A thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery, fully fledged in a "Qwickie" book. I'm becoming addicted to the short but complete books on the market today. CatA thoroughly enjoyable cozy mystery, fully fledged in a "Qwickie" book. I'm becoming addicted to the short but complete books on the market today. Catherine Astolfo's first Kira Callaghan mystery is no exception. Taking place in a retirement home owned and managed by Kira's sister Ailish, it is really quite heart-warming to see these seniors, many with difficult idiosyncrasies of the mind, enjoying their lives. I could relate. Life carries on at a humorous pace...slow and confused, especially when the Flower Pots get together. I even enjoyed the old-time music which brings out the best in the residents. But wait! Is there a murderer in their midst? Is there a murderer among the families of those dwelling at the home? Could someone on the waiting list be desperate enough to kill for a space at the home? Something is brewing and Kira, a journalist and former war correspondent is determined to get to the bottom of it. Catherine writes with humorous chaos; when Kira takes a break leaving Chittendom Creek (the infamous Chit Creek) for Burlington her description of the Vermont countryside is reviving, even in her haste. I loved this book and the promise of more. This is one author who can seem to write in any genre beautifully....more
This book was a pleasant surprise to me. First in a new series. The characters are well-thought out and complex; as the story goes along I learned morThis book was a pleasant surprise to me. First in a new series. The characters are well-thought out and complex; as the story goes along I learned more about them. I particularly found the thought processes of Thelma Earnshaw to be spot on for her age and demeanor. As a senior I recognized a kinship with her mind jumping from place to place then wondering what she had been planning to think about before she interrupted her own thoughts. Not an easy thing to put into writing, but precisely the way this very unhappy and miserable person might think. Great descriptive writing.
Two elderly women, one with a deliberately long memory of losing who she alone considers the love of her life to the other, who married him and in her own words "saw him first." Everything is one-sided competition right down to both women operating tea rooms, with one-sided being the key, because Thelma firmly believes she has been a victim in all things, especially since Rose Freemont, so-called man stealer, whose shop is right across from Thelma's, runs a much more successful tea room than Thelma.
Sophie Rose Freemont Taylor, Rose's granddaughter, has just returned to the town she considers to be her home, back to Rose. She is licking her wounds at the loss of her own enterprise, chef and owner of her New York restaurant. As she is updated on her friends by Rose, she is surprised to learn her best friend, Cissy, Thelma's granddaughter, is about to marry another of their group of friends, Frankie, now known as Francis, a rich high-class architect. For some reason, Thelma is dead set against the marriage, which seems strange on several levels. What could be the cause of Thelma's spite and vinegar? There is a cause that we haven't uncovered yet.
The story builds nicely, as an engagement tea for Cissy is held at Thelma's tea shop, La Belle Epoque, when suddenly a medical emergency happens as one of the guests collapses. Accusations are wildly flung, and Sophie is bent on trying to solve whether a death is actually a murder or whether it was an accident, as she deftly seeks out enough information to have some idea as to what actually went down. Now the trick is to learn the real story. How best to go about it? How about gathering all the people that supposedly were friends of Francis' mother by throwing a fund-raising memorial tea?
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. I thought I had it figured out early on, only to learn that what I thought I knew didn't even briefly come into play. So many people appear to have their own interests at heart that to make any sense of what has become a murder and why it happened, that Sophie believes if she can just get everyone in one place together, she can tease some information out that no one is prepared to talk about. Does it really boil down to money? Well, that's always a good place to start, as they say, Follow the money. Since the police chief is actually a relative to some of the people involved, it is only fitting that he should be at the memorial tea. With strategic placement of the people who are attending, will Sophie be able to get what she wants? Is conversation all it really takes to get someone to spill the beans?
I found the character of Sophie to be less invasive in trying to extract information than other amateur sleuths I've read, which I appreciated. A very interesting plot which thickens remarkably throughout the book. The first I've read by Amanda Cooper and certainly looking forward to reading more. ...more
Who killed the corpse in the castle coffin? This, the second book of the Merry Muffin Mystery series, begins with a brief introduction to the seriesWho killed the corpse in the castle coffin? This, the second book of the Merry Muffin Mystery series, begins with a brief introduction to the series by covering what has happened previously very quickly and succinctly, not distracting from the current book but bringing it into the present. Merry Wynter is currently making her home in Wynter Castle, which she has inherited, and sharing it with her friends, Pish, who is helping her with her finances and with promoting the castle she feels she needs to sell, and Shilo, her gypsy-model friend.
The story opens with Merry going to the next town, a town that is on the verge of collapse, to find a party shop to buy supplies for the upcoming party Pish is helping her arrange. Since it happens to be around Halloween, she has decided on a non-ghoulish Halloween theme. She is completely dismayed by the dismal town and the party shop, but does buy some supplies, even after she is told the warehouse is haunted. Is it?
To confuse matters more, a "cousin" has appeared at the castle and cousin Cranston is determined that he should have his share of the inheritance. Merry is working on the possibility of fraud with the help of Pish, plotting a way to get a DNA sample, while planning the Halloween party. Here we find characters of all kinds, including the 'security' hired to make sure only invited guests get in and other locals to serve the guests. Many of the invited guests are wealthy and in a position to buy the castle if they want it. These New York elite make up the majority of the guests
It isn't long before Merry notices that there are too many guests and on checking finds that several people have been admitted under the same names. While trying to make sense of the football team, who have been included (are they really a football team or is that their costumes?) and others who are acting suspicious, the party begins to unravel. Part of the decor includes a coffin complete with a mannequin, but surprise! There is a body in there, and it belongs to one of the uninvited guests. Who is he, and why is he at the party? No one seems to know who he is, or they aren't telling. When a good friend is arrested for the murder, Merry goes into full investigative mode. With more and happier surprises in store before the mystery is solved, Merry is unsure about selling the castle. She feels she is a part of the community and has made many friends in Autumn Vale. Not everyone is prepared for Merry to sell, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be. Victoria Hamilton writes a great cozy murder mystery and I'm sure there will be more adventures in store....more
This is the first in a new series by Mary Kennedy, a Dream Club Mystery and does a good job of introducing us to the main characters and the Dream CThis is the first in a new series by Mary Kennedy, a Dream Club Mystery and does a good job of introducing us to the main characters and the Dream Club. Haven't heard of Dream Clubs? What about Dream Hopping? Yes, these activities do have a following. Suppose you dreamed you were in a train, traveling somewhere unknown, and you see people you recognize, but don't know why they are there. Are you really having the same dream as someone else? Or did you just find yourself in someone else's dream? This is dream hopping, or one variety of it.
Taylor, who has lived her life in an orderly and deliberate way as a freelance business consultant, has come to visit her sister Ali back home in Savannah and hopefully help her with her bottom line. Ali owns and operates a vintage candy store with a serious lack of customers. The sisters are as opposite as can be. This night is an example. It's a steamy hot night and Ali has been baking delicious treats for her weekly group, the Dream Club. As the evening goes along,Taylor, who never dreams, is having a difficult time keeping her disbelief in check. Some members try to interpret, others feel dreams are just symbolic, and then we have the dream-hopping Sybil. I was even amazed to find one of my own recurring dreams mentioned...must be common!
Great start to a new series! Just before the evening breakup, Persia blurts out that she witnessed a murder in her dream and how real everything seemed to be. Some things are very clear yet some are just brief images. As she finishes, it is clear that her dream of murder sounds very real. Samantha Styles, a detective in the group, quickly goes into alert mode. Is this a murder that has happened or did she miss something? She begins asking questions, which draws more information out of the dream: The victim is a man, loud music is blaring, the man eats and collapses in mid-meal. Has this happened or is it a portent? Sam is not sure believes in this 'dream stuff.'
