March Minireviews – Part 3

I dream of a day where I’m reviewing books from only, like, two months ago instead of three!

Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough.  Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it!  Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up.  For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen – 3.5*

//published 1814//

It’s tough to decide sometimes which Austen is my least favorite – Mansfield Park or Emma.  I just finished the latter, after reading the former in March, and I’m still kind of undecided. The problem with MP is that Fanny is so freaking apathetic about everything in her life except for Edmund.  She’s definitely the Austen heroine most influenced by being “in love” and unfortunately I really don’t like Edmund either (such a twat) so it’s hard for me to really empathize with Fanny even on that.  The ending is also so strange and rushed, just basically “haha they get married after all, eventually, and trust me, they’re super happy!” like… I’m not actually convinced, Jane.  MP has its moments and definitely has some Austen humor to get it through, but I do think it’s overall the most boring of Austen’s novels, with Fanny as the most passive of heroines.

Andy & Willie by Lee Sheridan Cox – 4*

//published 1967//

This is just some old random 1960s book I picked up somewhere along the line.  I think I may have read it way back in the day, but it had been so long I couldn’t even remember if I liked it.  (One would think that since it is still on my shelves, it meant I liked it.  Unfortunately, that’s not always true haha)  But I actually really did enjoy this one a lot.  It was surprisingly funny.  Basically, it’s just a kid telling about his life and adventures in the small Indiana town where he lives.  He and his best friend are always getting into scrapes, and Cox does a great job of letting the older readers in on the reasons why some of Willie’s adventures end up the way they do, even if Willie himself is perplexed by the way adults’ minds work.  This isn’t really a book you’re likely to find around, but if you do, it’s definitely worth a read.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – 2*

//published 1904//

This was March’s fairy tale for the #FairyTaleReadAlong on Litsy.  For most of the fairy tales, I read an adaptation, but in this case I had never actually read the original so I decided to give it a try, and wow was it dreadful.  It’s violent and creepy and weirdly hateful towards adults in general and parents in particular.  I think maybe some parts were supposed to funny, or tongue-in-cheek??  But to me it just came across as bizarre and I didn’t like it at all.  What really sent me over the edge was a line in the final chapter/epilogue – “Mrs. Darling was now dead and forgotten” – just… wow.

The Boomerang Clue AKA Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie – 4*

//published 1933//

First off, real talk, why would you ever publish this book under the second title??  It literally gives away half the plot?!  At any rate, this was another great Christie novel with absolutely delightful main characters and plenty of entertaining humor and rather ridiculous adventures.  And let’s be real, the actually question is, why didn’t they KILL Evans?!  I mean seriously!

Defiant Dreams by Cheri Michaels – 3*

//published 1985//

This was one of those random paperbacks from the box of Regency romances I bought from ebay eons ago.  This one is actually set in the US during the Civil War and is about a southern belle who has to go north for safety and ends up staying with relatives in Gettysburg.  Spoiler alert: the war comes to her!  Of course she falls in love with a northern soldier, etc. etc.  This wasn’t a terrible story, but it jumped around a lot instead of actually explaining things.  There are also scenes that just make no sense, like when she calmly removes a bullet from a soldier’s side as though she’s had literally any kind of training in this??  There were just too many moments like that, where the protagonist magically knows how to do something, for me to really get into this one.

The Boomerang Clue // by Agatha Christie

AKA Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?


//published 1935// This is my rather boring cover

Our story begins with Bobby Jones, the fourth son of the Vicar of Marchbolt, who is playing golf with his friend, Dr. Thomas.  Bobby, whose “best friend could not have said that he was handsome, but his face was an eminently likable one, and his eyes had the honest brown friendliness of a dog’s,” is not particularly good at golf, and a nasty slice sends his ball down into a steep-sided chasm.  Scrambling down to find his ball, Bobby instead comes across a man, who has apparently stumbled over the cliff and fallen.  The doctor examines the unconscious man and says that it appears his back is broken and that he won’t make it.  Leaving Bobby with the soon-to-be-dead man, Dr. Thomas goes for help.  As Bobby stands guard, the man regains consciousness for just a few moments – long enough to ask, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” before he dies.

Why-Didnt-They-Ask-Evans-v2The death is ruled accidental, but Bobby begins to have his suspicions about various little niggling things that don’t quite add up.  With the aid of Lady Frances Derwent, daughter of the local nobility, (and Bobby’s childhood friend), Bobby begins to explore the man’s death.  The story is wildly impractical at times, but Bobby and Frankie make an endearing duo, and the whole thing is such great fun that it’s easy to gloss over some of the raised-eyebrow moments.

Honestly, the main issue I had with this book wasn’t the book’s fault at all.  It was this niggling feeling that the phrase “Why didn’t they ask Evans” had been used elsewhere by Christie.  Like I detective myself, I finally Googled around until I found what I was looking for.  I was positive that it had been in a Poirot book, and lo!  Thirteen at Dinner had what I was looking for – Poirot and Hastings are crossing a street when Poirot overhears a chance remark from someone who is leaving the theater – “Idiotic story.  If they’d just had the sense to ask Ellis right away, which anyone with sense would have done – ”  This leads Poirot to his final clue.  Ellis, not Evans, but close enough that it nagged at me the whole time I was reading The Boomerang Clue!


Here we go. Much more dramatic!

On the whole, Christie ties things together on the end, although I was still left with a few ??? items.  It especially seems unlikely that the bad guy would write them a letter in the end just to explain his perspective, but, you know, whatever works.  All in all, The Boomerang Clue isn’t my favorite Christie, but it is quick and fun, and a solid read.  3/5.