May 24, 2020

Sunday. As Isolation and Social Distancing Restrictions Are Lifting.

And I've gone and done it again.

Painting in the Shadows - Katherine Kovacic - 9781760685775 ...

Found myself a new crime series peopled with characters whose chemistry I will not be able to put from my mind until I've read every one of their shared adventures.

'Painting in the Shadows' is the second instalment of the Alex Clayton art mystery series by Katherine Kovacic, a Melbourne based art historian who was previously a veterinarian.  I was put onto the series by @mrsb_book_reviews a book-centric account I follow on Instagram.  Mrs B never gets it wrong with her book reviews and recommendations.  I've discovered many new to me authors via her account, many of whom are Australian.  

Alex Clayton is my kind of heroine sleuth.  She's an independent woman living life on her terms with a fascinating career who has a knack for stumbling upon suspicious deaths.  She also has some unresolved tension / chemistry with her partner in crime-solving.  His name is John Porter, a talented artist who is unhappily married to the emotionally manipulative, gaslighting lawyer Sue.

'Painting in the Shadows' begins with Alex experiencing some anxiety about her financial future as the art dealing market in Melbourne softens.  Pondering her next career move and her bank balance, Alex finds herself being John's plus one at a behind the scenes preview of a major exhibition at MIMA.  

The opportunity to be sharing the same air as some of the world's most critically acclaimed artworks is not all that Alex comes away with.  A packer assisting in preparing the exhibition arrests over a painting.  Fortunately, he survives but the painting is damaged leading MIMA to employ John (and by extension Alex) to assist in restoring it.  Alex and John begin their work only to show up for duty hours after Meredith, a respected member of staff at MIMA is found dead at the gallery.  Was it suicide?  Or was it murder?

There's so much for me to love about Alex and John's approach to solving this mystery.  They take frequent breaks in their sleuthing to source 'proper' coffee.  Hogarth, Alex's dog is a third main character in his own right.  Will John read the tea leaves, see through Sue's manipulation and leave her?  In the longer term, will Alex and John be a thing together?  Set in Melbourne, 'Painting in the Shadows' also offers me a little armchair traveller trip to a city I'm long overdue to return to.

From good reads to good food.  I've been meal prepping in earnest this weekend.  

Assuming a starring role in this week's work lunches is this walnut, spinach and pumpkin pasta.  I'm still marvelling at the ease as which garlic roasted in the over parts company with its bits that usually need to be peeled off painstakingly with a small knife.  Also, how refreshing is it not serve pasta with a tomato or cream-based source?  Directional, some might say...

Dinners this week will feature mince. Not a new initiative, I know, but have you seen the price of mince these days?!?!?  It's practically a grocery item slash former reality TV star hustling fancy eateries on Instagram for complimentary meals in return for exposure.  Which is another way of saying I used my mince to make a batch of Recipe Tin Eats Salisbury Steak.   

From the department of hair, I bring you the genius of scrunchies made with hair coils as opposed to elastic.  I picked these up at Woolworths.  I can't explain the science but coil hair ties really do hold my hair in a pony more effectively than standard elastics.  I'm sure there's a PhD in there somewhere.

My other Covid fashion find of the week is Uniqlo's Ultra Warm Heattech crew-necked Ts.

WOMEN HEATTECH Ultra Warm Crew Neck T-Shirt

They're thick enough and warm enough to be worn as a top in their own right.  I see a key role for them all through this coming winter.  Glad I managed to get my size ahead of the annual 'Sydney acknowledges winter as if it doesn't happen on an annual basis by hitting up Uniqlo' stampede.

It's been a far-reaching post.  Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Be well.

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