Gambrelli and the Prosecutor, by Laurence Gioliotti

In a Nutshell

Title:  Gambrelli and the Prosecutor: An Inspector Gambrelli Mystery

Author:  Laurence Giliotti

Publisher:  Chateau Noir Publishing

Date of Release:  March 16, 2015

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley proof in exchange for a fair and honest review

Rating: 4 Acorns out of 5

Inspector Gambrelli is one of the most interesting detectives I’ve run across in some time. He’s part Maigret, part Gamache with a generous dollop of Dirty Harry’s irreverence to authority added for spice. I should probably add that these are all favorite detectives of mine.

Gambrelli is a chief inspector on the Metropolitan Police in Paris in the 1930s. There’s rumblings of a German invasion. A prosecutor has been charged in the murder of the prosecutor’s mistress and has asked for Gambrelli to investigate. Neither man cares much for the other, yet Gambrelli is the prosecutor’s only hope.

There’s plenty of twists and turns and lots of red herrings, but Gambrelli and his men solve the murder and even manage to put a twist in the shorts of their least liked police commissioners.  The only thing I wanted more of was information about the setting. A great mystery, but it could have been set in just about any part of the first 60 years of the 20th century. There wasn’t as much as I needed on the clothing or music or much else to place the piece in the 1930s.

Even so, I’ll be looking for more of these. Have a good week!


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Cat Shout for Joy: A Joe Grey Mystery

Cat Shout for Joy: A Joe Grey Mystery (Joe Grey Mystery Series) by [Murphy, Shirley Rousseau]

In a Nutshell

Title:  Cat Shout For Joy

Author: Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Publisher:  William Morrow

Date of Release:  February 23, 2016

Genre:  Cozy Mystery/Fantasy

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  5 out of 5 Nuts

It’s been ages since I read a Joe Grey Mystery. Somehow I was under the impression Shirley Rousseau Murphy was no longer writing them. I am thrilled to announce I was wrong. As a result, I’ve spent the last weekend in Molena Point with Joe Grey, Dulcie, Kit, Pan and Misto, plus a host of wonderful people who support these crime-fighting, talking cats. Of course, that means I had to put with thugs who were coshing the heads of residents of Molena Point.

Along the way, Kit and Pan return from an adventure in the magical lands, the aged Misto passes away and Dulcie and Joe have kittens, who may also have the ability to speak – we’ll have to wait for the next installment.  They’re doing all this while solving the mystery of the assaults and murders of their town’s residents. But there’s a hint in this book, that Max, the police chief, may have figured out their secret and may know who his telephonic snitches may be.

I’ve found the Joe Grey books to be well-written, fast-paced, plenty of excitement with great characters and this one was no different. I love it when I can get totally absorbed in a story and I got totally absorbed in this one. In fact, three-quarters of the way through, I lost my Kindle. I can’t find it anywhere. So I had to download the program to my computer so I could finish the book. This is probably a good thing, because I still haven’t found my Kindle!

I highly recommend.

Have a great week!


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In Memory of Bread, by Paul Graham

In Memory of Bread: A Memoir by [Graham, Paul]

In A Nutshell

Title: In Memory of Bread: A Memoir

Author: Paul Graham

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Date of Publication: June 7, 2016

Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir

Source: Purchased

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Very few of us get through life without having to give up something we love – sometimes it’s a person, a pet and for others it’s a way of life, or food. For Paul Graham, it was anything with gluten and it happened suddenly. This is the story of his love affair with all thing glutenous and the horror of having to give it all up.

There’s some great information on Western Civilization’s dependency on wheat and how it got that way. There’s some great philosophical discussion on whether bread is bread without wheat.  As someone with a life-long wheat allergy (not the same thing as Paul Graham’s celiac disease), I found this very interesting.  But perhaps because of my health history, I found it difficult to sympathize with his woe-is-me attitude at having to give up bread and beer. I was more interested in his quest for finding other exciting cuisines and foods. Had there been more about the quest and less about his addiction to all things glutenous, I would have rated this much higher. I found it difficult to understand why he would want to eat something that made him so terribly sick. My symptoms with my allergies are much different, but I sure don’t want to do anything I know will make me so bad I could end up in a hospital.

The term addiction is mine because it seemed throughout the memoir that it is a daily struggle to avoid gluten. Perhaps this is how one should deal with the necessity of giving up a food one finds is as much a part of someone’s life as the author does with gluten.

Very well-written and very readable.

Have a great week!


