The city of Lowell, Massachusetts, was once a thriving home to the textile industry. Just before World War I broke out, the city was at the peak of a huge economic boom. In just a couple of decades however, a slow reversal of fortunes took place. By the early 1920s work was moving south to the Carolinas and once the Depression took hold, the slide was pretty much irreversible.

Rock Harbor, the fictional New England town painted by Rebecca Chase in her new novel, feels a lot like Lowell or even New Bedford, both towns marked by severe downturns in manufacturing industries.

May 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Facing History, NE & New York


In this ninth of his eleven Blandings Castle farces, P. G. Wodehouse brings a large cast of mostly repeating characters to Blandings Castle in Shropshire, where their adolescent behavior, their misplaced values, and their obliviousness to real issues in a real world, allow Wodehouse to create gentle but pointed satire of the British upperclass, of which he himself was also a member.

August 11, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Classic, Humorous, Satire

THE HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY by Earl Derr Biggers

When Bostonian John Quincy Winterslip is sent to Hawaii to retrieve his elderly Aunt Minerva, who has stayed with relatives in Hawaii long past the time she (and they) had originally intended, he fully expects to return home quickly. Shortly after his arrival in Honolulu, however, his uncle Dan Winterslip, with whom he is staying, is murdered in his Waikiki home. Assigned to investigate this murder is Honolulu Detective Charlie Chan.

August 4, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Hawaii, Sleuths Series

EAST OF THE SUN by Julia Gregson

Autumn 1928. Three young women are on their way to India, each with a new life in mind. Rose, a beautiful but naïve bride-to-be, is anxious about leaving her family and marrying a man she hardly knows. Victoria, her bridesmaid couldn t be happier to get away from her overbearing mother, and is determined to find herself a husband. And Viva, their inexperienced chaperone, is in search of the India of her childhood, ghosts from the past and freedom.

June 28, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Facing History, India-Pakistan, World Lit

THE ANGEL’S GAME by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

It must be extremely difficult for an author to write a brilliant, literary bestseller and then have to deal with the expectations of a worldwide audience waiting for him/her to do as well, or even better, with the next novel. I congratulate Carlos Ruiz Zafon on his latest offering, THE ANGEL’S GAME, a superb work of fiction where magical realism meets gothic horror and romance.

June 15, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Spain, Speculative (Beyond Reality), World Lit, y Award Winning Author

SHADOW AND LIGHT by Jonathan Rabb

Berlin in 1927 is a difficult city to leave, even for the best of reasons. There’s the Wannsee and its beaches in summer, the Ice Palast and Luna Park in winter, and the ever beautiful Unter den Linden, the Tiergarten, the Zoologischer Garten and multiple cafes with rich pastries all year round. Berlin is the city of divine decadence, (remember the movie “Caberet?”), and a thriving film industry. And Weimar Berlin still suffers from losers’ blues, with a treasury depleted by war reparations it is not able to pay. The capital city is also where the reader gets a sense of how strong the NAZI Party has grown, from 27,000 members nationwide in 1925 to 108,000 in 1929.

June 4, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Germany, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Sleuths Series