Saturday, April 28, 2007

53. Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves by Adam Hochschild

ISBN-13: 978-0-618-61907-8 - Houghton Mifflin, 2005

Hochschild has written a compelling account of the abolition movement in Eighteenth Century Britain that paradoxically manages to be scholarly and readable at the same time. In contrast to the recent film Amazing Grace, Hochschild doesn't glamourize William Wilberforce or overstate his role in the campaign to stop the slave trade in the British Empire which lasted nearly fifty years.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

52. Swing Brother Swing by Ngaio Marsh

ISBN 0 00 613394 0 - 1949

Published in the USA as A Wreath for Rivera, this Roderick Alleyn mystery is full of interesting characters which include the eccentric Lord Pastern & Bagot, who flits from one obsession to another, and the handsome, womanizing accordionist Carlos Rivera.

When a theatrical stunt performed during a swing band concert goes wrong, Alleyn sifts through clues (which include a pair of pistols, an ornate French parasol and a silver pencil)to solve the murder.

51. Blackbeech and Honey Dew by Ngaio Marsh

ISBN 0-00-651234-8 - 1981

While in New Zealand, we arranged a personal tour of mystery writer Ngaio Marsh's house in Cashmere, a suburb of Christchurch. Unlike most historic homes, this one is filled with books, photographs, paintings and furnishings actually owned by the people who lived there - Ngaio Marsh and her parents.

My hubby bought a copy of Blackbeech and Honeydew, Marsh's autobiography, for me and I found it interesting to read it while travelling in New Zealand, where most of it is set. Little has been written about her personal life, and this book deals mainly reminiscences of her childhood and work in the theatre, for which she received her "Damery".

Prior to touring her house, we visited her grave at Mt Peel in the cemetery of the Church of the Innocents.