Stephanie McCarthy

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Felicity & Barbara Pym

In Book Reviews on December 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Just finished this tribute to Pym by Harriet Solow and was very impressed by the research that went into post-war 1950’s England.  It was very informative and obviously this author knows her stuff. I actually could’ve used more Pym in it and less history, but then, I’m a Pym freak 🙂  I highly recommend it to anyone who makes a study of Pym or enjoys reading about this era.


How to Dress Like a Barbara Pym Heroine

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

With the upcoming Pym Centenary (1913-2013) I’d like to pay homage to my favorite writer, Barbara Pym.  (If you’re feeling consciously brave, you can also do so by entering this writing contest,

Clothes make the woman, or in the case of Barbara Pym Heroine’s, show her delicacy of manner; her absolute rightness of occasion.  When in doubt, always choose something that could be worn to church (C of E, of course, high or low, but preferably low) or to tea with clergy.

1)  The fabric: crepe de Chin, marocain, wool, silk, and flannel are all acceptable provided they are slightly worn and spotlessly clean.  Men should avoid anything too shiny and make sure their overcoats are sufficient for the weather conditions.

2) The color: camel, powder blue, dark green, mud-colored tones are always de rigeur; avoid any bright colors such that would stand out in a congregation of dowdy spinsters.   Men should avoid anything too light and should avoid patterns altogether.

3) The style: jerseys, dresses, housecoats, baggy skirts, twin-sets.  Avoid pantsuits (oh, horrors) whenever possible.

4) The shoes: narrow, sensibly low-heeled and of quality leather.  For men, nothing pointed.

5) The accessories: a single strand of pearls (real, obviously) or a small brooch with a religious connotation (preferably Mizpah).  Anything handed down from previous generations so long as it’s small, tasteful and of heirloom quality (almost tiresome goodness).  Be sure to carry a small handbag containing your invitation to the Austerity Luncheon and loose change for the homeless man with tremors (who you might see later, smoking a cigarette, with no tremor at all).  Complete the look with gloves and freshly laundered white cotton handkerchief (make sure it’s yours, carrying a handkerchief with someone else’s initials can lead to… complications).


In Book Reviews on December 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I’m addicted to the television show, Psych, and had absolutely no idea they’d done a mystery series!!!  So, I’m reading the The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read, and although I think the show is better, the mystery is actually very entertaining.  I love the chemistry b/w Shawn and Gus and the banter is irreverant and witty, just like the show.  BTW- if you want a laugh some rainy afternoon look up best quotes from Psych, they’re awesome. I’m looking forward to reading/watching more.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

In Shows on December 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm

After a rather hellish trip to the mall to see Santa, kids are asleep, T is at dog park w/ big dog, and I’m enjoying Midsome Murders and some Christmas cookies.  This series is really brilliant and I’m glad for once the British realized they were on to a good thing and made a lot of them.  The best part- they’re all on Roku!!! Huzzah!!! I’m watching Ghosts of Christmas Past and think I’ve forgotten who-dun-it (Although I have my suspicions).

The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice

In Book Reviews on December 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

L.C. Tyler is HYSTERICAL!!! I’m always suspicious when back quotes say “it will delight Christie and Sayers fans” (b/c I think we’re fairly picky) but in this case it was true.  I was delighted.  It’s a fun, funny, witty, charming book and I can’t wait to read more.  (The back cover also says “Who’s Likely to Like This?  Fans of truly intelligent cozies)  A bit pretentious but also affirming that I read truly intelligent books 🙂

Notes From a Small Island

In Book Reviews on December 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Just finished Bill Bryson’s book and as a dedicated Anglophile I thought it was hilarious.  The next best thing to actually going to England.  I’m putting his earlier book, A Walk in the Woods, in my library bag.

BTW, being able to order library books online and then go pick them up is absolutely WONDERFUL (and dangerous, there are books everywhere, I’m currently reading four).  I’ve noticed some limitations, though.  I’ve tried to order some books from smaller presses and the library is unable to get them for me.  SO, I have to BUY them, which is good for indie press but bad for my bank account.

A Murder Hatched

In Book Reviews on December 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Just finishing up A Murder Hatched by Donna Andrews and really enjoyed it.  It’s a fast read and fun.  I liked the three weddings angle and it ensured there was constant action in the community.  It conveyed the impression of a town where the progressive dinner party never ends, which I liked (kinda like. it’s always five o’ clock here).  The protagonist was a bit of a push-over w/ regard to her family, but then, aren’t we all ? 🙂


How about you, ready any books lately with a compelling sense of community?

The Daughter of Time

In Book Reviews on December 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Um, yeah.  Josephine Tey is simply awesome.  I’m re-reading the Daughter of Time, which is essentially Inspector Grant laying in a hospital bed reading history books.  Zzzzzz, you might say?  No, WAIT, this book is incredible!  Sure, he’s in a hospital bed, but his mind is racing through the past, exploring the mystery of what really happened to the Princes in the Tower and was Richard III a villain… or one of the most maligned characters in English history?  She’s not telling so far, but the tone definitely leans towards the latter (b/c if people are as they seem what’s the mystery?)  I love trying to figure out not where she’s going, but why she’s going there.


Are there any books that sounded boring on their face and ended up blowing your mind???

Let Her Eat Cake

In Book Reviews on December 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I know, this blog is about murder mysteries.  But occasionally I branch out into that black hole of other genres and find something stunning I just have to chat about.  I just finished I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley and I’ve got to say it was HILARIOUS!!!  The essays are mainly about her humiliations and tribulations in life but they are told so matter-of-factly there’s never any self-pity.  Some of it was a little too edgy for my taste, but it deserves a read and is especially good escape from holiday togetherness (or aloneness, whichever plagues you).