Where Are the Children Now?

This new novel is the sequel to Where Are the Children?, which was released in 1975 by Mary Higgins Clark. I don’t recall reading the original, so I checked back and there are only 16 copies still in the system. That title chronicled the kidnapping of Nancy Eldridge’s two children, Michael and Melissa. The current sequel deals with the adult Melissa’s new marriage to Charlie Miller. Initially they are very happy together, but the marriage soon becomes a nightmare when Charlie’s three year- old daughter Riley goes missing on Melissa’s watch. Is this a repeat of Melissa’s abduction as a young child? But the evidence points to Melissa as being the kidnapper now, with the police convinced that she is guilty. Can Melissa find Riley and prove her innocence before it is too late? It’s a quick read, and enjoyable. Definitely less creepy that the original title, which I will pass on reading…

Happy Place

Harriet is thrilled to take a break from her hectic life as a medical intern at a busy hospital in San Francisco. One of her best friends has invited her to vacation at their “happy place”, a house in Maine where a group of them have been going to visit for years. That is, Harriet is excited right up until she arrives and discovers her ex-fiance is one of the group of vacationers. None of Harriet’s friends know that she & Wyn have broken up after about 8 years together. And since all the friends are there to celebrate a wedding, they don’t want to upset everyone by explaining the breakup. I was a little disappointed in this latest from Emily Henry, it felt like it dragged on before we finally find out why they broke up. But if you like romances and star-crossed lovers, this title’s for you.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

I picked up this title unsure if I would like it or not, but it is an engaging read with lots of humor. Vera Wong runs a teahouse in San Francisco and is everyone’s idea of a favorite elder aunt. When a dead body is found in her shop, she wastes no time in searching for the murderer, even though the man supposedly died from a bird allergy. Several characters pop up at her teahouse, who Vera is suspicious of, all of which have a link to the dead man. The plot reminds me a little of Arsenic and Adobo, which features several Philippine aunties who give advice to the main character. I’m enjoying this so far, and curious to find out who really “dunnit”…

Dark Angel

John Sandford has written the second book in his new Letty Davenport series. Letty works for a US senator in D.C. and is a crack shot. She is approached by the NSA and Homeland Security to go undercover to infiltrate a hacker group who has used ransomware to make millions. Her shooting skills will come in handy to defend herself and her partner, Rod Baxter. This is a timely story, as it concerns the war in Ukraine as well. It moves along fluidly, despite the introduction of many other characters and contains has welcome pockets of humor. I intend to go back and read the first title. Highly recommended!

National Library for Children

A child explores the ceramic frieze depicting Ukrainian fairytales by Ukrainian artist Olga Rapay-Markish in the National Library for Children in Kyiv. Photograph: Serhii Korovayny/The Observer

The National Library for Children in Kyiv, Ukraine, is open and functioning as a place of refuge for children traumatized by the ongoing war. Recently, hundreds of books by award winning children’s author Shirley Hughes were donated by her son Ed Vulliamy to the library, which he knew would have made his mother extremely happy. And more of her books will be going to other children’s libraries in Ukraine. Lada Tsybulska is the library psychologist, and her philosophy is “a book is the best doctor for the soul”. The director Alla Gordiienko calls the library “a place for emotional shelter” for moms and their children. What a valuable use for a library…

Library director Alla Gordiienko (in embroidered blouse), Ed Vulliamy and Raechel Isolda, ‘prime mover’ of the books donation project, with children at the library. Photograph: Serhii Korovayny/The Observer