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November 10, 2011 Edition
This British import reads like a cross between Wodehouse and Agatha Christie – a comic cozy, if you will. Though this is the third in the series, it won’t be hard to pick up the threads and chortle through. Ethelred Tressider is a mystery writer, whose nosy, gossipy agent, Elsie, does her best to run his life and his writing (in the name of earning her fees, of course). When Ethelred and Elsie are invited to dinner at the stately home of an old school chum (the delightfully nicknamed “Shagger”), they never expect to have their host murdered in a locked library between courses. Shagger’s new widow implores Ethelred to investigate, and Elsie can’t leave well enough alone, and together they plunge into another who-dunnit.
This compelling mix of horror and drama centers on 17 year-old Lin Fox, whose professor-father has moved their family to a remote village in Germany in the hopes of finally tracking down the legendary Allerheiligen stained-glass window, lost for centuries. As the most fluent German-speaker in her family, Lin is recruited as translator and go-between as her father, obsessed with finding the glass, ignores all signs that his search is an unwelcome intrusion into the life of the village. Though willing to believe the rumor of its existence, he won’t believe the equally strong rumor that the glass may be cursed, and Dr. Fox forges ahead, oblivious to the body in the orchard, and the one in the bathroom, and the thing in the cemetery, until disaster strikes and the family is pulled into a horrific chain of events.
One foggy morning in 1986, a scientist figures out how to bifurcate the universe. Now there is Earth Universe A and Earth Universe B, and, contrary to most of the sci-fi speculation, travel between the two is not only possible, but a thriving, well-regulated business. Aspiring writer Felix Sayers is about to pen his masterpiece, but the discovery that he has an alter ego in Universe B sends him into a tailspin. What if Felix B has already written Felix A’s book? He needs to know! So he takes his first trip to B to hunt down and quiz the other Felix, but quickly realizes that something is desperately wrong. For one thing, someone is trying to kill him! Or maybe other him, he’s not sure at first. For another thing, there’s the rubber duck, and that one Monday…
Moving back and forth through time, Briscoe weaves an enchanted web of a story about a bookish teenager uprooted from her traditional school for a more bohemian one on the English moors, where her brothers thrive, but Cecelia withers. Until, that is, James Dahl joins the school as an English teacher and Cecelia finds a kindred spirit… too kindred, as it turns out. At the same time, Cecelia’s mother, Dora, is embarking on a new relationship of her own. Now an adult, Cecelia returns to her childhood home with her partner and their three children to care for Dora as she undergoes cancer treatment. Soon after the family is settled, Cecelia finds herself haunted in most unexpected ways by her past, and she and her mother both hope that this will not be the end of her hard-won family life.