Sunday, May 8, 2016

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Elizabeth J. Duncan is the author of the award-winning and well-established Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales and a brand new series, Shakespeare in the Catskills.

Her newest Penny Brannigan mystery is Murder on the Hour.

Recently I asked Duncan about what she was reading. Her reply:
The untimely death of songwriter and musician Glenn Frey prompted me to read To the Limit: the Untold Story of the Eagles by Marc Eliot.

He sets the Los Angeles music scene and cultural climate of the 1970s that enabled a new generation of rock stars to emerge and flourish: Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes) Young, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and the group that would go on to sell the most albums of all time – the Eagles. After describing the clubs, drugs, booze, groupies, and the obscene amounts of money at stake, Eliot explores the personalities, soaring talents, ego clashes and creative jealousies that generated unforgettable songs like Take it Easy, Desperado, and Hotel California.

Glenn Frey always introduced the band on stage as, “the Eagles from Los Angeles.” I’d argue they emerge from this book as not just a great California band, but possibly the greatest ever American band.

Favourite anecdote: Glenn Frey and his musician pals were hanging out at a popular Los Angeles restaurant observing a wealthy-looking older man at the bar with a beautiful young woman. “Man,” said Frey, “look at those lyin’ eyes.” And everybody dived for their pens and napkins.

I read this book after I’d watched History of the Eagles and turned to YouTube frequently to listen to a song that was mentioned.

It’s fun to layer music and visuals into what you’re reading.

And Julian Fellowes, creator and writer of Downton Abbey, does just that in his new book Belgravia. It’s being released in an episodic publishing format (one chapter per week) and is available now in e-book and audio versions that include bonus features, such as music, maps, and more.

Official book description: Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia opens on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, 15th June 1815, when the Duchess of Richmond threw a magnificent ball in Brussels for the Duke of Wellington. Just before 1 a.m., word came that Napoleon had unexpectedly crossed the border and Wellington and his troops had to leave immediately to prepare for war.

At the ball are James and Anne Trenchard, who have made their money in trade. Their beautiful daughter Sophia has caught the eye of Edmund Bellasis, the son and heir of one of Britain’s most prominent families. An event takes place at the ball that has a seismic effect on all their lives. Twenty-five years later, when the two families are settled in the newly developed area of Belgravia, the consequences of this terrible secret still resonate. Behind the doors of these magnificent new houses lies a web of gossip and intrigue.

I’m enjoying the first episode, in audio format, narrated by Juliet Stevenson. It’s available free, and after I’ve sampled that, I’ll decide whether to subscribe to the rest of the series. The book will be published in hardback in June.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue