A Rather Curious Discovery

My children are out of town this week on a mission trip with their youth group, so I have loads of time to wander around with books in my hands, sink into the cushy sofa to read, and no one is going to demand I drive them to some after-school event or even, and this is the best part, no one will come stomping through the kitchen wondering what’s available for a snack. (How I became the pantry CEO is beyond my understanding.  These people have eyes, hands and some modest kitchen skills, they can warm up the bagel bites too.) My husband’s has already suggested we eat salads for dinner this week or (hear me gasp) go out for dinner. I think I’m going to adapt to the ’empty nest’ lifestyle quite well, even if it is several years away.


So, since I can get reacquainted with some of my favorite stories–the ones I love for those ‘everyday vacations’–let me tell you about a rather lovely storyteller. I found C.A. Belmond’s first book at Barron’s (you’re right if you think I’m one of their regulars) and the title and the sweet cover drew my eye; A Rather Lovely Inheritance with a sketchy Provencal mini-mansion. Well, I knew this had several of my favorite elements and that was just seconds after grabbing the book off the shelf.  So I bought it and promptly went home to shove aside the  monstrously-thick John Adams biography and peel back the pages of a cozy mystery. The term cozy is an actual genre label suggesting the story is a mystery minus dead bodies and graphic violence.  I finished the novel in record time and like Meg Ryan in the movie French Kiss, walked around waving my hand in the air saying “gorgeous, beautiful, wish you were here.” Because, honestly, it was one of those stories where you (or at least I) wanted to wander around the settings with the characters. So, now thoroughly in love with this book I googled the author, and guess what, she’s  a mystery herself. There’s the requisite information, but the picture could be anyone standing wistfully gazing upon the Mediterranean. Hmm. So, imagine my delight when I wander into Barron’s on another summer day and there’s book number two, A Rather Curious Engagement. Same sketchy artist rendering, but this time of a small yacht cruising around Lake Como. Yes, I bought the book before I even read the back cover. I may have shoved Thomas Jefferson aside as I’ve been reading my way through the presidents this past year, it’s hard to say who got the temporary boot, but I was hasty to live the good life with Penny and fiance, Jeremy, as they navigate high stakes auctions and exotic European locations. I’m not going to lie, this plot could be my dream vacation, minus the hijinks with criminal activity. The Rather Curious book was as engaging as the first. My only fear is that I have no idea how the mysterious C.A. can carry this plot forward. My hope is she’ll think of something.