Thursday, 28 September 2017

Review of "Miss Phryne Fisher: dead man's chest" -- even better than the series on tv

Miss Phryne Fisher, the 1920-ties female detective in her fast car and her flapper dress with a sleek bobcut  hairdo and a sigarette. I liked the series (was in those days here in Holland only available on internet sites - what for us Dutchies was not illegal to watch). The book is even better because of all the humour and subtle jokes. I was astonished to see point blank in a detective novel that felt very old style mentioned miss Fischer was sick of her dry spell of a week and masturbated. What will the American prudes have a shock :) (It took me to read it twice to grasp what was suggested there).

While Phryne's townhouse in Melbourne is redecorated she moves her companion and her adopted daughters to a seashore resort (in the making, it is interesting to see how "trippers" in those days vacationed) where they are allowed to borrow the house of a anthropologist who is away on an expedition. To their surprise however the housekeeper and cook couple is not present and it looks like the house is looted for food while the valuables are still there and even the housekeeper's dog shows up. Phryne and her merry band wonder what this is all about but make do with one daughter cooking all kind of fancy dishes (instructions included in the book after the story) and the other focussed on science.

In the meantime they meet the neighbours: the ghastly old hag who spies on everybody, the always drunk mother of a teenage boy who with his two friends bullies the local kids and some weirdo surrealists. Then there is the filmcrew shooting a movie about a local pirate and his never recovered treasure hoard, a snapper who cuts off the braids of young girls and smugglers and maybe a murder.

The book is a pleasure to read. After having seen a series it is always a gamble if the original book will be as much fun but it was even better. The author is a very accomplished writer. Not just the plot but also the how.

AMAZON writes:
It's high summer in Melbourne—the ideal time, Phryne Fisher thinks, to pack up the Hispano-Suiza and withdraw to the quiet vacation town of Queenscliff, at the mouth of the Bay. And yet, there is mystery and intrigue almost from the moment of her arrival. The Johnsons, who staff the holiday house, are nowhere to be found… along with much of the home's contents. When their bedraggled dog shows up days later, the Johnsons’ absence begins to look like something more sinister. Between the missing staff, coastal smugglers, daft surrealists and a pigtail thief, Phryne’s vacation is proving to be anything but.

Dead Man’s Chest, set in the Australia of 1929, is the 18th of Kerry Greenwoods much-loved Phryne Fisher mysteries.

When you like Indiana Jones this is the book for you

Sean, the husband of  Isabel, is an archaeologist. At the beginning of the novel Isabel, who works for the intelligence service normally, has travelled to Egypt because her husband has gone missing there. Egypt is in a turmoil with the army taking power and the Muslim Brotherhood going for presidency again. While Isabel is trying to find a trace of her husband another archaeologist with backup of a powerful businessman insists there is a hidden area in the pyramid of Cheops. He invites her for the opening of that hidden room.

The story is intriguing and many current affairs of nowadays Egypt intertwine within the story. You keep on reading. However do not expect deep psychological analysis.Although the mourning is well written.  In the end I had the feeling the story was rushed. On the other hand the fact that some people appear in Isabel's life and then after a short time die instead of developing in a love interest or a mysterious nomad makes the story more realistic and less "constructed".

Written as a review for Netgalley


From the award winning bestselling author of The Istanbul Puzzle. For those who want to understand where the latest, real headline-grabbing revelations from the Great Pyramid of Giza will lead us. Read as a stand alone or start the series with The Istanbul Puzzle.

Henry warned her. “If you go to Cairo, you'll get yourself killed.”

But what choice does Isabel have? She has to find Sean, her missing husband, and she's discovered that a hospital in Cairo treated an American patient recently, flown to Cairo from Germany for some unexplained reason. But she's arrived at the wrong moment. A mass uprising is being crushed in Tahrir Square. The next day, an Egyptian billionaire announces a discovery at the Great Pyramid of Giza. Isabel decides to talk to him. He might help her find Sean.

She ends up deep in the desert, at a camp run by the Muslim Brotherhood. They murder her driver in front of her, then ask her to carry one simple task. They will lead her to Sean if she agrees. But what they are asking goes against everything she believes in. And time is running out.

