pen rainbow

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday—The Reading Corner—Two Girl Detectives & An Amazing Cat Story

Kindle...How do I love thee?
Girl detective #1...

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith — $7.99 Amazon Kindle
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the first in an engaging and entertaining series of stories about a confident, clever lady detective named, Precious Ramotswe, from the South African Republic of Botswana.

I don't know where to start talking about all of the things that make this book (and the entire 6-book series) so much fun to read.  The author puts you squarely in Africa with Mma Ramotswe as she navigates in her tiny white van through sumptuous African landscapes to solve mysteries that are brought to her by the local citizens of Gaborone.

The story evolves through a series of crimes—some minor, some complex, all culturally rooted—as new characters are introduced and their backgrounds are revealed.

I love the tone of the writing, the African dialect in the narration, and the infusion of gentle humor throughout the book.  Each little mystery percolates cheerfully and optimistically from one chapter to the next, like a comforting hot pot of bush tea.  These books are a fun, fast read, and each one makes you want to click over to the Kindle store and download the next one ASAP.  

Video Series
What could possibly make this literary experience more enjoyable?  An accompanying HBO series!   The pilot episode debuted on the BBC in 2008 and was produced by the late, great Sydney Pollack (Director/Producer, Out of AfricaTootsie, The Firm, Sabrina, etc.); Timothy Bricknell (a regionally rich film maker—Cold Mountain, 2003); and Amy J. Moore (old-school horror & suspense—Slash (2002), Grim (1995)).

Directed by the late, Anthony Minghella (Academy Award winner for Best Director, The English Patient (1997); screenplay, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)), who died unexpectedly in 2008 at the age of 54 following cancer surgery.  Co-written with Richard Curtis (Oscar nominated, Four Weddings and A Funeral; Emmy awarded, HBO's The Girl in the CafĂ©).

The pilot and all of the six episodes in the series will be available On Demand starting Monday, July 11, 2011, and will run through Sunday, July 31.  I can't wait!

The entire Season 1 collection is also available on iTunes (look under "TV Shows") for $20.93, or you can buy individual episodes on iTunes for $2.99.  If you have an iPad, iPhone, or Android, check the App Store or Android Market for free downloads of the episodes with your HBO subscription.  

Amazon has individual episodes available to rent for $2.09 per episode (Look under "Amazon Instant Video") to download episodes to your PC, Mac, or compatible TV or device.  You can also buy the DVD set, Complete First Season, for $32.99.

Click here to watch a trailer & see for yourself!  Starring...

•  3-time Grammy Award winner, R&B singer/songwriter, Jill Scott, as Precious Ramotswe
•  Anika Noni Rose—the exquisite voice of Princess Tiana in The Princess and The Frog (2009) and Lorell from Dreamgirls (2006)—as Grace Makutsi, the agency's secretary
• And, Royal Shakespeare Company actor, Lucian Msamati, as JLB Matekoni, the finest mechanic in Botswana

Girl detective #2...

The Devil's Hour (2010) by J. Carson Black — $3.97 Amazon Kindle
★  ★  ★  ★ 1/2    

I've been reading a series of suspense thriller /crime detective novels this summer, and this one is definitely worth a read.  It is the third in the 3-book Laura Cardinal series which starts with Darkness On The Edge of Town (2005), followed by, Dark Side of the Moon (2006), and finally, The Devil's Hour (2010).

The main character is a woman homicide investigator from the Arizona Department of Public Safety named, Laura Cardinal.  At the beginning of the book, she is reassigned from active homicide investigations to the cold case unit by her new supervisor.  She and her Brylcreem-infused partner, Detective Jaime Molina, are investigating a rash of kidnappings that occured in the Tucson area between 1996 and 1997.  Each kidnapping involved the disappearance of a 14-year old girl.

The story gets interesting when a young man who is staying at his grandfather's cabin in the mountains above Tuscon has a close encounter with the ghost of one of the girls.  From there, the story takes off in a variety of directions and picks up speed all the way to the surprising end.

As a native of Southern Nevada, I loved the setting of this story and enjoyed the seasonal descriptions of the desert washes and high forest landscapes.  A gold star to the author for creating characters who accurately reflect the laid back, no-nonsense culture of Arizona.  You have to live in the desert to be able to describe how it feels to be a part of it.

Now, I have to read the other two books!

How My Sister's Cat Moved from Utah to Florida in a POD

Katie, The Miracle Kitty (A true story!)
Once upon a time, my sister and her husband found a cute little kitten in a parking lot at a grocery store in Logan, Utah.

The kitty came home to live with them, and five years later, they decided to move to Florida.

They packed up their house and put everything into a POD (portable-on-demand moving container).  The POD people (heh) picked up the POD and started the 2,300 mile drive to Gainesville.

After a week of searching, my sister and her husband finally left Utah without poor Katie.  A few days later, they arrived at their new home in Florida, opened the POD, and heard...

My cat, Tigg
"Me-ow!!  Me-owww!"

It was Katie, skinnier, but alive and well after 12 days in the POD.

Now, Katie lives in Florida with her sister cat, Sabrina, and Nubbie, the oldest bunny in existence.

The moral of this story:  Check your POD for podcats

✿  ✿  ✿

Cats are amazing creatures.  If you have one in your household, consider yourself lucky to  have been chosen by providence.  ~dsmp