Are you wondering how long I am going to post business casual outfits while work and life have been profoundly disrupted?
I am going to do this until I run out of ideas or spirit — whichever comes first — because I feel that we are all craving a little normalcy and light entertainment. But don’t imagine that I am not aware of what is going on around us. I am a news junkie.
Switching gears: I still have clothes and jewelry and bags from Argentina to show you! And this post is stuffed with them.
You’ve seen this blouse before from Jessica Trosman. It was shown in the store with this charming peacock blue sweater.
While I am not a huge fan of the cold shoulder look, something about one cold shoulder is very appealing to me.
The sweater is fitted and neatly compresses the voile blouse.
Note the graceful silhouette of the blouse — longer in back than in front.
This color is so deep and compelling; I want to sink into it.
Also note the black topstitching on the blouse, such an elegant detail.
Now here is a surprise: a second cutout!
I am not entirely certain about this second hole. But the first hole is so winning, who am I to gainsay the designer’s subsequent choices?
Here are some shots that show the sweater better, as well as allow you a closer look at my necklace, which is also from B.A.
Are you horrified by all I bought? Am I horrified? How horrified are we on a scale from 1-10?
The bag is from B.A., too, from a store called Humawaca. This brand makes the most beautiful pieces — simple designs, beautiful colors, the lightest leather. This bag weighs nothing. Had it weighed more, I would not have come home with more than one.
The necklace, from the Autoria Shop, is handmade.
It’s one long strand divided into 3 segments: a long section of beaded, twisted wire in an undulating shape; a short section of long, tubular black beads, and; a short segment of thinner, silver beads. I’ve doubled the strand around my neck.
I am not sure that this blue field is the best backdrop for the necklace, but it’s not bad. Perhaps it would show best against white or cream.
And now a request: Please share your favorite mystery writers! I have read many books by Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, and Sarah Caudwell as well as more current authors like Louise Penny, Charles Finch, Elly Griffiths, and Deanna Raybourn. But I am always looking for new material. I prefer an amateur sleuth (preferably an English woman), a touch of romance (ideally kept at a low boil for the length of a series), and wit. I want to be entertained, not terrified. Help me!
35 thoughts on “Peek-a-Boo”
Not an amateur sleuth and quite noir, but Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy (Total Chaos, Chourmo, Solea, all featuring Marseilles police detective Fabio Montale) is gorgeously written and just gripping. They weren’t available in English for a long time, but are now translated. One of those detective series that just captures city so beautifully. I re-read them every year or two, and somehow keep buying more copies because I can’t bear the thought of somehow not having them at hand. At last count, I think, I had a full set in English and a pile of 7 volumes in French.
Perhaps closer to the required description, however, have you read Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series?
Also, the sweater is delightful with both holes, and I would dearly love to see it over a brightly colored blouse/t-shirt so the side one makes a big cheery circle of joy.
very charming sweater. I would wear something black underneath. I agree that the Maise Dobbs series is very well worth reading. I came across Laurie R King’s series about Russell & Holmes – yes, THE Holmes! I thought “this could never be good”, but I read the first, “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”, and was hooked! Another suggestion is the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood.
If you would like a bit of Australia try Jane Harper, and also recommend Sarah Bailey.
Oh— I think you’re going to want the Lauren Willig “Pink Carnation” mystery series.
Not mystery, but the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series has a lot of what you describe (English woman, wit, low-boil romance). She’s not an amateur detective though – she’s a time-traveling historian! And there are enough books to keep one busy for quite some time.
You might like Dick Francis.
Yes. Dick Fracnis’ “Whip Hand” is one of my top five favorite books.
Okay, have you read the Agatha Raisin books? I adore them. Completely fits your description. I ran out of library audiobook versions and now the library is closed and I am sad. I don’t have an e-reader. But, anyway, that’s my suggestion.
I feel your hair pain, only it’s about my eyebrows.
I love the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley. I love the audio versions read by Jayne Entwistle. Flavia is British, witty, and a chemistry genius. Oh, and Flavia and has a bicycle that she named Gladys.
How hard could it be to cut my wife’s hair? I’ll just buy a special scissors on Amazon, then watch a few YouTube videos…
(rethinks this) …Maybe not.
Even I loved the incredible “Hair is everything” scene in Fleabag. That show was sublime.
Be brave! The difference between a good haircut and a bad one? 2 weeks… lol
So you’re saying I might be banished to the couch for only two weeks? I will keep that in mind if Tory gets desperate enough to call on my cosmetology services. Maybe I’d turn out to be a genius at it, and quit my writing career.
Cutting curly hair: wet hair, allow curls to form, cut each curl individually.
Peacock blue: the best color
Working from home: usually inside, around cats. (Hint)
How does the Directrice protect her fancy duds from cat hair?
