Science Novel Critique

Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict tells the story of Rosalind Franklin, an unsung hero of science who braved the storm of gender bias to map the structure of DNA, despite constant harassment and undermining in the late 1940s and 1950s. As an X-ray crystallographer, Franklin battled not only the complexities of scientific discovery but also the demeaning attitudes of her male colleagues in academia. Despite her pivotal contributions, the theft of her work shadowed her achievements by other scientists who later won a Nobel Prize. Benedict, who has a knack for bringing the stories of overlooked women in history to light, paints Franklin as a tenacious and intelligent trailblazer. […]

Read more...

Miss Aldridge Regrets

In 1936 London, Lena Aldridge, a talented mixed-race singer and actress, dreams of performing on grand stages. Yet, her reality finds her stuck in the dimly lit confines of a shabby basement jazz club in Soho. Life takes a cruel turn as her beloved single father passes away, her married boyfriend walks out on her, and her best friend involves her in a murder. Just when it seems like all hope is lost, a mysterious stranger extends an irresistible offer: a starring role on Broadway and a luxurious voyage aboard the RMS Queen Mary. Lena jumps at the chance to skip town. So what if the offer is too good […]

Read more...

Messenger of Truth

  Once again, Maisie Dobbs did not disappoint. I love historical mysteries, and author Jacqueline Winspear gets extra points for having the detective be a woman, which in 1931 would have been unprecedented. It was a 2006 Agatha Award Nominee for Best Novel—always a good sign. (Incidentally, Louise Penny has won the award seven times.) Nicholas Bassington-Hope was commissioned to paint war propaganda after sustaining injuries in combat. On the night before the opening of his exhibition at a celebrated Mayfair art gallery, he falls from a scaffolding to his death. The police rule it an accident, but the dead man’s twin sister suspects foul play. Where is the painting […]

Read more...

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

  In December 1926, novelist Agatha Christie and her husband Archie have a vicious argument about his unfaithfulness. On that frigid night, she vanishes. Investigators find her abandoned car on the edge of a deep pond, her fur coat still inside. Her daughter and unfaithful husband have no idea where she is. English officials unleash an unprecedented manhunt to find her and are joined by people all over the country. She reappears eleven days later, claiming amnesia. Marie Benedict wrote the book in a dual narrative: one story line is from Archie’s point-of-view as he contends with the media circus, the other from Agatha’s as she describes their relationship in […]

Read more...

Bloomsbury Girls – Book Review

Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has resisted change for a hundred years. It is run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules, but in post-war 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing. At Bloomsbury Books, the women who work in the shop have plans. Vivien Lowry: Brilliant and stylist, Vivien has been single since her aristocratic fiancé died fighting during World War II. A budding writer, she works in the shop’s fiction department. Grace Perkins: Married with two young sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s mental breakdown in the war’s aftermath. […]

Read more...