A Cineaste’s Bookshelf

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REVIEW: The Crown Agent

There's a reason why this novel was shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year​. A few reasons, really. It hits on just about every classic Scottish mystery element readers know and love. 
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Books for March

There's an Irish saying: "May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for." I'd say the bookworm has this covered - there is always one more book to read.
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Books for February

In addition to joining the #ReadChristie2021 book club, here are some of the titles I've read recently.
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REVIEW: Dear Miss Kopp

In the sixth installment of the Kopp Sister chronicles, we see the adventures of the Kopps at war recounted via a series of letters written to one another.
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Best Reads of 2020

I read a lot. All the time, really. A few years ago I finally learned to allow myself to stop reading books that I wasn't enjoying and move on to another title. The end of the year is an arbitrary marker but it's as good a time as any to look back and review the pages I've read. Here are eight books I enjoyed reading this year.
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Books for November

I've been borrowing lots of library books lately. There are tons of titles from new writers and a library card is the best way to test them out. If you don't have a library card, why not? It's free and easy. Plus, librarians love it and circulation numbers help them stay open! Add these to your list for your next trip to the library.
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REVIEW: Murder Maps - Crime Scenes Revisited

In addition to being an excellent reference, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of criminal investigation. It is beautifully designed and a joy to thumb through. Chock-full of tidbits and ephemera, it offers a new way to view old cases. 
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REVIEW: A Nervous Man Shouldn't Be Here in the First Place

Don't feel bad if you have never heard of Bill Baggs. He wouldn't have minded. In this biography, Condon's presentation of this little-known character is approachable, despite the deep dive she did into his complicated life.
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REVIEW: The Thursday Murder Club

Richard Osman's debut novel is a polite, heartfelt version of a crime story involving a retirement home and a handful of murders. At times laugh-out-loud funny, it's a cracking good yarn with memorable characters.
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REVIEW: Piranesi

Piranesi opens with strange and unintelligible descriptions of archways, empty chambers, marble statues and unending stairways. Slowly, clues to the narrator's labyrinthian world take form.
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REVIEW: The Vapors

Mostly a history, with a dash of memoir thrown in, David Hill recounts the history of the gambling and corruption that built Hot Springs through the lens of his grandmother and father's lives.
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Books for August

My reading list for August includes a new mystery in 1920s India, a popular psychology book, a real Victorian diary, a look at the mob in Arkansas and a classic Japanese murder mystery.
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REVIEW: The Lady from the Black Lagoon

As Mallory O'Meara uncovers in her book, there are worlds of fascinating stories behind the Black Lagoon costume. It was designed by Milicent Patrick, and following a triumphant publicity tour with her creation, she disappeared from the film world.
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REVIEW: The Dead Mountaineer's Inn

This is a difficult book to describe. There's an avalanche, a slobbery dog, maybe a ghost, maybe an alien, maybe a spy, probably some mafia, and definitely a world weary cop. Also, it's really funny and a good mystery.
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Favorite First Lines

I play this game when I'm reading a book - I try to guess what the first paragraph the author wrote is. As a writer myself, I presume what becomes the opening line isn't how the first draft began, but I always wonder where the original kernel is buried. These are some of my favorite (published) first sentences of books.
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