Friday, September 30, 2016

Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu

My first Aunty Lee mystery and let me just say that I really wanted to love this book. But if I have to say this, then the next sentence is something like "but I didn't". While I did think that it was decent, I was constantly pulled out of the story.

The story: Aunty Lee is drawn into a case where an expat named Allison Love (nee Fitzgerald) is the murderer. This is a big deal because she was once the target of a social media storm in Singapore. And because her business partner is involved.

I won't say too much here, because I might give away the plot twists and those are the best parts of the book (apart from Aunty Lee).

First, the good: Apart from it being refreshing to see a Singaporean mystery (endorsed by Louise Penny, no less!), I really did like Aunty Lee and the older generation in general. The American (Allison's sister Valerie) was ugly as inside as out, and Allison's ex-husband was... Not that likeable. The younger set was meh.

Now for the bad: I was constantly pulled out of the story by the over explaining and digressions. Aunty Lee's digressions felt pretty natural, but the rest was just annoying. A cop reflects on the necessity of Foreign Talent when talking to the domestic helper, thoughts on trees lead to Lee Kuan Yew, etc. You get the picture. I'm generally a fan of Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP but this annoyed even me.

The second was the constant over-explaining. I think it might be worse than during The Ghost Bride. It felt like the author didn't expect Singaporeans to read the book and instead was writing for a completely different audience and treating them like babies. I really would have preferred all the explanations and digressions out - it would have made the book a lot more enjoyable.

The weird: I picked up this book because it includes Singapore's social media culture (though the theme was never really developed). Halfway through, I realised that this was based on a real incident - when an expat named Allison McElwee euthanised her puppy for "aggression" even though she was asked to wait while a new home was arranged. Even the "lying that it was given away" thing is similar. The differences are in the last name and hopefully the character.

Despite this, the book never mentions that it was inspired/based on a real incident. This is despite a thick "bonus section", with discussions for book clubs and a guide to things Aunty Lee recommends in Singapore.

This didn't affect my enjoyment of the book - I just thought it was weird.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, but the constant head-hopping was jarring. Perhaps she was trying to emulate Jane Austen, but it didn't really work for me.

I'm not totally going to write off the series though (although I probably won't be reading the previous books, if they're similar). Aunty Lee really is a fun character, and it's possible that as the series gets established, the over explanations and head hopping will slowly cease to be.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

No God but One: Allah or Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

To be honest, it was not the title of the book that caught my attention, but the prologue. The tale of Fatima, who was discovered to be a Christian by her brother and given the ultimatum "Repent! Otherwise, you have blasphemed!" (Blasphemy = death in this case) caught my heart and got me to request the book.

What made Fatima convert?

I confess that though I know the basics of Islam (mainly through school and newspaper articles whenever there's a conversion case going on), I don't really know what it's about. If you asked me to talk about Islam and Christianity, I would not be able to say anything.

Now, though, I feel much more equipped.

No God but One is written by Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim turned Christian who is more than qualified to write this book, having been raised in one religion and turning to the other only after thorough investigation (in fact, he's with Ravi Zacharias' ministry now). The book looks first at the differences between Islam and Christianity - specifically, the Sharia vs the Gospel, the Tawhid vs the Trinity, Muhammad vs Jesus, the Quran vs the Bible and Jihad vs the Crusades.

That alone would have been a lot to digest, but the author goes on to consider the question "Can we know whether Islam or Christianity is true?" The author takes the central questions of each religion and presents two cases for it: one for and one against. And then, as an objectively as he can (acknowledging that people in their religion will have the tendency to accept one set of facts readily and the other less so), he tries to evaluate it.

I found this book to be incredibly enlightening. This conversation (the part 2 evaluation) was actually started while the author was trying to convert a Christian friend to Islam, so his struggles with accepting what he didn't want to accept came across clearly.

Not only will I be re-reading this book in the future, I also want to look for the other books that the author has read. Hopefully, I have enough money to do so.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cast

I was really excited to read this book because it sounded like Jurassic Park, but with monsters. Unfortunately, the book had a really slow start, though it got better by the end.

