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Winter trees

Two books for R.I.P. IX

My reading has slowed down considerably this month and this is down to two things... being a bit busier than usual with family and the garden... and doing several jig-saw puzzles. Here we are, halfway through the month, and I've only just finished reading my third book. Given my express-train approach to reading this year that's quite surprising... but not a problem. Sometimes there are other things to do and being *so* one-track minded is perhaps not a good thing anyway. And I do so enjoy time spent with my family and doing the odd jig-saw puzzle.

Anyway, onward. My second book for Carl's R.I.P. IX challenge is Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. It is also my book 31 for Bev's Mount TBR challenge.


Mercy Thompson, a coyote shape-shifter, is the mate of Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack. Naturally it brings her all kinds of problems, some of her own making, some not. She shares a trailer with Samuel, another werewolf, not of the local pack, but whom she grew up with. Generally he's as solid as a rock but suddenly he goes into meltdown and Mercy has to try and help him not get killed by the Marrok (head of the American werewolves) or Adam and the local pack... a wolf with a breakdown being a very dangerous thing. A book Mercy was lent by a bookshop-owning member of the local fae is also giving her problems. A group of bounty hunters come looking for Adam but is that who they're really after? And what has the fae book got to do with this mess? Mercy needs to find answers quickly. Samuel's life is in danger, Adam and the pack are also but are not necessarily helping matters. But is the one in greatest danger actually Mercy herself?

It's been a little while since I read a Mercy Thompson book but it's one of my core series where the minute I start reading an instalment I slip back into the universe immediately. Admittedly, they are a trifle samey. Mercy's problems are always compounded by the fact that she never can, straightforwardly, ask for help in the normal way, has to keep secrets from the people she loves and ends up making herself look bad, even though the fault is often not completely hers. Luckily, her relationship with Adam is very strong and he always makes allowances. He's completely adorable to be honest and their relationship is one very real strength of this series of books.

I liked the fact that this book tells us more and more about The Fae who, for me, are one of the most intriguing aspects of this series. They're mysterious, secretive and dangerous and I like hearing about the different kinds of fae that exist in this universe.

Funnily enough I don't read heaps in the urban fantasy/horror genre. This is because I can't find many series that are worth my time to be honest. Sometimes I find the writing quality to be quite poor or I'm picky about the way American writers write English settings and language. But this is an American writer writing in an American setting and thus I have no complaints whatsoever: Patricia Briggs has it spot on with Mercy and I'm so happy that I still have a couple more of her books to read.

Next, my book three for Carl's R.I.P. IX is The Twenty-third Man by Gladys Mitchell. This also qualifies for Bev's Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge under the category of 'A book by an author you've read before'.

Twenty third

Dame Beatrice Bradley arrives on the island of Hombres Muertos in the Canary Islands, via a cruise ship. She's decided to stay for a few weeks and with her are a chap called Clun who has recently served time for manslaughter and a brother and sister who seem rather odd. The island is famous for a cave in the mountains where twenty-three mummies sit around a table. A young boy returns from a trip to the cave saying that he counted twenty-four mummies, not twenty-three. No one believes him but eventually the truth of his statement is revealed. The dead man is an English lothario type and it seems practically everyone at the hotel has a reason to want him dead. Naturally, Mrs. Bradley decides to investigate...

This is the second Mrs. Bradley book I've read, the first being Watson's Choice just a few weeks ago. That wasn't bad but this was actually quite a lot better. I think that's possibly because I enjoyed the Canary Islands setting so much. I suspect Gladys Mitchell knew the islands as her descriptions are vivid and gorgeous and would suit a travelogue. There are a lot of characters and I did find myself getting a trifle confused. That's probably just me as the older I get the harder I find it to remember a large group of characters. Regardless of that I found characterisation to be good and I particularly liked Clement, the eleven year old boy whose adopted parents were bringing him up with no discipline as an experiment. He reminded me a lot of Tony from Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire books and brought some nice humour to this story. An enjoyable book that just squeezes into the Golden Vintage Bingo guidelines of being published before 1960, this one being from 1957. I certainly plan to read more in this series.


