Friday, September 19, 2014

In the mood to: read British murder mysteries!

Back when I was in high school, my mom and I got into the habit of reading British murder mysteries during the summer.  There's something about a Tampa summer, on a rainy, dark day, that's oddly reminiscent of England (er, so long as you're in the air conditioning).  A rainy day, a pot of tea, and a murder mystery - could you have a better time?  Doubtful.

I started reading Agatha Christie a few years ago, and I just love her novels.  I think I was suffering under the misapprehension that she was a fussy old broad, like Angela Lansbury in "Murder She Wrote."  I don't know how I conflated the two (are they meant to be alike?  Did I imagine that?).  But I was wrong!  AC's novels are well-written, they provide a delightful slice of life from the early 20th century, and I can pretty much never guess the murderer.  Also, I love Poirot.  I didn't use to like Miss Marple, but I'm getting to like her more.   Right now I'm reading "The Hollow," which is a Poirot novel. He's never wrong.

Found: here.

I find the earlier novels to be most entertaining, partly because I love reading about the 1920s and 1930s, and partly because I've noticed that after the 1950s, AC seems to lose touch with pop culture or society or whatever.  She writes about the youth movement (men with long hair who wear wild fashions) in these awkward terms that seem only to betray a real fear of change.  And while that's understandable, since I was born 20 years after the 1960s and therefore find the '60s both revolutionary and quaint, I find AC's fear of these rebellious youths to be borderline absurd.  Long hair!  On a man!  Fringe!  On a vest!  Quelle horreur!

ANYWAY.  Let's look at book jackets!  Although nearly all of the AC novels I've read have been on le iPad, the book jackets are, in general, totes adorbs.


Look at that flapper!  And all of those clock mask/hats!  I wonder what happened!


Look at that coat!  And that hat!  And those valises!  Sigh.  Air travel used to be glam.  


See, the picture makes me want to drink that coupe of champagne, but the words make me fear it.  #PSYCHOLOGY.  


And the rest.  I think "Towards Zero" is my fave cover in this little collection.  I love judging books by their covers.

I first started reading AC after listening to a Teaching Company Lecture on Mystery Literature.  The lecturer pointed out some patterns in the novels.  The detectives are usually underestimated (Poirot for being foreign, Miss Marple for being old and fussy), there are pretty much always two murders per novel, (and the detective usually prevents the third, JUST IN TIME), and the people murdered are never really likable. I've also noticed that AC loves to poke fun of then-"modern" psychology.  There's always someone in the story who proclaims that the murderer MUST be a lunatic, a psychotic!  It' must have been a "brainstorm"!  They've read about such things in the paper, it apparently makes people quite mad.  At that point, the level-headed detective quietly replies, "Oh no, this was no lunatic.  This is a cold, calculated mind at work." 

But getting back to the victims - they're never good people, they aren't likable.  This impacts the story in several interesting ways.  For one, because they're so unlikable, there are always several people who might want them dead.  That means you have plenty of suspects, and plenty of red herrings.  I personally think it helps to have an unlikable victim, because then you don't really waste your sympathy on them.  If you're all torn up over the death of the victim, you aren't really enjoying the fun of the mystery.  It's fiction, after all.  In real life, murder is horrible and sad and tragic.  But in fiction, you might as well have fun trying to solve it.  The wonderful part about AC's novels is that, as unlikable as the murder victim(s) are, the killer is always even worse!  And it's fun to be shocked over all of their plots and plans.  Of course, that being said, you do have to have sympathy for someone in the novel.  That usually goes to the young lovers, or the main character.  But sometimes not!  Sometimes ol' AC tricks ya!  Sometimes it's even a child murderer.  TRUST NO ONE.

I said before that I've never correctly guessed the murderer, but that's not true!  I did once, just recently. If it helps, I've noticed that it's always the person who I didn't even think was one of the suspects.  That's another clue for you.  Who are the suspects?  Who have you already decided definitely isn't a suspect?  Who's left?  Who's the person who you wouldn't even think of as being part of the plot?  Because that's who it is.  Every time.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In the mood for: my car to not smell like yogurt

Why, oh why, does my car smell like yogurt?  What happened, and where?  Will I have to employ my own nose like a bloodhound and find the spot where (likely) milky coffee spilled out of a Starbucks to-go cup, and took up residence?

I keep hoping it just goes away on its own, but that doesn't seem to be happening.  Living in Florida in high summer doesn't help.  Well, unless you're those little yogurty microbes.  Then the sun and heat is your jam.  Kick up the tunes and ferment, bra!

Here's a picture I drew of blueberries; blueberries that one might eat with yogurt.  Non-car yogurt, of course.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

In the mood to: make a music room

So, we have a three bedroom house, and no kids (yet).  That means we have a guest room and an office, which is super luxurious.  My husband is in law school, and needs to be able to shut out the cacophony of daily life (more like cat-cophony), but he'll be done with law school soon (YAY) and so I'm planning to turn the office into his music room.  Huzzah!

I don't have a picture of it currently, because it's seriously ugly.  But here's what I'm planning for the not-too-distant future:

It's kinda blurry,  I should fix that.

Anyway!  Mood board: dark walls (charcoal?  BLACK?!  Dare I? Are black walls over??), a small leather sofa, white Ikea Merete curtains, a vintage rug, some tree stump end tables, colorful art, a fun light, and maybe we'll hang the guitars on the walls, because WHY NOT.

I'm liking this lil' leather settee from overstock:

And by "leather" I obviously mean "not leather but some sort of plastic."  Whatever, I can't pay leather prices anyway.

In terms of the rug, I want to do either a vintage Persian, as shown above, or a vintage kilim, like so:


Found here.  To get a rug like that, well either rug, really, I'm going to have to stalk eBay like it's my job.  I'm also going to have to get over the fear of buying an antique rug online, sight unseen.  I'm not going to lie, that's a big part of it.

But the real question is this: are black walls over?  Did I miss the trend?

Friday, September 12, 2014

In the mood to have a drank

Well, I'm not technically in the mood for a drink, since it's not even 10:00 a.m., BUT I am in the mood to have a drink this evening, since it's Friday and all.  I just bought some rosewater at a Turkish market that I just discovered near my house, and even though it's September, it's still hot, yo.  Rosewater sounds like the perfect way to cool down.

I saw this little lovely on Pinterest: Cardamom Rose Cocktail.  Isn't she pretty?

Source: Design*Sponge

Or this: Cucumber & Rose Gin Cocktail.  It has St. Germain in it, which I have a bottle of at home that I'd love to use.

I'm slowly (very slowly) getting our back patio in fall-ready shape.  See, in central Florida, we don't spend the summer outdoors (unless it's at the beach or whatever).  No, it's too humid, there are too many mosquitoes, too much rain, and it's just too hot.  But fall and winter, that's when the air starts to dry out, and the mosquitoes die off.  That's living.

But, despite the fact that it will likely rain all day today, I'd like to sit on my patio after work, with my husband, drink in hand.