Friday, March 12, 2010
Aaahh, A Vacation for the Brain!
Aaaah! After a busy week, I dream a spa day, complete with cut, color, brow care, mani, and pedi. Since doing so is impossible due to our budget, I have instead curled up with books--unfortunately sans hammock.
Mysteries have long been my "brain vacation" literature of choice. When a friend returned the first of the Thomas/Charlotte mysteries by Anne Perry, I quickly found myself immersed in The Cater Street Hangman, the first of the series. It's one of only two in the series I own, having picked them up at library sales for a dime each; the rest I ordered from the library in order. As this first book was published in 1979, Perry has accumulated a goodly number of titles that I've kept up with over the years and am thinking about rereading. I enjoy watching the relationship between the husband and wife team of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt grow as Charlotte often assists Thomas with his cases as a detective in Victorian London.
But without any Anne Perry books in the house besides the first and one about halfway through the series, I picked up the first in my other favorite mystery series, Victoria Thompson's Gaslight series, set in turn-of-the-century New York, with Teddy Roosevelt the Police Commissioner.
Murder on Astor Place is the first in the series, written in 1999, and Thompson has added a new book each year since, with a new one coming this year (I hope!). Featuring widow Sarah Brandt, a midwife, who helps Detective Sargeant Frank Malloy, an Irish detective, solve mysteries, the books are well-written, absorbing, and complex. The growing romance between Sarah and Malloy is intriguing, too, becoming less antagonistic as they get to know each other and work together to solve many murders. We discover the back stories of solving the murder of Sarah's doctor husband and also are introduced to Frank's mother and disabled son. Frank's Irish crustiness and selfish desires to bribe his way to a Captaincy is changed by his friendship and growing feelings for Sarah.
So what kinds of books do you read for "brain vacations"? If you are a lover of mysteries, I am always looking for a new series to sink my brain into for a wee vacation.
And now I shall lay back in my jacuzzi spa (specially designed for people with rheumatoid arthritis) for my nightly "poach," as Keith calls it, with Murder on Astor Place: the perfect way to finish the day.