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The Wicked Boy

June 1, 2021 - Former journalist Kate Summerscale digs into the real-life case of a teen from Victorian London. He murdered his mom, was sent off to a notorious prison, and somehow managed to turn his life around.

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Furmidable Foes

May 31, 2021 – Furmidable Foes (Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown). The sequence of events, past and present, that began with A Hiss before Dying and continued with Probable Claws and Whiskers in the Dark resumes. The modern timeline picks up In May 2019; the historical in late fall 1787.

I'm going to skip the usual plot summary because there really isn't much of a plot here – in either century. The present storyline features Mary Minor "Harry" Harristeen and a select few friends old and new talking a lot about gardens and flowers in their beloved Virginia. They gather for various social events leading up to the Fourth of July, and, sure, there are a couple of dead bodies along the way.

Meanwhile, back in the 18th century, the matron of an estate called Big Rawly puts a plan in motion to capture two slaves who ran away in the previous book. Much of the past storyline in this book focuses on their fate and on the fate of a third slave who ran away with them. Over at neighboring estate Cloverfields, things are pretty quiet save for a lot of concern about the French economy.

To put it bluntly, I honestly have no idea what the point of this book is. We find out who (probably) killed the two present day victims, but in one case, the why is never explained. In the past storyline, things move along, but we don't really learn anything we didn't know already and there is still no definitive tie between the two centuries.

As noted above, Furmidable Foes is the fourth book to feature these two storylines. As disappointing as it was, I hope there's another book because I want to understand the point. I keep reading because I figure that, any page now, the author will let us in on her plan. But, so far, she hasn't. We've been left to make connections on our own, but those implied connections haven't led anywhere significant. In other words, the sins of the past have not lingered to affect the present. At least not yet. If they're ever going to, I hope it happens soon.

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"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." »» Dorothy Parker