Thursday, January 25, 2007

Book Reviews - 'Mark of the Lion'

First of all, thank you so much to those who have left comments or sent me comments on the SP list. As a very new blogger it is exciting to know people have actually read something you wrote. I'm not sure what blog etiquette requires, but if it is considered wrong not to respond to every comment I am sorry - I have tried to answer questions when time and memory permit - I admit that sometimes if I don't do something immediately, I forget to do it later because I've moved on to the next task.

As well as being an obsessive embroiderer, I am also an obsessive reader. Luckily for me, I married a wonderful man who is also obsessive about reading. Unluckily, it made packing up and moving a terrible task. I do some reviewing of science books for a couple of publications meant for librarians, and I've included needlework book reviews in the newsletter I edit, but there are so many other books that I want to share it seems a good idea to write about them.

Today I finished 'The Mark of the Lion' by Suzanne Arruda. This is the first book in a new mystery series set in Africa after WWI. The heroine is Jade del Cameron, an American who drove an ambulance during the war. Of course she is slim and beautiful, but at the same time she defies convention and wears her hair short and doesn't worry about fashionable clothing, in fact she wears pants much of the time. She was brought up on a New Mexico ranch, with a Spanish mother and Irish-mix father, so she can ride and shoot with the best of them. Her time in the war taught her to repair cars as well. In general a capable, down-to-earth person. As well as a knee wound, she also has some emotional scars from the war, namely a fear of noises that sound like bombs and hysterical laughter. In this mystery, she has the task of finding the brother of the pilot who wanted to marry her during the war. The pilot died in a plane crash, but now the war is over and she feels she needs to honour his dying wish.

This is a very well written book and really draws you in to the atmosphere of Kenya after WWI. The heroine and the other characters are all interesting, if not lovable, and there is a bit of magic in the plot as well.

As an aside here, I generally don't like mystery and fantasy in the same book. I love both genres but I don't always like the mix. I love the Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron but I don't like all the supernatural in Carrie Bebris' series Mr & Mrs Darcy Mysteries because Jane Austen made fun of the gothic so it doesn't seem right. Anyway, back to the book at hand.

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it highly to those who like mysteries. There are enough plot twists to keep you guessing (unless like me you read the back of the book first) and the writing is very good. I am now waiting for the next volume in this new series, Stalking Ivory, to be processed by the library. I am first on the waiting list.

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