Mackintosh 
Women-The skull beneath her skin by P D James
Mode of transport-The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald
Outside comfort- A Case of need by Jeffery Hudson
Borrow- Dekok and the Somber Nude by A C Baantjer
U.S- The James Joyce Murder by Amanda Cross

Colour- Encyclopaedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J Sobol
Animal in the title - Crocodile on the sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Crime other than murder- Encyclopaedia Brown finds the Clue by Donald J Sobol
Short storycoll-Encyclopaedia Brown and the case of the secret Pitch by Donald J Sobol

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Deadly Tasting : Review & Giveaway

My Thoughts

While reading the previous instalment of the Winemaker detective series, I couldn't help wondering if all this wine tasting and drinking wine at all available moments have any effect on Benjamin Cooker's health. Maybe he is one of those, whatever they eat or drink has no adverse effect on their body. Maybe not so. In this instalment, Winemaker Detective can drink as much as he wants, all day, whenever he wants the special cabbage soup Mrs.Cooker concocted to make our Detective a few pounds lighter. Imagine having not to eat anything but cabbage soup for seven days and being called to taste wines. Wonder what he could taste but hunger. If cabbage soup diet in combination with tasting wines can make one queasy add to it the crime scene- all blood and gore, with butchered bodies.

Winemaker detective is called to taste the glasses of wine the killer has left as a calling card in the crime scenes, of victims in their late eighties and early nineties. Who would leave a full glass of wine as a calling card? Why is somebody killing off old men who would die sooner or later anyway? What is the connection between these men and the wine? Can our Winemaker Detective crack the case?

The novel is really short that could be read in a couple of hours but with a heavy dose of history of Bordeaux and its involvement during World War Two. What was the stand of the people of Bordeaux during World War Two? What happened to wine production during these tumultuous years? As usual the mystery gets solved on its own. But that does not take away the pleasure of meeting the Winemaker detective with a sparkling wit again.


Deadly Tasting

[cozy mystery]

Click on the banner for the rest of the tour!

Release date: October 17, 2014

at Le French Book

144 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474216

Website | Goodreads



A serial killer is on the loose in Bordeaux. A local chief detective calls wine expert Benjamin Cooker to the crime scene of a brutal murder. The killer has left a strange calling card: twelve wine glasses lined up in a semi-circle with the first one filled with wine. Cooker is charged with the task of identifying the fabulous grand cru and is astonished by what he learns. A second victim is found, with two glasses filled. Is the killer intentionally leaving clues about his victims and his motives? Memories are jogged about the complicated history of Bordeaux during Nazi occupation. It was a dark time: weinfuhrers ruled the wine trade, while collaborationists and paramilitary organizations spread terror throughout the region. In present-day wine country, time is running out. Will Cooker and his young assistant Virgile solve the mystery before all twelve glasses are full? [provided by the publisher]



An episode in a long successful French mysteries series that is a hit television series now in its fourth season and attracting an audience of over 4 million. The series is a huge success in France, Belgium and Switzerland.



©David Nakache

Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and television journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is a genuine wine and food lover and recently won the Antonin Carême prize.
He is the grandson of a winemaker and exhibits a real passion for wine and winemaking. For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine. He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective series, which he writes with Noël Balen. It is a 22-strong series that is a hit on French television and is now being translated into English by Le French Book.


Translator Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage. Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at Colorado University Boulder. She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset. She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.


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Tour-wide Giveaway

Enter the giveaway
It’s open internationally. We will have 9 winners: 4 print copies for US residents and 5 digital copies for residents of any country

Disclaimer: I received an ebook from the France Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Crossing the Line by Frédérique Molay: Review & Giveaway

My Review
Sometimes the dead leave messages from beyond. Sometimes a written message hidden in a book or someplace that is not very obvious but will eventually be found. A desperate man sure of his impending murder has to leave a message that will definitely be found but will not endanger his family members, where will he hide the message? In a locker with a hidden code? Can the message be hidden in a tooth? That is what the man in this book does. Hide a message "I was murdered" in his tooth and donate his body to Medical Research with the hope of a man "throwing a bottle out to the sea", that somebody would find it. Somebody does find it. Now Chief Nico Sirsky of Criminal Investigation Division of Paris has to solve the case of the tooth with the hidden message. 

