I’ve been doing a lot of reading, quite a bit of it on the road when visiting my Dad, and of course, more recently, in NYC. By far the one I enjoyed the most is the Katharine Hepburn autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life. I don’t know why I’m so late coming to this delightful and candid tome; she has long been one of my heroes and her 1969 movie, The Lion in Winter, is my all time favourite movie. Her writing style appears to be simply a stream of consciousness although it is very well organized and covers her whole life. As you read, you can just imagine yourself listening to her tell her story. It flows so easily you could almost finish it in one sitting. Or maybe you just can’t put it down so you refuse to get up until it’s done. Something that really comes through is how she and her siblings all felt so fortunate to have had the parents they did. They grew up in an atmosphere of political change, caring about providing medical information and women’s suffragette, feeling that they, too, had opinions that counted and were worth listening to, that they could discuss without fear and that they had their parents’ confidence and backing. Many of her recollections are self-deprecating, full of humour; some of them are sad. All of them are told with a perspective of time and what seems to be a realistic evaluation. She tells of childhood pranks gone wrong, rules and proprieties flaunted, and what she found to be a caring and nurturing atmosphere among colleagues both on stage and in the movies. If you haven’t read this yet and are a Hepburn fan, or even if you’re not, you’ll enjoy this book immensely.
I finished a John Grisham book, The Street Lawyer. There were things about this book that I really liked. It told a very believable story about street people and their circumstances and those of people who try to help them, sometimes with success, sometimes not. The characters were believable and the way the main character, the lawyer, almost falls into his role of street lawyer through a criminal act of his own and traces the connection from the death of 5 of the most vulnerable in our society to a coldly calculating action of his own law firm was also readily acceptable as a plot. The point was rather driven home when I got off the elevator at the 13th floor in my hotel one evening to find a homeless man sleeping on the bench under the windows between the elevator banks. Talk about coincidence. I read the book right to the end but have to admit it didn’t have the kind of suspense I usually associate with Grisham.
If you’re looking for suspense and mystery, you can never go wrong with an Anne Perry novel. Midnight at Marble Arch, a Charlotte and Thomas Pitt story, was full of plot twists and turns and a thoroughly thrilling ending which I’m not going to give away. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
Picked up a new author (for me) at Barnes & Noble on 5th Ave., NYC: Robin Page. This is a pseudonym for a husband & wife team: Susan Wittig Albert and Bill Albert. Death at Bishop’s Keep is the first of at least a dozen Victorian novels where a daring and sensible Irish-American lass returns to her English roots and her two aunts, where she teams up with an equally unconventional scientist who shares her own interests in using science to solve crimes, especially murders. Clearly Kate has entered a situation full of threatening undercurrents in her new household coinciding with a mysterious body found in a nearby archaeological dig. Her new friend Sir Charles will investigate and Kate fears the death may have something to do with an ancient Egyptian religious rite with which one of her aunts may be involved. Things take an even more serious turn when both her aunts are murdered and she becomes the chief suspect. Daring to confront the person she believes to have committed the murders, she realizes rather belatedly that someone who has already killed three times will likely not hesitate to bring the toll to four. Have to get the next in the series.