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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

             The literary character of Sherlock Holmes, created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, began his reign in 1887 with the publication of A Study in Scarlet. Doyle continued to write Holmes’ stories, until 1927, completing 4 novels and 56 short stories. His character remains popular today, with several writers imagining new adventures for Holmes.
            The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad, edited by Simon Clark, contains 15 short stories featuring the great detective in his travels abroad to such places as Austria, Morocco, Egypt, and Norway. Contributing authors include Clark, Andrew Darlington, Paul Finch, Carole Johnstone, and others.
            The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, written by Lyndsay Faye, features stories earlier published in literary journals and two new stories “The Lowther Park Mystery” and “The Adventure of the Thames Tunnel”.
            Laurie F. King has written several novels featuring Holmes. In Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Russell and Holmes are a married couple remembering a hazardous assignment they completed for the emperor of Japan. In The Murder of Mary Russell, Mary goes missing and the carpet of 221B Baker Street is drenched in blood. Sherlock Holmes investigates.
            The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories, edited by Otto Penzler, contains 83 stories featuring Holmes and Dr. Watson. The authors include such notables as James Barrie, O. Henry, A. A. Milne, Stephen King, Kingsley Amis, Anthony Burgess, Loren D. Estleman, and more.  
            A bibliography, listing these and other books featuring Sherlock Holmes, is available at the library.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Deadly Diseases

            No matter how many medical breakthroughs occur every day, humans still are threatened by new and mutating diseases with the ability to turn into epidemics. Here are some new books on this topic.
            Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them is written by Jennifer Wright. Filled with details of the world’s worst diseases over time. Learn about experiences with the Bubonic plague, dancing plague, smallpox, syphilis, cholera, leprosy, and more, and the people who worked toward the abatement and/or cure of the diseases. This is a very informative book with a sprinkling of humorous anecdotes.
            Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs is written by Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, and Mark Olshaker, an author of several books about public health. Using the most current medical science, case studies, and policy research, they describe how such diseases as Ebola, MERS, yellow fever, and Zika threaten to overwhelm world health at large. Our overuse of antibiotics and rapid worldwide travel also are contributing factors to the spread of disease. After explaining all of these possible threats, Dr. Osterholm presents a plan of action for prevention.
            Zika: The Emerging Epidemic is written by Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science reporter for the New York Times. He traces the history of the Zika virus, which began as a minor disease but then by 2015 exploded as a major player in Brazil where pregnant women infected by the disease gave birth to babies with microcephaly. Contracted through mosquito bites and sexual transmission, Zika has the potential to infect people worldwide. The author offers information on the history of the disease, methods of prevention, and the work being done to develop a vaccine.

Friday, August 11, 2017

When Marriage Leads to Mayhem

            In fiction, as in life, marriage is not always a bed of roses. Here are some new novels that prove this point.

            In the Shadow of Lakecrest, written by Elizabeth Blackwell, is set in 1928 where heroine Kate Moore seeks to hide her past life of poverty and violence and start anew. She meets the handsome and wealthy Matthew Lemont while working as a governess on a transatlantic cruise. After marrying him, she discovers that her new life isn’t perfect: Matthew suffers bouts of PTSD from combat in World War I, and Kate is kept isolated at Lakecrest, the family estate, with his controlling mother-in-law and aloof sister-in-law who have their own dark secrets.

            The Good Widow: A Novel is written by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Here, Jacqueline Morales, an elementary school teacher who has been married to James for eight years is stunned to learn he has been killed in a car accident in Maui when he was supposed to be on a business trip in Kansas. And, he was with another woman named Dylan. Devastated, Jacqueline stumbles through a deep depression until Nick, Dylan’s fiancĂ©, shows up at her house. Together they travel to Hawaii to investigate.

            The Widow of Wall Street: A Novel, written by Randy Susan Meyers, tells the story of Phoebe, married to childhood sweetheart Jake. They both share in the luxurious lifestyle resulting from the financial empire that Jake has built. Then the trusting Phoebe discovers that Jake’s success is based upon a Ponzi scheme. What to do? Leave her husband, as her children want her to do, or stay by his side?

            Behind Closed Doors is written by B.A. Paris, and is about Jack and Grace, the perfect couple; he is a successful lawyer and she is a full-time homemaker preparing gourmet meals and hosting glamorous dinner parties. But she never leaves the house unless she is accompanied by Jack. And why are some of the windows barred? Can Grace set herself free?

            Mr. Rochester, written by Sarah Shoemaker, presents the story of Jane Eyre from Mr. Rochester’s viewpoint. We learn of his upbringing as the younger son of a wealthy man; he is not to inherit the Thornfield estate but instead sent to Jamaica to learn the family business after his education is completed. There, after a whirlwind courtship and marriage to Antoinetta, who is becoming increasingly mentally unstable, he is called home to Thornfield where the Jane Eyre story begins.

            A bibliography with these and other suspense novels is available at the library.