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We’re Moving (Very Slowly)


We recently found a condo in the same building as our son and his young family. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so we’ll be moving over very slowly as we get repairs completed. Unfortunately, all this limits my time to blog. So just a heads up – I’ll be a bit more erratic in posting than usual for the next few weeks.

Hopefully, Miss Gretchen the cat will look a little more pleased the next time I post a photo of her. I really think she’s saying, “I can’t believe we’re moving AGAIN” in this one.



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Empire of Deception, by Dean Jobb

Product Details

In a Nutshell

Title:  Empire of Deception
Author:  Dean Jobb
Publisher:  Algonquin Books
Date of Release:  May 19, 2015
Genre:  Non-fiction/True Crime
Source:  Purchased
Rating:  4 stars out of 5
If you’ve read my reviews for some time, you already know I enjoy reading books about Chicago and this one was no different.  It’s the story of attorney Leo Koretz who swindled many in a Ponzi scheme during the roaring 20s in Chicago.  Many of the people he swindled were close family, friends and colleagues. Then he disappeared for a year only to be found in the wilds of northeastern Canada living a lavish lifestyle. I found the most fascinating part was how he was discovered in a time where there was no internet and how he shortened his rather short jail sentence even more.  But this is also a story of how family and friends can be hurt even more deeply than financially.
I highly recommend!
Have a great week!

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Will Bradley’s Graphic Art

In A Nutshell

Title:  Will Bradley’s Graphic Art

Author:  Will Bradley

Publisher:  Dover Publications

Date of Release:  January 18, 2017

Genre:  Arts

Source:  The publisher has provided me with a time-limited digital galley proof in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

I’ve admired Will Bradley’s work for years. I remember having posters on my wall as a teenager that were clearly inspired by his turn of the 20th century illustrations. His use of line fascinates me. He knows exactly where he wants to draw the viewer’s eye. The same use of line also gives the piece it’s mood and ambiance.

This Dover edition gives a lengthy introduction including a good biography. I learned a lot about Bradley that I didn’t know before reading the introduction – not that I knew much more than a paragraph when I looked him up in the library so many years ago.  But for me, the best part is Bradley’s illustrations – truly inspirational.

Highly recommend!

Have a good week!


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Year of No Clutter, by Eve D. Schaub

In a Nutshell

Title:  Year of No Clutter: A Memoir

Author:  Eve O. Schaub

Publisher:  Sourcebook

Publication Date:  March 1, 2017

Genre:  Memoir

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

The important words in the title is “A Memoir.” I didn’t see those two words and thought it was a yearly plan for decluttering. Wrong. It’s even better. Schaub has “a room.” I think a lot of us have them – it’s where you put stuff until you can think of a place to put it. But you never really do. Like Schaub, I also try to use mine as a sewing room. Granted mine is no longer a problem, nor was it ever as big of a problem as Schaub’s room sounded like something from “Hoarders.”

It also took her more than a year to get the problem under control and to the point where she could think about re-carpeting it. It was a slow start for her. The actual decluttering didn’t really happen until she did two things: she stopped trying to analyze the problem and she got her entire family working on it. Granted she got a nice start with her daughters on board, but it wasn’t until her husband started addressing his part of the clutter that the project really gained some momentum.

Schaub provides some thoughts and insights about how this issues tend to occur in families and worries a bit about whether her daughters will be as wrapped up in “things.” This book also gave some inspiration on clearing out more of my art supplies. Like Schaub, I tend to find “really cool” things that might be good for a project. I managed to throw a lot of those out this week after reading this book. It’s a pretty good sized burden off me now that I no longer have to think about those projects, which probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

Lastly, it’s rather refreshing to read something that doesn’t just tell you how to do it, but rather examines the problem and how it’s resolution has made one family’s life better.

Have a good week!


PS:  I recently received the following from the publisher:

Everyone eats. Everyone sleeps. Everyone accumulates stuff.

The hilarious author of Year of No Sugar, Eve Schaub, returns with her new memoir,Year of No Clutter, to tackle the issue of “things.” Specifically, the 576-square-foot room in her house that is overflowing with stuff she can’t bring herself to throw away, like her fifth grade report card and pieces of plaster wall stuffed in a box.

Year of No Clutter is more than the tale of how one woman organized an entire room in her house that had been filled with pointless items, it’s a deeply inspiring, and frequently hilarious, examination of why we keep stuff in the first place, and how to let it all go.

Available March 7 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Books-A-Million.

There’s signups for hints from the author on de-cluttering coming up. I’ll post them later in the week if you’re interested.

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