Monsterland is, like its name says, a theme park where real monsters come to live. Zombies come from humans infected with a virus, Werewolves have always been around, and Vampires sound suspiciously like Visual Kei musicians, only that they actually do drink blood. Anyway, in the park, vampires are in the top of the hierarchy (since they came here on contract, rather than being captured), then I suppose the werewolves and zombies are more or less the same.

The park is run by one Vincent Conrad, who for some reason gives Wyatt (the protagonist) VIP passes. So Wyatt, his brother, his friends and enemies and the girl he is crushing on go to the park, and of course, something terrible happens. Not going to say anything more, because that would probably be a spoiler.

The problem with Monsterland is that it has a very, very slow start. The first four chapters felt like an info-dump of who's who and what's going on. I suppose that the background knowledge was needed, but to be honest I think it could have been integrated into the park opening instead. There was also a multitude of POVs, which might have worked, but basically confused me (not to mention that there was a conspicuous absence of dialogue tags throughout the books, so if more than two people were talking - which was often - I ended up having to guess who was saying what).

The other problem that I had was that there were too many characters. To be honest, even after reading the book, I still don't really know how many kids there were. I know there was Wyatt and his brother Josh, then there were a bunch of people and I'm not sure if there were four tickets or four regular tickets and four VIP tickets. Add to the fact that Vincent Conrad can be called Vincent in one sentence and Conrad in the other and that one character alone basically turned into two (maybe he was actually a siamese twin).

These problems made the first half of the book hard for me to read. But I was really interested in seeing how Monsterland was going to fail (because Jurassic Park did), so I read on. The second half of the book was much better, because once the action started, it was a pretty fun read. I won't say that the ending was perfect (it was an almost too coincidental plot twist), but at least it's a sort of good guys win kind of thing.

If you're a huge fan of Jurassic Park and monsters, you may be interested in reading this book. Be prepared for a confusing start, though.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Paperweight by Meg Haston

I heard about this book from PD Workman's Teaser Tuesday, and it intrigued me enough that I borrowed it from the NLB eReads program!

Paperweight is an incredibly sad, incredibly hopeful book (but only hopeful towards the end). It follows Stevie (Stephanie), who is checked into an eating disorder clinic against her will.

Stevie is determined not to get better because she has a plan. She's going to make sure she disappears/dies on the one year anniversary of her brother's death because she's the one who killed him.

Of course, she's not technically (or even morally) the one who killed him, but she feels the guilt, and she's very adamant on feeling the guilt. But slowly, despite her unwillingness to listen, her therapist makes her think, and she forms friendships with the other girls.

I'm not going to describe more of the plot because it would lead to spoilers, but rest assured, it's sensitively written and I liked the pacing. As the days pass, we find out more about what happened to Stevie's brother, and after she reached the lowest point, she slowly begins to get better.

Stevie is not charming, but it's easy to feel empathy for her. The more I read, the more I was rooting for her to be able to heal, and not to succumb to her disease and guilt.

The ending is hopeful enough. It's not perfect, and there wasn't an emotional blowout (the kind that is satisfying for the reader to read) with two characters that I expected, but Stevie is on her journey of healing, not reaching the end, so it's only natural for there to be a few loose ends.

This book isn't for young kids because of some adult language, but I would encourage everyone else to read this.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Clouds of Witnesses by Dorothy L. Sayers

I think this is my first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. Or is it my second? I'll have to go check. Anyway, in a bid to read more of the Golden Age of Mystery authors, I picked this up at the library.

Lord Peter Wimsey is a fairly respected (well, does work with a few police officers) amateur sleuth whose mannerisms remind me of a British version of Ellery Queen. Kinda flippant, if I'm making sense. When he's back from a holiday, he discovers that his brother is under the suspicion of murder and refusing to give an alibi. So Lord Peter investigates, and he finds out that not only his brother is has a secret, but his sister too.

Clouds of Witnesses is very cleverly written, and I did not figure out who the murderer was. Or rather, I couldn't figure out how it was done. At any rate, I enjoyed reading it, especially the climatic scene in the courtroom that I shan't spoil for you.

