The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan by Agatha Christie

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Detective Hercule Poirot is with his friend Captain Arthur Hastings at the Grand Metropolitan Hotel when a wealthy matron’s pearls go missing in The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan by author Agatha Christie.

I’ve read very little of Christie’s work (so far, at least) and haven’t done so since my adolescence. But I was in the mood for a good old-fashioned mystery, and though I do read murder mysteries from time to time, I more often look for mysteries that aren’t about murder.

And since I didn’t have much time, it was the perfect occasion for an entertaining short story.

No, I’d not read anything about Poirot and Hastings before, but that didn’t make this any less enjoyable. The robbery case has just the number of twists to keep it interesting and all of the cleverness and the quirky-and-proper kind of humor I was hoping to find here.

I’m sure I’ll be reading more about Hercule Poirot, likely sooner than later.

 

Ruth: A Refugee Story

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Ruth: A Refugee Story

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“I know how you left behind your mother and father, your relatives and your homeland, and came here to live among strangers… You have come to Yahweh, the God of Israel, seeking refuge.” (GSV)

I often hear people (especially women) refer to the biblical book of Ruth as a love story. That makes sense, not only in regard to Ruth’s relationship and marriage to Boaz but also in light of Ruth’s devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi.

However, Ruth the Moabite wasn’t only a daughter-in-law and a widow seeking a new husband. The thought of her as a foreigner in Bethlehem, in need of refuge, was what drew me to read Ruth: A Refugee Story, the book of Ruth as retold by Matt Mikalatos.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this book in different versions of the Bible. While reading the Good Story Version this time around, I did a little extra pondering on Ruth as an immigrant. And as it was when I read Jonah: A Comedy, another GSV retelling, I found the storyteller’s notes at the end to be of particular interest.

Worth checking out for readers and studiers of biblical themes—the story and its corresponding notes in the back.

No one wants to be a refugee.
Leaving your home because of famine, or violence, or war, is a painful decision.

 

Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by Kate Willis

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by Kate Willis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Canary and her siblings are spending the end of their summer vacation helping out at their aunt and uncle’s ’50s diner. It’s already a fun week, but when Canary comes across a mysterious hand-drawn map left at a table, it gives her an exciting little case to solve in Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by author Kate Willis.

Here’s a simple, pleasant short story that’s pretty much as sweet as the sundae on the cover looks. A quick pick-me-up like an afternoon dessert.

The mystery is uncomplicated, which fits fine with this story. It would’ve been more interesting if its resolution included certain particulars, at least one or two key pieces of info about the subject at the heart of the mystery. We know the characters have a discussion, but since we don’t hear the details they discuss, their discovery ends on a rather vague note for the reader.

Still, this is a good read for anyone who can appreciate a wholesome snack, especially middle grade readers.

 

Jonah: A Comedy

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Jonah: A Comedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Countless people are familiar with the biblical account of Jonah, the prophet who ran from his sacred duty and got himself swallowed by a big fish for his trouble. While I’ve always found enough in the story to take seriously, I’ve seen enough in there to shake my head at, too. But this may be the first time I genuinely chortled at it, reading Jonah: A Comedy, retold by Matt Mikalatos.

The Bible isn’t immune to the way that various ideas get lost in translation when writings in one language are written into another. So it was cool to read someone’s take on the book of Jonah in a version that brings out the humor that tends not to fully translate all the time.

That is, I’m not sure I would necessarily call this a translation, as I think there’s a difference between a translation and a paraphrase. Still, the storyteller’s notes on the matter are as interesting as the story itself.

For me, the experience was like a cross between reading the biblical book, reading an ancient tale in my World Lit class back in college, and reading a historical short story written in contemporary times. If you’ve got a few minutes and an interest in biblical themes, check this little book out—and don’t skip the notes in the back!

Oh, and, yeah. Don’t be like Jonah, either. In general.