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
I love this off-beat murder-mystery. Secrets abound from all directions. The characters are consistent throughout the book, and what fascinating charaI love this off-beat murder-mystery. Secrets abound from all directions. The characters are consistent throughout the book, and what fascinating characters they are. With Detective Rita Moldova's Roma background, and as a "trailer park" kid in her school years, the stigma still sticks with this main character, especially with certain old classmates. Her mother is the keeper of tradition and maintains extraordinary senses and powers. I always enjoy learning something from all books I read and this one did not disappoint. The tradition and ancestral life of the Romanians tweaked my historical nerve. I feel there is more to be told with this family.
What is going on in the town of Keyport? Women's bodies are turning up devoid of blood with no signs of struggle, no signs of needle marks. Who will be the next victim? Enter our heroine, Rita, a most unusual member of the local precinct. She is able to see the victim's last view prior to death. Yet, so far, her "special crystal" has failed as never before, no longer sending the killer's face to Rita's perception. A special investigator, handsome Matt Boulet, is sent in from an elite yet secret section (PCU) of the FBI. He has an immediate profound effect on Rita, physical, mental, and sensorial, setting the stage for a beautiful sexy and loving relationship as a background to the action. The crystal appears to have decided these two are soul-mates and the attraction is tangible. A cross between police procedural and paranormal, this story works well. The writing is taut, fascinating, terrifying and exciting. This genre definitely fits Lorrie Unites-Struiff>'s writing style like a glove. I would love to see a sequel or series of this story, it is that good, and leaves this reader wanting more....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
I completely immersed myself in this well-written book enjoying every minute. It was definitely deserving of bKindle version published by Imajin Books
I completely immersed myself in this well-written book enjoying every minute. It was definitely deserving of being short-listed for the Crime Writers of Canada "Unhanged Arthur". Gloria Ferris' writing reminded me somewhat of one of my favourite authors, Donna Andrews, especially with the very large quirky extended family interaction and antics. She brings "skeletons in the closet" to a whole new level. Take a decades-old cold case of a missing child, a sudden unexpected inheritance of a huge fabulous and museum-like home to divorced grand-niece Lyris Pembroke, who must then quickly plan and host the annual Pembroke family reunion comprised of about 400 extended family members all too soon after moving into her new home. Throw in a good helping of the paranormal and hidden secrets, a headstone with no name, a fire, attacks on Lyris and you have a pretty good perception of what fun this book is going to be. Lyris definitely has her work cut out for her. Fortunately she has also inherited Conklin the butler, and is able to hire Caroline, an excellent cook and housekeeper. For the reunion, Lyris shows admirable organizational ability as she works her way through what must be done prior to the reunion.
Not all is fun and games, though. There are also some dangerous intruders lurking about, not all of them necessarily human. Or perhaps otherworldly would be a better way to put it. Toss in a small dog with sharp teeth, soon joined by an oversized black cat, and the house begins to fill with more rooms occupied than the residents realize. Spanning so many decades, it would be strange if there were not romances, both current and decades old. Reignited passions, and reawakened love and trust with those who have suffered at the hands of their exes in the past and discover there is still a chance for happiness, even if it comes almost too late. The book is loaded with many different types of chaos and stress and yet it doesn't confuse the reader, it is just all a part of the whole. I loved the balance of the book, I laughed at the shenanigans, shed a few tears as the cold case is dealt with, worried with our heroine, relived the past with the few remaining WWII veterans even enjoying the singing of Vera Lynn in my mind, went through terror, thrills and chills, and loved the ending. This book certainly ran through a gamut of emotions, old and new. I am really looking forward to the further adventures to come....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
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
A very intriguing and entertaining mystery, the first I've read by this author, though he has written several books. Alan Cook knows how to engage hisA very intriguing and entertaining mystery, the first I've read by this author, though he has written several books. Alan Cook knows how to engage his readers and keep them guessing.
The plot opens with the discovery by a restaurant kitchen worker of a naked bloody body of a female in a dumpster behind the restaurant. There is a slight pulse and she is transported to the hospital. Once she comes back to consciousness, she has amnesia, no memory of either her past or what happened to her. And so the mystery begins.
Rigo, who found the girl, feels a need to become her protector and feels responsible for taking care of her once she is released from the hospital. Because he lives with his parents, they invite her to stay with them, she has nowhere else to go and no identity. In fact, because she has amnesia and no one has reported a girl missing, no ID was found at the scene, she has become a non-person. This is significant because as a non-person she can not become a "person", not a citizen of anywhere, no fingerprints on file, she can not get proof of birth, driver's license, can not travel anywhere, and literally has no record of ever existing. This particular subject of the plot made me wonder how many people in the world are "non-persons" for whatever reason.
