'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kenmore, Scotland

We drove through Kenmore on the way home from our trip to the Highlands. It was a surprise, a gem. Too bad we didn't have time to put it on our list of places to explore. It's a 16th century village and the Kenmore Hotel is the oldest Inn in Scotland. I'd love to get a chance to sleep there! If I'm remembering right it was built in the 1600's and has been a continuously operating Inn since. 

These are just a few photos as we drove along.

This one is where they were doing some logging. They plant acres of trees for logging all over the hills. And in the water is a small fish farm. You see this type of scene all over Scotland.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bev's at it Again!

Bev over at My Reader's Block is the one who first got me started blogging. She reads vintage mysteries and every year she has wonderful reading challenges. This year I'm signing on for two she's hosting!

I'm going in for the Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt again this year. It was lots of fun last year and got me back into reading vintage mysteries. I had drifted away from my first love over the last couple of years.

You can choose from Gold (published before 1960) or Silver (published 1960-1989). There are duplicate lists for each era. Find as many objects on the scavenger hunt list as possible on the covers of the mystery books you read. I'm going for both Gold and Silver, hoping to make 12 in each era.Want to join in too? Run over to Bev's and check out the full rules and sign on the dotted line!

New this year is Follow the Clues Mystery Challenge! It sounds like loads of fun! The gist of the challenge is follow a set of clues furnished by the mystery books you read to create a body of evidence to support a book court case. Each book clue should lead you to your next read. The connection can be anything at all from author names to motive for murder to type of mystery (police procedural, espionage, romantic thriller, etc) to an item on the cover, but you must be able to make your case to the jury on your detective logic. I'm signing on for Infraction: 6 books in a chain of evidence, how about you? This one might be pretty challenging! Click the link above to read the full rules and sign on!

Thanks Bev! You make reading more fun than it already is!

Peggy Ann

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Smoky Mountains Ablaze

Click to read
I'm sure you have all heard something of the fires that have ravaged the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (which is 100 years old this year!) and the town of Gatlinburg at the base of the park. We live an hour from there. I've been glued to the local TV as they have broadcast 24 hrs. for a couple days. It is horrific, its the only word I can think of to describe the scene. Gatlinburg looks like a war zone.

The fire started on Wednesday evening, the 23rd, by human hand (under investigation), in the Chimney Tops area of the park.

Wed. Nov. 23 2016
Monday a cold front moved in and brought with it low humidity and gale force wind gusts (87mph). The fire moved rapidly and the winds brought down trees and power lines which when laying on the dry drought ridden leaf cover, ignited new fires. Within an hours time we had a major event, apocalyptic even! I've never seen anything like it.

The fire quickly made its way down to Gatlinburg, the popular tourist town at the foot of the park. 4,000 people live and work in Gatlinburg. Imagine this, night, winds raging, fire moving at breakneck speed, trees and power lines across the winding mountain roads making escape impossible in some situations. It's unimaginable! 14,000 were evacuated from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Many homes burned to the foundation, nothing left standing, in Gatlinburg and surrounding communities. We've heard stories of family members calling loved ones frantically, that the fire was around the house and now the family can't get ahold of them and have no idea if they survived. Fires are still burning even after rain. No one is allowed in yet to their homes. Seven confirmed deaths, 74 injured as of the last update. So many missing. They have 4 search zones they are combing through. There are so many remote homes in the mountains too! In the last update the fire chief said finding the missing is not an easy job as the fires burned so hot there is nothing to find, basically and it will be a forensic search soon, in other words digging for bones. I told you it is horrific!

As of last update just a half hour ago 17,108 acres have burned. 10,000+ in the National Park and 6,000+ in the surrounding area. The fire chief said even though we had a day of good rain it was not enough to penetrate our drought ridden ground and the fires can rekindle easily. There are a couple new ones today. Low humidity and wind today is a real danger.

So much need now in the area, so many families lost everything. 700 structures destroyed, homes and businesses. The mayor of Gatlinburg lost his home and business. Firefighters battling the blaze while wondering if their families were safe and if their houses still stood.  There is a 'Smokies Strong' T-shirt for sale and the proceeds go to support victims of the fire. You can order one here, but be warned, the site keeps crashing as the response has been fantastic!

WBIR TV in Knoxville is the station that I have been keeping up with. You can check out videos and This link takes you to a page with a video of a short ride a long with a firefighter as he drives through it. Click on Home on the page to see the latest.
updates and there's even a link at the top to watch live coverage if you'd like.

Here are a few pics of the devastation...

So much wildlife lost too! We need your prays and support. When we rebuild come visit and support the businesses and see our beautiful mountains.