The story has a macabre but interesting opening in the University with a senior professor teaching students dentists how to perform wisdom tooth surgery where the tooth with the hidden message is found. With this discovery I was completely drawn into the story and the series of events unfold quickly with more puzzles for Nico Sirsky and us. One mystery leading to another and finally the solution.
Ever wondered what happens to the body donated to Medical Research, about how the whole process works. This police pocedural gives detailed information from filling out the form to finally how it is used in advancement of Medical science. Marcel the body processor at the University is an interesting charcter with his macabre sense of humour. Though this is the second book in the Paris Homicide mystery series, it works as a standalone. It is a fast read. I finished it in a couple of sittings. Interesting Police procedural. Looking forward to other Nico Sirsky books.

Crossing The Line

[police procedural / thriller]
(translated by Anne TRAGER)
Release date: September 23, 2014
at Le French Book

224 pages

It’s Christmas in Paris and Chief of Police Nico Sirsky has an uneasy feeling that something is very wrong with the case he’s investigating. He and his team of crack homicide detectives follow the clues from an apparent suicide, to an apparent accident, to an all-out murder as an intricate machination starts breaking down. Just how far can despair push a man? How clear is the line between good and evil? [provided by the publisher]
Called, “the French Michael Connelly,” Frédérique Molay graduated from France’s prestigious Science Po and began her career in politics and the French administration.
She worked as chief of staff for the deputy mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and then was elected to the local government in Saône-et-Loire.
Meanwhile, she spent her nights pursing a passion for writing she had nourished since she wrote her first novel at the age of eleven.
The first in the Paris Homicide series, The 7th Woman,
won France’s most prestigious crime fiction award and went on to become an international bestseller,
allowing Molay to dedicate her life to writing and raising her three children.
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Sign up to receive their latest news and deals
Buy the book | on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble
Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.

This giveaway is open internationally, five print copies for U.S. residents and five digital copies for residents of any country. Giveaway ends 10/7/14. Click Here To Enter The Giveaway. Click Here to view the full tour schedule and see the list of participating blogs.


Disclaimer: I received an ebook from the France Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

No wind of blame by Georgette Heyer

Considering that it is July, and I have plenty of reading challenges to finish. I had been looking for a book with all wierd combinations. Like 'wind' in the title, preferably written by a women writer, I am doing the women author reading challenge and I haven't even finished half the required number of books for it. Preferably a mystery or crime novel. And I found this book in openlibrary. I read three books by Heyer before : Venetia, Behold, here's poison and Why shoot the butler. I liked the humour and characters in her books. But I did think the 'wicked baron' act thing is becoming repetitive and was quite happy that this book didn't feature a wicked baron,  a man so immoral that we all love to hate and hate to love, or some such thing. 

We have the rich and Vulgar Ermyntrude, ex-actress who is married to the philandering Wally Carter, whose cousin Mary looks like the only sensible person in the household especially when compared to the over the top dramatic Vicky, Ermyntrude's daughter from her first marriage. And dethroned exiled Prince, with an unpronounceable name, of Georgia, their house guest, and Prince their dog, and Robert Steel a man who is silent and passionate about Aunt Ermy, as Mary calls her. Hugh Derring a possible suitor for Mary and finally the disreputable Whites. 

It had all the elements of a country house murder, the stage is set. Wally's philandering and Aunt Ermy's drama should lead to something, right? Into a quarter of the book I realised that nobody is dead yet. I had been expecting Aunt Ermy to die at any moment, she is the rich one, isn't it? But then a vague suspicion dawned on me, that this is probably not one of Heyer's mystery, that this is probably a romance. Heyer had written plenty of romance, and the first book I read by her Venetia is a romance, which I loved by the way, but I do hate romances. There are some benefits in reading an ebook in Ipad and one is being immediately able to google to find out about the book. Then with a sigh of relief I learnt that it is a mystery alright. And Wally is going to be murdered. But why Wally? Oh yes. He is causing lots of pain to Aunt Ermy with his philandering ways. And Aunt Ermy has lots of admirers and sympathisers, still why Wally? If somebody is going to be murdered it should be Aunt Ermy, after all she is the one with money. 

Then I plunged into the book again. Nobody has an alibi and almost everybody a motive. So who killed Wally and why? Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard makes an appearance to the end of the book when local inspector fails to make much headway into the investigation. Vicky pulls of a nice little stunt. Whatever would our lives be without creatures like Vicky. Did I guess who killed Wally? No! I more or less decided who the culprit was and the story was definitely pointing that way. But a nice little surprise that I should have seen it coming with all those clues around.  Interesting puzzle with colourful characters.