Just as I was hoping would be the case, once I was done with all of my thesis revisions in mid-August, I was able to immerse myself in fiction again. So I’m happy to report that I finished two books last month, and that both can satisfy categories in the Toronto Public Library reading challenge that I’m taking part in this year.
The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse
One of the categories in the reading challenge I’m taking part in is to read a book that relates to the periodic table of elements. Since I’ve been trying to fulfill all categories in the challenge using mystery novels, I immediately thought of Flavia de Luce, Alan Bradley’s chemistry-loving sleuth.
This is an e-book short story that satisfied the category perfectly since it not only features Flavia, but it also has an element (“copper”) in the title. I was especially happy to read a short story because I wanted something particularly light to ease me back into reading.
I’ll admit that when I read the first book in the Flavia de Luce series, it didn’t particularly grab me. However, I really enjoyed the little brain puzzle in this short story — where Flavia has to solve the death of a school teacher found dyed blue in a bathtub.
While my reading tastes lean more towards Agatha Christie-style cozy rather than hard boiled, I’m not a particularly avid reader of modern cozies. This was one of the reasons I decided to pick up the first book in the “Southern Sewing Circle” series by Elizabeth Lynn Casey.
One of the categories in the reading challenge was to read a book on a topic you know nothing about. This fits the criteria in several ways: it revolves around sewing (of which I only know the basics), and it takes place in a small American town in the south (a place I’ve never been).
The story has a bit of a fish-out-of-water theme — the main character is a librarian who has just moved from Chicago and still has much to learn about small-town Southern culture. When the town’s first ever murder is discovered, as an outsider/recent newcomer she becomes the prime suspect.
If you like cozies with a small-town feel, you might enjoy this book. But personally I found it a bit too tame. There were too many moments where the protagonist talks about intending to get to the bottom of the murder in order to clear her name, but not enough action scenes where she seriously follows up on her intentions.