With a heavy heart,
Peggy Ann

*Update: 13 confirmed deaths and 80 injured now.


Murder in Stained Glass by Margaret Armstrong

Goodreads description:

Meet Miss Trumbull, a stout talkative New Yorker with perfect manners and a passion for sleuthing.
When the remains of temperamental artist, Frederick Ullathorne, are found in his own fiery kiln it looks like a ghastly murder has been committed. But with only a few bones as evidence the local police are getting nowhere fast. Can Miss Trumbull pick up the clues that the police are missing? Or will her interfering get her into trouble in more ways that one?

"Fast paced and a lot of fun"
If you like Agatha Christie then you'll love Miss Trumbull."
This delightful whodunnit by Margaret Armstrong was first published in 1939. It is the first in the American Queens of Crime series from Lost Crime Classics

A decent mystery and enjoyable read. Silly names for characters... Mrs. Podsnap, Mr. Drinkwater, Mrs. Winklebrook and Mrs. Pullover for a few!

Bones were found in a kiln. Burned so hot that the bones were almost dust and very fragile. So the clue that told them who the body was is a little far fetched.
"Your Honor, I have just received a report on th shred of cloth and the two trouser buttons found in the kiln. The New York police inform me that L P Fortune, the tailor, made a suit of this sort of cloth, a Canadian homespun, for ******** about two years ago. It is of a peculiar weave and color, imported especially for ********."
How could a piece of fabric survive the fire?

Aside from that Miss Trumbull grew on me and if I came across another in the series I would pick it up.

This is number thirteen for Bev's Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt- Gold - building other than a house

Peggy Ann

Peggy Ann

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Black-Headed Pins by Constance & Gwenyth Little

Why wouldn't the corpses stay put at this Christmas houseparty?

  With her bank account down to empty, orphaned Leigh Smith has no choice but to take a job as a paid companion and housekeeper to the miserly Mrs. Ballister. However, once she moves into the drafty, creaking old Ballister mansion in the wilds of New Jersey, Smithy has reason to regret her decision.
  But when Mrs. Ballister decides to invite her nieces and nephews for Christmas, Smithy sees the possibility for some fun. What she doesn't expect is to encounter the Ballister family curse. It seems that when a dragging noise is heard in the attic it foretells the death of a Ballister. And once a Ballister dies, if you don't watch the body until it's buried, it's likely to walk.
  The stocking are barely hung from the mantle when those dreaded sounds are heard in the attic, and before long, corpses are going for regular midnight strolls. Smithy and a pair of potential beaux turn detective and try to figure out why the murderer leaves black-headed pins at the scene of every crime. 
  Filled with the eccentric characters and odd plot twists typical of a Little mystery, The Black-Headed Pins first appeared in 1938 and was the second book by the two queens of the wacky cozy.

At first I thought this was going to be a little bit of a boring read and I didn't care for any of the characters. Having enjoyed another Littles book, The Black House I decided to keep reading and I ended up really enjoying this wacky mystery and liking the heroine very much! I think I would like to collect all their books!

This one counts for Bev's Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt also Gold- Christmas Decoration. Number 12!

Peggy Ann

Monday, November 28, 2016

Suddenly at his Residence by Christianna Brand

Where There's a Will...
In the luscious height of an English summer, Grandfather is found dead in the little Grecian Lodge among the rose gardens of the estate. Inspector Cockrill has reason to believe that Sir Richard met with an untimely death, and that the evildoer is among the genteel family gathered at the rural manor. But why on earth would one of the loving brood do such a dreadful thing? Simple: the night he died, cantankerous Sir Richard was arranging to disinherit his offspring for the umpteenth time. Someone took murderous steps to protect their own interest. But the murderer left no scuff in the carefully raked sand paths, no trace on the manicured lawns of Swanswater.
...There's a way - to Die.
Meanwhile, Philip and Claire have fallen madly in love, which just isn't cricket. The lawyer is fending off the advances of the heiress apparent. And young Edward isn't much help, with his tendency towards amnesia and fugues. It's all in the family, but it's up to Inspector Cockrill to make sure it doesn't stay a family secret.

This was a fun read, loads of quirky characters and set during WWII! A good solid locked room mystery and it could have been any one of them! Edward is a half cousin and his parents died in an accident when he was very small. He was pampered and coddled and he learned very young, that if he feigned 'mental episodes' he got lots of sympathy. By the time he was grown he wasn't sure what was real and what was imagined in his mental health. This enabled wonderful bits with Edward not knowing if he killed grandfather or not! A grand romp you'll be happy to read!

This one counts for Bev's Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt Gold - Blue Object. The dead body in the window is a ghostly blue figure! This makes 11 for the challenge!

Peggy Ann

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