08 April 2011

Julia Spencer-Fleming's mystery series

I don't read a lot of contemporaries. Okay, I don't read any contemporary anything. If it isn't set in the past or the future, I tend to skip it. Not sure exactly why, except that I like stories that take me far away from the here and now. I also read very few mysteries, however this began to change when some really excellent character-driven mysteries began to appear and they were set in the past. I loved the medieval mystery series by Ariana Franklin (I'm still recovering from the fact that Ms Franklin's death left our hero in extremis). Then I discovered Deanna Raybourn's Victorian Lady Julia mysteries. I have the Regency-set What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris on my TBR pile and The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner loaded on my nook.
     All this leads me to my next point, which is that I've become a lot more adventurous in my reading since sample chapters are available for e-readers. Added to that is the fact that many older titles are available digitally for $5 or less. This means that a lot of readers, myself included, are exploring beyond their favorite genres and adding new books and new authors to their favorites.
     So, back to contemporaries. Not a fan. Add to that an infiedelity plot and I'm running in the other direction. Contemporaries get a lot of play at Dear Author, which I check out every day. The writing is good, there's always something new reviewed, and I sometimes find myself reading reviews and comments on contemporaries. Jane interviewed contemp mystery author Julia Spencer-Fleming (here's her website) a few weeks ago and I found the discussion really interesting, despite the fact that the title of the post included the words 'adulterer,' 'home wrecker,' and 'other woman.' Julia was giving away ARCs of her most recent book, One Was a Soldier, and I was sufficiently interested to toss my hat in the ring in the hopes of getting a copy. Well, I did. (Thank you, Jane and Julia!) Along with a lovely note from Julia herself.
     I hate starting in the middle of a series, so I tracked down the first book in this contemporary mystery series that involves infidelity, In the Bleak Midwinter, which I found at B&N for $2.99. Bottom line: I'm about half-way through and really enjoying it. Yes, it's a mystery, but it's very much a character-driven mystery with sympathetic principals and an excellent sense of place. I'll be posting a review soon.

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