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The British are coming! March 5, 2012

Posted by roganp in Recommendations.
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Downton AbbeyPublisher’s Weekly had an article recently saying that the whole world is watching Downton Abbey, the Public Broadcasting series about a family of the aristocracy and their servants in Great Britain before the First World War. Steele Memorial Library has the first season of the series on DVD; so if you missed it or a part of it and want to catch up, come to the library and check out one of the DVDs. Downton Abbey reminds a lot of people of the similar television series from Great Britain called Upstairs, Downstairs, about another family and their servants in Great Britain (we have that on DVD also). If you like those two, you might also want to check out Gosford Park, a mystery set in the 1932 country estate of Sir William McCordell.

If you are familiar with these and like to soak up the atmosphere with a book, Deborah Mitford Cavendish the Duchess of Devonshire, age ninety, has written a memoir called Wait for Me. She is the youngest of the scandalous Mitford sisters, members of the British aristocracy. You can find it in the new book section under call number BD5111. Another recent book about the British aristocracy is That Woman: the Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, call number BW 7661s. We also have Below Stairs: the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired Upstairs, Downstairs by Margaret Powell (call number for that is BP 885). There are lots of biographies of the nobility in Great Britain in the biography section of the library. Stop at the reference desk for suggestions or just type in nobility AND Great Britain and click on “everything” in the online catalog.

American HeiressA fiction book that has won awards this year and is the story of an American who goes to England to find a husband among the nobility of Great Britain (as did the wife of the Duke in Downton Abbey) at the turn of the twentieth century is titled American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. Those who love history will remember that the great robber barons of Newport’s daughters often did the grand tour in hopes of gaining a title. Jennie Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill comes to mind and one of the books about her is called: Lady Randolph Churchill; the story of Jennie Jerome by Anita Leslie.

Phyllis Rogan
, Reference Librarian
Steele Memorial Library

There’s Just Something About a British Mystery April 19, 2011

Posted by CCLD in Recommendations.
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MidSomer MurdersI love a good mystery. To be honest I even love a bad mystery. I have seen every episode of Scooby Doo and Murder She Wrote, even the cross over episodes with Magnum P.I. (forgot about those didn’t you). I can’t take too much blood or gore but I do love to know “who dun it”. That’s why I was absolutely head over heels to discover two of my favorite British murder mystery series at the Library.

The first in my heart is “Midsomer Murders”. Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and his partner (either Scott or Troy) dig into the heart of small towns in Midsomer County England solving murders and disturbing long held secrets along the way. Between solving murders, keeping his young protégée in check and dodging his wife’s lousy cooking Barnaby deals patiently with it all and never fails to get his man (or woman). The small towns have all the interesting characters we have come to expect and the supporting cast is enjoyable as well. It all comes together to make a very pleasant hour and a half of murder mystery British style.

Rosemary & ThymeThe second series is “Rosemary and Thyme”. Two women Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme have come to a cross roads in their respective lives. They decide to throw in together and become gardeners (one actually is more or less so that helps). Whether they are asked to revive dead gardens or plant new ones they always seem to run into a dead body or two. After nine seasons of “Murder She Wrote” this no longer seems strange to me. Sadly there were only three seasons of this show but the Library has them all!

Check out more mysteries at your neighborhood library.

Ann Cady
Board of Trustees

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