All of which is to say, I don't know that there has been much heat to beat around here during this readathon. But I plugged away at it, regardless.
Molly Pargeter is an Englishwoman who has secured the lease of an Italian villa for the two weeks of her family's summer vacation. She, her husband Hugh, their three daughters, and her philandering father move into "La Felicita" for the vacation, but from the start there's something not quite right. What appears at first to be some harmless idiosyncratic rules of the villa's owner (only a family with three daughters can rent the villa; the family must have dinner by candlelight outside on the villa's terrace every night) turn out to be signs of something more ominous, and the story quickly turns into a wonderful mystery. I suppose I should have expected this, since Mortimer is better known for his character Rumpole of the Bailey, but I didn't make the connection at first. There is a lot of humor in this story as well. The characters were so interesting and the mystery was so -- um, mysterious -- that it was one of those rare books where I sank into it and did not want to get out of it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good "cozy" mystery.
I mentioned I lost patience with the book, and that's because some of the advice in the book was frankly contradictory. I know a book like this has to appeal to the widest possible audience to be successful, but honestly: one piece of advice was to "Stop obsessing about your flaws," and then IMMEDIATELY AFTER IT was another piece of advice to "Put your best face forward" (TRANSLATION: Why Not Try Some Plastic Surgery Now That You're 50?). Which one do you want me to do, guys? I need to know. Actually I don't, because I probably will not follow either of those pieces of advice.
I'm being a little hard on this book, but these kinds of books are never my favorites, and if it had not been a gift, this is a book I never would have read. The "advice" in these kinds of books is typically trite, unrealistic, or plainly self-evident boilerplate. (For those of you who are curious what other kinds of advice I'm not taking from this book, I have no plans to "Embrace my inner Trump," "Play golf in Scotland," "Throw a slow-dance party," or "Drive a race car.")
So that's it for the Beat the Heat Readathon! I suppose I should have posted daily pages read or stuff like that, but that kind of thing is probably never going to happen on my blog. I just enjoy the reading too much (usually) to keep up with a lot of statistics on how I am going with it.