Books, Uncategorized

24 Book Challenge: A Mystery

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #12 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Murder on the Orient Express

Author: Agatha Christie

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright Date: 1934

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A true mystery fan would quickly recognize this title from Agatha Chrisite, one of the first original murder-mystery authors. Born in England, Christie began to use her resources to create some of the most compelling stories of crime and deception. I have read several books by Christie and must claim that among my favorites from her novels are those centered around Detective Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective. Murder on the Orient Express is one such novel.

En route from Syria to London, Poirot finds himself on the famous Orient Express. On his journey he is met with the most diverse of travel companions, but he fancies the conversations and life experiences he encounters aboard the train. One night, as the train was traveling just outside of Yugoslavia, one of the passengers is found dead in his compartment. Mr. Ratchett is an American millionaire and the circumstances surrounding his murder are puzzling from the first minutes of its discovery.

Poirot is summoned by the conductor of the train to establish a thorough investigation. Near his time of death, the train is halted by snow drifts and is hours from continuing its journey toward western Europe. During the train’s delay Poirot, Dr. Constatine, and M. Bouc, of the Wagon Lit. Company conduct interviews and examine evidence to piece together one of the most troubling cases of Poirot’s career.

As a seasoned Christie reader I found myself trying to think like Poirot throughout the entirety of the novel. My goal is always to come to the conclusion before Poirot does, and as always the clues to the solution were under my nose but undetected the entire time. Christie is the queen of red herrings and subtlety. Her work is genius and thrusts me into the murder mystery scene at full throttle. This is another great classic of Christie’s that in my opinion is only topped by And Then There Were None. 

The Ameri Brit Mom

fiction

Fiction in Photos: Invincibility

This October I am planning to focus a little more on creative writing than I have on here in the past. I plan to publish one creative writing piece a week using snapshots from my iPhone 5s as my “prompt”. All of my stories will be approximately 1000 characters or less as I know some of my longer fiction pieces have gone unread simply because of their length. My goal is to become bolder in sharing some of my fictional work while also continuing to hone my skills. Feel free to leave me comments and ideas for future creative pieces!

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“Goodnight, Mom.” Charlotte called down the hall after her mother and watched as her mother’s dainty shadow passed through the doorway of her own Master bedroom. Once she had visual confirmation that her mother was safely behind closed doors Charlotte shut the large oak door to her own bedroom. She was finally able to extract the plan that she had so carefully laid over the past year.

The sun began to fade and leave behind it’s print in the clouds above. She glanced out her second story window and back at the watch on her petite wrist. It was 10:15pm when she pulled a black sweatshirt from her closet and draped it around her shoulders. Fifteen minutes remained until she had promised Nolan that she would be at the football field behind the high school. That was plenty of time for her to shimmy down the tree that led from her bedroom window to the lawn below.

“Here goes nothing…” Charlotte spoke to herself as she set into motion what could very well be her last moments in this house. As her feet touched the ground below her bedroom she took one last glance at the place where she had spent the majority of her seventeen years of life.

The streets of Georgeshire were vacant and dimly lit only by the moon above. This New England town’s streets were lined with large Victorian homes filled with family heirlooms and endless secrets. Charlotte followed the sidewalk down the main street toward the high school being careful to stay out of plain sight and avoid being seen by any residents of the town.

She found herself walking at a brisk pace that was beginning to resemble a jog. The high school was now within view. Before leaving school that afternoon she had taken notice of all the security camera points so as to avoid them during her escapade with Nolan that evening. As she rounded the corner of the building she clung close to the brick siding to keep from being caught on the camera.

“Pssst….over here.” She heard Nolan’s voice through shrubs which lined the fence around the football field.

Charlotte followed the sound of his voice and ducked into the shrubs along with him. She felt his hand grip her shoulders and bring his forehead to nearly touch hers.

“Did you bring it?” Nolan whispered. She could feel his breath on her face as she reached into the pockets in her black sweatpants. Her hand retracted out of the pocket to reveal a small chip. Nolan took the chip from her rough hands and immediately plugged it into a device that he had been concealing. The mechanism was no larger than Charlotte’s cell phone.

“Welcome, Mayor.” A female voice announced as the stolen chip was recognized by the device. “How may I assist you?” The robotic sound of the voice commanded an answer.

“Open case #10247” Nolan spoke slowly into the receiver.

“Retrieving…” the device explained as a moment of silence filled the shrubbery. “Case #10247: The Murder of Celia Miller.”

