July Musings

July Musings

July is always a “fool you” month for me. In southern California it’s a month that isn’t too hot and makes me think that the summer is going to be “not so bad.” Meanwhile, my friends back east are sweltering in heat and humidity. Of course, July ends and suddenly August is upon us, and the serious heat begins. September is a month of more than serious heat – it’s downright punishing. However, right now it’s still July, and I feel vaguely lucky. As I mull over July, there’s an evening breeze, there’s a softness to the air, and people are spilling out of their homes to take their evening walks. The easy softness of the evening reminds me that it’s time for me to read Summer’s Lease by John Mortimer.

The book was published in 1988, but I reread it each summer. I find something in the novel that helps to renew me, which, coincidentally, is exactly what the book is about. It’s supposed to be a mystery, and the main character, Molly Pargeter, does take on a brief investigation into the owner of the Italian villa she and her family rent for three weeks during the summer. The book starts with Molly having found an advertisement for the villa’s rental and her overnight trip to Tuscany to view the property before she rents it. As she stands near the property’s pool, she sees a snake wending its way towards a frog and then silently eating the frog. This should be a foreshadowing of Molly’s and her family’s vacation, but Molly rents the property, nonetheless. Of course, since it’s John Mortimer’s writing, the novel contains a very funny father who manages to fool Molly into taking him along on the vacation. The title comes from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets (Sonnet 18), “and summer’s lease hath all too short a date…” I love the Sonnet and that it speaks to changes that can happen by accident or through nature’s natural movements. The novel moves to the Sonnet, and it satisfies me in a luscious summer way.

I’m also rereading Why Didn’t They Ask Evans by Agatha Christie. The BritBox version of the book is quite close to the novel, I’m happy to report. I thought that I’d dip into the book to see how Christie wrote a cozy without her two most popular sleuths.

Don’t forget our July 24th guest is Landis Wade. Mr. Wade is the author of Deadly Declarations, a cozy mystery that you’ll love. The book almost persuaded me to move back to North Carolina. I can’t wait to read the next book in the proposed series. If it’s as good as this one, it will be a five-star book. Please RSVP if you haven’t already. If you have questions for Landis Wade, pass them by me if you can. I’d like to send them to him before the meeting.

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