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How to tell it is winter:
Sadly, meetings in my county are not this much fun, although there was that one back in the early aughts that was so contentious that the county attorney had to investigate to determine whether to file assault charges.
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. This is the third book of the Ellingham Academy trilogy. I felt compelled to read it because I had already read book one and two. This one seemed not as well-scripted as the other two, more like the author was just trying to tie up all loose ends. 3✭
Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman. Someone mentioned this series in their Unraveled post recently. When I looked it up on Goodreads and found that it was a murder mystery set in Minneapolis, I requested it from the library immediately. It was an enjoyable read, although I sometimes felt that the author was manipulating the geography to suit the plot line. If you enjoy police/private eye procedurals you will enjoy this one. 3✭
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly. This is book two in the Jack McEvoy series. I have now read all three. Connelly always writes good suspense/crime fiction, and this book is no exception. Setting is the LA Times, protagonist McEvoy is a reporter who just got his pink slip. He just started working on a story about a Black teenager who was arrested for murdering a white stripper when she came to the ‘hood to buy drugs. The original story ran on a Friday, but over the weekend he realizes that the kid didn’t do it. The rest of the book is his quest to figure out who did. Background issues are print newspapers scrambling to cut costs to survive, police willingness to find a Black kid to name as the killer, data security, FBI narrow-mindedness. 4✭
We Keep the Dead Close: a A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper. When I read the ending my thought was “that was a LOT of pages that never actually comes to a real conclusion/who-done-it.” The murder in the title happened in 1969; the author spent most of the 2000s researching it — digging into police records and old newspapers articles, interviewing people who knew the victim. The book is long, 426 pp, and detailed. I had trouble keeping some of the characters straight. It would have helped if the author referred to each by their surnames rather than their first names. That sounds nit-picky, but not remembering who Mary or Charles or Don were is annoying. Overall, this book was a waste of my reading time. 1✭
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. An unusual book for me; it is YA, which I generally find to be a little on the simple side, and copyright 1937(!). It is a little simple, but I think that is due to its somewhat antiquated writing rather than being YA.
Story is about three little girls who were adopted as babies by Great-Uncle Matthew (aka Gum), a fossil hunter. Happily, he has a large house, plenty big enough for himself, his great-niece Sylvia, her nanny (Sylvia is grown, but Nana still lingers), Cook, and a couple maids. Each of the little girls has a talent: Pauline’s is acting, Petrova’s is mechanics, and Posy is a natural ballerina.
Rake on Netflix. I chose this almost randomly while perusing the mystery/crime genre, and picked it because it ran for five seasons. Five seasons = it must have been popular. The series is set in Sydney, Australia; the protagonist, Cleave Greene, is a “renegade self-destructive” barrister. I would classify it as a comedic drama. Good escapism, also good for practicing your Australian accent. 3✭
We are still watching The X Files; halfway through season five.
Rant the first.
Aaron Rogers is hosting Jeopardy! this week and next week. I have been waiting for this ever since it was announced back in December or January. Smokey and I happened to be watching in 2015 when Rogers was on Celebrity Jeopardy!, and we saw how smart and personable he was. I have been an Aaron Rogers fan ever since. But the Twin Cities TV station that carries Jeopardy! is broadcasting the Derek Chauvin trial live from 9:00am to 5:00 pm, which means that at 4:30pm my favorite show will not be on. WTF?
Rant the second.
The Instagram app on my iPad is now in Dutch (or maybe German)! The posts — things users type into IG — are in English, but all the text on the screen is in Dutch. The IG app on my iPhone works fine, so does the website on my laptop. Has this happened to anyone else? WTF!?!?