And Be a Villain, by Rex Stout

And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13) by [Stout, Rex]

In A Nutshell

Title:  And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13)

Author:  Rex Stout

Publisher:  Crimeline/Random House

Date of Release: 1948

Genre:  Mystery

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  2 Nuts out of 5

Rex Stout is one of my “go-to” authors when I can’t decide what to read next. I love the characters of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and rather enjoy the other characters in Wolfe’s household and entourage as well.  But And Be a Villain just did not hold my interest.

It’s a great tale of blackmail and revenge and twisted minds (it is part of the Zeck trilogy if you’re into Nero Wolfe that deeply), but the characters are not as developed as usual and it’s all about Nero and Archie. While other characters have roles, they are much smaller than usual or even some are non-existent. It’s like there was a supporting character strike and Rex Stout wrote around them.

I’m just not feeling this one. I still love the series and Rex Stout will always be a “go-to” author for me, but And Be a Villain isn’t one of his best.

Have a great week anyway!




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Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2), by Claire Donally

Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2) by [Donally, Claire]

In A Nutshell

Title:  Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Claire Donally

Publisher:  Penguin

Date of Release:  May 7, 2013

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Source:  Purchased

Rating: 3 Nuts out of 5

I’ve had this title on my wish list for a few months. Frankly, there were a few others I planned to read first, but my cat walked across my keyboard and ordered it. I think she’s figured out that if I’m reading, I’m likely in a position where she can crawl onto my lap and take a cat nap of her own, or maybe not. At any rate, she has good taste.

This is another enjoyable cozy mystery from Claire Donally. This time the ex of Sunny’s rival for Will’s affection gets bumped off. There’s plenty of suspects in the murder of this unethical veterinarian and womanizer, plenty of twists and turns and plenty of action for both Sunny and her cat, Shadow.

Great characters, well-written and a real page turner.

Have a great week!


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The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska

The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by [Curtright, Eileen]

In a Nutshell

Title:  The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska

Author:  Eileen Curtright

Publisher: Little A

Date of Release:  December 1, 2015

Genre:  Humorous Fiction

Source:  Purchased

Rating: 4 out of 5 Acorns

This is story of Murphy’s Law in action: if something can go wrong, it will. It’s also a story about poor decision-making and bad luck. Rebecca Meer is a single mom in a small town and a lot of things in her life have gone wrong. It doesn’t sound like a very cheery premise for a novel, but Curtright tells the story in a self-deprecating manner and I found  it very funny in kind of a sick way.  It also called to mind some of my own impulsive decisions I lived to regret.

I noticed The Burned Bridges didn’t get a lot of great reviews on Amazon, but I thought it was a hoot.

Have a good week!


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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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