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Smile and Be a Villain: A Dorothy Martin…
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Smile and Be a Villain: A Dorothy Martin Investigation (A Dorothy Martin… (utgåvan 2016)

av Jeanne M. Dams (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
224820,169 (3.5)Ingen/inga
A holiday on the picturesque island of Alderney leads to a case of cold-blooded murder for American Anglophile Dorothy Martin. When Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, decide to visit the beautiful island of Alderney in the English Channel, they hope for a pleasant, peaceful holiday. It's not to be. Taking a walk on their very first day, they discover a body, apparently the victim of an unfortunate accident, on a precipitous hill path. The dead man, they learn, is an American named Abercrombie who had made himself both loved and hated during his few weeks on the island. Although there is no concrete evidence of foul play, both Dorothy and Alan are uneasy about the death and decide to delve further. And then they unearth some most disquieting revelations . . .… (mer)
Medlem:claudiaannett
Titel:Smile and Be a Villain: A Dorothy Martin Investigation (A Dorothy Martin Mystery)
Författare:Jeanne M. Dams (Författare)
Info:Severn House Publishers (2016), Edition: First World Publication, 224 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Smile and Be a Villain av Jeanne M. Dams

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Visar 4 av 4
Smile and be a Villain is the 18th entry in the long-running Dorothy Martin mystery series. I'm not surprised that Ms. Dams included 'smile' in the title, given Dorothy's love of Golden Age mysteries. After all, and be a villain is the 13th entry in the classic Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout.

Alan Nesbit, Dorothy's wonderful second husband, wants to visit the island of Alderney in the English Channel for a holiday. They go there in June. Of course they discover a body. The victim was very popular with many local parishioners and hated by a few. Was it an accident or murder? Proving either one is going to be very difficult.

I enjoyed the visiting of Alderney landmarks and learning about its history. That lemon drizzle cake Dorothy and Alan keep eating sounds scrumptious. Their interactions with the locals are interesting, as usual.

Chapter notes:

Chapter 1: See book 14, Shadows of Death, for that trip to Orkney.

Chapter 6:

a. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and her village, St. Mary Mead, are mentioned.

b. Dorothy and Alan sing 'The Happy Wanderer'. If you didn't learn that song in school, you may hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPfGL0tDP30

c. We get Alice Small's backstory.

Chapter 8 Harry Potter and the Dementors are mentioned.

Chapter 9: Beatrix Potter's Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is mentioned.

Chapter 11:

a. The Watergate scandal, President Nixon, Bob Woodward, and Deep Throat are all mentioned.

b. Dorothy likes to play the online card game 'Free Cell'.

c. During a phone consultation with their pet-sitter, Jane Langland, Dorothy is reminded of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot.

Chapter 15:

a. "The game is afoot" is said and Holmes' Watson (not Dorothy and Alan's mutt) is named.

b. Adolf Hitler is mentioned.

c. Pontius Pilate is mentioned.

Chapter 16:

a. Julian of Norwich is quoted.

b. Dorothy gives Alan a little information about her late mother.

c. Dorothy L, Sayers is mentioned.

d. Dorothy particularly loves the hymn 'I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say' and mentions that Thomas Tallis composed its tune. You may hear that hymn here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_UvhmqtSGk

Chapter 18: The character whose name Dorothy can't remember is Joe Btfsplk, the world's worst jinx, from the late Al Capp's comic strip, 'Li'l Abner'.

Chapter 19:

a. The British TV sitcom, 'The Vicar of Dibley' (quite amusing -- look it up), is mentioned.

b. The White Queen's jam comes from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Chapter 20: The Faust legend is mentioned.

Chapter 21:

a. Dorothy and Alan view the Alderney Finale to the Bayeux tapestry, something that will be mentioned in chapter 3 of the next book, The Missing Masterpiece.

b. We learn which animals symbolize the three main Channel Islands.

c. Dorothy's ringtone is Bach's 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho9rZjlsyYY

d. Check this chapter for current information about supporting characters Nigel Evans, Inga, Nigel Peter, and Greta Jane. (The American author Nigel admits he is misquoting might be Jeff Cooper.)

e. If you're not familiar with the Kingston Trio's MTA song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbtkL5_f6-4

Chapter 22: Singer Julie Andrews is mentioned.

Chapter 24: Commodore Dewey's famous order to Captain Gridley is quoted.

Chapter 25: Miss Crenshawe quotes Hamlet from act 2, scene 2.

Chapter 29: "The Cat that Walked by Himself"is a story by Rudyard Kipling. You may find it in the Just So Stories. or published by itself.

Chapter 30: We learn that Alan and his parents were visiting London for the day during the Great Smog of December 5 through 9, 1952. According to History.com, the current estimates of the death toll during those days and into the summer of 1953 is eight to twelve thousand. The Clean Air Act that restricted coal fires in London was passed in 1956.

Chapter 31: The musical 'Brigadoon' is mentioned. I do recommend watching the 1954 classic movie version with Gene Kelley and Cyd Charisse.

Chapter 32: The Nine Tailors is one of Dorothy's favorite Dorothy Sayers' novels.

Although I missed the supporting cast from Sherebury, we did get phone chats with Jane Langland and Nigel Evans.

Sadly, we get just a tidbit of information about Dorthy and Alan's cats, Sam and Emmy, and their dog, Watson. Cat lovers need not despair, though. Two local cats, Sammy and Lucifer, have small roles.

This entry has something to say about the effects of hatred on the haters and forgiveness of even a great wrong done to oneself. They're good lessons. ( )
  JalenV | Sep 18, 2017 |
Jeanne Dams and her Dorothy Martin have been favorites of mine for years. I haven't read the whole series yet, and in fact was a bit startled to find that this one is the seventeenth book – it's nice to have a backlog of pretty reliable quick and fun reads, but I had no idea that much time had gone by.

