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cherrypie

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  1. This is the latest, as far as I know, in the Simon Serrailler series by Susan Hill. As is usual for this series the book is as much about the family of Simon Serrailler and happenings in Lafferton, the town in which it is set, as it is about any of the crimes described. Again if you are looking for a hard hitting police story with descriptions of how crime is solved this book is probably not for you. As with other books in this series I found Cat, Simon's doctor sister, to be the most likeable character. Simon himself often does not appear that much and when he does I have always found him to be a rather remote character. This does not change in this book although we do get less involved in his love life than we have in others which some readers will prefer! The case on which the book is losely based is an especially nasty one and involves Simon working undercover. When I started reading the book and found out what it was going to be about I was not sure that I wanted to continue but although much is suggested not much actual detail is given thank goodness although I suspect that just the suggestion that this sort of crime does exist may well be enough to put some readers off. Once again the story is told from several points of view and once again other issues are dealt with within the book as well as the main crime. One other reader of a previous book in the series critised Susan Hill and suggested that she almost used the books to air her feelings regarding The National Health system amongst other things. This book is no different and much is made about hospice care, the way that our society deals with death and in many ways the diminishing of any faith within the process. Having lost a close member of my family not that long ago I found some of the points quite interesting but can understand how others might not be so impressed. To sum up I would have to say that this book follows the same pattern as previous books in the series. I read the books as much to continue Cat's story as I do for any crime involved. I would have to say to that on the whole I think that the books are getting a bit weaker. Once again a decent read but not an outstanding one.
  2. what is everyone doing?

    It is a beautiful day here so RG and I spent the morning walking around a local lake. It was lovely to see so many family groups out in the sunshine. Having washed my car RG is now giving the back lawn it's first mow of the year. Hopefully spring is not too far away! Our little granddaughter is doing much better thank goodness. Although her feeds are still a little up and down she is having days when she takes larger amounts. The horrible vomiting has calmed down too. Hopefully next week when she is weighed again she may have gained a bit more weight!
  3. This is the eighth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series and is described on the back cover as "the most outstanding novel yet from international bestselling phenomenon Louise Penny". I am not sure that I would describe it as the best but it is certainly well up there! Like The Brutal Telling and Bury Your Dead I just could not put this book down. Like a few of the other books in the series so far this book is not set in the village of Three Pines but unlike any of the novels so far no characters from the village appear in this book. The only regular characters to appear are Gamache himself and his second in command Inspector Beauvoir. Gamache's boss Sylvain Francoeur also appears again in this novel but the reader has seen only a little of him in previous books so I do not count him as a regular character. The book is actually set in a monastery hidden deep in the wilderness and inhabited by two dozen monks. They are men of prayer and music and until the recent release of a CD of their music have been hidden from the rest of the world for centuries. However the murder of one of their number forces them to invite the world in. As Gamache and Beauvoir investigate the murder it becomes clear that the community of monks is not all that it seems. Gamache finds clues in the divine, the human and the cracks in between. Once again I would describe this as an exceptional book but would have to acknowledge that it would not be for everyone. Viccie read the third book in the series recently and said that if she had not read the first two and enjoyed them she would have given up on it as she could not get on with "the flowery language" (her description not mine). I love the descriptive language and the examinations of human nature and character development that appear in the books alongside the details of the crimes. I learnt early on in the series that the Gamache books are far more than a set of crime novels. I suspect that if that is all they were I would have given up on them by now. I love many of the characters and am beginning to care for many of them more and more. I finished this one in a state of shock and am almost dreading what I will find at the beginning of the next one! I am finding this to be a wonderful series of books. Not only do I love the character development from book to book but I find it amazing the way that the books often prompt me to look more closely at my own behaviour and relationships. This book , probably because of where it is set and the way that it examines faith, has been especially good at this. I will be very sorry to finish the books, I suspect that I will feel quite bereft without them! A bit like saying goodbye to old friends.
  4. This is the third in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and once again it is mainly set in the small Quebec village of Three Pines. Many of the usual characters appear and are becoming more and more familiar. The reader is made aware of the thoughts and feelings of many of the characters. Once again the foibles of human nature play as much a part in the content of the book as the details of the crime. In this book however issues beyond the crime itself play a part and details of the Inspector's earlier career emerge. The crime itself happens at a seance in an old house on the edges of the village. Once again the crime takes place in a room full of people but no witnesses are available and there are few clues. Anybody present at the seance could have committed the crime apart from the victim of course! Once again the book is very character driven and the details of the crime are clever rather than totally believable. Being set at a seance in an old abandoned house the book is quite creepy in places but far from terrifying. As I continue with this series I find myself liking many of the characters more and more. They really are a bit of an oddly assorted bunch but then I guess that such groups of people often are. Once again I would be happy to recommend this book but would point out that as crime novels go it really is on the gentle clever side rather than the brutal or gory! I think that I for one am becoming addicted!
  5. This was my least favourite of the series so far Viccie - I am now on number eight and they do get better. Books five and six have been the best for me so far. RG is now reading this one but has not said what he thinks so far. The language is very descriptive but unlike you Viccie I really enjoy that and would have to say that it is one of the reasons why I read the books. As to Gamache's gentle character once again I am a fan. He does have strength which is proven later on in the series and I would love to believe that such a kind, gentle but strong man could exist. I think it would be sad to think that human nature could not be that forgiving.
  6. what is everyone doing?