She decides to go by the name of Carol Golden for the time being. Little by little she comes up with a thought that makes her wonder if it's a memory. Playing a game with Rigo she finds herself thinking in binary and realizes she must have been proficient at math. California doesn't feel right as where she lived, she feels more drawn to the east. I was fascinated with this process in the book. I think Alan Cook was very diligent in dealing with this process. I don't think I found any anachronisms overlooked as hidden memories, that is to say I don't think anything was said or thought of out of context.
A few searches for missing people do not turn up any leads, but a friend of Rigo's family has more connections and ideas and locates a possibility in North Carolina. The lawyer for that case sends Carol papers so she can fly out east. However, the missing girl's grandmother says no, this is not Cynthia. A dead end. But she now has a feeling she was recently in England. Especially when she rents a car and finds herself looking for a standard gear shift on her left, and feels she should be driving on the right. Carol is determined to follow her feelings, and follow them she does. With the papers and money the lawyer has supplied her with, she heads to England.
Memories begin to become more cohesive though the mystery deepens as she struggles with the fact that her attack was not a one-time thing and she is still very much in danger. Will she find out the truth of her identity? Will she find her attacker or worse, will he find her? Or is he stalking her even now.
This book has a lot of interesting detail, the unraveling of the mystery of Carol's identity and the final outcome bring the book to a fast-paced, exciting and surprising conclusion. A well plotted story I really enjoyed....more
A Crafty Killing: a Victoria Square Mystery by Lorraine Bartlett Review based on ARC
Lorraine Bartlett also writes as Lorna Barrett, accomplished creaA Crafty Killing: a Victoria Square Mystery by Lorraine Bartlett Review based on ARC
Lorraine Bartlett also writes as Lorna Barrett, accomplished creator of the very popular Booktown series. As Lorraine Bartlett she now has another great cozy series on its way with the new Victorian Square series. “A Crafty Killing” is the 1st in series. There are lots of quirky characters, many equally dedicated characters, and dead bodies are dropping fast. How could so much death suddenly become the main feature of the lowly Artisans Alley?
Katie Bonner is the heroine in this new series, thrust suddenly into the fray when she finds herself both the executor and the largest shareholder in the Alley. Her husband who had taken all their savings and bought a partnership in the Alley had left Katie high and dry in their plans to buy a large home at the edge of Victoria Square and run it as a Bed and Breakfast. Every cent was gone, and Katie had not yet forgiven him as he moved out of the apartment and into Artisans Alley, and subsequently was killed in a car accident, leaving her his share in the partnership
She is not impressed with the police involved in solving the murder. Several possibilities for the murderer, but how to sort them out? There are well-fleshed characters and many of them in this first book. Also a few possibilities for romance, but who to trust, that is the biggest question. Too many people are asking questions, not least of which is Gerald, Ezra's nephew and co-heir with Katie. But even he is lied to.
As always, Lorraine has dished up a great read and very busy plot, busy in that there are many switches in trust, more murders, lots of action aimed toward Katie, and many different personalities, not all of whom are pleased with Katie's ideas. Wonderfully descriptive, I can picture Victoria Square easily and with the Square on the verge of new awakening, a lot is on the line. There is much more than meets the eye (or ear) as rumors are flying, not to mention all the lies and deflections. What is it with that police officer? Katie would really like to know, but soon she is in jeopardy as more complications arise, and Katie herself has become a suspect and possibly the next victim.
I loved this book, a great start for the new year. Lots of guessing as we read along as to who is going to still be around in the next book; just how many murders are there? Are they all murders? Who makes the best villain? When we find out, it is a shock and complete surprise, at least to this reader. Of all the suitors or men appearing to be suitors, will any of them be around in the next book? What games are they all playing? Are any of them really who they seem? Well, we'll have to wait for the next book for some of these answers, but altogether a very exciting and enthusiastic start to this new series. I look forward to seeing these characters grow and new characters arrive. Contains recipes. I forecast another winner for Lorraine and her alter ego Lorna.
A very creative and enjoyable first novel, Rod Hoisington has created a complicated whodunit with red herrings to spare. At the basic root we have theA very creative and enjoyable first novel, Rod Hoisington has created a complicated whodunit with red herrings to spare. At the basic root we have the remaining two members of a family, a brother and sister, who have had no real contact since the day their parents died several years ago. In fact, sister Sandy is living her well-ordered life quite satisfactorily, thank you, doing legwork for a highly respected law office. A late night call brings her brother Raymond back into her life like a slap in the face, she has all but disowned him and the call is like a blast of ice. He is calling from a Florida jail in a small town, with a murder rap hanging over his head. Sandy is determined that in no way is she going to help him, she is still too angry about his lack of support for her when she needed it.
