#839 Houseboat Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Houseboat Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerHouseboat Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are renting a houseboat, because Grandfather is just rolling in the money. This particular houseboat can be renamed by whoever is renting it. The Aldens take the opportunity to rename it every day. They pick up supplies first. There are important safety measures on the boat like a bucket of sand and a fire extinguisher. The sand can smother small fires.

Everyone is soon exploring and talking to the locals. Some strange stuff starts happening though. Some things start to go missing. Where did those things go? Those things are closer than the Aldens think.

What I liked

I remember there being something I was going to comment on in this book, but I forgot what it was. I think it had something to do with how boats and ships are supposed to work. Whatever it was, I was going to commend the author for doing the research on it. So if you read this book, there is something about boats that is true.

What I didn’t like

Good Lord, where does Grandfather get all this money? Where does he get all this vacation time? The Aldens are so super spoiled. I actually wouldn’t like to go on a houseboat. I think it would be boring. A tiny house would be better, at least you can leave the tiny house and go take a walk. You can’t do that if you’re in a houseboat.

Overall

Everyone needs a handy-dandy bucket of sand.

Weigh In

Would you vacation on a houseboat?

Do you like boats?

#838 The Ghost in the First Row Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Ghost in the First Row Created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Ghost in the First Row Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Alden children are helping out at a local theater. The actors are quite skilled for a small production. One of the actresses speaks of a ghost in the theater. As things progress, there are strange happenings in the theater. A hat ends up where a hat should not be. They all wonder if it’s a ghost, or if it’s something else. The Aldens will find out though.

What I liked

For some reason, theater is surrounded by ghosts. You don’t have to believe in ghosts for this statement to be true. There are lots of ghost stories surrounding theater. If you go to any theater of any age, there are probably rumors that it’s haunted, or stories people have about strange things happening to them. Tragedy often follows theater and there have been those instances where people have taken their lives in theaters and some stay they stick around for many more performances, even after they’re long dead. Maybe it’s all the emotion in a theater that causes ghost stories. Maybe it’s the long hours rehearsing and three times running through an entire play in one night.

With all this said, I do like the idea that the Aldens poked at the tradition of ghosts and the theater.

What I didn’t like

Why can’t the Aldens be a little more open to the supernatural? Sure, we can be all science and whatever, but there’s still a little supernatural in our lives. Somebody we know, or love, has a ghost story, or an alien story, or a leprechaun story, or a big foot story. We just kind of accept it because we can’t explain it. We can cast doubt on it, sure, but we can’t entirely explain it away. This doesn’t mean that big foot is real out there; it just means we can’t say for sure what exactly happened to our friend, or loved one, and that’s the woo about the whole thing. I wish the Aldens would be more open to accept that strange things happen, rather than solving everything. Sometimes, you can’t solve everything and you can’t find all the answers.

Overall

That theater is probably haunted.

Weigh In

Have you ever done theater in a haunted theater?

Do you think it’s part of life to accept that you can’t explain everything?

#837 The Legend of the Irish Castle created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Legend of the Irish Castle created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Legend of the Irish Castle created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are in Ireland, in a castle, no less, because Grandfather is loaded as all get out. There aren’t many other people in the castle. There’s a couple on their honeymoon and the caretakers, but that’s about it. There are a few other people around town. One guy isn’t very friendly. The children start hearing rumors about banshees and ghost dogs. They see a hooded woman walking in the fog. They hear a strange noise, could it be a banshee?

The banshee’s are a problem because they often portend bad things. The Irish can be very superstitious. The Alden children aren’t familiar with all of the superstitions and make a few blunders as far as luck is concerned. The children start poking around, as usual, and they come up with some interesting stuff.

What I liked

The author did actually do a good job of doing research for this book. I am not familiar with all of the superstitions mentioned in the book, but some of them I am and the rest sound like a real thing. I don’t think the author just made them up. It’s nice that whoever it was took time to do the research. All that lore about banshees does exist and they are considered bad luck, or portents of death.

What I didn’t like

Why must these children get to go everywhere? Grandfather has got to be simply rolling in the money to be able to take this many people to Ireland to stay in a castle.

Overall

Maybe that scream you heard in the night was a banshee or maybe it was just a hold-up at the 7-eleven.

Weigh In

Would you stay in a haunted castle?

What do you think of banshees?

#836 The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

The  Burning Room by Michael ConnellyThe Burning Room by Michael Connelly

Detective Bosch is training a new detective, when a chance to charge a man with murder, ten years prior, occurs. A man in a mariachi band, was shot outside. The bullet lodged in his spine and it took ten years to kill him. Bosch wants to get the shooter for murder.

The case is compounded by the fact that the mayor is somehow involved in it. He used the man, wheelchair bound for the last ten years of his life, as something of a campaign tool, sort of. Bosch follows clues, meets an unfavorable park ranger, and tries to parent his daughter. She’s always away at this club or that club. She wants to be a detective too.

Bosch promises the scoop to a reporter friend as he finds out more.

More and more people get involved with a crime that occurred ten years before. In some places the trail is cold, but can Bosch figure it out?

What I liked

I haven’t read any Bosch novels before, although, I have seen some of the television show. I am not disappointed. I think Bosch is an interesting detective. Bosch is the book is a bit different from Bosch on the show. I actually listened to this book and I loved that Titus Welliver was narrating it. I’ll always remember him as the Man in Black from Lost. He’s got some great ghost stories as well.

Detective novels are so ubiquitous that there has to be something special about the detective for it to be interesting. Many detectives end up being Sherlock Holmes reincarnations. I’m not saying Bosch is breaking that pattern. He’s still a Sherlock, but he’s not so mediocre that you’d predict everything he’s doing.

What I didn’t like

I guess you can prosecute someone for murder ten years after the fact. I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations for murder is much longer than most crimes, if it exists at all. I don’t see why there should be a statute of limitations for murder. I don’t really know that you could charge someone with murder if a person didn’t die until ten years later. They were still alive for some time. Maybe you could charge a person with attempted murder, but I’m not sure how accurate an actual murder charge would be in this type of situation.

Overall

I’m looking forward to more Bosch.

Weigh In

Do you like Bosch?

Are any detectives free from the idea of Sherlock Holmes?

#835 The Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin Hearne

The Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin HearneThe Demon Barker of Wheat Street by Kevin Hearne

So there’s a guy who is a druid. He goes to this strange carnival, with a couple of other people. A bunch of weird stuff starts happening. Someone is killing someone. A bunch of strange portals, that are actually gooey orifices show up. There’s some sword swinging and some other stuff happens.

What I liked

Um…

What I didn’t like

I’ll be honest with you, I read this; I have no idea what it’s about. Well, I know it’s about a druid and a bunch of gross portal things, that are actually orifices. There’s lots of talk about squishy stuff. It’s gross. I was not entertained.

Overall

If you like weird gooey stuff, read this, otherwise, don’t.

Weigh In

If you’ve read this, what is it about?

If a story has gross stuff in it, does it turn you off of the story?