The next morning as Taylor and Ali are involved in trying to make the store more viable by adding soup, salad, baked goods, and other items to entice the palate when customers come in to Oldies but Goodies for their nostalgic choice of sweets. When Gina stops by to ask about a key to the dance studio across the street; why is he not open for his students? What they find is a murder excruciatingly like Persia's dream discussed the night before. The dream has become reality as Chico, the Latin dance instructor, is found dead. How did what appeared to be an innocent yet confusing and frightening dream become a reality?
Samantha is on the case and once answers are made to her questions, Ali proposes to have an immediate emergency meeting of the Dream Club to see if anyone has come up with any inspiration from their dreams during the night, anything that may lead to what happened. This was a surprising book, with twists and turns leading to an unexpected perpetrator, an eclectic or perhaps eccentric group of women, the people and locale tinged with sweetness of the South and an interesting premise. Disclaimer: This ARC was given me by the author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own....more
What an interesting concept. A ghostly mystery from a ghost's point of view. I love this book! Writing the book in the voice of Bailey Ruth, ghost, isWhat an interesting concept. A ghostly mystery from a ghost's point of view. I love this book! Writing the book in the voice of Bailey Ruth, ghost, is brilliant. A cozy to love. Carolyn Hart has a wonderful way with words, heavenly in fact. The storyline made me feel she was talking directly to me. From the stuffy but with a soft spot Wiggins to the forever young couple Bailey Ruth and Bobby Mac and on to the refined Lorraine, lady of the past, these ghostly individuals come to "life" as characters. Wiggins is the supervisor for Heaven's Department of Good Intentions.
Wiggins has sent lively and incorrigible Bailey Ruth to help Lorraine into the light. But Lorraine doesn't want to go into the light, she is happy with her non-life on earth. There are rules to follow and Bailey Ruth is not one to follow them to the letter, constantly causing Wiggins grief and trips on the ghostly train to correct her errors. Her intentions are always good, but she still has her irrepressible youth and spirit (no pun intended.)
This book is funny, lively, unique and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little fun in their reading. Definitely recommend to readers of cozy mysteries, this one is a bit of a departure to similar cozies and light mysteries. Easy reading, enchanting, and will pull the reader in right from the start. This is the fifth in the Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel series. Did I say I loved this book? You bet!...more
A unique voice among cozy authors, capable of making us want more with every book, Lorna Barrett has returnedDeath by books - a case full of murder.
A unique voice among cozy authors, capable of making us want more with every book, Lorna Barrett has returned to Booktown with this latest outing, Book 8 of the series. Lorna has given us many unusual ways for a killer to kill, and this book is no exception.
Angelica has taken over the Chamber of Commerce in a vote against former Chamber president Bob Kelly. But where is he? For reasons unknown, he has disappeared...or has he? The receptionist for the Chamber is not a person anyone would really attempt to make a friend. She is downright nasty...could that be the reason for her literal downfall? A tremendous crash brings Angelica and sister Tricia running and once again Tricia has found a body. No wonder she is known as the 'town jinx' and often assumed to be the suspect! But Tricia has many more things to confuse her and take up her time. With an ex-husband and ex-boyfriend trying to get back in favor with her, she also is, naturally, sleuthing to clear her name and solve the murder along with sister Angelica. Why was Betsy Dittmeyer so nasty? What secret has she harbored that sister Joelle needs to know? What is she hiding and who didn't want anyone to find out?
Meanwhile, it appears there is a new boon coming...a virtual explosion of future residents in the picture, along with Angelica's determination to expand the coverage of the Chamber of Commerce there should be a re-awakening of the small town and Tricia is privy to some of the newcomers already on the way, a secret that many people seem to know.
With this latest book, aside from the secrets, mysteries, murder and possible attempted murder, the author has left some tantalizing bits of what may be to come in a future book and indeed I, for one, am hoping that Booktown will survive it's latest crisis. Recipes are included in the book.
Disclaimer: Review based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC)...more
I enjoyed this descriptive book of contrasts, good friends and whodunnit Nancy Gettelman's books are written with a distinct style. I always feel thatI enjoyed this descriptive book of contrasts, good friends and whodunnit Nancy Gettelman's books are written with a distinct style. I always feel that I am in the midst of each of the books I've read, even though they are taking place in different places around the world and the mystery part of each book is very different. In this book, her characters are an enthusiastic group of friends new and old.
Sara and Robb Schneider are from Milwaukee, WI and headed to the International Convention of Brew Pub Owners being held in Victoria, BC. Robb, as owner/operator of a Craft Brewery, has attended some of these conventions before and is looking forward to seeing old friends. After leaving the cold of Wisconsin behind Sara is enchanted with Victoria at first sight. The city is already budding out with flowers everywhere. They've booked into the Empress Hotel, an old and very impressive structure, fit for royalty.
Meeting Robb's friends, Sara feels right at home, and is thrilled to learn that her new friends are planning on taking her sight-seeing. There is one sad fact overshadowing this adventure; their house guest's husband goes missing while sent to the north on a government project working with the Inuits. But she is determined to join the girls in showing Sara around. This plot-line runs as a thread throughout the first portion of the story while Sara continues to be enthralled with the beauty she sees all around. All but one of the wives are warm and friendly, but one seems tense and doesn't always accompany them. Her husband is about to go to the Alberta tar sands for a couple of weeks.
Nancy Gettleman's gift is to take us wherever her character goes, and see what she sees. The reader might as well be sitting right in the car with them, wandering through Butchart Gardens, or dining in the Bengal Room of the Empress. Even though I've lived most of my life in Vancouver and often visited Victoria, I learned several new things, which I always enjoy in a book. This book is character driven, but even the location seems to be one of the characters. But wait. This is a murder mystery, not necessarily the victim you might expect, not necessarily the location you might expect and definitely not the method. What is the motive? What is the method? That is the mystery....more
"Polly" put the kettle on, we'll all have tea and mystery!
This 1st-in-series book makes a wonderful debut. This book is fun and fancy-free, enjoyable"Polly" put the kettle on, we'll all have tea and mystery!
This 1st-in-series book makes a wonderful debut. This book is fun and fancy-free, enjoyable even with a murder mystery to solve. At first I wasn't quite sure what the mystery was, then decided I'd fallen into Alice's rabbit hole. Amidst all the turmoil going on around them, Leslie Matthews Stansfield's characters are definitively fleshed out right from the start, very easy to fall in love with...can romance be far behind? I enjoyed the way the story rolled out from the first minute the teacup flew off the shelf to the decidedly vocal and psychic macaw.
The premise of the story dates back to the late 1800s with a string of unsolved bank robberies. But somehow the past is quickly passing the present! This story spoke to me on many levels including the despondency of the aging population at a time when most would rather be in their own homes, the lives of the people involved through inheritance of money stolen 100 years ago, what happens to it if it's found? The support the two sisters give each other after their mother dies, and what happens to her plans of a tea-house and a B&B now she is gone. Happily the girls do open a Tea Shop complemented with an unusually entertaining and talkative macaw, who introduces himself as Mr. T. soon changed to Mr. Tea.
This book is well-paced, with strange happenings in the Tea Shop; thieves, murder, break-ins, strange hints from Mr. Tea, especially as he greets with "Hello Ladies!" the very dead but lively night visitors only he sees, the Guthrie Sisters. All in all, I think this is going to be a fascinating and enjoyable series, I predict a long run....more
What could be lovelier than living in a beautifully quaint small town and owning your own Flower Shop? But wait, there is even more to embellish AbbyWhat could be lovelier than living in a beautifully quaint small town and owning your own Flower Shop? But wait, there is even more to embellish Abby Knight's peaceful and beautiful life; the oh-so-handsome Marco Salvare, local P.I. and business owner who just happens to be Abby's fiance. With only two weeks to the wedding and a sudden horrible death where Abby's mother volunteers at an animal shelter, dark clouds seem to threaten this awaited union. But what can be accomplished in two weeks with her mother a prime suspect as the person who found the body? Is it murder?