    I don't know about keeping us young Momac! At times we think it would be nice just to stop for a bit and have a duvet day. The only thing is that on the rare occasions that we get the chance we just cannot do it. We don't seem to be able to slow down to that extent these days. I do still make sure that I keep time free to walk on a regular basis as it is the one thing that helps my back. Most of my reading is done first thing in the morning before I get out of bed or last thing at night before turning in. Ruby is a great calmer downer of course. She is still as beautiful as ever and of course our granddaughter is a real joy. Her coming into our lives is like nothing nothing else we have ever experienced.
  7. I'll Never Be Young Again

    I have read a number of books by this author and loved them. I have not read any for a number of years and I was considering revisiting her work as I am sure that there are books written by her that I have not read. Having read your comments Meg I think that I will give this one a miss!
  8. what is everyone doing?

    I did start keeping a list of the books that I have read and managed to keep it going for best part of a year or so but I have to admit that I did flounder somewhat and have never got back into the habit. I have decided that as I read for pleasure if I do read a book for the second time it does not really matter. Although I read purely for pleasure I find that I do learn a lot from the books that I read which I count as a real bonus. RG and I have had a really busy week. He had six rest days off on the trot but before we even got to them five of the six were already booked. We seem to spend our time juggling the care of RG's Mum with the giving of support to my parents and our daughter with her new baby! I was at our daughter's all day yesterday as little one had her three month jabs. She was a bit out of sorts but did sleep through our lunch at a nearby coffee shop enabling us to have a good natter. It is our quizz night at church tonight. It always takes place in the chapter house attached to our church and includes a pancake supper. RG and I have been part of the winning team for the last two years so we have a lot to live up to. I only hope that RG does not fall asleep in his supper, he was up for work at 3.30 this morning!!
  9. This is the seventh novel by Louise Penny featuring Chief Inspector Gamache and his team. Once again this story is set in the idyllic village of Three Pines in Quebec. Many of the characters who appear in previous books make appearances in this story too and the reader watches as their lives develop as much as they read about the crime which forms the central part of the book. A women is found in a flower bed in the garden of two of the residents of Three Pines. Her eyes are wide open and her neck has been broken. Her death is a complete mystery as is the women herself and her reason for being in Three Pines. As the story unfolds Gamache and his team uncover many secrets of those who have known he women over the years including the two residents of the village. Once again the murderer is found to be somebody known to the women and many of those living in the village. Once again the book is very character driven and the reader is given an insight into the world of the artist as well as seeing the relationships between well loved characters develop. Although this is a slow read as far as the crime itself is concerned it has far more to offer. The books really do need to be read in order to fully appreciate the real basis of these stories, the characters themselves. I admit that some of the books are better than others but as far as I am concerned the books are well worth the effort. A brilliant series. I already have the next one on my TBR shelf. I feel as if these books have helped me through the winter!!
  10. what is everyone doing?

