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Month in review

Reviews
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A Castle On Viola Street by Dyanne Disalvo
Charlie Anderson by Barbara Abercrombie
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
Clover's Luck by Kallie George
Demon Volume 2 by Jason Shiga
Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
Felix the Railway Cat by Kate Moore
Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
Giant Days, Volume 2 by John Allison
Happy Birthday, Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
In the Beginning... by Arnaud Plumeri
The James: From Iron Gate to the Sea by Blair Niles
Just Us Women by Jeannette Franklin Caines
Knit Your Own Murder by Monica Ferris
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
My Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Schroeder
No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe
On Mother's Lap by Ann Herbert Scott
Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle
The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon Hale
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George
The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Voltron: Legendary Defender, Volume 1 by Tim Hedrick
We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen
Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved by Patricia Hruby Powell

Miscellaneous
Books about cats written by women
February 2017 ROOB and other news
Inclusive reading in February 2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 20)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 27)

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Except the Dying: 03/08/17

Except the Dying

Our last trip to Victoria was a snowy one. The weather plus the Christmas holidays gives the city a reason to shut down and stick in doors. It was on one of those snuggle inside days, that we first started watching Murdoch Mysteries (2008-). We're now nearly finished with season six.

Knowing that the series was inspired by a series of mysteries by Maureen Jennings, I decided to go back to the source and read the books. The first in the series is Except the Dying. As it turns out, this book was done as a TV movie in 2004 with a different cast. I haven't seen it and I'm not sure that I want to.

In translating a story from one medium to another, just as in transcribing music from one instrument to another — changes need to be made. Now as the television series is borne from the experience of making three television movies. Problems that arose from the initial process have been worked out and as new writers are brought in, thus taking the imagined world of station house four from Jenning's mind into a collective process.

It's also obvious from the ebook editions that the television series are selling the books. It's rather silly to have two characters who don't exist in this book on the cover selling the book.

So to the mystery at hand — the naked body of a young woman, a teenager really — is found frozen to death in a back alleyway. The hunt for witnesses take Murdoch and Crabtree through all sorts of unsavory locations. Now if this were TV Murdoch, he would do his best to keep a straight face and would dive into his interviews with aplomb. Book Murdoch, though Catholic, is not as naively hopeful, nor as resolute in his desire to stay calm, collected, and optimistic. The change in Murdoch's temperament is credit to his portrayer — Yannick Bisson.

Murdoch in Except the Dying is hardened by life. His fiancée did dye, though not of consumption. He does live with Mrs. Kitchen. It's Mr. Kitchen who is afflicted with T.B. He rents the entire upstairs in part because he feels sorry for the Kitchens but also because he's a bit of a misanthrope.

Likewise, Brackenreid is a harsher, nastier person. He's more in his cups and thus Mrs. Brackenreid is compeletely justified for her participation in the Temperance League (is the book version does).

So the mystery itself. There's a dead girl found stripped of her clothes. While the winter chill helped in her demise it wasn't what killed her. She was murdered. How she got from her place of employment to the flop house is a big part of the mystery.

It's not the most brilliant of mysteries but still entertaining. The historical setting, Toronto in 1895, is a big selling point. Many of the streets and locations mentioned are still around and can be looked up on Google Maps.

The second book in the series is Under the Dragon's Tail. As there are only seven books in the entire series, I plan to read the remainder.

Four stars

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