Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.
No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.
It ain't over 'til it's over! Every year kids and adults build up a head of steam for the Christmas holidays. Then the magical day comes and goes too quickly, leaving scraps of wrapping paper and half-munched cookies all around the house, as well as the nagging feeling that someone special has been left off the greeting and gifting list.
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One of Agatha Christie's most famous mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express was inspired by two real-life crimes and the author's own experience being stranded on the Orient Express during Christmas of 1931. While traveling to Paris, a wealthy American is stabbed to death in his cabin on the Orient Express. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, there is no easy escape for the killer. Fortunately, detective Hercule Poirot is aboard and launches a clever investigation into the curious assortment of passengers, of whom each seems to have a motive. (catalog summary)
Murder on the Orient Express is an upcoming American mystery film directed by Kenneth Branagh. The screenplay by Michael Green is based on the 1934 novel of the same name. The film stars Branagh (as Hercule Poirot,) Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley. It is scheduled to be released on November 10, 2017 by 20th Century Fox.¹ See the movie trailer below.
If you enjoy fast-paced mysteries like Agatha Christie's, check out these other book titles . . . and the rest of the Hercule Poirot mysteries!
"I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs." —James Herriot
James Herriot was the pen name of James Alfred (“Alf”) Wight, a Scottish vet who practiced in England’s Yorkshire countryside, beginning in the days just before World War II. He wrote with humor and warmth, and, once he finally started writing, he soon found himself on the bestseller lists for stories about his work with animals and their people, beginning with If Only They Could Talk (known in the U.S. as All Creatures Great and Small). Additional volumes followed, each one filled with wise and wry observations.
Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.
The rural British town of Beckford is surrounded by water. No one can turn anywhere in town and not face the twisting river that snakes through its center. The river is dotted with high cliffs that lead down to what's called a drowning pool. Many unfortunate women have lost their lives there, either falling from the enormous, rocky cliffs, jumping on their own, or worse. The pool is even reported to have housed multiple witch drownings in the 17th century.
Did you know?
— She's known as Jo to her friends. No one's called her Joanne since she was a child, and only then if she was being naughty.
— Rowling is pronounced "rolling."
— Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
— Hermoine IS based on a real person — J.K. Rowling!
— The fantastic Ford Anglia featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is similar to one owned by Sean Harris, her best friend at Wyedean School.
In fall, the woods are filled with trees and squirrels and birds and perhaps outlaws with hearts of gold, if your imagination stretches far enough. In England, long ago there arose a legend of a man who lived in the forest with his band of other outlaws. The story goes they stole from the rich, gave to the poor, and fought for justice. Their legend continues to be told today.
It is fascinating to trace the domino effect caused by something so seemingly small and insignificant as a bolt of cloth. In Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, by Geraldine Brooks, this bolt spreads misery in the form of the bubonic plague from London to a small, remote English village in 1666. Anna Frith, a young widow who has already seen her share of misfortune, is spared the fatal boils while all around her, family, friends, and neighbors succumb to the terrible disease.
"I want to be a sheep-pig," he said.
"Ha ha!" bleated a big lamb standing next to Ma. "Ha ha ha-a-a-a-a!"
"Be quiet!" said Ma sharply, swinging her head to give the lamb a thumping butt in the side. "That ain't nothing to laugh at."
Pigs may herd sheep and perhaps even fly, but Dick King-Smith won't get on an airplane. He'd much rather travel by sea. The author of Babe, The Gallant Pig does have a dog named Fly after his favorite character in Babe. He says his Fly, a German Shepherd, is "beautiful, affectionate, intelligent, and as mad as a March hare."
“Most kids grow up leaving something out for Santa at Christmas time when he comes down the chimney. I used to make presents for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
When I picked up a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s recent memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, I couldn’t wait to start the first page. I’ve been fascinated by Winterson’s novels for years, but never imagined she would narrate her life in the coherent, linear style associated with memoirs. In Winterson’s fiction, she constantly manipulates the boundary between fantasy and reality, integrating personal experience, mythology, and philosophy into a fluid conglomeration. Although Why Be Happy does feature some of Winterson’s trademark structural experimentation, it is also an engrossing story about one woman’s experience of dysfunction, madness, violence, love, and religion.