A Gentleman of France by Stanley Weyman

A Gentleman of France
Being the Memoirs of Gaston de Bonne Sieur de Marsac
by Stanley Weyman




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

The death of the Prince of Conde, which occurred in the spring of 1588, by depriving me of my only patron, reduced me to such straits that the winter of that year, which saw the King of Navarre come to spend his Christmas at St. Jean d’Angely, saw also the nadir of my fortunes. I did not know at this time–I may confess it to-day without shame–wither to turn for a gold crown or a new scabbard, and neither had nor discerned any hope of employment. The peace lately patched up at Blois between the King of France and the League persuaded many of the Huguenots that their final ruin was at hand; but it could not fill their exhausted treasury or enable them to put fresh troops into the field.



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

I think, as we sat our horses in the rain, the holly-bush not being large enough to shelter us all, we were as sorry a band as ever set out to rescue a lady; nor was it without pain that I looked round and saw myself reduced to command such people. There was scarcely one whole unpatched garment among us, and three of my squires had but a spur apiece.


From the Stanley J. Weyman site:

Admired by renowned authors such as Stevenson, Wilde, and Rafael Sabatini, Stanley John Weyman is today a forgotten literary giant of the late 19th century. While for years his best-selling historical romances enchanted thousands of readers, today his books are mostly neglected.

One of his most well known novels was A Gentleman of France, which describes the “grand climacteric of a man’s life”.  Forty-year-old M. de Marsac is in the process of losing his finances and gentleman status. He has been forced to groom his own horse by cover of night and faces ridicule because of his tattered appearance when he goes before the court of Henry of Navarre seeking a commission. . . . . A silent film in 1921 was based on the novel.

For lovers of historical novels, A Gentleman of France (1893) is available free at Project Gutenberg in numerous formats. I’ve heard it described as The Three Musketeers without the tedious bits.

Dead Man’s Island by Carolyn Hart

Dead Man’s Island
(Henrie O #1)
by Carolyn Hart




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

I don’t consider myself an angel, avenging or otherwise, but I can’t always accept fate as the answer. Timing makes all the difference.

There exists a rather charming school of thought that the motorist who looms out of the fog at precisely the right moment or the fatherly old man who takes a lost child’s hand and leads her to safety are heaven-sent messengers.

Unknown to themselves, of course.



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

The young woman he recalled was almost lost in the mists of memory, and those partaicular memories I had no intention of resurrecting. The reckless young reporter whom Chase had known so well was now a woman who had spent five decades covering fires, disasters, wars, revolutions, murders, and public scandals.


I read a number of Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand series years ago, but have only discovered the delightful Henrie O. It looks like there are seven in the series. Have you read any of Hart’s books?

The Heist by Evanovich and Goldberg

The Heist
(O’Hare and Fox #1)
by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

Kate O’Hare’s favorite outfit was her blue windbreaker with the letters FBI written in yellow on the back, worn over a basic black T-shirt and matching Kevlar vest. The ensemble went well with everything, particularly when paired with jeans and accessorized with a Glock. Thirty-three-year-old Special Agent O’Hare didn’t like feeling exposed and unarmed, especially on the job. That all but ruled her out for undercover work. Fine by her. She preferred a hard-charging style of law enforcement, which was exactly what she was practicing on that 96 degree winter afternoon in Las Vegas when she marched into the St. Cosmas Medical Center in her favorite outfit with a dozen similarly dressed agents behind her.



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

There were half a dozen identical Las Vegas Aerial Tours choppers in the airspace above the Strip, and even though only one of them had a man hanging from a landing skid, by the time she got the word out Nick’s helicopter had disappeared. It didn’t help that in all the excitement, she’d failed to notice the chopper’s tail number and had nothing to give to the air traffic controllers so they could track its transponder.


At about a quarter through the book, I am enjoying the first in this series. There’s plenty of Evanovich’s trademark humour and the collaboration seems to be working well. Goldberg has worked on numerous television programs and written series based on Mr. Monk and Diagnosis Murder. This is the first I recall reading by him. Have you read any of his work?

