Wendy Foster Leigh

The White Road by Edmund de Waal

The White Road: Journey into an Obsession By Edmund de Waal Cover Image
$27.00
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ISBN: 9780374289263
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2015

Edmund de Waal, whose first book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, focused on inherited Japanese Netski and his travels through Asia and Europe to find their origins, is both a writer and ceramist. He has worked with porcelain, his current obsession, for 25 years, and it is the basis for his pilgrimage to the three “white hills” of China, Germany and England. He portrays both the process of creating porcelain and the fixation throughout the ages with possessing “white gold” in a book that is a history of porcelain, its geography and its effect on those who create it and those who acquire it. He begins in China in Jiangxi province and the first of the three hills where it has been produced for 1000 years and then moves on in the footsteps of the Jesuits to France and then Germany and the second hill, explaining the role of the philosophers, Spinoza and Leibnitz. At the third hill, close to his home in Cornwall, the land of the Quakers, he tells the stories of the commercialization of the white clay by Wedgewood and of the clay in North America in the Cherokee nation.  He then brings the reader into the modern age through the porcelain works at Dachau. De Waal’s 400-page book is autobiography as well as history, told in the simple, white tone of a ceramicist who works alone at his wheel creating beauty out of clay.  A big and complicated book, this is worthy of quiet and thoughtful reading. – Wendy Foster Leigh

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance By Edmund de Waal Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780312569372
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2011

A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt

A Killing in Zion: A Mystery (An Art Oveson Mystery #2) By Andrew Hunt Cover Image
$36.99
ISBN: 9781250064622
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Minotaur Books - September 8th, 2015

When a polygamist leader and his bodyguard are murdered, the anti-polygamy squad of the Salt Lake Police Department faces the mixed messages which come from the police, the politicians, and powerful polygamous leaders. Art Oveson, deputy sheriff, is caught in the middle of these forces.  He has strong feelings about the evils of the polygamous sects and takes it upon himself to care for a young mute girl found at the scene of the crime. She seems to be at the center of the conflict. Oveson attempts to solve the crime and thwart the dealings of the various sects who are now moving down to the Utah-Arizona border. He is passionately opposed to plural marriage and the illegal actions of the groups. His passion puts him into danger along with his friends and the young people he tries to protect. Andrew Hunt may live in Canada but his knowledge of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mormon history makes the mystery come alive.  Those who live in Utah will enjoy the picture of the state in 1934 and those who know nothing about Utah will read this as a picture of a curious place and curious people. An action novel, it is also a discerning look at the violence that can result from religious extremism and a warning to those who ignore that violence. – Wendy Foster Leigh

The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken

Lovers of black and white noir films will identify with the tone and plot of The Reflection, set in 1948 New York. Psychiatrist David Manne rents an upscale office simply for show and is satisfied picking up jobs from the police—during one of which he is convinced that something is not quite right with the suspect he is to interview. His curiosity gets the better of him, and he attempts to aid the suspect and investigate the strange hospital to which he has been sent.  Through a series of twists and turns Manne ends up with the man’s ID, trapped in the hospital and in the role of the patient, involved in a case of mistaken identity or amnesia or, perhaps, paranoia. The book caters to the human fear of losing a personal identity—one where the psychiatrist as the patient is unable to convince others of his sanity. Hugo Wilcken has created a sympathetic character in this well-written thriller. – Wendy Foster Leigh

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

Annie, an aspiring chef, finds the perfect gift for her former lover. It is a small painting found in a dusty junk shop. The painting, in the style of Watteau, eventually becomes the center of a major sale at a London auction house and attracts the attention of the international rich who are prepared to fight for it. As a chef Annie is an artist and is hired by the rich and famous to create themed dinners, but her knowledge of art is limited. She doesn’t realize that others are looking at her not as a cook but as the owner of an important art work and are plotting devious means of acquiring the piece. In the course of verifying the work, she meets a young guide at the Wallace Collection who falls in love with her and leads her through the maze of art scholars and greedy dealers who compete for ownership with whatever means available. The painting itself is also a narrator within the book and reveals its travels from France to Russia and into the world of Nazi Germany and stolen art. Author Hannah Rothschild offers a fictional look behind the curtains of the art world which can be read as a piece of crime fiction or a comment on the business of art. – Wendy Foster Leigh

