And Only to Deceive

So every year in December leading up to Christmas I try and post a Christmas mystery. This year I had a really difficult time and had to go out on a bit of a limb. This book isn’t a “Christmas Mystery” but Christmas does play a role so it counts.

And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mystery #1) by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily is a widow.

But she isn’t sad as she never loved her husband.

Lady Emily Ashton is an only daughter and all her life her mother has been plotting and planning and maneuvering to get her daughter married off to a wealthy and eligible bachelor.

Emily chose Viscount Phillip Ashton as he seemed less chauvinistic and someone who would be okay to live with-and  of course by marrying she would be free of her mother.

Phillip was interested in the hunt, captured his quarry, and then went on a big game hunt to Africa were he became sick and died.

Emily was given freedom, money, large houses-she had to be absent from society for two years but that was okay as she didn’t really care for it. Life was solitary but it wasn’t bad.

Everything changed when her husband’s best friend came to visit after a year and a half. Mr Colin Hargreaves came to speak to Emily about how he made sure her Greek Villa was all in order, and she is free to go there anytime, just let him know and he will arrange the trip for her, Kallista.

Emily is completely surprised as her husband never said any thing about a villa and he never called her Kallista.

Emily is baffled by this and even more when her butler let’s her know that he fired a footman who was digging in her late husband’s desk. She starts looking to see if anything is missing,-although how would she know as she has never been in there really-and discovers a threatening note.

This is just the firsts in a series that makes Emily realize she knew very little, if anything about her husband. It turns out that he was an avid collector or Greek art-throughly knowledgeable in it and Greek history.

Hmm…

She also finds his journals and reads about his love for her (in incredibly sweet journal entries).

Emily’s interest is piqued and she begins reading Homer’s The Odyssey and researching into Greek art and mythology.

She discovers more things do not add up and that her husband was caught up in a fake antiquary scam. Could it be that he was duped, with all his knowledge and expertise? Or was he the ringleader?

Emily cannot believe the later, and as she reads her husband’s journals, she starts to fall in love with him, and remember wonderful and romantic gestures he would do, but took for granted at the time.

Emily isn’t sure who to trust, besides her old friend Ivy and new friend Lady Cécile du Lac. Colin spends a lot of time around her, and then she discovers that he has been watching her. Why? Could he be the ringleader?

Hmm…

She also meets another friend of her husband, Andrew Palmer, who is fun, light, sarcastic, and likes to party and go out. He gives Emily a lot of attention and she enjoys it, as anyone who has been sent to the sidelines would. He is from noble stock, but has no money. Could he be after her wealth, or is he really interested in her.

Hmm…

Colin and Andrew were both on the hunting trip with her husband, could one of them have killed him?

Then Emily gets a note about her husband being alive! Is he a criminal hiding out? Or was he betrayed by a friend and in need?

Emily sets off on a trek to Africa, will she be happy with what she finds? Or is she heading into a trap?!

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this mystery as I liked that Emily was an independent woman with a strong personality and ideas about what she wanted, but at the same time she was still a woman of her times. I hate when people write historical fiction and the people are too much a product of our time. It makes zero sense.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

For more Christmas Mysteries, go to Mail Order Murder

For more historical fiction, go to The Secret Keeper

For more mysteries about widows, go to A Quiche Before Dying

The Veldt

“The Veldt” (originally published as “The World the Children Made”) from The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

Thoughts Before Reading:

Usually I post short stories on a Sunday, but as it was originally published on September 23, 1950, I thought I would post the review on that day.

Happy anniversary!

I first read The Illustrated Man, over fifteen years ago and completely fell in love with it, devouring it from beginning to end. I thought it was phenomenal and utterly creepy.

Hold me!

This story is so well written, just reading the name sends shivers down my spine.

Now as you read the synopsis, the story may sound slightly familiar to you fellow ’90s kids, as this is what the DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) Smart House was based on.

Plot Synopsis:

The story is set in the future and the houses are full of all kinds of technology and gadgets that people don’t have to do anything for themselves.

You ask for something, the house makes it and it appears. You have devices that paint for you, read to you, etc.

 The walls can change to mimic anything you wish, and what the children, Peter and Wendy Hadley, in this home keep asking for is the African Veldt.

And it is starting to scare the parents, Linda and George. They don’t know why, but something is…wrong. When they see the far off lions eating something, with the vultures waiting their turn it frightens them, but why?

Lately, the parents and children have been having some issues.The parents have decided that the children have become too spoiled and need to do things for themselves instead of having the house do it all for them, things like tying their shoes themselves, brush their own teeth, take their own bath, etc.

They call in their friend, a psychologist. David McClean, who quickly diagnosis the problem.

“You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their parents. And now you come along and want to shut it off. No wonder there’s hatred here. You can feel it coming out of the sky. Feel that sun. George, you’ll have to change your life. Like too many others, you’ve built it around creature comforts. Why, you’d starve tomorrow if something went wrong with your kitchen. You wouldn’t know how to tap an egg. Nevertheless, turn everything off. Start new. It’ll take time. But we’ll make good children out of bad in a year, wait and see.”

The kids don’t like it:

But the adults are all convinced they will get over it. Will this prove to be a great solution? Or will the parents be unable to stop the Veldt?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it!!!!

It was chilling, thrilling, and had a great and terrifying end.

I suggest you read it right away.

Read it today!

For more by Ray Bradbury, go to The Utterly Perfect Murder

For more short stories, go to The Red Headed League

For more science fiction, go to Emilie and the Sky World