Business is down, Marco seems distracted, and all Abby's wedding plans seem to be thwarted. Kate Collins devoted time and space to character input rather than direct and perhaps misplaced action, centered as it was around the problems threatening Abby's family, her wedding and her happiness. Not that action was missing, Abby and Marco work well together on the investigation. I enjoyed the book, it was different, more personal as we see new facets to family members. Full of verve, the families combine talents to perform a miracle and pull off the wedding. The book drew me in for the people as much as for the mystery, and it definitely was a difficult case.
The book actually involved more plotting, character development and humor as cousin Jillian "practices" the stages of pregnancy. The end result is both sad and happy and the book is certainly satisfying with a warm feeling regardless of the nature of the crime. I look forward to the next instalment with Abby and the romantic Marco as a married couple. Will it affect their relationship? It remains to be seen....more
Trixie Matkowski is thrilled but very nervous when her Aunt Stella practically gives her the vacation spot of her childhood, Sandy Point, with an offeTrixie Matkowski is thrilled but very nervous when her Aunt Stella practically gives her the vacation spot of her childhood, Sandy Point, with an offer she won't be able to resist. And she doesn't resist. She is now the new owner of the Silver Bullet Diner, Victorian house, summer cottages, bait shop and a huge chunk of valuable waterfront land.
This is the first book in a new series The Comfort Food Series, and in many ways this cozy is as comforting as apple pie. The Diner is especially meaningful to Trixie, who loves to cook. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy and this 24-hour Diner is always full. In a small resort town one doesn't usually expect anything out of the ordinary to occur. But this small town is not without its share of mysteries and murder.
On her very first day the food inspector dies in the Diner kitchen. This definitely is not a good omen! Especially when it turns out that he was poisoned. When word gets around the small town, Trixie suddenly finds herself with lots of food and no customers, except for the enticing cowboy Ty, Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco. Just what Trixie needed in her life...not. Hadn't she just divorced from Deputy Dog...oops, I mean Deputy Doug? Doug the cheater? Definitely Ty is a man she should avoid, even though they have agreed to share a friendly lost dog that has decided the Diner is home.
Determined to solve the mystery and get her clientele back before she goes bankrupt, Trixie does some investigating on her own. Naturally, Ty does not want her doing this, but she does turn up a few leads and evidence, sometimes by hilarious means. Christine Wenger writes with a flow I enjoyed, great characterization, description, humor and mystery. It is my opinion that the series will do very well, and those recipes that are included sound wonderful. Comfort food indeed....more
Life is a tangled web in Booktown Seventh in the Booktown Mystery series, several changes are in the works. TReview based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC)
Life is a tangled web in Booktown Seventh in the Booktown Mystery series, several changes are in the works. There are surprises in store as the Chamber of Commerce prepares for elections, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas holiday events, keeping the shopkeepers hopping preparing for the hoped-for onslaught of holiday shoppers. The Chamber elections have never taken long because no one has ever run against the incumbent Bob, but he is in for a surprise when Angelica decides to run. Another surprise entry happens at the meeting as a newcomer throws his hat in the ring. With only three people running for Chamber president, it would be easy to think this would not take long, but once again a body has been found by Tricia, and it's the body of Stan Berry, not the most popular man in town, but one of the candidates.
Tricia's life is getting very problematic, aside from or maybe because of the obvious effect of discovering yet another body and the embarrassing fact of where she found it, but also with the number of other events calling for her attention. Her relationship with Chief Baker would seem to be on the skids if it weren't going downhill so slowly. She is thinking of calling it off altogether. At the same time, her ex-husband Christopher is in town and seems determined to reconcile. Will Chief Baker wake up to the fact he is losing her? Will Christopher's tactics, telling the villagers that he and Tricia were thinking of reconciling actually work? And what about the new man in town? Is he a suspect or can she trust him?
Life is as much of a tangled web as ever for Tricia and is taking a toll on her. A meltdown is in the offing, but with Angelica running for Chamber president, Ginny getting married with Tricia as one of her bridesmaids, a murder to solve, and her assistant Pixie determined to dress the store up for the holidays, can the meltdown be avoided? Another wonderfully full throttle Booktown mystery with never a dull moment and an ending that took me completely by surprise, Lorna Barrett's cozy series never disappoints. Delicious recipes included....more
I love this book! A good old English romp with mystery abounding. Fans of the old-type English mysteries will find this debut series reminiscent of byI love this book! A good old English romp with mystery abounding. Fans of the old-type English mysteries will find this debut series reminiscent of bygone eras, Dorothy Sayer's Lord Wimsey in particular comes to mind.
Placed in the year 1932, a not so typical rich, single young heir Drew Farthering, whose best friend Nick is the son of the butler, lives with his mother and step-father in the family mansion. On the eve of one of his mother's spectacular parties, three young girls arrive from America for a visit. One of the young ladies is the niece of Drew's step-father and a beautiful handful she is. But Drew is not the only admirer at the party. The fiend after prey, Lincoln, has also got his eye on the prize, much to her consternation. Between Madeline, Drew and Nick, he is disgraced and disappears outside with Drew's mother. Shortly afterward, Drew and Madeline stumble across Lincoln's body, or is it? Difficult to tell since his head is blown away.
This is the beginning of a story that will take the reader through many twists and turns. Julianna Deering writes with all the wit the English delivered in pre-WWII mysteries. Nostalgia overtakes me as I read.
As Drew and Nick, sometimes assisted by Madeline, decide to try to solve what has become a string of crimes, there are more mysteries, more deaths. Are they related? It's a possibility, but difficult to link. The more they investigate, the more danger they are in. Yet, the young people feel they are close to the solution often, only to find it to be a red herring. Will they learn the culprit or culprits before the police? Will they learn the true victims of the case? An exciting yet labyrinthian chase through odd places gives added excitement to the quandary. Too many suspects then suddenly too few suspects. Fun and games until it hits too close to home. A different twist to the old-style mystery keeps it fresh. With a surprising ending, I really enjoyed it and look forward to more in the Drew Farthering series....more
This is the first book in Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks series, reprinted. Let me say first that I loved the interaction between Diesel, a rescueThis is the first book in Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks series, reprinted. Let me say first that I loved the interaction between Diesel, a rescued Maine Coon cat, and the other characters in the story. So much so, that I want a Maine Coon cat! The book is well-written and characters fully formed, not always found in the first book of a series. There appears to be a good balance among the characters.
The storyline was full of suspense and twists right to the end. When best-selling author Godfrey Priest is killed, it soon becomes clear that almost everyone had a reason to kill him. A mean-spirited and hateful snob of a character not above stealing another's works, it is a wonder he lived so long. Sadly, he leaves behind the one person who might have cared about him, his newly discovered son Justin, who just happens to be boarding at the home of our main protagonist, Godfrey's old high school acquaintance, Charlie Harris, librarian and book archivist and owner of said cat. Without Charlie's help with Diesel's assistance, the crime might never have been solved.
This series has it all, compassion, spite, good, bad, and characters that bounce off each other in many ways. A great start to a new cozy series....more
Based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Third in the Victoria Square Mystery Series, this book does not disappoint, in fact if anything, it surpasses withBased on Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Third in the Victoria Square Mystery Series, this book does not disappoint, in fact if anything, it surpasses with a mysterious fire and death in Artisans Alley. As Katie's mind races between one suspect and another, one victim and another, the reader is hard put to try and outguess the protagonist. With her keen sense of intuition, she needs to talk her ideas out with someone. What a time for Detective Davenport to retire! So many loose threads, but who is holding the winning one, the one with the right answers? Why did two men disappear at the same time, with one body left behind at Artisans Alley? Katie has two many suspects and too many victims. But Detective Davenport does not go lightly into the sunset but is actively hoping to solve this last case before his official retirement date and time. Who died in the Wood U fire?
