The Floating Girl by Sujata Massey

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I should have learnt from reading the previous book (about the Japanese art of flower arranging called ikebana) that Massey is capable of turning the least likely themes into decent settings for a mystery. But I still expected to be disappointed in a tale based around the comic art of manga. I wasn’t of course, I should really learn to trust Massey to make any aspect of Japanese culture interesting.

Once again there is a decent plot here though I didn’t think it was quite as well resolved as in other books in the series. The characters are mostly fleshed out realistic people; I was glad to see we didn’t have to have too much to do with Rei’s Japanese family in this book as they always seem to be quite stereotypical to me and take me out of the story.

In the end it was good to see Rei dealing with modern day culture rather than her usual antique culture. I’ll keep reading this series and try not to take too many preconceptions about the subject matter with me into future books!


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 8th February 2002.

The Floating Girl (Rei Shimura #4) by Sujata Massey

Cover of The Floating Girl (Rei Shimura #4)

I should have learnt from reading the previous book (about the Japanese art of flower arranging called ikebana) that Massey is capable of turning the least likely themes into decent settings for a mystery. But I still expected to be disappointed in a tale based around the comic art of manga. I wasn’t of course, I should really learn to trust Massey to make any aspect of Japanese culture interesting. Once again there is a decent plot here though I didn’t think it was quite as well resolved as in other books in the series. The characters are mostly fleshed out realistic people; I was glad to see we didn’t have to have too much to do with Rei’s Japanese family in this book as they always seem to be quite stereotypical to me and take me out of the story. In the end it was good to see Rei dealing with modern day culture rather than her usual antique culture. I’ll keep reading this series and try not to take too many preconceptions about the subject matter with me into future books!


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

How To Be Good by Nick Hornby

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This was very readable, often very funny, also very touching but in the end it felt more ordinary than Hornby’s previous books. I think I like it better for being more character based and being less intent on preserving popular culture though.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 17th August 2002.

Blood Will Tell by Dana Stabenow

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Though I’m enjoying the series as a whole this particular book really didn’t do it for me. One reason could be that the Anchorage city setting isn’t as entralling as the more remote and inhospitable Alaskan settings. Another reason could be that I didn’t much like the way Kate was portrayed in this book. There is some good stuff here but there was a lot that annoyed me. Kate seemed a little to vigilante like when it wasn’t necessary. Also, in the previous books Kate has been seen to be if not quite ugly she’s at least a down to earth, jeans and trainers, scarred and weather beaten kind of a person. In this book she got a makeover and turned into something that men fawned over. Granted it was only for the sake of the story but I found it all a bit too over the top. I already find the descriptions of her boyfriend (who’s about seven foot seven and hunkily drop dead gorgeous) and her career in law enforcement (“the star of the Anchorage police department”) to be a bit much and this was going too far for me.

Still there were good points to this book, and I won’t stop here because I know Stabenow can do better. This was definitely the weakest of the series for me.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 20th May 2002.

antique software

oldversion.com is an excellent idea. as you’d expect from the name it archives old versions of software. my backup old, but still usable, computer wants several of these applications as the newer versions have proved too slow and unstable for it. i can’t say i’m sorry to find that they aren’t keeping old netscape 4’s around though.

[found via boing boing]

open houses

added to my to do list today: find out if other cities run anything along the lines of london open house. meg has been in the midland grand hotel at st pancras and up marble arch this weekend and i’m deadly jealous thinking of private buildings in london and other cities that i’d love to peek inside.

Recalled to Life by Reginald Hill

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Writing up notes on each book in this series is getting a bit pointless and probably pretty tedious for anyone reading. Hill’s a master storyteller and surprises me everytime with the inventiveness of not just his plots but of the way he narrates these stories.

I think this book draws a lot on Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities but I’m not qualified to comment on that angle. Pascoe stays in Mid-Yorkshire looking into a 1963 murder case. The surviving murderer has just been released from prison. Dalziel, who was a mere constable in the original case, takes off for New York and investigates the American side of the case. The American angle stops just short of turning into an outright comedy and Pascoe’s home end stops just short of turning into a full scale tragedy.

If I had to find a complaint to put to Hill it would be that he likes to tie up every single loose end in his plots and sometimes I feel it might be preferable to leave things dangling a little more. But that’s not really much of a complaint since many of the threads are only tied up for the reader and not for the police.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 16th May 2002.

Recalled to Life (Dalziel & Pascoe, #13) by Reginald Hill

Cover of Recalled to Life (Dalziel & Pascoe, #13)

Writing up notes on each book in this series is getting a bit pointless and probably pretty tedious for anyone reading. Hill’s a master storyteller and surprises me everytime with the inventiveness of not just his plots but of the way he narrates these stories. I think this book draws a lot on Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities but I’m not qualified to comment on that angle. Pascoe stays in Mid-Yorkshire looking into a 1963 murder case. The surviving murderer has just been released from prison. Dalziel, who was a mere constable in the original case, takes off for New York and investigates the American side of the case. The American angle stops just short of turning into an outright comedy and Pascoe’s home end stops just short of turning into a full scale tragedy. If I had to find a complaint to put to Hill it would be that he likes to tie up every single loose end in his plots and sometimes I feel it might be preferable to leave things dangling a little more. But that’s not really much of a complaint since many of the threads are only tied up for the reader and not for the police.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.