A quick look at the News, and she starts to get second thoughts. Too many questions, Ray is not the type to murder anyone, much less a high-profile Senator. Confusion reigns as she arrives to find her brother being railroaded through the system so that State Attorney Moran can win a famous trial whether his "held in custody" suspect is guilty or not. Moran is ignoring the many other possible suspects and zeroing in on his target, creating a case for conviction. A stranger in town? What a break for him, everyone will hate this guy Ray for assassinating their Senator!
From this point on, there are misunderstandings, misdirections, underestimations, especially underestimating Sandy, a pit-bull in a sexy body. Ludicrous statements and outright lies are flying everywhere. Not only are there lots of twists in the case itself, but in the many strange relationships that show up here and there throughout. This book is written almost tongue-in-cheek and I loved it. It grabs hold of you early on and you can't get away from it. The action suddenly takes off with a few diverse leads and builds very quickly toward the final setups, lies and implausibilities that give the reader a sense of fun and satisfaction as the story finally wraps up all the loose ends, finding more to deal with than meets the eye. I will definitely be looking for another novel by Rod Hoisington!...more
I am so excited by this book and very pleased to recommend it. It is well-written, intense, and true to itself. Jean Sheldon really knows how to tellI am so excited by this book and very pleased to recommend it. It is well-written, intense, and true to itself. Jean Sheldon really knows how to tell a story. Taking place after the attack on Pearl Harbor, it is a work of fiction in a very realistic presentation. Based on the work of women in the United States during wartime, it centers around the work of the "Rosie the Riveters" as they came to be known, and the women pilots in the WASP. Jean Sheldon has given us an insight into the personal and work lives of these women, reflecting the attitudes of the time, and giving us a good dose of sabotage and espionage as well.
"The Woman in the Wing" grabbed my attention and held it until even after I finished the book. I think this is the longest I ever sat with one book trying to read it all at once. If it weren't for requiring nourishment and sleep, I'm sure I would have done just that. This is not something I say often.
There are not many works of fiction that feature the women, although the author gives some references on-line for non-fiction resources at the back of the book. I even found myself looking up some of the planes mentioned after reading the descriptions! The story primarily follows the paths of two very good friends and neighbours who want to fly and manage to get the training for it. But Char, our chief protagonist, has run into the male-domination theme so prevalent in the this era, and she is told she will not get her wings because of something distasteful to her which she flat out refuses. I, being a child of the 1940s, applaud Ms. Sheldon for incorporating this imbalance of humanity that was very current at that time and still persists in some ways today.
Enter the FBI searching for Nazi spies in the warehouses and hangars. There appear to be a number of them sabotaging the planes being built and those in use. Since Char is being "punished" for her refusal of the Major's proposal, she has been sent to be a riveter, along with her friend Max. They are soon required to watch out for suspicious behaviour and report it to the FBI. They know there are FBI agents working in the facility too, but they don't know who they are.
Accidents have increased in the facility over the past 3 months and are becoming more personal than just slowing production. It soon escalates to planes crashing, equipment falling, and murder, with deaths and injuries piling up, building from fear to terror for the women. Character-driven, the plot accelerates through the whole book until the reader may find he/she is out of breath. I highly recommend this book for its research, subject matter, characterizations, and its exciting, suspenseful finish....more
A very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. JeanA very entertaining treasure hunt and thriller, somewhat reminiscent of the "Sisterhood" series by Fern Michaels with its mixed group of heroes. Jean Sheldon has written an adventure based on legend and history from the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s and the discovery of a journal presumably dated from 1539.
The reader is brought into the story very quickly with the abduction of Jacqueline Tracy, who has unwittingly purchased this journal at a book auction because she liked the carved leather cover. She has a tendency to forget about auction purchases until they are delivered and so is unable to tell her kidnappers where the journal is.
Jackie's friends, almost all middle-aged including Jackie, soon realize she is missing. The police won't do anything until there is more information, so the women turn to Jackie's friend Nicole, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Little do they know the abuse Jackie is going through, nor the kindness of one of her captors, a giant of a man.