Dorothy is an American ex-pat in England, basically living the life I would claw any random person's eyes out for. She and retired-Chief-Constable-husband Alan Nesbitt plan to enjoy a vacation on the island of Alderney in the Channel. "Plan" being the key word there, because on their very first day they fulfill the purest destiny of the cozy mystery heroes and literally stumble over a corpse. (As a former cop, he should have known better than to contaminate what might or might not be a crime scene, but that's all one.)

The dead man turns out to be quite the conundrum. He's another American expatriate, a priest who has been assisting in the local church and making himself very popular – except where he's very unpopular. (Dorothy and Alan are told 'He can’t actually take services, because of course he hasn’t been through the "safeguard" vetting procedure' – which makes a great deal of sense. I wonder if he would have passed.) The more that is discovered about the dead man, the more likely it is that he was not a victim of an accident. "'And he became a priest! What kind of a twisted mind could do such a thing?'" But it's perfect – I'm surprised we don't hear more stories like it.

"'I believe that he was a sociopath, a man with no moral scruples, no conscience. When I was working in the police, we occasionally came across such criminals. They were almost always charming people, at least charming when they wanted to be. They could also be vicious, but it was an odd sort of viciousness, with no anger or spite involved, simply a cold determination to have their own way.'" – This quote struck a deep chord with me. I knew that man…

I enjoy the relationship between Dorothy and her Alan. It feels authentic, and their contentment makes for an enjoyable tale.

The writing flows nicely along, including references to Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy L. Sayers and Harry Potter. (No Doctor Who, but nobody's perfect.) I'm not sure if the murder mystery is all that successful, on the whole, but it's almost irrelevant – which is a funny thing to say about a murder mystery novel, but that's part of what makes it a cozy mystery. I don't remember whodunit, quite (this review is being written longer after I finished the book than it ought to be), and it doesn't really matter. It's the exploration of the story that counts, how everyone ended up where they were when a body popped up among the rocks, and what Dorothy and Alan talk about when they go back to the hotel and relax. It's all about the wonderfully realized setting, familiar and alien at the same time. It really is cozy. Well done.

"As long as you don’t forgive him, your hatred of him will fester. Someone said it’s like giving a person permission to live in your head, rent-free, and mess it up forever."

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Dec 16, 2016 |
Dorothy and her husband Alan are off on a two-week holiday to visit the charming island of Alderney. But taking a hike up a rather steep hill, they chance to discover a body on the trail, and all hopes of a peaceful time away are gone. The victim turns out to be a relocated priest from America, and Dorothy cannot resist finding out how a fellow American came to die on an island so far from home. The more she and Alan dig into the priest’s past, the stranger the case becomes. It seems that this priest was equally loved and hated by various people in this village, without much middle ground. Dorothy and Alan find themselves ostracized by both sets of villagers, neither group wanting to hear anything contrary to what they believed to be true. While it is part of a series, this novel works well as stand-alone. Though not a complicated plot, it is still intriguing to read as Dorothy and Alan go about unraveling the life of the dead priest, and reconciling the villagers. ( )
  Maydacat | Oct 1, 2016 |
I must disagree with the other two reviews I've seen posted so far. I too am a longtime Dorothy Martin fan, and one of the things that I like about the books is that they honestly represent what it's like to be an older woman. Yes, Dorothy dithers at times, but she knows she's dithering and she scolds herself for it, and she DOES "get on with it."

In this book, Dorothy and Alan are vacationing in Alderney, one of the Channel Islands (another reason I like the books: you get a great tour of the entire British Isles!), and on their first day out for a walk, they find a body. (As one does.) It turns out to be the remains of another visitor to the island, an American Episcopal priest who has insinuated himself into the congregation of the local Anglican church. Many of the parishoners had been very fond of the man--but there were a few who clearly were not, and Dorothy feels a compulsion to find out why. The book provides a lovely view of the island, and I found the characters well drawn. This is not just a whodunit but an exploration of whether a crime was committed, and whether anyone was guilty if so; the question of guilt, responsibility, and grief looms large through the book and is not resolved until the very end.

I also found myself thinking, as I read, that Dorothy and Alan's religion is so very much a part of who they are that these books could almost be classed as inspirationals--and I'm not a fan of inspirationals. But their connection to and participation in their religion is part and parcel of their characters, and in no way (at least to me) annoying; it certainly doesn't have anything evangelical about it. I think this book honestly earned the five stars I'm giving it, and I look forward to the next in the series. May Dorothy and Alan go on forever! ( )
1 rösta Ashley | Aug 29, 2016 |
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...one may smile, and smile, and be a villain...
Hamlet, Act I
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The policeman said, 'Ah,' again, but with a different tone in his voice. Both Alan and I recognized it. Since he's retired, he's often met with a somewhat bemused attitude when dealing with other police officers, an unspoken blend of 'I do hope you're not going to interfere' with 'I wonder if we could use your expertise.' (chapter three)
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A holiday on the picturesque island of Alderney leads to a case of cold-blooded murder for American Anglophile Dorothy Martin. When Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, decide to visit the beautiful island of Alderney in the English Channel, they hope for a pleasant, peaceful holiday. It's not to be. Taking a walk on their very first day, they discover a body, apparently the victim of an unfortunate accident, on a precipitous hill path. The dead man, they learn, is an American named Abercrombie who had made himself both loved and hated during his few weeks on the island. Although there is no concrete evidence of foul play, both Dorothy and Alan are uneasy about the death and decide to delve further. And then they unearth some most disquieting revelations . . .

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