Frozen Wilderness Book

Shackleton’s Forgotten Men
The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic
by Lennard Bickel


This situation was especially hard on Ernest Joyce. More than six months on the ice, usually in the lead trace, staring day after day at the white wastes, with frequent bouts of snow blindness, had affected his vision. He could not see well enough to read the few books they had carried with them–books that were read over and over again in the months of seclusion. Among these, notably, was For the Term of his Natural Life, and with Wild or Richards reading passages to him, Joyce solved one of their shortages. He heard how a character–a convict in Australia–had made salt from sea water. They had run out of salt at the hut, and without it the seal meat “was very unpalatable.” They filled a cooker with sea ice and kept it boiling on the blubber stove. Joyce recorded the result: “. . . extracted a pound and a half of salt.”


Shackleton’s Forgotten Men was my favorite non-fiction read in 2015. What a thriller! Unlike when I read the story of Shackleton’s ordeal, or that of Theodore Roosevelt in the Amazon, I hadn’t heard of these men before and didn’t know the outcome. For me it read much more like a thriller than a true story. Bickel related facts gleaned from journals, personal interviews and other sources so vividly that I almost still crave vitamin C to ward off scurvy.

The book which enabled them to obtain salt, For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke, is a novel which I read several years ago. Thanks go to Lisa for suggesting this excellent book which is available free from Project Gutenberg.

We’ve all heard of Desert Island books, it appears that the men of this expedition took along a great Frozen Wilderness book.

Reading Challenges – 4th Quarter and 2015 Wrap-up




RMFAO 2015 Classics Challenge

With the top level being Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books, this one was a piece of cake for me and was completed during the second quarter. Extras added this quarter:

30. The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells
31. Mont Oriol or A romance of Auvergne by Guy de Maupassant
32. Notre Coeur or A Woman’s Pastime by Guy de Maupassant
33. Evan Harrington by George Meredith
34. The Distracted Preacher by Thomas Hardy
35. The Octopus: A Story of California by Frank Norris
36. Diary of a Pilgrimage by Jerome K. Jerome

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

October – Horror (Level 4: Bibliophile – 4 books)
1. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris
2. A Touch of Dead (collection of the Sookie short stories) by Charlaine Harris
3. After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
4. Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher #1) by Barbara Hambly

November – Historical (Level 1: Casual Reader – 1 book)
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

December – Adventure/Fantasy (Level 2: Frequent Reader – 2 books)
1. The Martian by Andy Weir
2. Shackleton’s Forgotten Men by Leonard Bickel

A success with at least one book for each genre. February – Crime/Mystery, with eight books read was my biggest month, followed by May – Classics/Literary with seven books.

RMFAO 2015 Series Challenge

The same as Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015 below with the addition of:

AMELIA PEABODY series by Elizabeth Peters
18. Tomb of the Golden Bird

A miserable fail! Out of five series I had planned to finish, I only finished one (the Stephanie Plum series shown below).



What An Animal Reading Challenge VIII 2015

Level 2 – Read 7-12

7. Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris
8. The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’elegance du herisson) by Muriel Barbery
9. Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody #18) by Elizabeth Peters
10. A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris
11. The Octopus: A Story of California by Frank Norris

Completed. Luckily for me, the qualification rules are very broad.

Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 20 or more

17. Death of a Liar (Hamish Macbeth #31) by M. C. Beaton
18. Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
19. Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20) by Janet Evanovich
20. Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) by Janet Evanovich
21. Tomb of the Golden Bird (Amelia Peabody #18) by Elizabeth Peters
22. A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris

Successfully completed and loads of fun doing it!

Finishing the Series Reading Challenge 2015

Level 4: Expert series reader – Complete 4 or more series. A massive failure. It seemed so doable in January, yet I only managed to complete one series. There were seven unread books on the list (eight counting the extra series for the RMFAO Challenge). I blame my failure on getting hooked on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and reading nine of them in 2015. They weren’t on the list – but it was worth it as I really enjoyed the series.

