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Archived Staff Picks - August 2013


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Archived Staff Picks - August 2013

A Late Quartet (DVD)
Directed and Produced by: Yaron Zilberman
Recommended by Kathy

"A tight-knit string ensemble   begins to go slowly out of tune in "A Late Quartet," a skillfully   performed drama that treats the varieties of musical expression as an   effective if unsubtle metaphor for a person's many possible pathways through life. Centered around four outstanding performances, Yaron Zilberman's fiction-feature debut feels like the work of a filmmaker who knows and   appreciates the art form under scrutiny, laying a credible foundation for a story that lays bare the often melodramatic passions of the artistic soul. This intelligent, minor-key work should find a small, discerning audience in arthouse play." Justin Chang, Variety.
Starring Christopher Walken (Peter Mitchell), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Robert   Gelbart) and Catherine Keener (Juliette Gelbart), A Late Quartet focuses on "The Fugue", a chamber group whose world is shaken up when after 25   years together, Walken announces that due to ill health he will be retiring from the group as soon as a replacement can be found for his seat. Mitchell's impending departure stirs up old rivalries and insults, throwing the once   tightly-knit group into conflict with each other and questions arise whether the group will have a future together when Mitchell's chair is left vacant.

Yaron Zilberman directed, produced   and wrote the screenplay and story for A Late Quartet.
This title is available in DVD format.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
By: Tom Franklin
Recommended by Yvonne

First sentence: "The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house."
Written by Edgar Award winning author Tom Franklin, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter introduces us to "Scary Larry" Ott and constable Silas "32 Jones". Set in rural **Mississippi this story tells both the past and present day perspectives of the two connected characters, one white and one black - both with secrets to tell. This literary suspense novel gives the reader a story to sink into, full detailed atmospheric descriptions   and more character driven than murder mystery.
In school, Larry Ott never quite fit in with either race or either sex. He stuttered, had asthma and to his father's disappointment, Larry loved to read. Tragedy strikes when Larry takes a girl out to the drive-in theatre  (his first date ever) and she is never heard from again. Larry is suspected of rape and murder but without a dead body or a confession, Larry cannot be charged but he is forever labelled and ostracized by everyone. The story begins some twenty years later when another girl disappears and blame quickly falls on "scary Larry" long suspected since the previous mysterious disappearance. Enter constable Silas aka 32 Jones; back in town and forced to face his past while investigating the newest disappearance.
Secrets begin to unfold and we, the reader become invested in these "boys" who have a complex connection that is gradually being revealed.
I really enjoyed this book due mostly to the detailed descriptive writing. I loved how the story flips back and forth between the two character's perspectives and flashes back in time exposing the (real) story.
Recommended for readers who enjoy multi-layered, character-driven mysteries complete with plenty of Southern atmosphere.
**M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I. - how southern children are taught to spell Mississippi.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and Audiobook   formats.

The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
By: Dominic Smith
Recommended by Robert

It is Paris of 1847, a city where poets and dandies debate the fine points of art and philosophy. It is also the city of Louis Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype method of photography which revolutionized how man has viewed the world around him. Louis is tormented by delusions created by the mercury vapors used to create the   daguerreotype images. He is convinced that the world will end with the year and has informed his friend the poet Baudelaire that he has created a "doomsday" (bucket) list of ten objects that he must photograph before he dies. These include a naked lady and Isobel Le Fournier, a woman whom he has loved from afar for nearly half a century.
With the assistance of the hedonistic poet Beaudelaire, Daguerre finds his nude woman, a prostitute named Pigeon. The ever professional Daguerre does not succumb to the charms of the beautiful, but jaded woman. Louis becomes   obsessed with finding Isobel, who as a young household maid infatuated a sickly teen Daguerre. We are brought back to an earlier age when Isobel and Louis kissed in a wine cellar outside Orleans. However, class and age   differences made any chance of a shared future together impossible. Daguerre went on to fame and fortune as an inventor and Isobel to a loveless marriage.   Fate has created the possibility that they may meet again. Will Daguerre suffer rejection again or will there be some kind of future for both of them in the revolutionary ferment of 1847 France.
Dominic Smith has done an admirable job recreating the atmosphere of a Paris, which through the efforts of the main character, was evolving from an artistic to a modern photographic version. As Louis Daguerre was suffering the progressive effects of mercury poisoning, he wished to discover why his childhood love had chosen another path. would he survive long enough to get his answer? What other discoveries will he make? Read on to find out.

This title is available in Book format.

Flavia de Luce Series
By: Alan Bradley
Recommended by Pauline

Move over Miss Marple. Flavia de Luce has arrived. Perhaps the most precocious (and opinionated) young detective to push her way onto the British mystery scene, Flavia de Luce is the eleven-year-old sleuth at the center of Alan Bradley's deliciously macabre murder mysteries, set in 1950's England. The backdrop is the sleepy country village of Bishop's Lacey, where Flavia resides in a rambling old mansion with her "downright rotten" sisters, her stamp-obsessed retired colonel father and his loyal retainer, Dogger. Despite being ignored by all of the above, she keeps herself busy cooking up chemistry experiments (her "particular passion"); avoiding the housekeeper's "pus-like"   custard pies; snooping around town on Gladys, her trusty bicycle; and, of course, solving murder.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - In this debut Dagger Award winner, the unflappable Flavia turns to sleuthing when a dead body turns up in the family's cucumber patch and her father is the chief suspect in both the murder and the theft of a priceless stamp.
This title is available in Book, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag - Flavia gets mixed up with a travelling puppet show (with scandalous consequences) and solves two mysterious deaths while outwitting the local inspector.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD, Downloadable ebook and AudioBook formats.
A Red Herring without Mustard - The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey - mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in   Flavia's own backyard.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD, Downloadable ebook and AudioBook formats.
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows - Flavia is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. Amid a blizzard, the village gathers at Buckshaw to watch famed Phyllis Wyvern perform. After midnight, a body is found strangled by film.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.
Speaking from Among the Bones - First on the scene when the patron Saint Tancred is disinterred on the 500th anniversary of his death, Flavia finds the missing organist, Collicutt, dead with his face under a frilly hanky and wartime gas-mask.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.

Beautiful Day
By: Elin Hilderbrand
Recommended by Marilyn

A summer wedding stirs up trouble on both sides of the family in this new novel from bestselling author Elin   Hilderbrand.
The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind the notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event -- but in reality, things are far from perfect.
While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken and healed. Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a touching journey in BEAUTIFUL DAY -- into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honor our commitments.
This title is available in Book, Book on CD and Downloadable eBook formats.
This review is from

The One I Left Behind
By: Jennifer McMahon
Recommended by Ann

A gut-wrenching mystery about an architect whose troubled mother has been found 25 years after being   kidnapped-by a killer who is still on the loose.
The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school's outcasts - Charlie, the local detective's son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie   and harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town.   Just when Reggie needs her mother Vera - an ex-model with many "boyfriends" and a thirst for the gin - the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears.
Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been   found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.
With her signature style Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals and murder.

This title is available in Book, Large Print, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.
This review is from


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