Readers' Services

The Readers’ Services staff can help you find specific materials and can offer reading suggestions. Please phone (847) 448-8620 for assistance. Use Novelist, to find reviews, reading guides, and reading lists for fiction lovers.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

DVD TV Miss Series 2. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. 2013.

Phryne (praltonounced "fry-nee") Fisher is thoroughly modern, wealthy, and clever. She's a dark-haired beauty with a perfect fashion sense. Her home in Melbourne is stunningly appointed. She has a murky past (unhappy childhood, espionage in WWI, a Paris lover...there's more, I'm sure) and is whip smart when it comes to solving murders. She's both the bane and often the savior of the local police department. She prone to taking in waifs and down-and-outers who need her help which proves her kindness and generosity. This fast-paced series sometimes borders on the silly (she dashes up drainpipes in a fur-trimmed pantsuit and silk high heels and emerges unstained), but always offers a nicely set-out crime for her to solve. I won't rely on that overused word "spunky" to describe her--Miss Fisher is much too sophisticated and elegant for that, but she is always ready for a new challenge (and almost always ready for a new lover).

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)



Don Quixote


Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote (translated by Edith Grossman). Published 1605 (part 1), 1615 (part 2); translation 2003. (Fiction Cerva.M 2003)

In what's widely considered the first modern novel, Cervantes gives us a non-hero for the ages. Determined to match the chivalry of the medieval storybooks he's been devouring, Quixote saddles up his skinny nag Rocinante and rides off in all directions to confront evildoers and defend honor. But in chapter after chapter he is hilariously undone. His best-known misadventure: a bold assault on a windmill that he sees as an evil giant in disguise. Ignoring the protests of his clear-eyed squire, Sancho Panza, the fearless Quixote charges at a gallop. Lance meets wind-sail, and rider and horse are both launched. (Our mocking expression "tilting at windmills" is one of several idioms born in Cervantes' storytelling.)


Read more: Don Quixote


The Honorable Woman

titleThe Honorable Woman. 2014. (DVD TV Honorab)

Beginning with a flashback to the murder of Nessa Stein’s (Maggie Gyllenhaal) father and a kidnapping, this BBC series focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – with Nessa and her brother Ephra (Andrew Buchan) working to bring cooperation between Israel and Palestine through a communications system and a school. But their plans are constantly foiled by betrayals, intrigue, and murder as well as their own flaws and secrets.  Each episode starts with the refrain: “Who do you trust?” And we learn very quickly not to trust anyone. This is a multi-layered story with enough character and plot developments to sometimes make your head spin, but despite its many complexities it is consistently involving and compelling – with great acting by all, especially Ms.Gyllenhaal (who won the 2015 Golden Globe for best actress in a mini-series), and by Janet McTeer and Stephen Rea in supporting roles.(Laura, Reader's Services)


All the Light We Cannot See

titleDoerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. 2014. (Fiction Doerr.A)

Spirals of snail shells, of incendiary bombs falling, of snowflakes in the wind, of water eddying in tide pools, of a staircase in a tall narrow building . "It was hard to live through the early 1940s in France and not have the war be the center from which the rest of your life spiraled." Exquisitely written in rich and vivid language, this story of a blind French girl and a clever German boy, who are inexorably drawn into the execution and horror of WWII, is mesmerizing. Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris for the relative safety of Saint-Malo, a medieval walled city on the coast of Brittany. Walls will not block out this war. Werner, orphaned and destined for the mines that killed his father, is rescued from this inevitability only to be sent to a brutal training school for young soldiers of the Reich because of his talents for math and radio.He does what he is told. As the war escalates, so do their losses and bravery. This is a book to be savored.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone

titleRosenfield, Kat. Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone. 2012. (Fiction Rosen.K)

I am not a mystery reader; I am much too impatient. As soon as the murder happens, I want to know who, why, how. Usually, I make a guess, skip to the end, find out I am wrong and then don't go back to read the rest. But I read this on the treadmill (YA's are perfect for the treadmill since the print is large and the plots move along quickly); if it's really good, you can forget to notice that you are exercising. This captured me. There are two young women whose lives vaguely parallel each other's. One is dead Amelia Anne, brutally assaulted and left to bleed to death on the side of the road outside the stifling small town where the second, Becca, lives while plotting her escape. Will the murder be solved before Becca becomes as dead and gone as Amelia Anne? And what do their boyfriends have to do with the deeds? Alternating between first person and third person narrative, each girl tells her story while hurtling towards her fate.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


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