Another thorn in Katie's side, she has once again seen her dreams of owning the Webster Mansion to a new buyer. Turning to Seth, her lawyer friend, she finds no answers but more questions, but on meeting the new owners, she finds that they have a lot of ideas similar to her own, and even better, she really likes them. But can she part with all her stored treasures she bought in anticipation of turning the house into the English Ivy Inn?
In this sizzling early summer heat, tempers flare, strange things are happening at the Alley, and the air conditioner is ill-equipped for both the extreme temperatures and the size of the building. Going home at the end of the day to her room over the pizza parlor is no better. Emotions run high, and dealing with Ida's frustrating personality has driven her to remove her from the Alley. A decision that will come back to haunt her.
Once more Lorraine Bartlett has given us a very hot mystery to keep us guessing. A large part of the charm of the Victoria Square Mystery Series is the camaraderie shared by so many mainstays in the series, and that charm continues. Well-written as always, introducing new characters and perhaps a new direction, this book will certainly keep our brain cells cooking! With Katie's mind going in so many directions, there are twists and turns galore....more
As the story begins, Tricia and Angelica, two sisters who own shops in Booktown, a revamped original part of Stoneham, New Hampshire, are trundling thAs the story begins, Tricia and Angelica, two sisters who own shops in Booktown, a revamped original part of Stoneham, New Hampshire, are trundling their way to the new Sheer Comfort Inn, where Angelica has won an overnight stay for two in a draw at the town Chamber. The Sheer Comfort Inn, a beautifully renovated Victorian home, has not been officially opened yet and is having a sort of dry run a week before opening. After a brief conversation with their hostess Pippa Comfort, Tricia becomes aware that Mrs. Comfort was expecting Angelica to be accompanied by Bob Kelly, owner of Kelly Real Estate and head of the Chamber of Commerce. As they head to their room, Tricia gets a glimpse of a slightly familiar man in the hall who suddenly turns away as though he does not want to be seen by her. Who would she know here aside from the other Chamber members who were recipients of the free stay? He looked like he worked at the hotel.
Love is definitely not in the air, but that doesn't stop a bit of running around among some of the residents. What is happening to romance in Stoneham? Angelica is angry with ex-boyfriend Bob, Mr. Everett is concerned about his marriage with Grace, Tricia is on the outs with Grant Baker, police chief and sometimes boyfriend/lover, too busy to see her, and more. Some friendships slip and jealousy rears its head. The mixed bunch of guests at the Inn don't seem to be having a romantic evening either. When Tricia takes Angelica's dog out for a walk a few minutes after getting to their room, Sarge sniffs out a body behind the fence and wouldn't you know it, the body is that of Pippa Comfort, last seen about five minutes before! What on earth could have happened? Naturally Tricia is faced with interrogation by Grant resulting in further distance between them after she reports the "accident". On the suspect list as the one who discovered the body, he can't be seen talking to her except about the case.
There are so many suspects for this murder and a lot of very interesting hobbies among the shopkeepers come to light. Nothing like a murder investigation to bring out the dirt, and this bit of laundry is sure to hang out someone to dry eventually. A lot of changes in this, the sixth of the Booktown Series. Lorna Barrett has served up another great mystery with old and new characters, a surprise from the past, good news and seriously bad news for Angelica in particular. Will she rise from the ashes of her career? Lorna Barrett's characters are believable, although possibly a stretch with one. When we get to know her better. we learn you not only can't judge a book by its cover, but the first introduction doesn't tell the whole story. I love some of the tongue-in-cheek names that show up occasionally in these books. Now I ask you, what could be more fitting than the Full Moon Nudist Camp and Resort?
Meanwhile, with the town beginning to think of Tricia as a jinx, who is sending her "gifts" in the mail with oblique messages? Who is always standing in shadow? Why does she have to find another body, fortunately one that is still breathing, on her next walk with Sarge, the dog with the great sniffer? So many questions to be answered and difficult to guess what the answers may be. Lots of twists and mixed emotions among the Booktown people in this book. Once again, a downright good read with recipes as a bonus. Even with all the many conflicts and resolutions in this book, all part of the mystery, this storyline does not falter nor confuse. Good, solid writing and a very funny last paragraph...don't peek, it won't make any sense unless you read the book! Four easy and tasty recipes included....more
There is always a lot of action in the small town of Moraine, but the annual Harmony Festival is anything but harmonious. Between the usual squabblesThere is always a lot of action in the small town of Moraine, but the annual Harmony Festival is anything but harmonious. Between the usual squabbles and vendor problems, some impromptu explosions are keeping the townspeople frazzled. This book was well-written as expected, but the storyline was quite different from previous books in the series. Written in Hannah Reed's wry and witty way, some of the characters undergo surprising changes, a metamorphosis so to speak, adding an interesting and unexpected factor to the mix.
I really enjoy this series of quirky characters in a small town. A small part of that enjoyment is because I was once a beekeeper, but the author does spice her book up with some interesting honeybee facts and lore, as well as including recipes using honey. This series may come under the classification of cozy, but don't be fooled, they always have a good and surprising mystery to solve and this book was no stranger to the theme. When our heroine, Story, trips over a body in the cemetery, only to have it disappear, no one believes her. Was there a body? Was it overactive imagination in the dark? If there was a body, where did it go? The challenge is to discover if another body found elsewhere is in fact the same one, and if the perpetrator of the crime is a local, a stranger, or a team. Whose body is missing? Why are some townspeople being attacked? And what in the world do hickory nuts have to do with anything?
This is the kind of book where you can recognize some characters, relax and enjoy them, learn something new, but remain on high alert for the chase to find answers and solve the mystery. A very enjoyable book, #3 in the series, it gets better all the time....more
Samantha is up to her neck in trouble. Call it a sudden atmospheric and/or culture shock, but she is about to be transformed from a dinosaur of the CoSamantha is up to her neck in trouble. Call it a sudden atmospheric and/or culture shock, but she is about to be transformed from a dinosaur of the Computer Age into a somewhat savvy Dotcom California fledgling quickly learning the lingo. If that weren't enough, she has a fear of heights and is sent to California's coast along the Pacific Highway resulting in terrifying cliff driving, and Carey Wells, the Isis CEO she is to interview not only lives on a cliff, but has a glass floor at the edge where one can look down at the ocean below and watch the sea otters. All this because the nice paper magazine “Real Life” has been taken over by a Japanese digital conglomerate and will now be operating strictly on-line as “E-LIFE”. Joining the cyberworld has her editor in a panic for a groundbreaking story from Sam.
Sarah Browne writes with tongue-in-cheek (and often cheeky) humour, this ebook is fascinating and funny reading. Sam's first encounter with the CEO is breathtaking since she finds herself interviewing a very distracting hunk in a hot tub. But it isn't all daydreams and wishful thinking, oh, no! There is quite a cast of characters in this book ranging from the mysterious and missing ex-galpal Lily, the old friends from Carey's hometown, Jake and Danny, who are also dotcom literate and technical, and Ben, the good friend but also technically the competition CEO.
The evening of her arrival in Carmel coincided with the eve of a marathon which she was definitely not planning on running. She was, however, destined to be at Carey's pre-marathon party. By the next morning, Sam discovers her first dead body. With pressure from her editor, pressure from the police, and pressure from her vertigo, Sam finds herself without a story and stuck in California. Who can she trust? Who is killing off dotcom bigwigs? This is a story with lots of detail, descriptive and peopled with unique characters. Fun, rich in cybertalk, and a compelling murder mystery. A very entertaining read....more
Published by Berkley Prime Crime, New York Review based on ARC
What a stressful life our Katie Bonner is living these days! Aside from her daily routinePublished by Berkley Prime Crime, New York Review based on ARC
What a stressful life our Katie Bonner is living these days! Aside from her daily routines at the Artisans Alley, which are about to be interrupted in a less than happy way, she is rushing around to find a place to live and down to a very short deadline since her apartment has been rented out already. Then one of her vendors talks her into becoming her Matron of Honour (and must have read and copied every book on a Matron of Honour's duty), with a deadline just over a week away. Another vendor is adamantly demanding that her neighbouring vendor be arrested for stealing with no proof whatsoever, and her dream to own and operate the old Webster mansion for a Bed and Breakfast is revived again when the property goes up for sale---and again she can't afford it. It does sell, though, and the new owners are planning on doing exactly what Katie had planned, they are renovating the house to be a Bed and Breakfast, with many of the same ideas Katie had.