As for the characters, I liked most of them well enough, but Lord Peter feels rather dated (in a charming way, of course). I find that my memory of Poirot and Miss Marple feel more current than Lord Peter, possibly because I'm not familiar with how the upper class of Britain were at that time. So a lot of this felt rather new to me.

Still, I enjoyed this and I'll definitely be on the look out for more Lord Peter Mysteries.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Raven's Fall by Lincoln Cole

Raven's Peak came out in July and luckily for me, Raven's Fall just came out, which means that the series was still fresh in my mind (and I was still craving for that second book).

If you've already forgotten, Raven's Peak had Abigail breaking some pretty big rules, and with Haatim's dad rampaging for blood, well, poor Abigail is waiting for the trial of her life. Close by is Haatim, who is trying desperately to be helpful (and getting some valuable training in). While this may sound like a rather tame setup, especially compared to the first, let's not forget the greater evil that stalks the world, and that results in some amazing twists.

To be honest, I felt like this book was much heavier on the workings of the Council and I loved it for that. The first book was all about Abigail, The Ninth Circle was about Arthur, and now we know a little bit more about the world that they live in.

By the way, while Abigail has a lot less page time in this book, Haatim manages to develop and take the spotlight. Things that I dismissed as trivial in Raven's Peak end up holding great importance in Raven's Fall (you'll know what I mean when you read it), and I really, really want to see how Haatim and Abigail are going to work together now that I know what baggage each of them carry.

After reading Raven's Fall, I seriously can't wait for the next book, because it promises to be good.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author (whom as I mentioned in Raven's Peak, I know) in exchange for a free and honest review. All the fangirling was voluntary and sincere.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Strange History by Bathroom Readers Institute

This book is meant to be read in drips and drabs, a few pages at a time, and luckily for me my class camp meant that I did exactly that.

Strange History is a book full of facts that you probably don't know (unless you're a history trivia sort of person). At first, I thought it would be like the "horrible history" series, but as far as I can tell, they're not organised by topic or period of time, so it might be hard to go back and check for certain pages unless you can remember the page number. The facts last from half a page (those are usually two related facts at one go) to about two pages.

Story-time: While I was reading the book, one of my juniors came by, and since she's interested in practicing her English, I started reading with her. The first two pages went well, and then we came upon the entry with the archaic words, which sort of defeated the whole "reading as English practice time" Still, I would say that most of the book is good for ESL learners because the entries are short but interesting.

Definitely a book to dip in and out of.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Grit by Angela Duckworth

I've finally got a breather, so yay! Last week, I came back to Japan, and the day after I arrived, went for a class trip. The trip was fun, no doubt, but it was exhausting.

Right now, I'm reading a book that I bought at the airport - Grit by Angela Duckworth. I've been wanting to read it ever since I heard about it on the Freakonomics podcast, and so far, it's living up to my expectations! (Except for the cover, which dirties so easily it's annoying).

My teaser:
"That's also how people mistakenly think about interests, I pointed out. They don't realise they need to play an active role in developing and deepening their interests." (Page 183)
Anyway, if anyone is interested, we went to Hagi and the Akiyoshi Caves for my class trip (among other places, but these are the two I like the best:

What have you been reading?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Peak by Anders Ericsson

I first heard about this book from the Freakonomics podcast (they had a self-improvement month), and apparently, he's the guy whose research Malcolm Gladwell drew on to create the 10,000-hour rule. He says that Gladwell isn't all that correct (though he isn't completely wrong).

This book focuses on one thing: how do people become experts? Hearteningly, "innate talent" does not seem to be the determining factor.

According to Andersson's research, humans are extremely adaptable people. However, most of us settle for "good enough" (nothing wrong with that, by the way), and assume that once we hit a plateau, we've reached the limits of our innate ability.

That's not quite true. Through deliberate practice (and lots of time), we too can become experts.