Charlotte moved closer to Nolan so that the screen of the device was in view. A file was opened. A document came into view which held the signature of both Mayor Mendez and the County Clerk.

“Is this?” Charlotte asked trembling with excitement.

“I think so…” Nolan distractedly answered as he skimmed the document quickly.

“What does it say?” Charlotte asked. Impatience had begun to overtake her.

“It says…the evidence was inconclusive.” Nolan said pointing to a statement from the coroner.

“And that means?…”

“It means that the coroner was not able to pinpoint murder as the cause of death.” Nolan clarified.

“What does that mean for us?” Charlotte asked.

“I think…” Nolan began. “I think we may be off the hook.” A sigh of relief quickly left Charlotte’s lungs.

“I knew it! We were so careful. It pays to be attentive to detail” Charlotte proudly was referring to her role.

The two began to embrace in the bushes outside of the high school. Their location was 100 meters from the place where they had first met over a year ago. Charlotte was practicing for the 200m Hurdles while Nolan leaned inconspicuously against a lamp post outside the track puffing on a cigarette. She had noticed him and decided to boldly pay him a visit and order that he take his “cancer causing habits” elsewhere. It was then that Nolan had fallen head over heels for Charlotte. In that moment he saw the missing piece to his puzzle. He had plotted against Celia Miller, the girl who had told their entire cheerleading squad about how he poured out his heart to her only to face an embarrassing rejection. Charlotte’s bold, eclectic personality was all he needed to carry out his master plan. One year later Celia lay in a body bag at the Georgeshire morgue while Nolan held the girl who had served as his accomplice.

During that year Charlotte had lost track of her own dream and aspirations. She had fallen further and further off track the more time she spent with Nolan. He had a way of getting her to do just about anything he asked. Charlotte was enveloped in his edgy charm and tendency to go against authority. She didn’t think twice when he asked her to break into the Mayor’s office to retrieve a top secret microchip containing some of the most classified files in the county.

As the two sat in the shrubbery they were so focused on their feelings of invincibility and the thought of getting away with murder that they were oblivious to the police force that was now nearing them. The tracker on the microchip had led the police right to the culprits. The police chief bent over and pulled back the branches to reveal an entangled pair of teenagers. The couple was left aghast as they noticed the police pointing their weapons at them.

The police chief shouted, “Nolan Sickle and Charlotte Carmichael, you are under arrest!”

It is unlawful to plagiarize any of the original work from The Ameri Brit Mom. Always give credit where credit is due. 

Books

A Book Review: The Year of Fog

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences. 

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Title: The Year of Fog

Author: Michelle Richmond

Publisher: A Bantam Discovery

Copyright Date: 2007

A few weeks ago my sister who is majoring in English and just as much of a bookworm as I am suggested that we attend the Half-Price Bookstore Warehouse Clearance sale in Columbus. The Ohio Expo Center was piled with books from every genre with no book costing above $2. I ended up walking out with 20 books totaling in just under $40. This really was an amazing experience and I look forward to attending it again in the future. That being said today’s book review is about a book I scored during this sale. I found quite a few copies of The Year of Fog, and although I had never heard of it or its author prior to the sale I was intrigued and threw it in my basket.

The story begins with a fateful morning on the coast of San Francisco. Abby Mason is walking along the shore with her soon-to-be stepdaughter, Emma, when she diverts her attention to a dead baby seal for only a minute. Emma’s father was out of town on business and this was Abby’s first time being the sole carer for Emma. This was to be her trial run for motherhood. During the leisurely walk Abby looks away from Emma and in the short time that she was focused elsewhere Emma goes missing. By the time she notices that Emma has disappeared into the fog surrounding them the girl is long gone. Abby spends the next year of her life trying to recover clues and memories from that morning to help locate Emma.

From the plot line it is easy to see that a major conflict in this missing girl’s case is Abby having to prove her innocence. She spends many months under the suspicion of the media. During this time Abby conducts her own research and consults several sources to help her in her quest to find the truth. Each passing hour and day reduces the likelihood of finding the missing child, but Abby continues to have faith despite the odds.

As a mother of a young child this story was frightening at times as it required me to acknowledge the real dangers of this world. To be honest I finished this book pretty quickly because I could not handle not knowing what had happened to Emma. It was a very fast paced novel which mirrored closely the constant search and activities Abby was involved in looking for her beloved stepdaughter. This was a very thrilling read and I would recommend it to those who prefer the mystery and thriller genres.