Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's a Mystery

Actually, I have three mysteries for you.

The first is The Queen's Gambit: A Leonardo di Vinci Mystery by Diane A. S. Stuckart. We were looking through one of the many remainder book catalogs that we get and we both mentioned "hey, there's a Leonardo di Vinci mystery here" and didn't do anything about it. Later, we found this book, probably at Half-Price books as it is marked as a remaindered copy and we picked it up. It was okay. It had some good low level technical stuff on how frescos were painted and what it was like to be an apprentice to di Vinci. There was something here that I don't believe could happen, but if I told you what, I'd ruin the story for you and I don't want to do that.

From the book flap: " On a royal whim, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, orders a living chess game to be enacted by members of his own court. Di Vinci conjures up the spectacle in a single night, but his latest success turns bitter when one of the pieces - the duke's ambassador to France - is murdered. Di Vinci is the only man Sforza can trust to conduct the investigation." Di Vinci and his apprentice, Dino start to gather information. The most surprising secret may be Dino's.

Would I read another? Probably, if I was looking for brain candy and I do that a lot! Historical mystery fans looking for a cozy read will like this one.

***

The Hell Screen by I. J. Parker is a historical mystery of 11th century Japan featuring Sugawara Akitada. It is one in a series and I've read them all and in order. I have been known to read a series out of order. You could pick this one up and enjoy it without reading any of the others. I have enjoyed this series, its setting in Japan, the growth of the main character and getting to know the characters and enjoying their return ... almost like old friends.

From the book cover: " Akitada is on his way to the bedside of his dying mother when bad weather forces him to take refuge in a temple whose central treasure is a brilliantly painted hell screen. Perhaps its violent imagery influences his dreams: that night he is awakened by a terrible scream. It's only after Akitada returns to his family and a scene of domestic unhappiness and scandal that the significance of that cry becomes clear. For while he slept, a woman was murdered, and now he must find her killer, even if it means looking very close to home."

The conflict between Confuscianism and Buddhism is always interesting to me in this series. The law and what was considered a crime in 11th C Japan might surprise some folks. There is more than one death and crime for Akitada to manage, besides turmoil in his household.


And lastly,


Do you know what this is?

Have a great day!

Joy to YOU!


7 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Cucumbers??????

Thanks for the mystery possibilities!!! I may have to check into them..

Hugs,
Betsy

Barb said...

Are those cucumbers? I like your profile advise, "Never grow up." Have a great weekend.

Janet said...

They look like some weird cross between cucumbers and okra!! You can tell I've lived in town too long!

Snap said...

Cucumbers is a good guess, but not it! Answer coming soon!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Now those are really a mystery! Perhaps a squash like a hybrid zucchini? The books sound really interesting...I do love to read about history especially in another country.

Cynthia said...

Great book reviews! I appreciate you doing this as I'm always after a good book. Currently reading "The Help" and "The Forgotten Garden."

I've a bit of gardening under my belt, but for the life of me...whatever they are I can feel the texture right through the page!

Pretty Things said...

Those books look right up my alley! I recently read two trilogies by Sharon Kay Penman -- you'd probably love them.

Is that bitter melon?