I've not heard of either of those series - though having googled I'm pretty sure I've seen the Patricia Briggs covers in shops. I've been burned by a few urban fantasy books like that too, but years ago I devoured anything written by Charles de Lint - have you read anything of his? I suspect it's current urban fantasy but more so, although I've not read enough current stuff to know for sure I guess. I do like a series that you can just fall into though, so perhaps I'll give the Mercy books a go.

Interesting to see a crime book included for RIP - that's something I've been interested in and annoyed because I've not had much chance to look: what counts as an RIP story! Not that 23 mummies sitting around a table and suddenly becoming 24 doesn't sound a touch perilous... *g*

Patricia Briggs is a popular author and I've seen her books in Waterstones so you probably have seen her books around. You can always borrow the first Mercy from me to see if you like it. I know you have a lot going on at the moment but when you're more settled you're more than welcome to pop over for a cuppa and a chat... and books of course. *g*

Yes, I have read a bit of Charles de Lint, a couple of volumes of short stories, some of which I thought were terrific, others a bit so-so. Also The Little Country which I read because he set it in Mousehole. When I started to read I found it was set in the tiny little street (about 3 houses and a chapel) where my aunt, uncle and cousins lived when I was a child. *So* strange.

Yes, you can read crime books for RIP. I don't think you could when it first started but gradually the list has expanded to include them. I must admit I don't tend to include a lot of crime, just the odd one or two. Mummies sounded weird enough and apparently Gladys Mitchell liked the supernatural so I included it.
Coffee and chat and books sometime sounds lovely! As I said elsewhere, I'm trying not to be impatient about the whole being settled thing... *g*

I know what you mean about some of the de Lint books being a bit so-so. I think it was after reading a couple of his newer ones and finding them so-so that I abandoned him for a while (oh the fickle fortunes of an author!). It seems to be his earlier work that I liked most, iirc...
Look forward to it. We're off to Scotland at the end of the month but after that will be settling down at home for the autumn and if you can find a free afternoon or something that would be grand.

I think I found the 'idea' of De Lint's books better than the reality. Or maybe I liked the ideas 'in' them but they didn't always come up to my expectations. It's quite hard to explain but often something was missing. But not always...
Wow, I have never heard of the second author, and your description makes me want to read it at once. (When I have finished the Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton, which, woe, won't be long now!)

Not sure I would go for the first one. I enjoy some urban fantasy, and would second the Charles de Lint recommendation - with some caveats, because some books I think are better than others. I thought Greenmantle and Moonheart were particularly good. I wanted to live in that house in Ottawa, despite the perils!
I must get around to reading something else by Jo Walton. I want to read Tooth and Claw but also the first book in the Small Change trilogy.

I think you might like Gladys Mitchell. I don't know (or can't remember) if you're a library user but I would imagine you might find a few there.

The Mercy Thompson series is really very good. (These covers don't really represent them.) I think they might surprise you.

I have definitely found with Charles de Lint that he's very hit and miss. Some of his short stories were really quite superb, others did not hit the mark at all. I'll keep an eye out for the ones you mention. When we had a Waterstones in the town they stocked quite a few. I really miss wandering in there to eye up their fantasy section.
I found a collection of six of her books on Kindle for 99p the other day. I think they're children's or young adult books, but I haven't looked yet. Just grabbed 'em.

Finished Small Change trilogy last night. I so don't want to spoil them for you (unless you don't mind knowing in advance). Because the Kindle drops you straight in at the start without the blurb or the cover, I had no idea what I was reading by the time I settled down with it, and went from 'This is a rather... overstated straightforward country house mystery' to 'Actually, I am not sure what's going on here' to 'Oh no, finding the right murderer really matters for once' to... well, I shan't say more.

Shall consider Mercy Thomas, but only after I have got somewhere wit the TBR pile. I must stop browsing Amazon late at night. A book arrived for me yesterday and I have no memory of buying it at all.

And yes - some of Charles de Lint really didn't grab me at all. Unfortunately, I can't remember what! I think there was a title like Dreams and Memory that was one of them - I mostly remember that one for finding it in the - wait for it - Mind Body and Spirit section of Waterstones. Obviously filed there by someone who didn't actually read the blurb, just the title!