July has been racing been by, but  I’ve done a lot of reading.  At my blog Thornfield Hall, I’ve  reviewed three novels:  Jacob’s Ladder by Ludmila Ulitskaya, translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon; Penelope Lively’s Spiderweb; and Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair


And here’s the general link for the blog.


My Latest Post at Thornfield Hall, “So Many Books”

Do read my latest post at Thornfield Hall, “So Many Books: What I’ve Been Reading & the ‘Should-I-Bother?’ Pile.”  I reviewed Grant Ginder’s witty, smart new novel about a family vacation in Greece, Honestly, We Meant Well, and Stuart Palmer’s The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan, a Golden Age Detective novel.

And then there’s the “Should-I-Bother?” pile of books.  Should I finish three books I’ve put aside for various reasons?  Maybe you’ve read them.

The general link to the blog is:


Two New Posts at Thornfield Hall

I have two new posts at my blog Thornfield Hall.  The first is on three short novels, Kurt Tucholsky’s “Castle Gripsholm,” Rebecca West’s “The Return of the Soldier,” and Karolina Palova’s “A Double Life.”  The second is on my Memorial Day Weekend marathon of “Beowulf” and a “Beowulf” retelling, “The Mere Wife.”

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Double Vision: Vacationing in One’s Hometown

University of Iowa Library

Don’t miss my latest post at Thornfield Hall, “Double Vision: Vacationing in One’s Hometown.”

Here is the beginning:

“I spent a few days in Iowa City, my hometown.  I did some research at the University of Iowa Library.  And I also took long walks around town.

“Nostalgia was laced with Zola-like naturalistic observations as I contemplated the monstrous greed of developers who have destroyed whole blocks of graceful old houses and replaced them with cheap apartment houses.”

You can read the rest at:

Double Vision: Vacationing in One’s Hometown

The general link to the blog is:


Golden Age Detective Fiction: Dorothy Sayers’s “The Five Red Herrings”

“IF ONE LIVES IN Galloway, one either fishes or paints. ‘Either’ is perhaps misleading, for most of the painters are fishers also in their spare time. To be neither of these things is considered odd and almost eccentric.”
The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers

If you are a fan of Golden Age Detective Fiction, you are familiar with Dorothy Sayers’s  Lord Peter Wimsey series.  If you are like me, you have read her books over and over.  And there’s something singular about The Five Red Herrings.  This crime classic delineates Lord Peter Wimsey’s investigation of a murder in an artists’ community,  involving troublesome train time tables, stolen bicycles, and faking another artist’s style.

I settled into a rereading of this cozy novel with great pleasure because Sayers outdoes herself in her description of Galloway, a community of artists and fishermen in scenic Scotland.  The amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey is not an artist, but he loves puttering around Galloway on vacation   He is popular with fishermen and artists alike because “he could make a reasonable cast, and he did not pretend to paint.”

You can read the rest of this post at my blog, Thornfield Hall.