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Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea
Teffi, Irina Steinberg, Anne Marie Jackson, Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Edythe C. Haber
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee, Bob Reed
Collection: The Tailor of Panama / Our Game / The Night Manager
John le Carré
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life
Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani
Progress: 127/304 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry
The Woman In White
Wilkie Collins
Merlin Trilogy
Mary Stewart
Progress: 340/928 pages
Quartet in Autumn
Barbara Pym
Progress: 99/186 pages

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The Saltmarsh Murders - Gladys Mitchell
Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers, Mark Meadows
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"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." ― Mae West


"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." ― Mark Twain


"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." ― Robert A. Heinlein


"Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else." ― Judy Garland
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Project Hamlet

24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 - Penance Day, Book

The Brimstone Wedding - Barbara Vine The Brimstone Wedding - Barbara Vine, Juliet Stevenson

Tedious, predictable, and boring beyond belief.  I'd never have thought I'd actually ever say this about a book by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell in her standalone thriller writer incarnation), but there we are -- and not even Juliet Stevenson's lovely narration could do anything about it.  The tedium of unhappy marriage and an ultimately equally unhappy adulterous affair, experienced by two women of different generations and different social classes who tell each other their respective stories ... yawn.  Been there, done that, all probably pretty realistic, especially the present-day story, but by the same token that narrative strain in particular is just utterly predictable.  OK, OK, the "marriage" bit was perhaps foreseeable given this book's title, but in view of the author and since the title also has the word "brimstone" in it, I really was expecting a bit more of the hellfire and demonic machinations that Vine normally so excels in.  But even in the older woman's story, which is marginally more interesting, the "big reveal" at the end had been telegraphed pretty much from the start, and the book ends with a twist intended to tie both stories together even more firmly which (1) also was not exactly a surprise, given the amount of foreshadowing in that particular direction, and (2) is in itself, never mind the foreshadowing, artificial to the nth degree and as unnecessary to the storyline as an extra limb.  Shame, Baroness Rendell; I'd have expected so much better from you!

 

However, since this book is literally brimming (bad pun intended) with people searching their souls, hiding guilty secrets -- not only of the adulterous kind -- and seeking absolution, I'm claiming this as my read for Penance Day so as to at least get something out of it after all.  This is incidentally also the only reason why I finished it.