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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Kathleen Kaska, author of What's Your Agatha Christie I.Q.?

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Kathleen Kaska.

About Kathleen:

Kathleen Kaska is the author of the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s. Her first mystery, Murder at the Arlington, won the 2008 Salvo Press Manuscript Contest. This book, along with her second mystery, Murder at the Luther, were selected as bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the largest book group in the country. Before bringing Sydney into the world of murder and mayhem, Kathleen published three mystery-trivia books: (What’s Your Agatha Christie I.Q.? (newly titled The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book), The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. All three books are being reissued in May 2012 by LL-Publications.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Kathleen!

Kathleen has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her!

The Art of Detection
An Excerpt from
The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book

"His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His mustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible. I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound." Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian, considered himself "the greatest mind in Europe." His lack of modesty was an integral part of his persona.

"She has remarkable eyesight for her age. She sees everything, and often believes the worst because the worst is often true." A Victorian lady, she indulges in a bit of gossip, but always for a good cause. Most of all, she does not tolerate murder. Miss Jane Marple is Agatha Christie's favorite sleuth.

Her entrance is often preceded by the appearance of one or more apples, either one half eaten perched on a desk or several rolling down the street, having fallen from her car as she opened the door. Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, a mystery writer herself, is believed to be Agatha Christie's alter ego. She appears in seven books, many with Hercule Poirot, and her intuition is invaluable in solving crimes.

Two heads really are better than one. Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, a "typical" English couple living their lives amidst cloak-and-dagger espionage, are partners in crime detection. Their personalities complement one another. Tommy is levelheaded, slow to action, and willing to wait things out. On the other hand, his wife thrives on adventure and does not hesitate to put her plan into motion, often to the surprise of her baffled husband.

Superintendent Battle, Parker Pyne, and Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Quin make their appearances in a number of Agatha Christie mysteries and short story collections. Each has his own distinctive flair for detective work and for getting to the "heart" of the matter.

Chapter three contains quizzes giving details of the detectives' personality quirks and adorable qualities. How well do you know these master detectives?

In the following five hypothetical situations, make the choice that best fits each sleuth's personality.

1. It is a winter's evening and Poirot has invited you to tea. You arrive to find his drawing room:
a. Bright and airy, a window opened to fresh air.
b. Stifling, a large fire in the grate and the windows closed.
c. Cold, dark, and damp, a small space heater on low.
d. Cozy, comfortable, and inviting.

2. You are Miss Marple's doctor and have advised her to give up gardening due to her frail health. How will Miss Marple react to your instructions?
a. She will ignore your instructions and continue as usual.
b. She will hire an additional man to assist Edwards.
c. She will get a second opinion.
d. She will vicariously enjoy gardening by following Edwards around to see that he prunes properly.

3. You are director of the Paradise Hotel entertainment and have arranged for a walking tour of the island. Hercule Poirot is vacationing and has signed up for the tour. He is the first to arrive and is wearing:
a. A black jacket, striped pants, bow tie, and patent leather boots.
b. Safari khakis and expensive hiking boots, latest style.
c. A tux protected by a London Fog trench coat.
d. Bermuda shorts, sports shirt, and sneakers.

4. You are the director of the British Secret Service and send Tommy Beresford on a secret assignment with- out Tuppence. Tuppence will:
a. Wait patiently for her husband to report back.
b. Don a disguise, invent an assumed name, and devise her own plan.
c. Browbeat Tommy into taking her along in spite of your instructions.
d. Barge into your office and demand that you send both of them or she will not allow her husband to proceed.

5. Hercule Poirot has hired you to decorate his new flat. He has left you with the following decorating suggestions:
a. Museum piece furniture and books arranged alphabetically.
b. The latest style, no matter what it is, and the bookshelves filled with best-sellers.
c. Square armchairs, rectangular ornaments, horizontal and vertical lines, no curves, and books arranged according to height.
d. Overstuffed sofa and chairs, leather only, and a collection of historical novels arranged chronologically.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Kathleen!

One lucky winner will win a signed paperback copy of What's Your Agatha Christie I.Q.? 1,001 Puzzling Questions about the World's Most Beloved Mystery Writer. 

IMPORTANT: To be eligible to win this giveaway, you must answer Kathleen's five questions from her guest post! This is more for fun. They don't need to all be correct in order to win!

Title: What's Your Agatha Christie I.Q.? 1,001 Puzzling Questions about the World's Most Beloved Mystery Writer

Author: Kathleen Kaska

Buy link: Amazon

Now readers can test their knowledge of the most popular mystery writer ever. Includes quizzes on all her published works, the movies and TV shows based on them, and Christie's own life story.

 To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway open to Canada/US only, and it will close on Saturday, April 7th at 12:01 AM EST.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: Toliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady

TITLE: Toliver's Secret 
AUTHOR: Esther Wood Brady 
PUBLISHER: Random House Children's Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION: October 19, 1993 (first published 1980)
FORMAT: Paperback, 176 pages
GENRE: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-0679848042

When her grandfather is injured, 10-year-old Ellen Toliver replaces him on a top-secret patriotic mission. Disguised as a boy, she manages to smuggle a message to General George Washington. 


I read this book aloud to my children. It is an historical fiction adventure set in New York in the 1700s.

Ten year-old Ellen Toliver is a meek and mild girl, who is often bullied by another girl named Dicey. Grandfather encourages Ellen to stand up for herself and talk back to Dicey, but Mother is against the advice reminding Ellen that her late father would not approve because he wanted his daughter to be ladylike. Grandfather huffs that Ellen can still have pretty manners while being bold when she needs to be!

Ellen's grandfather hides a silver snuffbox containing a secret message about the British inside a loaf of bread. It should be a simple task for him to deliver the bread to a friend in Elizabeth-town, who will ensure the message gets to General Washington. However, when Grandfather falls and sprains his ankle, he needs to find someone else he can trust to deliver this important message. He turns to his granddaughter, Ellen, and asks whether she would disguise herself as a boy to carry out this errand. But he warns her that it will be dangerous, because spies are often hanged! Not that they would do that to a child, but they would go after the person who sent her on the mission...her Grandfather.

Ellen sees this as her chance to stand up and be bold and to make her grandfather proud of her! She agrees to the assignment, which is very simple: Just walk down to the docks and get on a farmer’s or oysterman’s boat to Elizabeth-town, find the Jolly Fox Tavern, and hand the bread over to Mr. Shannon who runs the tavern. Mr. Shannon will welcome Ellen and take care of her for the night and ensure that she gets back to the dock to catch a boat first thing in the morning. Of course, things do not go as planned! Some boys steal the loaf of bread, and Ellen must chase them down to retrieve it, which causes her to miss the farmer’s boat to Elizabeth-town. Instead, she must ride with the Redcoats and carry the bread right under their noses! What Ellen does not realize is that the boat is going to Perth Amboy instead of Elizabeth-town, taking her about ten miles too far! Her journey to Elizabeth-town is fraught with adventure and mishaps.

We really enjoyed this book! We thought it was a great adventure, and it is nice to see a heroine who is not afraid to take some risks.


Winner of The Genie Ignites by Kellyann Zuzulo

Hi, everyone!


The lucky winner of The Genie Ignites by Kellyann Zuzulo is:

Congratulations to Margaret! I have sent you an email, and you have 48 hours to claim your prize.

If any prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

There is still time to enter these giveaways (just click on the badges below):

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