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May 5, 2006 Edition

What Remains, by Carole Radziwill

From her childhood in a working-class town, where she learns to steal from the neighbors but also to want a bigger life, Radziwill becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince. But the fairy tale doesn’t last: her husband is diagnosed with cancer before their wedding and dies within a month of the deaths of the couple’s best friends, John and Carolyn Kennedy, in a plane crash. Radziwill’s strength shines through in this affecting memoir.

The Conjurer’s Bird, by Martin Davies

This literary mystery examines the real disappearance of the only example of the Ulieta Bird, collected on Captain Cook’s second expedition to the South Seas in the 1700s. Now, Fitzgerald, a modern-day conservationist, is roped into the hunt for the stuffed specimen by his estranged wife, racing against time and other hunters to be the first to unravel the mystery of the bird. Present and past become mingled for Fitz, making the search intensely personal and involving questions of his family and his future.

Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

The line between myth and reality blurs in this novel about a man who discovers that his father was Anansi, the West African trickster god. When Fat Charlie Nancy attends his estranged father’s funeral, he finds a brother he never knew he had, a talent for trickery he never suspected, and a world of immortals he never knew existed. A fast, funny story about brothers, fathers, sons, and treachery for fantasy fans.

The Secret Supper, by Javier Sierra

Father Agostino Leyre has been sent by the Pope to examine the latest painting by Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, for heretical messages, a mission Leyre relishes. His own penchant for wordplay and visual riddles matches that of the master artist, and he soon finds himself following a convoluted trail towards an answer. Sierra’s research is thorough, making for an intriguing and thought-provoking book.

A Family Daughter, by Maile Meloy

Fans of Meloy’s previous novel get a second look at the Santerre family, caught up as before in a swirl of close family energies that both sustain and destroy. At the center is Abby, who reads at 3, survives her mother’s inattentively benign parenting and her father’s early death, has an affair with her uncle at 21, and eventually writes a novel exposing her family’s many secrets.

Miss Julia Stands Her Ground, by Ann B. Ross

Now that Miss Julia’s over the shock of becoming a widow and finding out her husband had a child with another woman, she’s settled down, accepted Little Lloyd as her own, and remarried a wonderful man named Sam. Life ought to be quieting down, but instead, heats up when Little Lloyd’s uncle shows up with a different idea about his parentage. The only way to be sure is DNA testing, but Miss Julia doesn’t want to exhume her husband’s body. If only someone had saved Big Lloyd’s gallstones after his surgery… Light and funny summer reading.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time, by Andrea Kane

When Frederick, a wealthy racing horse owner, is murdered, the police focus on his companion, Sally, as the obvious suspect. Out of her depth, she panics and calls her ex-husband, Pete, a private investigator, and their daughter, Devon, a veterinarian, for help. Devon promptly finds herself the focus of attention from Frederick’s grandsons, who couldn’t be more different, in this suspenseful romance.

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