Lorraine Bartlett knows how to write sharp, witty, intriguing mysteries, often with several smoothly entwined in a single book, a book that is very hard to put down. I think this is the best yet. New characters come and go, and some remain adding to the population of Victoria Square. I love the title of the book and how it fits with the story. There is indeed a "walled flower", not the kind of flower you would expect, but one forever caught in the bloom of its life. Katie is about to uncover this flower when she makes a welcoming visit to the new neighbours, who are busily tearing down a wall. They allow her to try her hand with the mallet which she does with the relish and zeal of a thwarted homeowner, breaking away pieces until she suddenly realizes something is inside the wall. The skeleton of a young woman, obviously in the wall for many years, the walled flower, a death too soon. At this point an over-stressed Katie issues what must be the understatement of the decade, "Well, this could ruin your day."
As the insensitive and formidable homicide Detective Ray Davenport arrives and the area is cordoned off, Rose Nash, one of the older vendors at Artisan's Alley and a special friend to Katie, is allowed in when it appears she may have information about the body. She is able to identify the locket the skeleton is wearing and identifies the girl as her niece Heather, who disappeared 22 years before. From the moment of identification, this story takes on a life of its own, involving many people, possible suspects, and more bodies piling up. As usual, the detective does not seem to be moving, or at the very least moving in the right direction, so Rose becomes Katie's sidekick as they investigate together, a partnership I found very satisfying and would enjoy seeing again. Rose proves herself reliable and quick.
In the meantime, between the looming wedding, the accusations of thefts, a child left unattended by the accusator, the hunt for a place to live (and wondering why current boyfriend Andy won't let her rent his apartment over the store) and more, Katie is quickly becoming overwhelmed. Searching for an apartment introduces her to some very strange owners! She is aided, and sometimes abetted, by various members of the Alley. Many surprises are in store for the reader. This is an enjoyable romp with action all through. I did not want to put the book down, though I often felt I needed to catch my breath. A wonderful cozy read....more
How would you prefer to spend Christmas, in jail or doing community service? Gertie and her group of investigators, The Trouble Busters, naturally choHow would you prefer to spend Christmas, in jail or doing community service? Gertie and her group of investigators, The Trouble Busters, naturally chose to do community service. The Trouble Busters, possibly considered to be The Trouble Makers by the judge, is a group of three "older" women who have been charged with obstructing justice. Living with her 92 year old mother-in-law, Gertie has a secret motive for suggesting they do their time at the assisted living home in Trenary, in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. She is hoping Grandma, her late husband's mother, will like it so much she will elect to move there, especially since an old boy-friend Earl is there, so she has included in her group of forced volunteers her thorn-in-the-side mother-in-law, and Gertie's companion dog Fred, a German Shepherd. An ex-police dog, he is easily the most capable member of the investigators.
What they don't realize until already committed to volunteering there, is that Earl is a joker with a nasty bent. Being served "chocolate" candies that turn out to have a distinct odour that he "made" himself, it doesn't take long to decide this choice was not particularly a good idea. Unfortunately for this zany group, they are stranded there when they are cut off from escape by a huge snowstorm. The staff takes advantage of the new arrivals to take a day off, leaving them almost solely responsible for the residents and under the watch of the intolerable head of the facility, Nurse Shrank, a seriously scary thought.
With a mixed bag of equally zany residents including a former mailman deathly afraid of dogs, and Nurse Shrank, a nightmare waiting to happen, the fun begins. When Gertie discovers a body in the basement she knows this definitely was a bad idea. With the phone lines down and a raging snowstorm isolating them, they are stuck with whatever is going on. Definitely not where anyone wants to spend Christmas! Especially when almost everyone falls into a deep sleep after lunch, including the staff and Fred. Deb Baker has concocted a very unusual and funny holiday mystery with her group of protagonists. This story can be read quickly and the antics of the characters will entertain. How the inmates of the assisted living pull off their stunts as well as cotton on to what is going on that shouldn't be at Applegate, better known as Hellsgate by Gertie, is quirky yet intelligent. I enjoyed this romp of a mystery and the "volunteer" group. I must admit to the fact that this is my first, but not my last, visit to Gertie Johnson's life....more
This book is a very entertaining read. The story appears to take place primarily in the late 1960s. Jean Sheldon has done an excellent job of keepingThis book is a very entertaining read. The story appears to take place primarily in the late 1960s. Jean Sheldon has done an excellent job of keeping the time period consistent. I love the many references to that time in conversations and in Mattie Draper's thoughts. I enjoyed reminiscing as I read, especially about the early computers. Our heroine is a former secretary who got tired of typing "Dear Sir or Madam", making coffee, and doing paperwork. She is ready for something more exciting. Mattie's good friend and sometimes date Frankie Ficaro, a PI, suggests she rent the office next to his and become a private investigator. Mattie tells her story in the first person and I think this was a perfect match for her sense of humour, her flow of thoughts as she goes along and the reader getting a sneak peak at the many characters she meets. Mattie endears many and the rest, well, it's a toss-up. They are either irritated, or despise her, especially the Sheriff. For her first case, she is hired by Dave Quigley to solve the kidnapping of his wife, Diana and bring her home alive. Mattie is a little less than confident that she can do the investigation, but Frankie builds her confidence up and promises to help when he can.
This was a quirky, funny story, lots of lightness yet a terrible crime. There is seemingly no end to the suspect list, and it just keeps growing. Mattie's thoughts and comments are reminiscent of some old detective novels and movies. Not the tough guy ones, but the novels lightened with humourous remarks and thoughts complementing the plot. She gathers information from helpful secretaries, household staff and their contacts among the rich and famous the Quigley's hobnob with. But sleuthing is not all talking to suspects and her own group of listeners, not in the least. At various times she is getting too close to something or someone, but she's not sure what. She is separately arrested, warned off, hog-tied, beaten and drugged, but who is doing what, why and for whom? No matter what, feisty and fun, she keeps on going. She truly believes, along with others, that if she doesn't find Diana before the ransom is paid, Diana will be killed. This is a cozy mystery despite the serious crime, with many contestants for the kidnapper and/or for the murderer. There are lots of false leads and red herrings. Although there is a final wrap-up, I would enjoy reading more cases featuring Mattie and Frankie. I really enjoyed this book....more
Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton Published by Berkley Prime Crime
Maggie Sefton has assembled a great mixed group of friends in her Knitting MysterySkein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton Published by Berkley Prime Crime
Maggie Sefton has assembled a great mixed group of friends in her Knitting Mystery series. I find as a reader I feel like I am a part of the story, it's an interesting and comfortable feeling. Yet not all is sunny in the small town of Fort Connor, Colorado. As with most of the country, the financial downturn has affected many of the residents, including Kelly's boyfriend, Steve, who is an architect, and her friend Jennifer, in real estate. As a result, Steve is working two jobs as much as he can, spending almost all his time in Boulder and very little in Fort Connor. To make matters worse from Steve's point of view, Kelly not only has her consulting work, but she has a large inheritance and would willingly share it with Steve, but it just increases his feeling of failure and he refuses to take any money.
