“The English Spy”

Daniel Silva’s “The English Spy” is the fourteenth in his series featuring art restorer/Israeli intelligence agent Gabriel Allon.  Set in Great Britain and Ireland, the plot has Allon and Christopher Keller, former professional assassin but now working for M-16, reteaming to hunt for Eamon Quinn, a master bomb maker who works for the highest bidder.

9780062320131_p0_v2_s118x184Allon, Keller, and Quinn have a shared history.  Their paths have crossed before.  As a bomb maker, Quinn trained a terrorist who killed Allon’s son and wounded his wife.  Keller and Quinn knew each other when Keller worked undercover in Northern Ireland during the height of “The Troubles.”

All of this back story, sets the scene for a tale on international intrigue, assassinations, and terrorist bombings that begins with the murder of an English princess aboard a luxury yacht.  Silva weaves a suspenseful plot that eventually pulls Allon and Keller into the search for the assassin.   Quinn and Allon are equally matched in a cat and mouse chase to see who can outwit whom.  Justice, but more importantly for Allon revenge, motivate him to seek retribution for Quinn’s past mercenary acts.

Daniel Silva’a novels are filled with descriptive passages of the plot’s settings.  His short chapters move the reader from setting to setting which enables the author to keep the pace of the story suspenseful.

“Murder by Suspicion” by Veronica Heley

Murder by Suspicion: An Ellie Quicke British Murder Mystery   As a British mystery fan and a Veronica Heley fan, I must sadly write that i was very disappointed by her latest Ellie Quicke mystery.  Though it fits into the cozy mystery category, the plot was so convoluted, implausible, and convoluted I found myself dragging myself through the novel hoping the end would come quick.  Ellie Quicke returns from a visit to the United States to find her old friend, Rose, in a declining state. It seems her caregiver, Claire, has been giving her substandard care and suspicious medicine. Ellie is angry. When she tries to evict Claire, the annoying woman pathetically pleads her case to stay. Ellie caves in (why? oh why?!). The frustrating behavior continues throughout. Once the crime, criminals and suspects are uncovered the reader just doesn’t care. Skip this one.

Ling & Ting Together In All Weather

Ling and Ting, twin girls, are back in their newest adventure dealing with, of course, weather.  This is the fourth in the series by author and illustrator Grace Lin.  These twin girls really seem to enjoy each other.  They do everything together.

Each of the six short stories in this volume all are weather related.  Thunder storms, hot summer days, falling leaves, snowy days, the coming of spring and spring rains that bring rainbows all form the backdrop to these stories.

The Ling & Ting series is geared toward beginning readers.  The vocabulary is not overly simple so it will challenge new readers.  There is a repetition of words and sounds which will, once mastered, lead to a sense of accomplishment  The illustrations are colorful watercolors.9780316335492_p0_v1_s118x1849780316184038_p0_v1_s118x1849780316024532_p0_v1_s118x184

“Banksy Does New York”

Banksy, street artist, graffiti artist extraordinary, is the subject of this entertaining documentary. The elusive British artist for thirty-one days in October, 2013, posted one unique display a day in an unannounced location somewhere in one of the boroughs of New York.

The film focuses on the hunt for the next location of one of his pieces.  A committed band of his fans pursues clues that YouTube videos and Instagram photos reveal.  What happens when his art is found on the sides of public buildings or in various public spaces is unbelievable.  Some pieces are painted over by building owners; others are cut away and offered for sale.  One enterprising group finds a “sculpture” on their property and hides it away.  Eventually, a slick Southampton art dealer puts it up for sale in his exclusion gallery.

We never see Banksy keeping with his elusive persona.  What we do view are his whimsical drawings and their accompanying political statements.  Anyone interested in art or how people respond to a piece of art will enjoy this fun documentary. 0738329184025_p0_v1_s192x300