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Murder at Monticello, Rita Mae Brown.  I admit I haven't finished this one.  It's got a cat and a dog (a corgi) who solve mysteries.  It's mid-series, but I chose this one because it occurs at Monticello, which I love.  The main narrator is a postmistress in a small town and they discover a dead guy at Monticello and then other dead bodies pile up and stuff.  It's all related to Thomas Jefferson owning slaves, which is fair enough, but when one person (I forget who) said that back then, the races were actually closer, I cocked my head to one side like the RCA dog and had to rewind to make sure I'd heard correctly.  I had.  Wut.  I listened to most of the rest of the mystery, but honestly, I kind of tuned out and focused on my knitting for a lot of the time, and I'm not sorry. 

Thomas Jefferson is one of my personal heroes.  He was a great man.  But you know, he was also fucked up.  It happens.  There's no shame in saying that he was a great guy who also fucked up.  Sheesh.

Moving on.

The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal, by Lilian Jackson Braun.  I had to check the publication date on this one, twice, to make sure it wasn't written in the sixties, because it has some very old fashioned notions.  Somebody actually says, "It's a gas."  Lol wut.  The plot is basic cozy mystery with cats.  There's a theater club and a play and there's an awful lot of talk about an octagonal barn (I've actually visited an octagonal barn--they are quite cool) and its restoration.  Honestly, I sometimes felt like I'd accidentally slipped into a 40s mystery.  Which is not a bad thing.  I fell asleep while listening a couple of times and didn't bother to go back and it all turned out fine.  Recommended if you're looking for sleepy, rainy-day amusement without much thought and/or like Siamese cats. 

The Tell Tale Horse, Rita Mae Brown.  This is another Rita Mae Brown, because I'd heard such good things and this one was supposed to have talking foxhounds and horses (it does) and I am into that kind of thing.  I haven't finished it yet, and so far I'm enjoying it more than I did the cat book.  The heroine is what would normally be a little old lady, but in this book is kind of a Crone Mary Sue of Awesome.  She's wealthy, talented, very tall, and has had her share of lovers.  She'a a belle of the ball and top of her game, and she's seventy.  Which is cool.  I may have a certain fondness for tough women who are in charge and own lots of tough-to-handle animals for obvious reasons. 

I've noticed already that Rita Mae Brown seems to have a theme about fidelity being kind of not the human way and that most marriages of long term end up being friendships and the principals have lovers on the side, kind of as a default.  I don't actually buy that.  I'm sure there are circumstances under which I might conceivably be unfaithful, but I went for nearly a decade of not even dating because I got distracted by other things and forgot.   I have a whole essay in my brain about female-female friendships and the weird ways of past descriptions of lovers relationships that would and wouldn't count, blah blah blah, but that is not what brings me here.  So, fidelity, infidelity.  It's just an interesting point and kind of a cultural thing, in my view. 

I do enjoy the discussion of foxhounds and kennels and horses.  Brown obviously know her dog behavior, which is a fucking relief let me tell you.  She also has strong ethical beliefs about those same animals, which I'm also enjoying so far.  I'm sure lots of folks would find it infodumping of the most annoying sort, so YMMV.

I also finished relistening to the Student Prince read and written by fayjay.  It's pretty awesome. 


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March 2016

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