By the way, there are two types of practice mentioned in the book: purposeful and deliberate. Both are good, and purposeful practice will definitely help you improve much more than naive practice (which is what most of us do), but deliberate is better.

But just because, purposeful practice:

1. Has well-defined, specific goals: you aren't just "playing the song", you are "playing the song while making sure that I don't make XYZ mistake"

2. Involves feedback: if you made a mistake, someone tells you.

3. Requires getting out of one's comfort zone: growth happens when you're stretching yourself.

Now on to deliberate practice, which is more complicated:

1. Deliberate practice develops skills that other people have already figured out how to do and for which effective training techniques that have already been established

2. Takes place outside one's comfort zone

3. Involves well-defined, specific goals and often involves improving some aspect of target performance (not overall)

4. It requires your full attention and conscious actions.

5. Involves feedback and modification of actions in response to feedback:

6. Deliberate practice both produces and depends on effective mental representations. Basically, you're using your long term memory for things.

So it's obvious that deliberate practice is more involved that purposeful practice. And thinking back, this all does make sense.

My golf never got better when I was just hitting balls. But when I was focused on my form, it got way better (and I didn't lose as much 'skill' after a long hiatus, though obviously I didn't get better). I haven't, however, added specific goals to the practice, so that's something I can do, even at the range.

I highly recommend reading the whole book, because he talks about deliberate practice on the job and in everyday life. Plus, it's an accessible book.

One last thing: it's easier to do deliberate practice in certain fields (e.g. Violin, piano, golf, chess) because there is a standard that can be used as a judge. But it's applicable to skills in general.

I may have borrowed this from the library, but I'm seriously considering buying my own copy because I think that I will want to reread this, and try and figure out how I can use deliberate practice to get better.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

I'm finally back from my camp! It was totally fun, but extremely tiring. Anyway, one of the books I finished before I went for the camp was this Neil Gaiman book of short stories and it is excellent! Neil Gaiman really is a master of the short story format - he's kinda like Roald Dahl, where the stories are dark, disturbing and come with a twist.

I liked almost all the stories, but my especial favourites were:

- The Thing about Cassandra, which contained a twist that I did not see coming

- My Last Landlady: a poem, but one with a deliciously dark story.

- Orange: I didn't expect this format (answers to a written questionnaire) to work, but it did and it create an intriguing and self-constrained tale.

- The Case of Death and Honey: a fantastic Sherlock Holmes story, which very cleverly uses a dual story narrative (maybe it's dual-POV?) that eventually merged into one story.

- The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury: Neil Gaiman writing about Ray Bradbury, without actually using his name. Of course it's fantastic.

- Nothing O'Clock: a Dr. Who story, but one accessible and interesting even to someone like me, who hasn't watched the show before.

- Observing the Formalities: a fairytale poem. Enough said

There were only two stories that I didn't really get were:

- 'The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains...': I'm not sure why, but I didn't really get this story. It kinda dragged for me, and was only interesting towards the end.

- Black Dog: There was an interesting twist, but it came too late to me.

I guess for these two stories (which were on the longer side) the build-up was too long, and I lost interest before the twist.

Overall, if you're a Neil Gaiman fan, or just a fan of dark short stories, you should definitely give this book a read. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Samurai Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

Hey everyone! I just came back to Japan today (it was an overnight flight), and I'll be going on a class trip tomorrow, so I think I'll be absent till Friday (or maybe Thursday, depending on my state of exhaustion). Anyway, I didn't really know what to expect from this book (apart from the fact that it is Asian fiction), so I basically went in without any preconceived notions.

The Samurai Garden is set during WWII and a sickly young Chinese man named Stephen is sent to a small village in Japan to recuperate. In his family's vacation home is the silent caretaker and no one else. Soon, though, Stephen meets the once-beautiful Sachi, the young Keiko (whom he falls in love with), and others. The story basically meanders through time, with not much plot apart from a journey of self-discovery. It could easily be boring, but I found myself captivated.

Though this is set against the war, the war is not the overarching plot. Sure, it's a constant presence and prompts certain events, but this is not a war novel. In fact, I think his family causes more emotional turmoil.

