I've received more nominations of favorite films from you, so there will be another column, but right now I want to write about books I've recently read.
Let's start with “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman. By now you probably have read it; it has been on the best-seller lists for ages, both hard cover and then paperback. I thought with all the raves I would be disappointed when I finally read it. I wasn't!
I loved watching this man stick by his ideas of right and wrong. That's thought to be integrity in some circles. I relished his relationship with his wife who knew a precious jewel when she saw it. I enjoyed meeting the characters and waiting for the denouement — and I was sorry to say “goodbye.” If you haven't read it, give yourself a treat.
Bill Mishler sent me “Amsterdam,” saying it was one of the best books he had read recently. I'm so glad he did. The author is Ian McEwan, who is a brilliant writer. Occasionally I stopped reading it to reread and reread and taste again a phrase that was so right and so brand-new.
It's the intriguing story of two men, Clive, a composer, and Vernon, a newspaper editor, and Molly Lane, whom both men had loved and who is dead but still very much a part of both men's lives. They hated how she deteriorated and wanted to prevent their own endings from being like hers, so they made a pact which guaranteed they would die with some dignity. Clive was hurrying to finish a symphony, and Vernon was involved with a moral decision in a possible scandal. Watch how each handles his challenge and enjoy a good read.
Have you read McEwan's “Atonement”? You should.
“Garden of Lamentations” has characters you may have met in Deborah Crombie's novels. Gemma and Kincaid, the two protagonists, are persons I think you'd enjoy meeting. They've solved mysteries in other books by Ms. Crombie. Here we find a nanny dead in a private garden closed to the public. Soon another murder occurs. Is there a connection? Is there a traitor lurking?
Let me be honest: I enjoyed the book, but I kept wishing it had a cast of characters up front so I could keep the many characters straight in my mind. Sometimes books should — and do — have a list of characters, who they are, whom they're related to, et al. I'm sure you know what I mean. I would have been more comfortable, especially in the early pages, had such a list been available.
This is a murder mystery with an ending that completely took me by surprise. I had no idea that person was the murderer. That's quite a trick for an author to pull off. See if you're fooled.
“Lethal Ghost” is Blake Sebring's latest book, and this one is a murder mystery with a serial killer. Now let me tell you that Blake and I are friends, very good friends, so I might be accused of bias. So be it; you are warned. This is a quick read, but you will have a good time watching this killer who commits perfect crime after perfect crime — and I can just imagine how much fun Blake had killing off all these people. Blake covers the Komets for The News-Sentinel. You may wish he spent more time writing murder mysteries. Enjoy it.
More books next time.
Betty E. Stein is a retired teacher and resident of Fort Wayne.