    Hope you feel better soon Meg. There seems to be some horrible bugs around this winter. So far I have been pretty lucky and avoided them all! I take Adcal D3 which is supposed to help with my calcium levels as it contains both calcium and vitamin D. Even so the results of a recent blood test showed that my calcium levels are still a little low! An excuse for more lattes!! Our daughter has been over today with the little one. Lovely to see them and have lots of cuddles and we were lucky enough to be able to go out for a bracing walk. Pushing the pram with my granddaughter in is still a novelty! Only problem is getting her to take her feeds. What a nightmare. Alhough she is now on non cows milk formula the fear of pain around feeding has not faded. She is so good in all other ways bless. Just glad I am here to help so much.
  11. what is everyone doing?

    Thanks for your kind thoughts Meg and Momac. They are much appreciated. Like your Grandbaby Meg our little one came out in a rash too and like our daughter has eczema. We are hoping that unlike our daughter as she has it so young she will grow out of it. Unfortunately both her parents have eczema as do I and my Dad so the chances of her having it were always quite high. As to the milk allergy it is hoped that when she is weaned milk can be added slowly to her diet. Just like your grandbaby Meg it seems to be the cows milk protein that is the problem and not the lactose. We are just glad that she is so much happier and taking her bottles a little easier. Hopefully her growth will catch up soon too. Although cold and a bit windy here today it is lovely and sunny so I was able to get out for a long walk earlier. It is amazing how a long walk in the he fresh air can make me feel so refreshed. I am not a good winter person and find that my walks really help. Our daughter intends coming over tomorrow for the day with the little one so am getting as many jobs done as possible, around the tennis from St Petersburg of course!! The little one is really beginning to respond now and is nearly rolling over on her own. Although she has had a bit of a rough time of late she is still a really happy baby and is all smiles now that she is not in so much pain. A real joy to watch although Ruby is not sure that she is keen!! I think she thinks she should be our only baby!!
  12. what is everyone doing?

    Hoping spring is on the way here too Momac. Our churchyard is one mass of snowdrops and I noticed that there are actually dafadils out at the end of church road. I for one cannot wait! Sorry I have been absent from the site for a while but our little granddaughter has been a bit unwell. After many changes of milk, six to be exact, it seems she has a milk allergy. She has not been growing at the rate that she should but has been on her present milk for nearly a week now and seems to be improving. RG and I have spent a lot of time at our daughter's helping out with chores and with the baby. Our daughter has lost a little of her confidence but seems to be recovering it at last.
  13. Well I thought that the last in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, The Brutal Telling, was good but I think that this book may be even better! I was gripped until the very end. It actually tells three stories regarding three different crimes. One is the continuation of the story told in the previous book and is investigated by Gamache's second in command Inspector Beauvoir who narrates this part of the book. The second concerns a crime that has happened in the recent past and the main part of the story is told by Gamache replaying a conversation over in his mind. The third is a current crime and takes place in Quebec city. A man has been brutally murdered in a library where the English citizens of Quebec safeguard their history. The death opens a door to the past, exposing a mystery that has lain dormant for years. I found the way in which Louise Penny managed to weave the three stories around one another really well done. I had to concentrate a bit but it was in no way a difficult read. Many of the characters from the previous books appear in this one even though the main part of the action does not take place in Three Pines. I was held by all three stories until the very end and cannot say that I guessed the climax of any of the three stories. When the climax of the three stories came I just could not put the book down. By the end of the book I was practically out of breath! I found the ending of all three stories quite heartbreaking as well as surprising. This is far more than a crime novel. It tells a lot about a part of Quebec history and taught me much apart the place that I did not know. All three crimes were cleverly told without being gory or using bad language but the best part of the book are the human stories. As I read each book I find myself caring more and more for many of the characters. I would certainly recommend this series to other readers. The first few books I found to be quite comfortable reads but as I go along I am finding that the books are getting better and better. Brilliant!
  14. Bury Your Dead

    Three Pines sounds beautiful, especially in the snow. I am not sure that I would want to visit for too long though as I hate the cold and damp!! I think that I would also find it a little disappointing without all of the characters from the books being there. Louise Penny has a wonderful talent for creating very real and human characters. So much so that I the reader can almost feel as if I know them. That is one of the joys of following a series of books in this way for me. I think that it says a lot about the author of a book if they can make the reader really care about the outcome for their characters.
  15. what is everyone doing?

