Mediocre Mysteries

I recently read the first books in a couple mystery series, and they didn’t impress me. It’s possible that the later books improve, but I won’t be continuing the series.

Still Life by Louise Penny

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In this mystery, murder comes to a small town in Quebec and wise Inspector Gamache comes down to investigate. Paintings are a major clue and plot device as a surprising number of the characters are artists. The setting is preciously picturesque, and the portrayal of gay characters seems a bit stereotyped. The villain, when finally revealed, is almost cartoonishly evil. I was constantly annoyed by the too-stupid-to-live new girl on the team, who never listened, learned or improved. It’s also possible that dour, plodding voice of the audiobook reader soured me on this one.

In the Last Analysis by Amanda Cross

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The detective in this book is an English professor whose close friend is a phychoanalyst who has had a patient murdered on his couch. The characters talk about psychoanalysis in a way that seemed very stigmatizing to me. I was intrigued by this series because I like the idea of an academic as a detective. But the thing that bugged me the most about this book is that all the characters talk the same way–like they were all English professors, full of pontificating allusions and SAT vocab words. And the solution to the mystery is convoluted in a way that seemed silly and unrealistic to me.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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In this contemporary YA novel, Cady Sinclair’s rich, privileged, severely emotionally repressed family spends every summer on a private island, where she and her cousins enjoy sun, sand, and each other’s friendship. Then Cady is injured mysteriously and can’t remember what happened. Two years later she returns to the island and tries to make sense of her family’s tragedy. I was very intrigued by the fairy tales Cady tells to make sense of her relatives and her place among them. As the cracks in the WASPy family’s façade start showing, I could barely put the book down. But ultimately I found the amnesia clichéd, and was a little disappointed by the revelation of the mystery–it was a bit too Sixth Sense for me. I liked the book, but not as much as Lockhart’s other two that I’ve read, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and Dramarama.

I Wrote a Guest Post on Dad Gone Wild

I wrote something about my experience in an alternative teacher licensure program and sent it to TC Webber of Dad Gone Wild. He posted it and hopefully it will get the conversation going about teacher training. Here’s a permanent link. I’m super excited that Diane Ravitch retweeted me!

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