Of course, this wouldn't be a cosy mystery without a murder. It all starts when Kelly steps out on her patio one night and is startled to find a barefoot college girl standing there. She doesn't answer any questions, just rocks and smiles. It doesn't take Kelly long to realize the girl is stoned out of her mind, and must have walked along the trail by the golf course behind the house. She is high on Ecstasy. Kelly calls 911 and the girl is taken to hospital. Kelly has no idea how she got there, but the trail is not a safe place to walk at night, there have been some recent attacks on women walking alone.
Kelly learns that the girl has been on her own since childhood and that Barbara, one of the knitting teachers at House of Lambspun, the wool shop where Kelly and her friends meet. Barbara had more or less taken Holly in, and she grew up with Tommy, Barbara's son, who is now studying medicine. Apparently, Holly calls on Tommy constantly, drawing him away from his studies and work as a paramedic. With Mimi, the shop owner, taking an interest in her, the girl turns herself around and does well. She even takes knitting classes. Then a party she attends has her turning to alcohol but not drugs. The next morning, her body is found on the trail.
The coroner calls it a drug overdose, but Kelly can't shake the feeling there is more to it, and starts to investigate, to the chagrin of Steve, who twice arrives at the home they share on weekends to find her gone. He is on the brink of staying away in Boulder for good. How can this be happening? With her consternation of Steve's reaction, Kelly still pursues her investigation. Holly knew the trail wasn't safe, and she was trying to become a good person. What went wrong? Jealousy? A mother's overbearing protection? A drug dealer? So many questions. It seems everyone is trying to steer Kelly a different direction. Brick walls are up against Kelly as she tries to get at the truth. Will she learn what really happened in time? There are several possibilities, many supplied by another girl who grew up with both Kelly and Tommy as classmates through the years. Which of the possible suspects might prove to be a murderer? It will keep the reader guessing. What will happen to Kelly's romance and future?
In the midst of all this is woven an engagement and the wild search for a wedding dress and other plans necessary for the wedding. This book is a cozy with subject matter that is meaningful in today's world where parties, drugs and alcohol play a major part, especially in college. We also end with a cliff-hanger. Will there be a happy future for Kelly? That will require reading the next book, "Unraveled". I really enjoy Maggie's books, they are fun, genuinely "cosy" yet with a good murder mystery, and this one did not disappoint. Recipe and Knitting pattern included....more
A bit of fun, a bit of romance, a bit of history, a bit of relaxation, a bit of underhandedness, and a corpse no one will miss! This is #9 of the KnitA bit of fun, a bit of romance, a bit of history, a bit of relaxation, a bit of underhandedness, and a corpse no one will miss! This is #9 of the Knitting series, but to be fair in my review I must say it is several years since I read one of Maggie's series, #2 "Needled to Death", so I am coming into this cozy series with little knowledge of what has gone before. Just the same, I feel attuned to the book. I'm delighted that this series takes place among the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, a beautiful location with lots of inspiration for a book of this type. I can almost associate the colours of the landscapes with the colours of the yarns featured in this series.
The story is centered around a mixed group of friends, all ages, male and female, with several interests in common. Added to the mix, an author of Western History has come to town as Curt's houseguest and the whole group immediately takes to him. These friends sound wonderful, I would love to meet them in person. Maggie Sefton brings her characters alive with their speech, a trick of emphasis that I could hear quite plainly in my mind. The hub at the center is Lambspun, a yarn and knitting shop with a room where friends can gather, knitting and chatting, with a convenient café attached to the shop.
Though most of these friends are knitters, with Mimi and Burt taking turns at the register and spinning skeins into balls, they enjoy each other's company in sports, barbecues, and sharing their moments good or bad, in a complete group or just two or three. Kelly Flynn, the amateur sleuth of the group, is trying to deal with her heartbreak over her ex-boyfriend Steve, who walked out on her in #8 "Skein of the Crime." In #9, the current book, her friends, who are also his friends, are trying to get them back together. Steve lives in Denver, and sometimes manages to come to town to visit with some of them.
In Unraveled, Kelly is deep into her work as CPA for Arthur Housemann, a land developer and investor. She often stays in Denver rather than commuting if she is needed again the next day. She is, in essence, hiding out from her anger and hurt because of Steve by throwing herself into her work. The recession has hit the community of Fort Connor hard, as it has elsewhere, so when real estate agent Jennifer gets a client for a large piece of ranchland, she is excited to find that the client is none other than Kelly's boss. A cinch of a sale, since he is offering full price, or is it? The property owner has made a fortune out of being dishonest and tough.
When Jennifer races to present her offer after hearing there is another offer being submitted that would defeat any other presented, she and Kelly see a truck pull out of the driveway and come barreling down the road toward them. When they pull into the driveway, Jen goes in and suddenly yells for Kelly. She has found the owner all right, but he's dead. It appears to be a suicide, but why now?
This book has a different approach from some cozies, in that the corpse does not come into the story right at the beginning. Characters are all fleshed out and continuity is primary in the early part of the book. In the remainder of the book, the discovery of the corpse takes us in a different direction. Kelly has her own little trigger for going into sleuthing mode. She gets a kind of buzzing that grows more insistent if she ignores it. She has already been alerted by the buzzing that this is more than a suicide, and launches into her own investigation. With two prime suspects, it is an interesting journey to reach a final conclusion.
I enjoyed the book and its nuances. Definitely a lighter read in many places, the camaraderie is a pleasant set-up for the mystery to come. I'm looking forward to the next book to learn the fate of Kelly and Steve. As a bonus at the end of the book there is a knitting pattern and a recipe....more
I love a cozy mystery to relax with, and when it gives me not only an interesting whodunit but something new I can leaPublished by Berkley Prime Crime
I love a cozy mystery to relax with, and when it gives me not only an interesting whodunit but something new I can learn about, I always feel like I hit a jackpot. Hannah Reed has done just that with her new series.
Story Fischer is celebrating her divorce from her skirt-chasing now ex-husband, Clay Lane by having a one-day sale on everything in her store, The Wild Clover, and offering champagne. She is also celebrating the kick-off campaign for September National Honey Month. Story has been learning beekeeping from her mentor, Manny Chapman, and she is now the proud owner of two strong beehives. Manny has studied and kept a journal on every aspect of honeybees and is the owner operator of the strongest, most productive honey farm in Wisconsin.
Buzz Off is told in first person by Story. Her celebration is interrupted suddenly with the news that Manny is unconscious and may be dead. The police and paramedics can't tell because he is covered with bees and they can't get at him. They need Story to get the bees away. She can not believe he would be killed by honeybees, especially when they have a lot of honey to take back to their hives, but she does notice yellow-jackets among the bees which definitely could do the deed. Unfortunately, nobody believes her. We are now at the crux of the mystery. Story believes it is murder, everyone else thinks the bees killed him and the town, led by the overzealous wife of the town chairman, is out to get Storey's bees.
Moraine is a very small town, more like a neighborhood. As such, readers might think there would be no way for secrets to be kept, but readers, you would be wrong. This town abounds with secrets, even with a very informed but oft mistaken gossip queen in their midst. Hannah Reed has peopled the book with a melange of quirky characters in this small town. The story flows well, the research done by Hannah is excellent, I suspect from her obvious care and knowledge that she is also a beekeeper when she isn't writing. In fact, being around the hives is probably conducive to writing, a music of its own. More character-driven than not, this series promises to be flat out fun, murders aside. I found this book enjoyable, descriptive, and the feel of the book is well-defined. Readers may feel they have been dropped into the story and become a part of it. The crimes are well-plotted and the solutions hinted at remain well-hidden. The heroine is flawed just enough to feel comfortable with, no perfect specimen of femininity here, and she is no slouch under attack, but she is very entertaining. A good beginning to this series, I know I will be following it wherever it takes me. Includes recipes....more
What a slamdunk opening to a story! Sentenced to Death certainly grabbed my attention with an astounding Founders Day Celebration in Stoneham, New HWhat a slamdunk opening to a story! Sentenced to Death certainly grabbed my attention with an astounding Founders Day Celebration in Stoneham, New Hampshire. Who could guess that an innocuous celebration would change the lives of the town's residents so much, in particular the Booktown shop-owners? Lorna Barrett, you've done it again! Although new characters are introduced, some remain and some leave, one way or another. Other characters make changes in their lives as land developers descend on this typically quiet little town.