    I put the telly on early and watch a bit of the tennis each morning Momac but I must admit it is not quite the same for RG and I now that Andy is not playing. I am trying to watch some of the younger players and gain an interest in one or two of them. At least so far Kyle Edmunds is doing well. I feel that although he may have the game he will never have the mentality to go really far in one of the big tournaments.
  16. This is the fifth book in The Inspector Gamache series and in my opinion by far and away the best. Unlike previous novels in this series the crime itself was very believable and far darker than I have come to expect. This novel takes the reader back to Three Pines following a different setting in the previous book and the usual group of villagers reappear. Both the members of Gamache's team and many of the villagers are becoming like old friends and story lines loosely run from book to book which I really like. When a dead body is discovered in the village bistro the villagers are all shocked. When no weapon, motive, suspect or even identity of the victim can be easily discovered Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are faced with the task of uncovering clues of the victim's past. Once again the book is very character driven and as much is learnt by watching and listening to members of the village as by any other means. As I have said in comparison with other books in this series this story is quite dark. It is also remarkably clever and very detailed. The reader has to concentrate all the time for fear of missing the odd little clue here or the odd little clue there. Unlike other books in the series I really did have no idea who the murderer was until the very end when all was explained. Even then I was not completely convinced that there was not going to be one last twist. My attention was held until the very last page! I found this book very hard to put down and would not hesitate to recommend it to other readers. When describing other books in the series I have suggested that regular readers of crime novels may find the crimes a little far fetched and the pace a little slower. Not so with this book. The author has managed to create a crime novel in which the crime and the solving of it holds the reader's attention as much as the characters and the views offered of human nature and behaviour. A very sophisticated crime novel in fact and a great read.
  17. This is the fourth in the Inspector Gamache series and is the first of the series in which the greatest part of the action takes place away from Three Pines. The wealthy Finney family get together each year at The Manoir Bellchasse, an exclusive hotel set in The Canadian Wilderness, to pay tribute to their late father. During their stay each year old secrets and bitter rivalries have a habit of resurfacing and this year's get together is to prove no different from previous year's! When a massive thunder storm hits the hotel following a heat wave this year proves to be a little different. After the storm a body is found in the grounds by one of the gardeners. Chief inspector Gamache of the Surete du Qu├ębec and his wife happen to be staying at the hotel along with the Finney family and when the hotel is locked down he calls his usual team to help him solve the murder. Three Pines is not left out completely however as two members of the Finney family are residents of the village and have played parts in all three of the previous stories. Gamache knows that as nobody is allowed to leave the murderer is cornered and could strike again so solving the crime quickly is required. Once again the joy of this book for me are the characters and their relationships with one another along with the pictures the reader is able to build up of human nature itself. As usual Gamache is a brilliant leading man and somebody who, if he actually existed, I would love to be able to sit down with over a quiet drink and chat to. Once again the crime itself is not the most important part of this book and although all is explained clearly leaving the reader in no doubt as to what has happened the explanation is a little far fetched to say the least. For me this is a little unimportant but I do realise that readers of more common crime novels may find the Gamache series a little slow moving for their tastes. Although this series is one that I would freely recommend to other readers I would have point out the relatively slow pace of the novels.
  18. what is everyone doing?

    Sorry that your concert was not as enjoyable as last year Meg. It does sound as if you still had a lovely time though. I don't blame you for not wanting to try your hand at the skating I must admit. RG will tell you that I have no rhythm or balance whatsoever so would never manage to stay on my feet! Our soup lunch on Wednesday went off very well. Although there were probably less people there this month than last many people are coming back each month. If nothing else it gives some of the more isolated members of our community a chance to get together and have a good natter. On Thursday a group of us from our church visited a residential home for the elderly in our town to sing carols to the residents. We sang for about an hour managing to fit in most of the really traditional carols. Many of the residents sang along even without the song sheets. It seems that no matter what age we reach many of the things we learn in childhood stay with us. Apart from the soup lunch and the singing I have spent the last two days writing cards and wrapping presents. The only presents not wrapped now are those from myself to RG. He had a good finish at work today and so arrived home early just as I got to the stage of wrapping his presents! He is now off for the next eleven days using up owed leave so his presents may not be wrapped until the last minute. As I think it unlikely that he has even bought me a present so far I still not think that I am doing too badly!!
  19. what is everyone doing?

