Agatha Christie Readathon: The Murder at the Vicarage

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Time for our fourth, and final book for the month, a quick reminder…..

The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.

My approach to this Readathon

I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😢 )

These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 🍪 !

Now, onto the review!

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Synopsis:

Agatha Christie’s

The Murder at the Vicarage

A Miss Marple Mystery

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple” series. As such, it made perfect sense that the story would revolve around the Vicar, who’s home in which the murder took place .

The story is slow to begin as the characters, of which there are quite a few, are introduced to the reader. As this is a small town, or village, everyone is overly involved in one another’s business. It took some time to understand those intimate relationships and to describe the crime in detail. However, once the true investigation begins, the story moves at a quicker pace.

The story is told from the Vicar’s point of view and he is somewhat of an amateur sleuth himself. Indeed, it seems the actual authorities are rather blind to a number of clues and important inferences, which makes me wonder how they got their jobs in the first place!

While the professional investigators are searching for the easiest explanation, the Vicar and Miss Marple are looking for the answers that makes sense, given the facts they have. This is made all the more complicated by the busy bodies and gossip hounds which cloud the facts by withholding information and elaborating details that may or may not be real. Ultimately it is “old Miss Marple” that sees through the deceptions of the culprits and weaves the fragmented truths together.

I do wish that this had been the first of the Miss Marple stories that I had read. I feel this was a great introduction to her character and her keen sense of observational powers. I can completely buy into her position as a supporting character, turned hero at the end when she is the one who puts it all together. I would expect that, as the series continues, Miss Marple would have a greater involvement in solving the future mysteries that seems to be in abundance in this tiny community. Having already completed “The body in the Library”, I do know that the series does not play out that way. Still, I do recommend “The Murder at the Vicarage” as a clever example of Agatha Christie’s excellent writing style!

Thank you Jay, for expanding my literary boundaries! So glad we went on this journey together my friend 😊💕!

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Watching Glass Shatter: A Book Review, A Conversation and Breaking News!

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Welcome, to the Watching Glass Shatter Blog Tour!!

Today we celebrate the debut novel by James J. Cudney

 

 

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Book Review

Watching Glass Shatter

James J. Cudney

4.5/5 stars

Most first time novelists will keep their story simple and the number of characters to a minimum, in order to manage the task of development and continuity within the narrative. This strategy makes perfect sense and has been successfully employed, many times, by young writers looking to produce a strong, first effort.  Numerous moving parts can be difficult to pull off even for seasoned writers, so many debut novels will be lacking a particular depth, or breadth, within the story itself.  James J. Cudney boldly ignored that safe path and crafted a story full of colorful, flawed and relatable people who have, not only their own demons to wrestle, but issues to resolve that affect the future of their entire family.

Watching Glass Shatter revolves around Olivia, the proper and controlling matriarch of the Glass family who, until the death of her husband, has been under the assumption that all was well with her five sons and their respective families. The sudden and unexpected death of the beloved Ben, husband and father of the Glass clan, throws the presumed perfect family into an uncertain future, one that neither the sons nor Olivia are prepared to handle. What will become of the family business and legacy? How will Olivia move on without her husband of 40 years? The reading of Ben’s will only presents more problems as two mysterious letters are bequeathed to Olivia, and she alone controls the power held within those pages, knowledge that will forever change the dynamics of the Glass family. She has some tough choices to make regarding the son Ben speaks of in those letters. Which of her 5 sons will have his world come crashing down?

Cudney weaves the story lines of these many characters together brilliantly. The first few chapters are a lot for the reader to absorb as each new family member is introduced, but soon you will find yourself wondering what will happen next to Olivia and her sons Caleb, Teddy, Ethan, Matthew and Zachary, as Cudney draws you further into the Glass family dynamics. The cliffhangers are well timed, as is the overall pace of the story. There is no dull moment, there are twists and turns and unexpected, even tragic, revelations.