I second the motion re Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. Have you read Martha Grimes’ books? Deborah Crombie is good as well. All are set in England.
I know what you mean about hair…. sigh…..
Sara Paretsky (Chicago) and Sue Grafton (Santa Barbara) both have women detectives. Also very good are Donna Leone (Venice) and Simenon’s Maigret (Paris).
Definitely the Robert Galbraith books, if you have not read them.
Light bags are my sartorial holy grail (as are blue tall boots and a weirdy green trench, actually there can only be one holy grail, so where does that leave me?). I love the color of the bag and would also have bought more than one. The sweater is fun. Thanks for the slow rollout of Argentine purchases!
The peacock blue is nom nom nom on you! I’ve noticed upon recent re-watching that some of Phryne Fisher’s walls are painted in peacock hues…
Love the outfit. For books I suggest Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver series.
I was just going to suggest the Miss Silver series! Charming. And including some appealing descriptions of clothes (the Chinese Shawl in the book of that title and the jade pendant on a black silk cord that Laura Fane wears with it; the tweed with the slightest coral fleck that spurs Agnes Lemming’s revolt in ‘Deals with Death’…)
I love the color of that sweater! Books – the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (Alexander McCall Smith), and although not an amateur sleuth, the Donna Leon series set in Venice.
You might like PD James. I started with her in “Death Comes to Pemberley” in which she writes a murder-mystery sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”. (This series was sponsored by a publisher and Alexander McCall Smith, recommended by Cat above, wrote an incredible spin on “Emma”.) I’ve also read some of the Adam Dagliesh series, set in the UK with a male, professional sleuth. I liked it more than I expected to. I love Dorothy Sayers and some of Agatha Christie so will definitely be following up on your recommendations!
Also – I love that sweater!
I am enjoying Charles Todd’s Ian Rutledge series, about a Scotland Yard detective returning to his job post WWI with a nasty case of shell shock. Todd also has a Bess Crawford series, where the sleuth is a WWI nurse, but I have not read those yet. “Charles Todd” is actually a mother and son writing duo, and they are contemporary American authors although their books are written in post-WWI England. The Ian Rutledge villains and motives are very well thought out, although his method of solving the mysteries is a little formulaic.
I love the outfit.It brings charm to a stark and highly appropriate background.
Thank you for the bright spot and keeping some sense of normalcy, for now. I really appreciate it! I am taking the opportunity to try novel combinations, partially inspired by you; if it doesn’t work, I wear it for the day anyway since no one else will see.
You might like “Louise’s War” by Sarah Shaber. She’s from the U.S., not British, but I think there are some British characters (it’s been a while since I read it). There are several books in the series and it takes place in WWII Washington, D.C. It’s also how I learned what a “slug line” is!
And for people who would like to watch something similar, “The Bletchley Circle” on Netflix is a fantastic mini-series.
Directrice – thank you for asking the question – now I have a reading list that will hopefully amuse me for many long days to come. I would second many of those recommendations.
The outfit is darling – I especially love the bag and the colour.
If you want to hear about mysteries and mystery writers, I highly recommend the podcast Shedunnit. Interest and clever literary reflections on golden age detective fiction with a feminist bent. I love it!
Rhys Bowen- Her Royal Spyness series (the heroine grows over the series, so don’t give up on her in the first book); Ashley Gardener, The Below Stairs Mysteries. Both enjoyable; not as atmospheric as Maisie Dobbs, but good story/mysteries. Gardner’s Captain Lacey series is also enjoyable.
I don’t see Kate Atkinson on your list. Though this doesn’t check the amateur sleuth box, I have to recommend her Jackson Brodie series (begins with Case Histories). The first 4 are downloadable from my local library so sure to be readily available in your area. A fifth was just released last year. I’m currently rereading my favorite of her novels (non-detective), Life After Life.
Before an old injury side-lined me, I took part in local classes & social dances in Argentine tango (though never made it to BA). Enjoyed your Buenos Aires posts. Your sweater is a lovely blue.
I loved the Jackson Brodie mysteries. She’s such an elegant writer that I don’t think of those books as strictly genre. I must get the fifth! I did not realize it had been released. Thank you for telling me, Kim!
Thank you for soldiering on, Directrice. As a fellow news junkie I definitely need some bright spots like your blog to turn to when I need a change of topic. I love this outfit! The sweater is a beautiful, bright punch of colour, and the holes plus the untucked blouse give the impression that you got into a slight dust-up on your way to the office, but hey, no biggie, lets get on with the day!
Love that blue! Laurie King has two series – one starts with the Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Mary Russell is Sherlock Holmes’ late-in-life apprentice. Delightful, quirky heroine. She also wrote a series of detective novels set in contemporary San Francisco.
Loved the comments on this one! I feel you about the need of a haircut. Nevertheless, you look great.
I highly recommend the chronicles of saint Mary’s series.