    RG and I have been making soup today for the soup lunch at our church tomorrow. I had made the stock in advance by boiling the carcasses of two chickens so that at least was in the freezer. I had also frozen veg left over from previous meals, still finding cooking for only two a bit difficult!! All I needed to do was add more veg and boil in two very large pans for a couple of hours. Sounds easy but by the time it had all been put through the blender, cream added, put into containers, taken round to the church kitchen and the clearing up done a large chunk of the day had gone. I had intended doing a few jobs afterwards but my back ached a fair bit after all the standing so I watched La La Land instead! More fun then housework and I felt that I deserved it!
  20. This is the second book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and once again is set in the Quebec village of Three Pines. Many of the characters who appeared in the first book also appear in this one, both amongst the villagers and the Inspector's team. Once again the book is as much about the characters involved and human nature in general as it is about any crime. Gamache himself is really beginning to grow on me as are many of the other characters and they are beginning to feel a little like old friends. A series like this is just great for me as I love character driven books and this series promises to be a favourite. The crime itself is set in deep winter and concerns an electrocuted body. It seems to be the perfect crime as although it happened in a crowd of people there appears to be no witnesses or clues. When the inspector starts to untangle the victims past however he discovers a history filled with enemies and shadows. The crime itself is a little bit far fetched but quite clever. The writer drops little clues as she goes along. This is an enjoyable series but if you are looking for hard hitting crime writing I doubt this is for you. It really is much gentler than that. In many ways I think of Louise penny as a modern day Agatha Christie. I would certainly recommend this book and the series.
  21. what is everyone doing?

    Have had a lovely weekend so far. Yesterday RG and I attended an Advent study day at our church entitled Backwards from Christmas. There were about a dozen of us. We started with morning prayer then got stuck into the study session. We covered a fair amount of ground in three hours then came home and studied some more! We are lucky to have each other to discuss our study with. As well as being informative these sessions are always good fun too! Today was our Christingle service and our daughter, son-in-law and our new granddaughter joined us at church. Ellie's first time at church. Seeing her being taken up to be blessed bought tears to our eyes. It does not seem five minutes ago that we used to take our daughter up with her toy dog. The dog was always blessed too! At coffee after the service Ellie was introduced to everyone with her proud grandparents looking on. We still can't stop smiling!
  22. what is everyone doing?

    Hi everyone, sorry for my long absence but we have had rather a lot going on recently. The last five weeks of our daughter's pregnancy proved to be a little bit of a worrying time and so we were needed to help with hospital appointments. However little Elinor Anne arrived safely on 10th of November following a pretty straightforward labour. She was three days early and weighed a healthy 7 pound 5! She is beautiful and as you can imagine both RG and I are totally besotted. We have spent a fair amount of time at our daughter's over the last two weeks helping out with washing, ironing, meals, shopping etc. etc.. our son in law goes back to work this week so I guess we will be needed a bit in the week to come too. At least it gives us plenty of time for cuddles. I hope to try to catch up on BGO news a bit over the next week. I will also try to post a few pictures on the group FB page! Neither RG or I have had much chance for reading recently so we hope to catch up a bit on that over the next few weeks. Hope all is good with everyone else.
  23. what is everyone doing?

    RG does all his mum's banking, bill paying and shopping for her online. She has never even used a debit card unfortunately. We just thank heavens for the internet as she lives 25 miles away from us.
  24. what is everyone doing?

    That is exactly the problem we have with RG's mum. She has been on her own for a couple of years now and is completely reliant on RG and I. When she was first on her own she could not even turn the telly on! We had so many phone calls about the telly and as it is her only outlet it was a big worry. In the end RG ordered her a new telly with a built in freeview box. At least now she can watch Drama and ITV 3 to her hearts content. We have given up trying to get her out now. She has not been out since our daughter's wedding last year. She refused to come to the baby shower. When we suggested a day centre or something similar she flatly refused!
  25. what is everyone doing?

    It is such a shame that gentlemen hold back from coming to these things. They miss out. RG and I took invitations out to certain people such as those who have been bereaved this year. Two gentlemen came one of which is not a church goer. RG already visits him every so often so he knew someone to start with and we all made sure that he was never on his own. He seemed to really enjoy it and said that he intended coming next month. Hopefully as word gets around the lunch will grow.
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