I read looking out, not in. I don’t need to see me in books.  I read to know. Know new ideas, new places, new people. I read because I am curious about the world around me, the people in it, the things they do.

As a kid I read from one end of Cabrini’s lower school library to the next. Then went on to the Burbank Public Library on Glenoaks Blvd, shelf by shelf, stack by stack. With four years at Alemany I plowed through the entire library as well as the University of Chicago’s Five Year Reading Plan.

I read about living in Alaska without the basics, about supervillians like Fu Manchu and great detectives like Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I read lives of the Saints and stories about spies and those who fought and died in resisting the oppression of Germany in WWII.  I read Edgar Rice Burroughs and John D MacDonald. I read history, short stories, long novels, novellas, comic books, chapter books. Name it, if a book came into our house I read it!

I have always had a library card…always.  When we lived in MA I found out about the interlibrary loan program that used not only town libraries, but we could borrow from any of the myriad universities and colleges in the area. Bonus!

I read a lot these days on my iPad as it is the easiest on my eyesight which has been compromised in all the family medical drama over that last five years.  And besides iBooks, I have Glose and Kindle apps, and through my local library,  the North Carolina Digital Library

My favorite for just escaping is a British cozy.  I’ve spent time with Miss Marple, Tommie and Tuppence and Hercule!   I enjoy Margery Allingham,  M.C. Beaton, although it’s Hamish MacBeth and Lochdubh rather than Agatha Raisen.  Rhys Bowen, & Simon Brett.  LOL, Mrs. Pargeter!  An all of Anthony Horowitz! Oh. My.

Somehow, back in November 2017 I purchase the first three Angela Marchmount mysteries by Clare Benson on iBooks and then totally forgot about them. Having just come off a class on short stories, and reading a TON of them, I was looking for a good read, yes, with murder and mayhem, but less real.

These are between-the-great-war books.  Still a time of the great houses, the Lords and Ladies. The penury of the upper crust and need to find your fortune in the colonies–Africa that is.  Stories that need not be rushed. But…to the ha-ha wall.

In the first of the series, The Murder at Sissingham Hall, the main character is Charles Knox, newly returned from eight years in Africa having made a fortune in gold mining.  He is invited to Sissingham Hall where his former fiancièe, Rosamund , is now the wife of the Sir Neville who dies in his locked study! Angela begins to ask questions no one else does.

But to the ha-ha wall.  Have you ever heard of one? Nope, me neither.  When Charles, pondering the question of who killed Sir Neville and how does he really feel about seeing the fabulous Rosamund after eight years, stops to view the estate and contemplate, he says he is standing at the ha-ha wall. What a delightful mention! How cool is this detail. This is, and this exactly, is the best of the British cozy.

Well. The benefits of reading on a tablet is the ability to stop and search. First started in the early 1700’s by a French landscape designer to provide for the bucolic view of sheep and cattle grazing on the extended property, the ha-ha wall keeps the beasties away from the formal lawns and gardens and yet nothing obstructs the magnificent view. The benefits of the ha-ha wall moved to England with the development of the grand estates.

The name supposedly comes from the Ah!Ha! view. The wall itself is a sunken wall next to a deep ditch that slopes up to the grazing land from the garden.  The beasties can go down into the ditch, but never make it up to the formal gardens.

I read looking out. And this time I looked out over a ha-ha wall!