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Karen G.'s Picks

Book Cover for The Remorseful Day Dexter, Colin
The Remorseful Day

This is the final book of 13 in the Inspector Morse collection. Newcomers to the series should definitely begin with the first one, Last Bus to Woodstock, and continue reading through the series in order. While the criminal investigations are unique in each book, the characters of Inspector Morse and his sidekick Sergeant Lewis are wonderfully developed as the series progresses. The Remorseful Day showcases the unsolved murder case of Yvonne Harrison, which inexplicably leads to a more complex crime after the case is assigned to the brilliant but unwilling Morse. While the mystery has many surprising twists and is quite entertaining by itself, the book soon becomes even more of a gem. The reader is given a closer glimpse into the life of the lover of opera music, difficult crossword puzzles, and fine ale - Morse himself. I would highly recommend this to mystery fans.
Recommended by Karen G., May 2007
Book Cover for Blind Dates Can Be Murder Clark, Mindy Starns
Blind Dates Can Be Murder

This combination of chick lit, Christian fiction, and mystery makes for a story that is difficult to put down. The novel centers on Jo Tulip, a delightful 25-year-old who writes a newspaper column about housekeeping that is quite reminiscent of "Hints from Heloise." While researching a dating service for her employer, she stumbles into a kidnapping plot that puts her life into danger. Jo must cope with the aftermath of the crime while grappling with her feelings for her best friend, Danny. There is also an interesting supporting character named Lettie, who struggles between her life of crime and her blossoming friendship with Jo and her religious friends. This is volume two in the "Smart Chick Mystery" series; I will definitely be reading the others.
Recommended by Karen G., April 2007
Book Cover for Enchantment Spoto, Donald
Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was born into a wealthy family in Belgium in 1929. Her father left the family when she was six, and because of the current political climate in Europe, her mother decided to seek refuge for the family in the Netherlands with her parents. However, Hepburn's sheltered life of school and ballet lessons changed quickly when the Netherlands came under Nazi control in 1940. For the next five years, her family endured great anxiety about future military attacks, strict food and heat rations, and daily fears about their Jewish neighbors. After the war ended, Hepburn continued with her ballet lessons and began acting in small plays throughout Europe. She attracted some attention in America and was soon on Broadway playing the lead in Gigi. At the age of 22, she won the coveted role of a princess in Roman Holiday, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress. She then went on to star in such classics as Sabrina (in which she was paid a paltry $3,000, compared to co-star Humphrey Bogart's $200,000), Funny Face, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and My Fair Lady. She married twice, had two sons, and spent a great deal of her later years in Europe, only occasionally coming to America to continue her film career. Towards the very end of her life, she devoted countless hours to the UNICEF organization acting as their spokesperson and logging thousands of miles to visit children in Africa and South America. Donald Spoto, who has written many biographies including ones on Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock and Princess Diana, does a wonderful job of portraying Hepburn's professional accomplishments while also giving the reader the chance to know the person behind the famous face. This is a highly readable biography of a fascinating woman.
Recommended by Karen G., February 2007
Book Cover Jill Watts
Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood

Hattie McDaniel gained worldwide recognition in 1939 when she became the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind. Her success however, was a two-edged sword. The Black community expected her to use her newfound notoriety to expand opportunities for African Americans, while the studio heads continued to offer her acting roles portraying maids and cooks. She made some enemies by accepting the movie offers and was famously quoted as saying, "I'd rather play a maid than be one". An entertaining and informative look at the Hollywood system.
Recommended by Karen G., January 2006
Book Cover Eyman, Scott
Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer

The MGM studio in the 1930's and 1940's was the largest and most prestigious in Hollywood. Most of the major stars of the time including Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Jeannette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy, Greta Garbo, Esther Williams, and Myrna Loy were contracted to MGM. At the head of the company from 1924-1951 was Louis B. Mayer.
Much has been written about Mayer's tyrannical ways. While not glossing over his negative attributes, this biography also shows his loyalty to relatives and long term employees, almost perfect business sense, and great love of movies. His personal life is explored here beginning with his humble upbringing in Canada and continuing through his two marriages and many affairs. Mayer's relationship with his daughters is especially emphasized.
Recommended by Karen G., August 2005

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