Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!
December 3, 2004
My favorite character from the pen of Denverite Marne Davis Kellogg is Lily Bennett of Roundup, Wyoming. But she has taken off for Europe on her honeymoon, and Kellogg has brought us a new, equally delightful character. Kick Keswick, who is, in her own words, "revered in the annals of London's criminal archives as the finest, most successful, most talented and most notorious jewel thief in all history."
In Kellogg's second Kick Keswick adventure, "Priceless," Kick has retired from the life of crime and is living peacefully in Provence with her new husband, Thomas. But she awakes one morning to find Thomas gone and her own wall safe emptied of some of her most prized jewels.
And when she finds that someone is imitating her technique, she heads for Paris, and then the Italian River, resumes her skilled talents for burglary, and finds a very surprising culprit.
Kick is a delight, and so is this very sophisticated story with beautiful women, beautiful clothes, lavish hotels and wonderful food, the ultimate in luxurious living. And, of course, a voluptuous heroine who says she has quit worrying about her waistline. "It's part of my charm." Booklist says, "'Priceless' is a small gem, as carefully crafted as a Cartier bijou."
The Wind River Reservation in Wyoming is about as far as you can get from the Italian Riviera. Vicky Holden, a young Arapaho woman with whom many of you are acquainted, has returned to the Reservation to open a small law practice. "Killing Raven" is Margaret Coel's ninth adventure with Vicky. Margaret Coel is definitely one of my favorite writers and this one is one of her best.
The Great Plains Casino has opened on the Reservation and more than a hundred Arapahos have jobs there. A combination of corruption by white men in the operation of the Casino, and a murder of a man who was working there bring Vicky and Father John O'Malley working together again.
Vicky gets a visit from an old friend, Adam Lone Eagle, a Lakota lawyer
who offers her a legal position with the Casino. She spots trouble immediately and gets into trouble of her own, while Father John gets involved in the murder. Eventually all is solved, and she and Adam Lone Eagle discover how much they like each other.
"Putting on the Dog" by Cynthia Baxter is not written with the style and smoothness of Kellogg and Coel, but was fun to read. Dr. Jessica Popper (honest, it's not Dr. Pepper) is a young veterinarian who has established her office in her van. She has agreed to run the "Ask the Vet" booth at a fancy charity dog show on the high class east end of Long Island. The plot keeps your interest to the end, but the best part of the book is the dogs. She describes breeds I didn't know existed.
Her favorites, of course, are her own; Lou, the leggy 60 pound Dalmatian and Max, the one-eyed terrier who is about the size of a large loaf of bread. Oh yes, there is a murder and a solution!
In the course of moving, I came across Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth". which I read and cried over in 1933. Probably no book has ever influenced me so deeply. Written in 1933 by an Englishwoman it is an account of World
War I and its devastating effect on her generation. Stay tuned. I am going to read it again.