The sudden death of Tricia's friend Deborah, by what must surely be the strangest weapon used in a cozy mystery, leaves the town in shock. Her devastating death leaves behind a toddler, Davey, husband David, and mother Elizabeth who is her store assistant cum babysitter. Festivities are cancelled, and the National Transportation Safety Board arrives to take over the investigation. Everyone believes it is a tragic accident, but Tricia feels there is more to it than that. She is sure it is murder and she is also sure she knows who is involved. The speed with which David hires a lawyer in preparation for a lawsuit, disposes by cremation of his wife's body with no funeral, and the speed with which he sells the store Deborah owned with her mother, adds another nail to his coffin in Tricia's mind. But could that simply be the actions of a man suffering the trauma of losing his wife so suddenly? And what about the Nigela Racita Associates' rush to buy up properties in town, including Deborah's shop "Happy Domestic", partly owned by Elizabeth and sold out from under her?
Lorna Barrett has a special knack for letting us picture the town and the townspeople with her descriptive voice. Her characterizations are human and consistent, not over-the-top. This is Book 5 in the Booktown series and we've come to know a lot about the residents. In this book, pestered by her ex-boyfriend and uncertain about her current unproclaimed beau, feeling the loss of her assistant Ginny as she furthers her career as the new manager of the Happy Domestic, Tricia is definitely stressed. She is confused by the discovery that though she was one of her best friends, Tricia seems to be out of the loop about much of Deborah's life. This story is full of secrets and conjecture. With two deaths and a town in turmoil, it appears that Tricia may just be right about the "accident" being murder, but what would be the reason for the second death in the same "accident"? Who could possibly want two such unconnected people dead?
I always enjoy this series, it is cohesive, maintains its character, has a strong plot full of surprises, and is always entertaining. Well done, an excellent choice for readers of cozies and unique mysteries.
Another unique foray into the forensic use of acoustics in aiding murder investigations. Who would have thought what a greaPublished by Cozy Cat Press
Another unique foray into the forensic use of acoustics in aiding murder investigations. Who would have thought what a great tool this can be? I had the privilege of reviewing Patricia Rockwell's first book in this series, Sounds of Murder, this is the second. We have several of the same characters as in the first, but this time out the location is completely different. The book is written in two time periods as well as the present. This may sound confusing, but the times are well laid out, and essential to the mystery.
The story begins December 15 just before midnight with a late-night radio broadcast of alternative music, hosted by "Black Vulture", normally running from midnight to 4:00 a.m. During his patter, he mentions that he can hear that he has a visitor coming, the door opens, and the listening world hears the shooting death of the local celebrity, Black Vulture a.k.a. Theodore Ballard, on air, then deathly quiet as the mike is switched off. So here we are with a mysterious death and the shocked alternative music world as audio witness, right in the first two pages, the Prologue.
Back to a previous day in the week, December 11, we meet a dying carpet king, his son Daniel who is currently running the business, and the family lawyer Harold Vickers, among others. Now, what could a carpet manufacturing business possibly have to do with an alternative music disk jockey? There are a few secrets in this family, including Amy, Daniel's secret sweetheart and his desire to reunite his father and his long-missing and disowned brother before his father passes away. This is no easy task because they have never heard a word from him since he left many years before, but he asks the lawyer if he will look into it..
Next, we move into "present" time, which at this moment in the story is December 16. Before long, a pattern of timing will appear explaining why these three time periods are important, how they connect up, and eventually reach the present in all three parts. We are now at the home of the intrepid and feisty heroine, Pamela Barnes, who is trying to sleep in on this Sunday morning, while her dog is trying to wake her up. We also get to know her husband Rocky, and daughter Angie. Rocky is the main cook in this family and there are recipes in the back of the book. Rocky is also against his wife "sticking her nose in" when it comes to murder, akin to Columbo-like Detective Shoop, nor does he approve of Angie's relationship with Pamela's graduate assistant, Kent, and refers to him as "that hoodlum" and says he "looks like a weirdo".
Kent and Angie are into alternative music. They had been to a movie the night before, then at a friend's home where they were listening to Black Vulture's show and so it is that they also became audio witnesses to his murder, and called the police. When she mentions his real name, Rocky is shocked to learn that he has met him. He is one of the doctoral students in the English Department at Grace University, where both Pamela and Rocky work. Their friend Trudi is his advisor.
Of course, Pamela's mind switches into investigative mode, while Rocky slips into his over-protective mode both for his wife and his daughter. Since the murder was recorded, this time Detective Shoop asks for Pamela's help in analyzing the audio with her specialized equipment for any possible clues. Pamela, naturally, jumps at the chance to help. She soon has others helping her with knowledge of accents and guns, as well as her entire class as a project they jump right in to. Her research also extends itself into attending a Vampires Ball in New Orleans.
There is a blend in Patricia Rockwell's writing of pathos and humor, intelligence, surprises, shock and very interesting investigative methods. For all the switches in time, it's fascinating how she draws all these into one. Patricia, you totally shocked me with the murderer. I thought it was between 3 possible suspects, but no. Fantastic!.Again, I look forward to what's in store for Pamela, her family and friends, next time....more
This is the third book in the Maggie and Odessa series, however this is the first I have read. The book is entertaining withPublished by CreateSpace
This is the third book in the Maggie and Odessa series, however this is the first I have read. The book is entertaining with distinctive continuing characters, as well as a mixed bag of tricky characters filling out the current book. I found it unusual and interesting that although I believe Maggie is the main character, the story is told by Odessa, like Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Maggie is ostensibly working as file clerk and receptionist for a private eye but she is determined to take on a case of her own. In "Semisweet" she gets her chance, or more correctly, she makes her chance. Odessa, O to her friends and Dessa to her boyfriend Lee, is Maggie's "sidekick". Odessa is a dessert chef, working both privately and at her sister Candace's restaurant, the Blue Moon, when she isn't running after Maggie helping solve crime.
The story opens with a terrified Odessa being held with a knife at her throat in the almost empty restaurant. Good opening, certainly gains the reader's attention, and I liked the humorous touch in this scene as well. We meet Maggie first via cellphone, as the knife wielder is handcuffed and led out of the restaurant. A bright, cheery happy voice breaking the tension. We meet her in person two days later accompanied by the woman involved in what Maggie refers to as her first case. Her boss was out when she took the call and she decided this was a good time for her to take on a case of her own, licensed or not.
The story revolves around this case, a strange one if ever there was. Maggie is to act as a wedding planner for Mrs. Verde's daughter, Eloise. The well-to-do Mrs. Verde will pay whatever the cost. Odessa is to make the wedding cake and desserts, and even Candace is involved as caterer and assistant to Maggie as a planner. Strangely, while planning the wedding for Eloise, Maggie is also supposed to be digging up dirt on Henry, the bridegroom-to-be, and make sure the wedding doesn't happen! What could be cozier? If this were not enough, Maggie has to take along her 8 year old Houdini son part of the time, frustratingly helpful as he is. This, then, is the theme of this humorous but captivating book.
