Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Nine top literary mysteries with a big winter mood

Ceillie Clark-Keane is a writer and editor based in Boston. Her work has been published by Electric Literature, the Ploughshares blog, Bustle, Oh Reader, and other outlets. She is a nonfiction reader for Salamander and Pangyrus.

At Electric Lit Clark-Keane tagged nine "cozy books set in warm, dusty libraries and grand old houses," including:
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

Like [A.S. Byatt's] Possession, this novel begins with a fictional discovery. In her final year before retirement, historian Helen Watt receives a call from a former student who found seventeenth-century documents in his home. The documents include household accounts as well as correspondence of a rabbi who lived in the house, written by the rabbi’s scribe, a young woman named Ester. Helen, who is ill, begrudgingly enlists the support of American graduate student Aaron Levy. Together, Helen and Aaron work quickly to translate the documents, search for the identity of the scribe, and uncover connections to prominent historical figures before Helen’s retirement—and before the documents become available to other, more prominent scholars. In the novel’s 1660s storyline, the stakes are even higher, particularly with the plague looming. While the stakes are high, the pacing is measured and Kadish’s writing is beautiful, dense with detailed descriptions. Including plenty of cold winter drafts and thick knit sweaters.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Weight of Ink is among Kate Manning's eleven novels about women misbehaving & making history, Ruth Reichl's top six recent novels to cook to and Melissa Ragsdale's eight books that go right along with the spirit of Hanukkah.

My Book, The Movie: The Weight of Ink.

The Page 69 Test: The Weight of Ink.

--Marshal Zeringue