Saturday, November 26, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
You either love them or hate them. Canadian indoor shopping malls. Personally I like them. When I worked in the retail sector for fifteen years, I rarely ventured into the mall except for a cappuccino or a lunch time dash to the bank or to pick up a sales item.
This morning I arrived at the mall early after dropping off my husband to pursue his own interests. Easy to park and in bad weather I can go underground. I made my way to the food court and bought a large coffee and Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich. Oh I know, it’s not gourmet but it’s adequate as all I intend to do is sit with my nose in a book for a while.
The sun warms me as it streams in the large picture windows and skylights light up the vendors offerings. I managed to bag a lounge chair overlooking the QEW and the parking lot. The sounds are muted but I can still hear soft music and murmurs of conversations. Not enough to disturb my reading. Christmas decorations are everywhere but not many people have started filling up the lots or in a spending mood just yet. Once Santa arrives tomorrow things may change but the retailers will have a hard time this year, not just with the economy in the dumper but they have to contend with the Internet shoppers.
The mall offers many amenities in a small village like atmosphere. A selection of good eating places, clean washrooms and concierge service. Carts for the wee ones and wheelchairs for those in need. A lottery booth for the “dream of millions” addicted and a fine group of stores to fill your every need. I may partake of the early morning walking group when the snow starts to fly.
Well the sun has moved so it is time to give up my comfy chair to a real shopper who needs to rest. Unfortunately there is no yarn store here so I must find my way to the local shop that has the nerve to be on a main street. Hope I can find a parking spot!
Liz and I had a good meeting last Thursday with coffee and bagels to keep us company.It's good just to chew the fat with her and then we got down to business. Will try again in a few weeks before we are both busy with Christmas.
I have a new great nephew and his name is Finlay.Isn't that a grand name? My younger sister is a first time grandmother. Best to them all.
School is going well and I have another three more classes. My book review of Gold Fever .......TaDa.... I was given an "A". Need some work on my story before my final mark so here's to my new book. No details as yet.I'll keep you guessing.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Usual November weather but good on the whole. At least here in Southern Ontario. I hear it's snowing out west.
Liz is feeling better and her eye is healing as long as she puts the ointment on it. We are having a get-together on Thursday to do out usual plotting and planning.
I watched the Remembrance Day ceremony from Ottawa on Friday and as usual I find it very moving seeing all the old soldiers. When it came to have the "Going down of the sun" it was spoken in three languages. English, French and First Nations. As I am hard of hearing I always watch television with the captions on. Some are better than others. CBC is the worst and this was a perfect example. When it came to the First Nations speaker the captions read.....get this..foreign language!!!! I was insenced but like a lot of things I probably will not do much about it. Glad I got that off my chest.
As promised, a review of Gold Fever
A Klondike Mystery
By Vicki Delaney
Rendezvous Crime, 290 pages, $18.95.
Reviewed by Pamela Blance November 3rd/2011
Vicki Delaney is a critically acclaimed Canadian author. She has settled into rural life in Prince Edward County to continue writing three different genres of fiction. Her first three novels of suspense were published by Poison Press of Scottsdale Arizona. She is now writing her fifth police procedural featuring Constable Molly Smith. My favourites by far are the Klondike Mysteries published by Rendevous Crime which is set in Dawson City, The Yukon Territory, in the late 1900’s.
When Chloe, a Savoy dance hall girl, is found stabbed to death in the narrow, muddy, poverty reeking, Paradise Alley, the North West Mounted Police are called in. Sent to investigate the murder scene - an alley lined with the mean cribs of prostitutes - is Constable Richard Sterling. Then a high roller named Jannis becomes the second murder victim, and the red-coated Mounties are determined to get their man...or woman.
It’s the summer of 1898 and Fiona McGillivray had come to the Klondike gold fields in the Yukon Territory the year before to set up “the finest, most modern establishment in London, England, transported all the way to Dawson.” She is the proprietor of the Savoy Saloon and Dance Hall with her Glaswegian partner, Ray Walker, another of the many characters who found their way to the Yukon with dreams of getting rich. There were many such saloons on the main street of Dawson City, but none like the Savoy. It was Fiona’s own private gold mine.
Fiona was born on the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. Brought up in the “big house” as companion to the local Earl’s daughter, she educated herself on the speech and mannerisms of the gentry. She was often called Miss Muckety Muck by those who did not like the way she led her life. Leaving Scotland under questionable circumstances for the streets of London, Fiona would be looking over her shoulder for the law for years to come. She was very beautiful and learned to live by her wits. Well aware of her appearance and the effect it had on others, she took every advantage it provided.
Dawson was teeming with tens of thousands from all over the world that summer. They put up with the poverty, dirt and mud; being rich one day and broke the next. As quickly as they found their nuggets of gold they spent them on drink and women, or lost their bags of gold dust at the gambling tables. They had been lured there by the promise of ‘lumps of gold are as easy to pluck as potatoes from a well-tilled Ontario field’. Many were there with families who tolerated the ramshackle huts or tents they lived in, with the promise of riches beyond their imagination.
This novel is the second in the Klondike series and is full of interesting and well rounded characters. The era shows the hypocrisy of the Victorian age laid bare for all to see-just as it had been in London. Women could not even show their ankles and always deferred to men. But not so the “percentage girls” who spent long hours dancing and putting on theatre shows for the miners as well as being available to dance with them for the price of a drink all night long.
Constable Richard Sterling, the tall and handsome Mountie is enamoured by Fiona, but his feelings are not reciprocated. He is also very fond of Angus the twelve year old son of Fiona who would like to be a Mountie one day and follows him everywhere. Young Angus has befriended Indian Mary, a native woman accused of murdering Chloe. Her necklace was found at the scene of the dance hall girl’s murder, but did she kill her and Jannis as well, and why?The build up to the conclusion has all the elements of tension and conflict that a good mystery should have. It also has a surprise ending. Delany has woven characters from Fiona’s past into the story and I was completely captivated to see how the to see how the characters evolved. It is obvious to the reader the amount of research used in this novel.
The third book in this series “Gold Mountain” will be out in April 2012. I look forward to more from Fiona MacGillivray.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Liz has been such a brave soul with her eye problems. Just thinking about it.....more ouch. Hope it heals soon and she is back as good as new.
Homework is piling up and I am putting it off until I can wake up. I forgot about the “fall back” an hour last night and I was up at seven am. Could not understand why I was dropping off to sleep at eleven am. Managed a two hour nap and I am good to go. Well almost.
Learned how to add tension from my novel writing class this week. We are half way done but I still have to beef up my story some more and also write a book review. If I get an “A” on the book I am reviewing I will post on here. If not then you will never see it!
I picked up our new business cards last week. Liz and I have decided to share a card as Jamie Tremain only needs one card. They look smashing.
Waiting today for my great niece to have her first baby. My sister, the baby of five siblings will be a grandparent for the first time and she is so excited you could peel her off the ceiling. There are, I think, fifteen grandchildren and Caroline’s will make sixteen. I wish my parents could have seen them all together but we are now scattered to the winds. England, Scotland, Holland and Canada.
When I took a walk on Friday morning the leaves were still hanging on to the trees but dropping. A lonely discarded pumpkin had been thrown away and bunches of what looked like wild blueberries but it could be anything. The birds will love them.
If Liz is feeling up to it maybe we can meet later in the week for a brainstorming session.
Have a good week,