Tuesday, December 12, 2023


 WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Candy Slain Murder by Maddie Day. Why is it that when I decided I wanted a Christmas read, I went for a murder mystery? Not a holiday romance, not a tale of a fractious family reuniting on Christmas Eve. A murder. Oh well, I can't be that weird in this regard because there are plenty of Christmas murder mysteries out there to choose from!


The one I landed on takes place in South Lick, IN. It's a fictional town about 5 hours from where I live. Except for the weather, we have nothing in common with French Lick. That's why I'm enjoying this. When people talk about "the Midwest," they consider us like a monolith, and we aren't. The author gets this. 

Now about the plot: As this small town prepares for Christmas, news breaks about a fire. Robbie, the proprietress of Pans 'n Pancakes, the town's favorite breakfast spot, is naturally concerned because her lover, Abe, is on the fire department. Then she's riveted by a discovery made by firefighters: they had to get into the burning house through the roof, and in the attic, they found skeletal remains. Who is it? Did someone die in the attic years ago, or were they murdered and their corpse hidden there? 


And we're off! As different citizens enter Pans 'n Pancakes, we find their possible connection to the murder. As Robbie serves members of the police force omelets and oj, she learns more about how the case is progressing. During a shopping trip to nearby Nashville (IN), she finds conflicting information.

It's moving at a fast clip, and the Christmas atmosphere feels natural, not forced.


2. What did you recently finish reading?  Finding Jackie: A Life Reinvented by Oline Eaton. I truly enjoyed this biography of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Not because I learned anything new about the lady, because I didn't, but because the author put her life in the context of her times. At one point, Eaton said of JFK and Jackie, "We know how the story will end, but they don't." That's how she reframes Jackie for us, contemporaneously. It's very effective.

Was little Jackie Bouvier a bluenose nerd, or was she a rebellious schoolgirl? Yes to both. After college, was she serious about living on her own, or did she want a rich husband? Yes to both. Did Mrs. John F. Kennedy loathe politics, or was she good at it? Yes to both. Was she shattered by grief, or was she eager to escape widowhood? Yes to both. Was she a vacuous jet setter or a woman craving new experience? Here, the author lands firmly on one side: the latter. Eaton makes a convincing case. Did "Jackie O" love her husband, or did she see her second marriage as a means to an end? Yes to both.
Eaton quotes fan magazines, women's magazines, news magazines, and newspapers to show us how Jackie's saga unfolded or was sold to the world. It was an enlightening approach that explains much of how Americans have viewed woman's proper role from the 1930s to today.


3. What will you read next? More Christmas, if there's time.