Summer Reading: Iran & Maisie Dobbs

journeyfromthelandofno  My current interest has been Iran, thanks to Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran. After reading Roya Hakakian’s fascinating account, I watched several documentaries on Iran and found several Iranian food blogs. I guess I’ve moved from opera on to Iran. . .





maisiedobbsI want to tell every reader I know about the Maisie Dobbs series, but perhaps I’m just late to the party. (I see that this is the tenth anniversary edition?!!)  Winspear creates a gripping plot line without a lot of the gore that sometimes accompanies mystery novels.  Highly recommended.




Today I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit. Check out her blog for some great reading suggestions!






The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

no.1 ladies detective    Apparently I’m really getting into mystery novels. I thoroughly enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Set in Botswana, Smith tells the story of Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe as she sets up her detective agency. The novel features one overall mystery, as well as smaller problems that Ramotswe solves.

Things I love about this book:  fascinating (and humorous!) characters, clean light mysteries, and the faraway setting.  I do like the fact that there were smaller mysteries; this made it easier for me to set the book down when I needed to.

One thing I wonder about. . . Alexander McCall Smith is not from Botswana – how accurate is his portrayal of life there?  I didn’t catch anything “wrong,” but then again, I’m not from Botswana.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Encyclopedia Brown books were my first mystery books as a child, followed by Nancy Drew in elementary school, and then John Grisham novels in junior high. I really don’t think I’ve read many mysteries since then, so I was delighted when I discovered Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I don’t enjoy gory details or vicious murders, so this book suited me well.


I love the fact that the narrator, Flavia de Luce, is an 11-year-old girl. And, although the mystery does involve a body in her family’s cucumber patch, I could handle the drama.   I’m delighted to say that I was unable to figure it out ahead of time – I hate when mysteries are too predictable!  I actually listened to it, and the reader was British, so perhaps that also added to my fascination. I see that Alan Bradley has written several other Flavia de Luce novels, so I don’t think I’m done yet!