Jill Brock has created many opportunities for sleuthing, especially when finding dirt on Henry is not panning out very well and time is running out. When strange events start gearing up, usually with Odessa as a victim, things get interesting.. This causes the story, though focused, to take several changes in direction. These events run the gamut of lies to murder, but who is really involved? Is Henry really Mister Nice Guy, or is he an expert at illusion? There is a lot of fun and adventure in this cozy mystery, with enough questions to mull over and enjoy. I predict these characters will become favorites....more
Snake Dreams by James D. Doss: A Charlie Moon Mystery
Book 13 of the Charlie Moon series and I have read all of them up to and including this one. WaitSnake Dreams by James D. Doss: A Charlie Moon Mystery
Book 13 of the Charlie Moon series and I have read all of them up to and including this one. Waiting for me in my bookcase is #14 The Widows Revenge, and on my Wish List is #15, A Dead Man's Tale. Obviously I am a fan of James Doss and a fan of Charlie Moon. What is not to like? A 7 ft tall lean good-looking Ute cowboy, retired cop and now part-time tribal investigator. He has a wonderful ranch in a beautiful location, every girl falls for him but he just can't seem to hang onto them. Of course this is often because of Aunt Daisy's machinations.
His Aunt Daisy Perika, of ancient age, is a blessing and a curse, a disaster, sly as a fox, and a shaman, a crabby one at that. Daisy talks to spirits, not that she invites them, they come to her with messages and portents and try as she might, she can't ignore them. After all, they know where to find her anytime, anywhere. She also visits and talks to a pitukupf, a dwarf who lives in an abandoned badger hole, bringing him food and tobacco in exchange for cryptic answers to the spirits' problems which are now her problems. He also brings news of evil coming, if she can decipher what he is saying in time.
In Doss's earlier books, there was much more police action, mysteries, missing people, murder and such playing a rather major role, along with the great descriptions you can count on. Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona some of the most beautiful and extreme landscape in the country. Those readers of Tony Hillerman's series of the Navajo tribal police, especially Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, will understand what I mean. I expected similar when I started reading James Doss' books, and in fact there were a lot of similarities in the early books, although with Daisy there was a lot more myth, legend, because of her heritage, but there was still a lot of policing and investigation.
The Charlie Moon series has always been great fun to read, but in the latest books, possibly because Charlie is supposed to be on his ranch, not solving crimes like his best friend Scott Parrish, chief of police for Granite City, the focus has been much more on the characters themselves with a mystery running in the background. As mentioned, the books have always had some humor in the storyline, but the past few have been nothing short of hilarious, which leaves me to wonder if this series has done a crossover genre. I laughed out loud through a lot of this book Even the style of writing seems to be different and very unique, but again, very funny.
The characters are true to themselves, and it's been fascinating to see them continue to grow and even to age, something that is often missed in a series. Who would be my favorite character? It's hard to answer that, so many diversities, but I think my personal favorite is Daisy, without her half the book would be missing. She is now tutoring her young protégé, 16 year old Sarah, in healing, magic and other shamanist knowledge. This is still one of my favorite series and great for a break between more serious books. Highly entertaining. This particular book made me think of Dana Stabenow's "Breakup", a book in another great series with wonderful characterizations and scenery, set among the Alaskan Aleuts....more
Patricia Rockwell is an academic with an extensive portfolio of publications, journal articles, textbooks and presentations. She holds a doctorate inPatricia Rockwell is an academic with an extensive portfolio of publications, journal articles, textbooks and presentations. She holds a doctorate in Communications. This is her first book of fiction. With her solid and prolific background in academics, it would be easy to think the transition to fiction might be a bit weighty, or overly academic. This is absolutely not true of Dr. Rockwell. She has written a cozy novel in an untapped area of the study of sound waves that is very definitely readable. I chose to review this book because I'm fascinated by all kinds of science, and love cozy mysteries. I was not disappointed.
"Sounds of Murder" does take place in a university, and sprinkled throughout, the politics of a university come dashing through. But this is a murder mystery set in a faculty dealing with communications. As in all cozy mysteries, there are several interwoven characterizations. Anyone who has gone to, or worked in, a college or university will appreciate the diverse personalities they find there.
Our heroine, Pamela Barnes, specializes in Acoustics, the study of sound waves, voice patterns, and basically anything to do with sound. She teaches this at a graduate school in the university. On this night, she has a three-hour class and has just made sure that her student assistant, Kent, has locked the Communications Lab before they go to class, since the school is usually empty at this time of the evening and there is a great deal of very expensive equipment in there.
The author's characters range from meek to extreme behaviour. Dr. Charlotte Clark is one of the latter and very quickly the story takes off with a terrible argument between Dr. Clark and the Head of the Department, Mitchell Marks. Pamela has just come into the front of the main office to get her mail and the strength of the argument is coming right through the Head's office door. She can hear it, although she can't hear the words, When she hears Charlotte getting louder as she approaches the door, she hurries out of the office and into class.
On leaving at the end of the evening, Kent is sent to double-check that the door to the lab is locked. Next thing she hears is Kent running and calling her to come to the lab, he has found the door wide open and a body slumped at one of the special computers. Now our story is really underway as police arrive and question them both together and separately, only with a brief pause for Pamela to call her husband Rocky to let him know she would be late.
From this point on, the action begins to build, everybody seems to have a motive of some type, but as well, we are witness to all Pamela's thought processes, which I found to be unique and fascinating. Her mind goes over and over but jumps to inane things in between just as a person who has met with trauma would do. Here I began to have the feeling of being inside her head, a remarkable piece of storytelling. This happens a few times as the investigation moves along, but the reader almost always knows what Pamela herself is thinking. Though this may be anticipated to be monotonous, in reality it most certainly is not; there is even some humor to be found in this method. One thing she is thinking is that she may well be the only person available with the expertise to possibly solve this case or at the very least present compelling evidence, because she has a small sound byte on a CD that she knows she is the most likely to be able to analyze it.
Meanwhile, Rocky and the lead Columbo-like Detective Shoop both try to stop her from "sticking her nose in" but she just can't leave it alone. This is a well-written mystery, with some unique features. I do enjoy finding cozies or any book that has something new and different. This appears to be the first in a series, and I certainly hope so. There is humor and pathos, surprises, lots of interaction of characters, and a most tempting house to come home to. Regardless of the murder and political academia, this is essentially a warm friendly story, a perfect cozy to curl up with....more
Lorna Barrett writes with a flow that takes the reader into the story as eye witness to the events. You are there, it feels real. What I like best ab Lorna Barrett writes with a flow that takes the reader into the story as eye witness to the events. You are there, it feels real. What I like best about reading a series is the character development and consistency; you soon feel you know these people personally, and Lorna is very good at giving her readers those characters. "Chapter & Hearse" is the fourth in the Booktown series.
An explosion rocks the little town of Stoneham, completely demolishing one of the heritage buildings as well as the store manager, and giving the biggest tourist draw in town the look of a mouthful of teeth with one missing. What's more, the property is sold within four days of the explosion, which naturally causes our heroine, amateur sleuth and bookseller Tricia Miles, an itch in her sleuthing bones. Fortunately, her ever-faithful employees and friends are on hand to mind her store "Haven't Got A Clue", while she pursues the case. Three men from her past tend to interrupt her concentration on sleuthing, especially the Chief who definitively tells her to not put herself in the way of danger.
Review based on Advance Reading Copy.
Tricia's sister Angelica, owner of both the Cookery bookstore, next to Tricia's bookstore, and the eatery "Booked for Lunch" across the road, is out of town through most of this book She is out on a book-signing tour for her cookbook, "Easy-Does-It Cooking", but hurries back when her boyfriend Bob is not only an 'almost' victim in his own home, but also suspected of the crime already being investigated.
There are many surprises in "Chapter & Hearse", misunderstandings, outright lies, misdirections, suspicious accidents, several suspects, tangled connections, and a funny scene where Tricia tries to bake. Lots for the reader to chew on. There are also recipes included. If you are looking for a good cozy murder mystery, you will not be disappointed in this book. Once again, Lorna Barrett has delivered an absorbing and extremely satisfying read. Very enjoyable and hard to put down, a real treat....more