Books read this quarter and the only series completed this year:

STEPHANIE PLUM series by Janet Evanovich
19. Notorious Nineteen
20. Takedown Twenty
21. Top Secret Twenty-One



My Kind Of Mystery 2015

February 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Level 5: Invisible Floor 41 or more:

33. Roadkill by Kinky Friedman
34. Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
35. Death of a Liar by M. C. Beaton
36. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
37. Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly
38. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
39. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
40. Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
41. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

Since this is not a calendar year Challenge, there is still one month to go. But it is already completed, so – success!



My 2015 Goodreads Challenge was 100 books. Success! Completed on the last day of the year.

Special Collection: The Works of Patricia Wentworth (1878-1961)

How wonderful! I read a couple Miss Silver novels years and years ago and quite enjoyed them. Thanks for bringing all these to our attention, Laura.

Pleasure of Reading

Dora Amy Elles (November 10, 1878 – January 28, 1961) wrote under the pen name of Patricia Wentworth. She was a British crime writer, best known for her Miss Silver Mysteries, though she also wrote romantic novels. Miss Silver is frequently compared to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple, though Patricia Wentworth’s first Miss Silver novel pre-dated Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple novel by two years, and may well have inspired Agatha Christie.

Unmarked works which are hyperlinked are available on Faded Page.

Works marked with a * are currently under development at Distributed Proofreaders Canada and will be made available over the next few months.

Works marked with a † are available on the Project Gutenberg US site.

Miss Silver Novels

  1. Grey Mask (1928)
  2. The Case is Closed (1937)
  3. Lonesome Road (1939)
  4. Danger Point (1941) aka In the Balance
  5. The Chinese Shawl (1943)
  6. Miss Silver Intervenes (1943) aka Miss…

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2016 Reading Challenges – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Two Reading Challenges which will be new for me in 2016 are hosted at Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book.

I am making it easy on myself and keeping track at Goodreads.


2016 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge


I’ve spotted this one on several blogs this year and it always looked like fun, so I’m in for 2016! Track my progress at Goodreads.

The Alphabet Soup Challenge means that by December 31, 2016, your bowls must be full of one book for each letter of the Alphabet. Each letter counts as one spoonful.


Craving For Cozies Challenge 2016

I’m already reading plenty of mysteries, including cozies, and participating in challenges for them, so why not one more! Here’s the special shelf at Goodreads.

I’ll be shooting for Satisfied: 21 – 40 Cozy Mysteries


If either of these appeal to you, join me in giving them a try! Just click on the Challenge title for details and the sign up page at Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book.

2016 Reading Challenges – Classics and Genre

I’ll be participating in two Reading Challenges at the Goodreads group RMFAO in 2016.


RMFAO 2016 Classics Challenge


I’m signing up for the top level of the Classics Catchup again this year:

Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books

This is a casual approach with a cut-off date of 1940 and everyone chooses their own books; there is no set list.



It’s back and with a new and improved version including twenty-four genres!

In this favorite Challenge, a different genre is offered monthly. For 2016 there were be two genres from which to choose each month. Books may be chosen from either or, for the ambitious, both. Participants make their own choices and many books cross genres to make it even easier.

Here is the monthly line-up for 2016.

January: Science-Fiction + New Adult
February: Mystery-Thriller + Speculative-Fiction
March: Romance + Literary Fiction
April: Young Adult + Apocalyptic-Post Apocalyptic
May: Classics + Steampunk
June: Non-Fiction + Mythological/Regional
July: Dystopian + Graphic Novels
August: Contemporary + Historical
September: Humour + Retellings (Mythological or Fairytales)
October: Horror + Paranormal
November: Fantasy + Gothic
December: Action + Adventure

Join us if you dare!

Just click on the link at the top.