Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two Cozies

The Stolen Blue by Judith Van Gieson was touted by none other than Tony Hillerman as a book not to miss. So, of course, when Hillerman speaks, I listen very carefully. And I was not disappointed. I'm going to have to hunt up some more of Van Giesen's work because I loved this book. Claire reynier introduced me to the job of a rare book expert and if I had my life to do over again (God forbid!), I'm pretty sure that would be an area I'd love. Frustrating work, to be sure. But fascinating.

Claire's former professor and mentor calls her to his spread in The Blue, a virtually unspoiled area of New Mexico. He wants to donate his entire collection of books to University of New Mexico's Center for Southwest Research. Claire has a special fondness for the old curmudgeon, who is not in good health. He had hired her for her first job as librarian after graduate school and after her marriage ended recently, helped ensure she got hired at UNM as the head of library collection, responsible for buying rare books for the CSR. Claire is excited both about seeing her mentor and looking over his extensive collection. The joy ends soon, however. The day after Burke signs his will giving the collection to the Center, he is found dead in the snow outside his home. His daughter Mariah, who has only recently discovered Burke was her father, is not only named the principal heir of the Burke estate, but she also admits to helping the man commit suicide. To make matters more convoluted, when Claire returns to the university after Burke's death, one box of the books she had in her truck is stolen. Claire has to discover why the books were stolen, who took them and what they had to do with Burke's death.

Margaret Coel (another favorite author) said this book was an intricate puzzle that kept her guessing. Me, too. It was very well written. Claire is a character I liked and would like to read more about. So maybe in the next day or two, I'll be searching St. Tammany Parish Library for more books by Judith Van Giesen.

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross was an absolutely delightful book! Here's yet another favorite to add to my list. I've got to get supper going now, so will postpone writing anything more. I have to have more time to do justice to Miss Julia.

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