The Great Pyramid of Giza provides the final piece of the puzzle, which Isabel and Sean first encountered in Istanbul. In a fabled hall, assumed by most to be an ancient myth, Isabel finds out what happened to her husband. She also discovers what lies beneath the Great Pyramid, based on real, ground penetrating archaeology, which will undermine what millions cherish as the truth.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Review of "Adored: the harem diaries" - ok story without background research

The romance story is interesting but when you situated a novel in a real country and your readers might know that country themselves,  there is the danger of errors distracting. For instance: Fez and Casablanca are situated in a farming area with the desert way further to the South. I wonder if Casablanca even existed then. Churchbells in a Muslim country? A son of the Moroccan sultan is not a caliph because that is like the pope and was a title of the Turkish sultan and I wonder if the titles of the harem officials would be Turkish ones. Naming not Marrakesh as a major city etc.etc.

So just read this as a faitytale and enjoy that. For me the factual errors broke the spell.
Also a bit pricey for a Kindle.

 You can buy it here


 This was not the adventure she'd been promised…

The last thing Miss Antonia Freeman anticipated as companion to Duchess of Weatherly on the final leg of their tour in beautiful Morocco was ending up in the Caliph of Fez’s palace. But when presented with an offer to finally see lands she had only ever dreamed of, she eagerly agrees to the journey. Still, nothing could have prepared her for the splendor of the palace and coming face-to-face with the most beautiful man she's ever seen.

Khalil Al-Rasheed, Caliph of Fez, is the ruler of all he surveys. After suffering the heart-rending loss of his wife in childbirth, he finds himself in desperate need of a teacher for his beloved yet mischievous daughter, Cassiopeia. What he does not anticipate is being presented with a disheveled and bedraggled British woman with four young boys in tow.

From the palace's lush gardens to the majestic grandeur of the harem, skepticism gives way to adoration as Khalil sees the wonders Antonia works in his little girl. Amidst intrigue and danger, Khalil and Antonia find themselves exploring a burgeoning passion that is threatened by betrayal. Confronting the truth may tear them apart as Khalil is forced to come to terms with his grief and Antonia questions if she can ever win the heart of a man longing for the love of his past.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Review of "Saved by Sheikh Omar"

Old fashioned style romance story set just after World War I in which the guy is a hero who treats the woman with love and respect. 

Compared to the real old fashioned romance stories of the 1970 and 1980 a lot more explicit.

It is more of a short story. Not long enough to call it a novel.

AMAZON writes:

It is 1923. British lady Mira, fresh out of school, and her brother Charles, a veteran from the Great War, are en route to his new farm in Rhodesia in Southern Africa. Their family fortune is gone and he hopes to start a flying school in the African colony. Their plane however malfunctions over the Sahara desert. Charles is forced to do an emergency landing. He departs to find help, leaving Mira all alone in the middle of the desert.

A few hours to the North, Arabian Sheikh Omar prepares his caravan to return home to his oasis town.

Enjoy this historical romance set in Northern Africa in the 1920ties.

You can download the Kindle App to read Kindle type ebooks on your smartphone or pc

Review "Fletcher's Fortune" - a navy story with a detective aspect

At the end of the 18th century an orphaned bastard  is set to inherit a fortune without knowing it. His half brothers and their mother want him dead. He ends up presses into the navy but it seems his enemies still know how to reach him.
Good story but the ending  is unbelievable.

AMAZON writes:  

Young Jacob Fletcher, whilst unsure of his parentage, did know that as an apprentice he couldn't legally be seized by the press gang.

But this particular gang couldn't actually read the rules. And didn't care anyway.

Which was how he found himself risking life, limb and sea sickness on board His Majesty's frigate Phiandra, about to do battle with what looked like half the French fleet.

Meanwhile at Coignwood Hall, the late Sir Henry lay face-down in his soup as his beautiful but evil widow, Lady Sarah, along with their two loathsome sons, ransacked his papers for the will that would disclose to their horror that the entire family fortune has been left to a previously unknown illegitimate son.

Who would now have to be tracked down and disposed of as a matter of some urgency...

What will become of Fletcher's Fortune?

Fletcher's Fortune is the first in a rollicking series of memoirs that bring the 18th Century back to life in its tawdry glory.

When you wonder how to read a Kindle book from the US? Just download the Kindle App on your phone or pc. And pay attention: compared to Dutch prices you pay like 15%