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (A Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation #1) By Vaseem Khan Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316386821
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Redhook - September 15th, 2015

Retirement isn’t a reward for Inspector Chopra who has been forced into a long-term holiday by a weak heart and a forceful wife. But he will not go willingly as he sees a new case in the form of a drowned boy whose mother demands justice for her son. She is battling the power of the political world and the higher echelon of the police department, and Inspector Chopra becomes not only her champion but also that of a baby elephant left to him by his uncle. The elephant, Ganesha, won’t eat, looks sad, and mopes around the yard and finally the living room where the maternal instincts of Poppy Chopra, who may not have wanted an elephant in the apartment, take over. The elephant is a key player in the tale, as is Mumbai and its teeming neighborhoods, as Inspector Chopra and Ganesha walk the streets of the city searching for justice for the drowned boy and his mother. They meet the poorest of the poor and the most corrupt of the rich in a mystery that contains both the sadness of the world and the lightness of a detective who knows how to manipulate authority until he gets what he wants. – Wendy Foster Leigh

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

The title says it all—Constance Kopp is the girl, and the sheriff gives her the gun to defend her family from the bullying of a powerful silk-factory owner. Amy Stewart has plucked a true story from the headlines of the day and imagined the details which take it into the realm of fiction. During this time period the automobile is replacing the buggy, and factory owners are exploiting the poor. The Kopp family, caught in the middle of these major changes, is comprised of three women, living on a remote farm. Having hidden their family secrets from the world, they are thrust into the spotlight when Constance insists that the silk-factory owner reimburse her for the damages to their buggy occasioned when he and his rowdy friends crashed into them threatening their safety. Only through the support of the local sheriff do they get any help; society is not sympathetic toward uppity women, and Constance and her sisters are too much the individualists to fit in Paterson, New Jersey society. Women may be the heroes of the book but the sheriff stands out as a brave man who not only changes the life of Constance Kopp but opens doors for women in the future. Girl Waits with Gun is a page-turner and a rousing read for anyone who has felt "different." – Wendy Foster Leigh

A Killing in Zion by Andrew Hunt

A Killing in Zion: A Mystery (An Art Oveson Mystery #2) By Andrew Hunt Cover Image
$36.99
ISBN: 9781250064622
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Minotaur Books - September 8th, 2015

When a polygamist leader and his bodyguard are murdered, the anti-polygamy squad of the Salt Lake Police Department faces the mixed messages from the police, the politicians, and powerful polygamous leaders. Art Oveson, a Salt Lake City deputy sheriff caught in the middle of these forces, has strong feelings about the evils of the polygamous sects. He takes it upon himself to care for a young, mute girl found at the scene of the crime who seems to be at the center of the conflict. Oveson’s passion for justice puts him in danger along with his friends and the young people he tries to protect. Andrew Hunt may live in Canada but his knowledge of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mormon history make the mystery come alive. Those who live in Utah will enjoy the picture of the state in 1934 and those who know nothing about Utah will read this as a picture of a curious place and curious people. It is an action novel that also looks at the violence that can result from religious extremism and offers a warning to those who ignore that violence. – Wendy Foster Leigh

Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron

North Carolina land and family ties are a major part of Deborah Knott mysteries, and in Long Upon the Land, which begins with an outline of the Knott Family Tree, Judge Knott leads the reader through the Knott family history and the feuds that are a part of her heritage. Her father, Kezzie, discovers a dead body on his farm. Kezzie’s background includes the production of personal whiskey along with aiding and abetting others in the neighborhood in their illegal business. Judge Knott, learning of a feud between her father and the dead man, works to prove her father's innocence, but her search for the killer is only one of the mysteries to be solved. Why and how did her mother, a well-educated woman from a good family, and her father, a bootlegger, meet and marry? Key to the family mystery is an engraved cigarette lighter left to her by her mother. The combination of the two puzzles produces a touching story of love and jealousy and curiosity. – Wendy Foster Leigh