Rose in Bloom

I was so excited when I got Rose in Bloom from the library; but somehow, it wasn't what I had expected. The charm had gone out of it for me. Now re-reading Eight Cousins (its prequel) was so much fun. I loved reading about Rose's developing relationships with her newly found relatives in that book, but somehow, Rose in Bloom was much too slow paced for me. I knew what was to come and I felt the it was dragged on a bit ( I know this is probably the effect of re-reading books ).

Rose has come back from a trip to Europe with her Uncle. Her seven cousins eagerly await her with something more than simply friendship. Over the years that we haven't seen Rose, she has become a woman; her cousins see her with new eyes and some hearts - or just one heart? - beat faster. Romance is in the air and soon the matchmaking begins. The aunts vie for her attention and favors, all wanting their son to be the one who wins the heiress. But do they love her for her? or is it her fortune that tempts them? By this time, Rose knows her aunts - and her cousins - well. Will her Uncle's experiment in training her to be a good woman become a success? Only time will tell.

Rose, once back with her cousins, begins again to use her influence towards doing good. Prince Charlie has lived up to his name and become the prince that he was destined to be - will he be the one who wins Rose? The cousins think so, and with no one else vying for her attention, Rose begins to think so as well. But Charlie is not the boy that she left behind; he has gotten into a bad set and is fast moving towards destruction. Can she save him before he falls over the edge? Will the book end in a happily ever after for Charlie and Rose?

Why Shoot a Butler?

I had almost forgotten about this book. I read it, thought it was okay, and forgot all about it. I barely remember the names of the characters! I think the heroine's name was Shirley (why this memory loss??). Bear with me. I remember the story. \o/

Summary
Frank, on his way to his Uncle's home, loses his way, and with dinner time long past gone, he is in a hurry. He runs in to a woman standing next to a car. Stopping to ask for directions, he is struck by her odd behavior.

He sees a dead body in the car.

Frank, on realizing this, asks the woman about it and then leaves. Apparently the fact that he is a barrister is not important right now. The woman, whether she his guilty or not, is to be left standing there and he goes on his merry way to a late dinner.

On reaching town, he informs the police of the murder (THANK YOU) and doesn't mention anything about the woman (!). 

The crime centers around Norton Manor

Some thoughts
As it turns out, the murdered man is the butler. Things are confusing from start to finish with no clues available and the only suspicious character, the valet, murdered later on in the novel. Heyer leads us on a chase from which we can't hope to emerge victorious as various facts vital to untangling the events are known only by the esteemed barrister, Frank!!

Now I don't get the title. I can think of various reasons why the butler, why any butler could be murdered. He could hold secrets that someone doesn't want to leak out. He could be part of a nefarious smuggling ring, He could have issues of his own (yes, he could!). He could be someone in disguise!! (okay that ones a bit far-fetched.) All these options and more make the title ridiculous..............

Reading back, I think I went a little crazy. Well, that's how it's gonna be. Why Shoot a Butler? isn't a huge success, nor is it a colossal failure. It is just mediocre...

After the Funeral

It's been sometime since I've read an Agatha Christie mystery. So long in fact that I'm out of the phase where I see similarities in all novels and can appreciate each one separately!
 
Rating: ***

After the Funeral is one of those mysteries that I always fail to appreciate. I can't like it although it is well written, and has a strong plot and character portrayal. It just doesn't sit right with me and I don't know why. Maybe it's the grey atmosphere, the sadness that somehow pervades the novel that I can't like. Whatever it is, After the Funeral is not one of my favorites.

It is a sad day (or is it?) when the family gets together to attend the funeral of Richard Abernethie, the eldest Abernethie. Having been wealthy beyond measure, the remaining relatives: a brother, a sister, two nieces and a nephew have only one thing on their minds - how much has he left them? In this 'solemn' atmosphere, the irrepressible Cora Lansquenet blurts out the revealing phrase "It's been hushed up very nicely ... but he was murdered, wasn't he?" 

So begins a maze of theories and suspicion....was he murdered? was it one of them? who was it? The initial doubt soon evaporates with the brutal murder of Cora herself. With another murder, the faithful old family lawyer, Mr. Entwhistle calls in a trusted friend: Hercule Poirot.

Who needed the money the most? Was it the brother - always inferior to his successful brother? or was it the sister - still resentful about the nonacceptance of her painter husband? It could be any one of the next generation - all in need of money for one reason or another (there is never a lack of motive in an Agatha Christie novel). Hercule Poirot must sift through the various motives to find the real murderer ...... someone who has been very clever, and yet not clever enough.


Friday's Child

Sheringham, rejected by the woman he believes he loves, vows to marry the first lady he sees. This happens to be his childhood friend and adorer Hero Wantage. Whisking her off to London, Sheringham marries Hero and buys a house. But married life is not what Sheringham thought it would be. Rescuing Hero from social blunders become his constant job. What will he do when she commits a mistake which even he can't undo? Hero soon finds out..................

Some thoughts
Friday's Child promised to follow one of the themes I like best in Georgette Heyer (spoilers): only after marriage does the couple realize they love and respect one another. But it was full of disappointment for one simple reason: it was too long. Added to that was the fact that Hero, the heroine (I know!) was apt to make too many mistakes. I am the first to admit that there is some charm in a heroine who makes certain social blunders and lightens up the stuffy atmosphere; but innocence and plain stupidity are two different things! I may be being a bit too harsh here, but I found Hero exhausting and only wondered that Sheringham didn't as well.

The side story fared little better. Isabella Milborne, the childhood friend of Sheringham and Hero, can't figure out her own heart. It takes considerable heartbreat, a rejected suitor, and a scandal before she finds out who she loves. Things follow the normal Heyer drift with people finding eachother at unexpected places and others rushing to track down runaways or lost or otherwise misplaced people etc.. All in all, not one of my favorite Heyer romances.