Watching Glass Shatter is the first effort for James J. Cudney and his writing will only elevate as he evolves into a more seasoned story teller, and I can’t wait for his next  publication. I highly recommend Watching Glass Shatter.

Book Purchase

  • Available in both electronic form (PDF, MOBI or ePub) and physical form
  • Buy @ Amazon

 

A Conversation with the Author

James was gracious enough to answer some questions that I had after finishing the book. I wanted more time with the Glass family, so much had happened and a few of the unresolved issues were niggling at my brain!

Q: Where did the inspiration come from for the characters in the Glass family?

A: “Completely made up as I am an only child…I am detail oriented, so I just kept pushing myself to think of relatable people we all knew on some level.”

I then began asking very specific questions to which James answered quite honestly.

I wanted to know more about the contents of the second letter and its impact on the other family members.

Will the Glass men resolve their problems or will they go off course again?

Has Olivia really changed her controlling ways or does she fall back into her old habits?

And, so many more! I can’t include them here as they are huge spoiler alerts and I am not going to ruin the story for anyone! However, I did mange to get some news out of him that he will allow me to share now, with you!

BREAKING NEWS:

James will be publishing a sequel to Watching Glass Shatter!!! The timeline will be announce in early 2018!

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Now we will all get to see what happens to the Glass family, thank you James!!

 

 

 

Be sure to follow James on the rest of his blog tour by clicking here for daily post updates.

 

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More fun ways to support James!

Giveaways

  • Jina @ Author Inspiration is hosting a GIVEAWAY for a free e-copy of the book. Feel free to share her post; you can see the guidelines and enter here.
  • I will announce a Goodreads Giveaway free signed physical copy available for entry from 11/10 thru 11/30.

Goodreads Debut Author Award Nominations (By 11/5)

  • If you want to vote for Watching Glass Shatter in the Goodreads Choice 2017 Book Awards, the book is eligible for many categories, including as a write-in vote for ‘Debut Goodreads Author.’ You can vote here for Round 1 by 11/5 by scrolling to the bottom and entering in Watching Glass Shatter, then clicking Submit.

Favorite Character Poll

  • Enter the poll to choose your favorite character thru 11/20. You can choose from all the major family members or submit your own write-in vote.

Subscribe to Newsletter

  • Subscribe to my newsletter to receive special content and plans for 2018.

 

I am sure you will all join me in congratulating James on this tremendous accomplishment! 

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Have You Read Jay’s Novel Yet?

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Our very own James J. Cudney has written his debut novel, “Watching Glass Shatter”. The moment I read the synopsis, I knew I had to get involved!

From Jay’s website: This is my truth now

Book Summary

A contemporary fiction novel focusing on a New England family’s drama set in current times. The wealthy Glass family has lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. But it is Olivia who receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia needs to figure out which boy Ben is referring to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney is searching for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. But when Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her.

Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life altering, but she will not rest until she is able to bring her family back together after Ben’s untimely death. Will she be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re a mix of quirky fun!

I knew this was going to be good, but I didn’t realize how much I would be drawn into the story from the first chapter! Jay is clearly a talented story teller and, while my version was purchased before further editing, I am confident that any literary alterations will only enhance an already superior body of work.

Jay will be starting a blog tour to promote his novel and I am honored to say the Invisible No More will his first stop! I want to encourage you all to read “Watching Glass Shatter” before he kicks off  the tour so we can all talk about the story, appreciate his interviews and we can all say “we knew him when”!

I purchased his ebook from Amazon, it is currently only available in this format. I don’t own a Kindle but Amazon has a free Kindle reader app which can be downloaded so you can start enjoying the story right away! It was easy to install and worked great, I am now reading his novel on my iPad.

Here is the link to purchase the book: Watching Glass Shatter

I will be posting a full review prior to the blog tour kick off, the schedule is below.

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You are going to be hearing a lot about this next month, so why not get a head start and see what all the (much deserved) hype is all about!