His family is pretty interesting too - Chinese, but with business connections in Japan. And though there is a lot of drama, as with the war, it never seems to fully take centre stage. The centre stage is reserved for Sachi and Matsu, the caretaker. They are the ones that teach Stephen the most, and I think that apart from Stephen, they are the two most important characters.

There were only two things that brought up questions:

One was Stephen's Japanese. At the start, it seems like he doesn't know much Japanese, but he does have some pretty deep conversations with a bunch of people, so how fluent is he really? The random Japanese words, while a nice touch, don't help the reader to figure this out.

The second was his relationship with Keiko. I know this is a journal entry and it skips around in time, but I never felt convinced of his romance with her. His relationships with Sachi, Matsu and his dad were better.

Overall, though, this is a beautiful piece of writing. The 'flaws' that I pointed out didn't really bother me while I was reading, only after. If you ever want to lose yourself in a different world, you should consider picking up this book.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Ninth Circle by Lincoln Cole

This review is going to be short because the book is short: It's good!

(Ok, I'll say a bit more)

The Ninth's Circle is a short prequel about the time when Arthur met Abigail. It's not about their life together, as he trains her. This stops just after meets her. But what the book does is to show us just why Arthur decided to protect a possibly dangerous but definitely very vulnerable girl, and it's easy to see how Abigail would have reciprocated that with the loyalty to him that drives her actions in Raven's Peak. I won't say more, because I don't want to spoil it for you.

If you enjoyed Raven's Peak and need something to read while waiting for Raven's Fall (the sequel) to come out, you'll definitely enjoy this, so go ahead and pick it up!

Disclaimer: I know Lincoln Cole, as I said previously, and I've enjoyed all of his other works. I'm not lying about how much I enjoyed this because I really did devour it in one sitting.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Case for Solomon

When I picked this up, I've never heard of the Bobby Dunbar case (though it seems like everyone else has). But I thought this book was a fascinating and thorough look into it.

If you don't know about the Bobby Dunbar case, let me quickly explain. Bobby Dunbar was a little boy (4 yo) who disappeared while on holiday. Eight months later, 'Bobby' was found, but questions still lingered as to his identity.

And to make things more complicated, a woman named Julia Anderson appeared to claim that the little boy is her son, Bruce Anderson. This claim is corroborated by none other than the 'kidnapper' himself. It resulted in an ugly court battle that was won by the Dunbars but (spoiler alert!) DNA testing many many years later showed that this boy wasn't actually Bobby Dunbar at all.

To be honest, I sort of expected that, but purely because out of the two 'mothers', I preferred Julia Anderson. True, the Dunbars did seem to have the means to keep him (and they certainly seemed to love him), but the underhand way they treated Julia Anderson when she tried to identify her son left a sour taste in my mouth. I get that they didn't want to lose their 'son', but they really went overboard.

Plus, the whole rich vs poor thing makes Julia the underdog in my eyes.

Even though this book is extremely detailed (and fairly thick), I devoured it. I like the writing style, and I'm really glad that Bobby Duncan/Bruce Anderson ended up having a good life in spite of his messy childhood.

The title is definitely apt, and if you're interested in this case, or just looking for a good nonfiction book to read, I'd definitely recommend this one!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Not To Read by Dan Wilbur

I picked this book up because it seemed interesting, but sadly, the book's sense of humour and mine didn't jibe.

How Not To Read is supposed to be this satirical look at books, what makes them up and why you "should not" read. Inside are also 'better book titles', which is another way of saying "summing the book into one sentence or less".

I found the Better Book Titles part somewhat funny, but the rest of the humour of the book just fell flat for me. For the record, my favourite comedian is the Jim Gaffigan, so it's a pretty safe bet to say that the book's humour is not like that at all. It assumes that you've gone through a certain stage of life or have grown up or lived a certain way that is totally not applicable to me. I'm not an American male, nor did I have/do I have a very wild character, so a lot of the humour just didn't make me laugh.

