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I wanted to open this About Marilyn column with a heartwarming quote about winter.  That’s difficult for me, as winter is my least favorite season, but I thought I’d try.  I’ve chosen two quotes that actually do resonate with me.

The first is from Murray Pura, a writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  That’s a province where the average January high is 14 degrees, the average low is 4, and as I write this column it’s -4!  Mr. Pura must have a warm heart because here is his quote:  “If winter helps you curl up and more, that makes it one of the best of the seasons.”  I am assuming he means curl up with a good book, a sentiment made clear by the English writer Ben Aaronvich:  “In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”

And as I write this, Massachusetts is getting ready for a major snowstorm, with up to 24 inches of snow possible!

So whether you like the winter or are dreaming of spring, here is the list of the books I’ve chosen for my tenth WHODUNIT? course at BOLLI, the Brandeis University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

The topic is “An Historical Mystery Tour,” and we’ll be starting in the fifth century B. C. E. and continuing to the 20th century.  An historical novel is one considered historical from the author’s point of view–in other words, before she/he was born, her/his personal pre-history.

As always, we’ll read eight books during the ten week course.  These are the novels in the order we’ll read them:  The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby (Greece in 480 B. C. E.), Roman Blood by Stephen Saylor (Rome in 80 B. C. E.), The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters (12th-century England), Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart (18th-century China/Tibet), A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns (18th-century United States), The Inheritance by Charles Finch (19th-century England), March Violets by Philip Kerr (1930s Germany), and The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indriason (1940s/present Iceland).

In the class (via Zoom) we’ll be thinking about life as it was decades, even centuries, ago.  In this world-wide tour we’ll explore similarities and differences between the countries and time periods we are visiting and our own.  We’ll look at how people in a variety of historical periods have been influenced by their history, culture, political structure, technology, and social behaviors.  So I hope you’ll read along with us.

One more thing:  I’m about to start my twelfth year writing Marilyn’s Mystery Reads.  I love writing the reviews, and I hope you enjoy reading them.


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