Tree of Smoke

boring Tree of Smoke is by an acclaimed writer and was the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction. That said only 3-Illuminado Brothers were able to finish the book. The book may be great, but your humble blogger was in the majority who were bored to death between 200-300 pages in and didn’t complete the mission. Undeniably a poor book club pick. If this book is on your group’s to do list, get ironclad assurances that folks will read the book to its 720-page conclusion. Tree of Smoke beat Jim Shepard’s “Like You’d Understand, Anyway” for the 2007 Award. Rigged!

The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn

dead-mountaineer The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn is a whodunit in the genre of Clue or any other nobody leaves until the Inspector shouts “Twas the Butler!” The book, by brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, stars a vacationing Inspector Peter Glebsky in the Hercule Poirot role amidst a collection of wacky guests and Inn staff. What starts with a missing gold watch and various pranks and bumps in the night leads up to a murder at the Inn. With everyone trapped due to an avalanche, Inspector Glebsky must make like a homicide detective (his actual specialty is catching counterfeiters) and find the murderer.

To give any more of the plot away would be a disservice. The authors are Russian Science-Fiction writers, so this tale eventually goes off the rails, but it enhances the story. A quick, fun read that will have you thinking about reading more mysteries and visiting a Mountain Inn.

There is a 1979 movie based on this book, but it’s in Estonian, so good luck finding it. Actually it wasn’t too hard: