Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Salon: A Scotsman And A Cat

Can you believe another week has past and it’s time to come together to share our thoughts on the wonderful books we’ve finished or just started.

The past week has been filled with tragedy and triumph, pain and hope, and the bonding of friends and strangers. It’s time to take a short break, reach for that cup of coffee (tea or other favorite beverage), get comfortable in your favorite chair, and lose yourself in some amazing books for a little while.

Today, I have two books to share but check around blogdom and you will find many others sharing their Sunday Salons featuring interesting books they’ve read. I’m sure you will find at least one or two books to peak your attention.

Captain Henry Davenport and his wife, Milly, buy a Georgian mansion in the village of Drim. Davenport doesn’t want his wife associating with the villagers and comes off a bit of a bully.

Davenport instructs his wife to have the chimney cleaned while he goes for a walk. However, he tells her if anyone calls for him to say he has gone abroad. Milly hires the local chimney sweep, Pete Ray, to do the job.

Enjoying her freedom during the captain’s absence, Milly doesn’t worry when her husband’s walk last longer than expected. However, a noise in the chimney gets Milly’s attention and she discovers blood dripping inside the chimney.

Police Constable Hamish Macbeth is called in to investigate and finds Capt. Davenport’s body stuffed inside the chimney. The chimney sweep is the prime suspect. But a short time later, Pete Ray’s dead body is found in the moors the apparent result of a motorcycle wreck. Items from the Davenport home are found in Pete’s sidecar linking him to the murder - case closed.

But Hamish doesn’t believe Pete is capable of murder and begins to investigate deeper despite what his superiors think. The results are an intriguing read with plenty of twists and turns before the real killer is caught.

This is the 27th installment in the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series, but is a stand alone book. Along with a cozy mystery, readers will be captivated by the landscape and characters of Scotland.

Author M.C. Beaton’s website is

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton, A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, Grand Central Publishing, @2011, ISBN: 978-0446547390, Hardcover, 256 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Being the caregiver of two wonderful cats, I’m always drawn to books about or by felines. That’s one of the reasons LESSONS FROM STANLEY THE CAT: NINE LIVES OF EVERYDAY WISDOM by Jennifer Freed caught my attention.

This charming book is told from Stanley’s view point, giving his astute perspective on how humans could improve themselves if they’d only give in to their feline side. These witty and insightful bits of advice are translated by Jennifer Freed, who was Stanley’s psychotherapist parent and companion for many years. The delightful illustrations that accompany each maxim are done by Tone Gellerstedt.

This loving tribute to Stanley is a quick and easy read, but filled with thought-provoking epigrams of wisdom and humor.

Here are just a few of the pieces of advice that should stay with us daily:
“Failure is simply another opportunity to create a different strategy.”

"Generosity of the heart is the most valuable asset you can have."

“Most people are trying to chase after their youth instead of cherishing the stages of life. Older beings need more care and often get less thoughtfulness from others.”

“A little bounce in your step as you walk around the house, got to work, or even just get up from bed can perk up your heartbeat and your attitude.”

LESSONS FROM STANLEY THE CAT will have you laughing and shaking your heard while thinking, “That is so true.”

Author Jennifer Freed’s website is

Lessons from Stanley the Cat: Nine Lives of Everyday Wisdom by Jennifer Freed, Illustrated by Tone Gellerstedt, Perigee Trade, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-399-53615-1, Paperback, 144 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Did you have the opportunity to read this past week, if so what held your attention? Are you reading something now that you get so involved in that you lose track of time? Share, tell us about you’re reading.


  1. Oh, I love the look and sound of the Chimney Sweep mystery...the cozy ones aren't always so cozy, are they? Brrrr....

    Thanks for sharing. I do enjoy coming here to the little lamp, books, and cup of tea in your top left welcoming.


  2. Mason - Thanks for these reviews. It has been quite a week, hasn't it?? I'm so glad you enjoyed the M.C. Beaton. I really like Hamish Macbeth :-). And the Freed book looks like a really wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing :-).

  3. I have Beaton's book on reserve at the library. Hamish Macbeth is one of my favorite cozy characters!

  4. Laurel-Rain, thanks for the kind words. I hope you always find Thoughts in Progress welcoming.

    Margot, it has indeed been quite a week. The cover of Death of a Chimney Sweep drew me right in.

    Clarissa, Lessons from Stanley the Cat are funny and very wise.

    Harvee, I must admit this was my first time reading about Hamish Macbeth. He is a great character and I look forward to reading more.

  5. ooo, I LURV the sounds of Lessons from Stanley. I went through a cat book phase a while back... remember those "The Cat Who..." books? I have several. Of course, hubs liked to quote Annie Hall and say, "This is better than that cat book." LOL! :D <3

  6. Stanley the Cat sounds wonderful! I just finished a great dog book, Fixing Freddie: A True Story about a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle.

  7. My daughters love cats. Stanley may be the perfect gift for them. Thanks!

  8. I like the idea Stanley the Cat's book. It's always fun to look at life through a pet's wise perspective :)

  9. Death of a Chimney Sweep sounds intriguing!


  10. I think I can feel an urge to read Hamish Macbeth coming on. Fortunately I have one on my shelf. Very far from no 27, I believe, but that is all the better - several pleasures to look forward to.

  11. I can't believe I haven't read any of the Hamish series - it sounds like one I'd enjoy. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday Mason :)

  12. Cover for the first one is almost grisly!

  13. Both of these books sound like winners! no giveaways this time? *hint hint* I am reading Amanda Hocking, the blockbuster self- published Kindle writer of vampire books. She has at least a half dozen on the Top 100, and I downloaded first in her series for .99.

  14. They sound like interesting books!

    I'm reading Bitter Melon by Cara Chow at the moment. It's a good read so far.

  15. I love M.C.Beaton! Always such a satisfying read! This wounds great and I just love that cover!

    AND Stanley the Cat sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders and some great wisdom to share! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    I'm finishing up The Reluctant Tuscan for my book group read this week. It's a true story of a wife who went out and bought a fixer upper in Tuscany and the trials and tribulations of learning how to be Italian! I laughed through most of it.

  16. I'm so glad Gum Drop is doing fine - it's sad when our pets are not up to their usual antics.
    I can't seem to locate your e-mail address, can you contact me?

  17. I'm looking for your Microfiction Monday...hmmmm....where is it?

  18. Hi Pat, the Microfiction Monday post will be up at 12:10 a.m. (EST) if blogger works right.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.