I was hoping that this would be a new favourite book, given how much I read and how much I dearly love a laugh, but alas, it was not to be.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Beating the Devil's Game by Katherine Ramsland

Hey!! I hope everyone has a good start to their week! I've been down with a cough for a while, but it's finally starting to get better! (Which is really good because a friend of mine came yesterday, and I'll be showing her around town).

On the reading side, I'm slowing making my way through "Beating the Devil's Game" by Katherine Ramsland. It's a history of forensic science, and I find it extremely interesting.

My teaser:

"Then on October 12, 1923, the number 13 train was blown up inside a tunnel in Siskiyou, Oregon, and four men were killed. Daniel O'Connell, chief of the Southern Pacific police, arrived to investigate" (page 224)

The book features a lot of cases, which is probably why it's so easy to read.

What about you? How's your week going, and what are you reading?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Children of Silence by Linda Stratmann

I borrowed this book on a whim (gotta love the serendipity in libraries) and though we got off to a rough start, I ended up really enjoying the book.

The Children of Silence starts off with one dead body, but as France's (our protagonist) investigates, things get more and more complicated and more bodies show up. So it's no longer just a simple case of "determine the identity of a corpse" (which probably isn't very simple)

The reason why the book and I got off to a rough start was because the beginning felt so impersonal. The style of narrative is fairly formal (e.g. "Frances quickly precluded any objections by introducing her companion as a trusted associate" sorts of sentences), and since the beginning is basically a scene of how the body is discovered, it felt a lot like reading a history book.

But luckily for me, the plot quickly became complicated and I quickly got used to the style of the narrative. After that, I had absolutely no problems with the book. In fact, I really enjoyed reading about Frances investigation and how she went about her business. Not to mention all the side cases she took, which were pretty interesting too.

This book is rich in detail, so if you're interested in a historical mystery that is heavy on the historical (and has a good plot to boot), you should definitely pick it up. If I had the chance, I would absolutely continue reading this series.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

I decided to re-read the book since I knew that it was a tear-jerker, but more or less forgot everything else about it.

Well... I was right. It was a tear-jerker, and it's a good thing that I didn't have to go out today.

Ways to Live Forever stars Sam, an amazing little boy with leukemia. He has his best friend, Felix (who is like him), his sister Ella, and his parents, all of whom are dealing with his illness in their own way. Before he dies, Sam wants to complete everything on his bucket list, even if some of them seem impossible.

The story is part-text, part scrapbook, and I have no idea which is more heartbreaking. Perhaps the scrapbook, because there is one page that just makes me tear up every time I see it (not going to tell, because... it's hard to describe and spoilers and all that).

And yes, Sam does die, and the way that it was described was pretty heartbreaking too. Actually, the whole of the last half of the book was heartbreaking. If you didn't cry, then you have a much stronger heart than me.

Give this book a read. You won't regret it.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen

My first Ellery Queen mystery! For reasons now forgotten to me, I have Ellery Queen's The Scarlet Letters on my TBR list. Unfortunately, the library only has The Greek Coffin Mystery, so that's what I got.

The Greek Coffin Mystery starts with a will gone missing, a body in a coffin where it should not be, and then ends up with a stolen painting. Chronologically, it's the 'first' of the Ellery Queen mysteries, so it features a young Ellery Queen.

I have no idea if this Ellery Queen is different from the older version, but he really is a very unique character. The only way I can describe him is that he's amusing on paper, but if I had to work with him in real life, I would probably go crazy.

Apart from Ellery himself, another interesting feature of the book is that once all the facts are given, the fourth wall is broken and the reader is invited to guess what the correct solution is. And there are absolutely no tricks here (obviously I didn't manage to guess it)

Oh, and I also thought it was interesting how the first letter of each chapter title made up the title 'The Greek Coffin Mystery'

I really enjoyed this book. It feels very 'American' (or at the very least, very different from Christie), although their romances follow the same inscrutable pattern. Or perhaps I just suck at discerning romances, which is a definite possibility.

I'll be on the look out for more Ellery Queen mysteries, and I think it's a shame that the library doesn't have more.