Her group of merry girls manages to rescue her, but they are incredulous when Jackie hires Chuck, the captor's 7'4" assistant, to be her bodyguard, and she won't take "no" for an answer. She is sure he is a good man and didn’t want any part in the kidnapping but had his own reasons for being involved. What impressed her was his kindness and his assistance in helping with her escape. Their group now numbering six including Jackie's Aunt Beth and Chuck, starts trying to sort out what the kidnapping was all about. While Jackie was away, a parcel that had been overlooked in a delivery truck finally made its arrival, and of course, it is the journal being sought after by somebody pulling the strings in the background regarding Jackie's kidnapping. Someone with a great deal of money and a ruthless greed.
Gwen, a psychiatrist in their close-knit group of friends, is able to translate most of the ancient Spanish, touching off a decision to go to New Mexico. Several things happen that hurry them on their way. Our modern group sets off on a vacation which, though exciting, is not at all the kind of excitement they expected or wanted.
There are several interesting characters in this book, not all in a good way. Our motley but hardy crew is made up with Jackie and her adventurous aunt Beth. Beth Tracy has raised Jackie in Chicago from childhood, the city where all their friends live, but still maintains the house in New Mexico where Jackie lived before her parents died. Pat, whose partner recently died, lives with her cat Zodiac above the bookstore Jackie owns. Nicole, the P.I., Gwen, the psychiatrist, and Chuck, Jackie's new friend, bodyguard and excellent cook. Then there are the "bad" guys under the thumb and threat of one psychotic "Conquistador".
This book surprised me. I learned some history along the way, the legend of the "streets paved with gold" as understood from the journal, that middle-age can be exciting, loyal friendship is a wonderful thing to have, and when you are being chased by a madman always watch your back! Ms. Sheldon has mixed adventure, terror, history, and the beauty of New Mexico into a story I didn't want to put down. The characters, even the worst of them, molded a certain fascination into the story. I feel with these characters she has the makings of a series, though I have no idea if that is in the author's future. She has written a variety of books and possibly prefers stand-alone stories. I want to keep my eye on this author's output, I'm sure it will be interesting....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
Is Tempe Brennan losing her mind? Or is there something more sinister going on? Is she really responsible for things disappearing and the anthropologiIs Tempe Brennan losing her mind? Or is there something more sinister going on? Is she really responsible for things disappearing and the anthropological mistakes she is making? In this novel, someone is trying to discredit and possibly oust Tempe, and is doing a moderately good job of it in the beginning but that soon escalates. Kathy Reichs has a writing style that builds the tension throughout, and drives you on to discover what you will find at the end. No disappointment there!
She is accused of mishandling an autopsy by an unknown tipster. With the body exhumation she just attended she counted and bagged 206 bones, in other words all bones accounted for. But strangely when she comes to complete reconstruction of the body, and looks for the most accurate marker she knew could give a positive ID, she finds she is now down to 203 bones. Tempe is then accused of mishandling evidence; she requests that she be allowed back to the site to see if they really had been left behind, but is turned down. When the newest member of the team is allowed to recheck the exhumation site, she remarkably 'discovers' the bones. Missed diagnoses are brought to light by the oh-so-helpful young Dr. Briel, who has insinuated herself into almost everyone's work. Tempe must find out how she could have made an error worthy of a warning that "someone's out to get you". She is also beginning to doubt herself.
Cases are suddenly piling up of suspected murders of elderly women, but each died in a different manner, in a different location, and over a period of years. Is there a link or not? Throw in a few old bones dredged from a lake just to bring a little more excitement into the mix and you have a number of mysteries to gnaw on. ID'ing most will be an almost fruitless job, but Tempe is sure she is up to the task. Teaming up with her detective partner Ryan, they both link up with colleagues and associates in Chicago and other areas over the elderly deaths trying to find a common denominator other than that they are all elderly, but when they arrive in Chicago, Tempe finds herself already in hot water. With all the red herrings, sidetracks, and downright dirty tricks in this book, you just know you are going to enjoy going along for the ride. Who of the many possibilities is out to get Tempe, and just how far will he or she go?
In the version of "206 Bones" I'm reviewing, there is an essay with facts and explanations of some of the things Temperance talks about which I found to be very interesting as well. I appreciated learning (in an aside), a bit more about the 1990 "Oka Crisis" that we in the west didn't hear about on the news at the time. The interaction with Tempe's family and Ryan were pure entertainment. Another great forensic mystery by a person who knows what she's talking about, Kathy Reichs....more
I love this book! Valerie Connelly has an impressive imagination full of mystery and wonder that keeps the reader enthralled throughout. From grittyI love this book! Valerie Connelly has an impressive imagination full of mystery and wonder that keeps the reader enthralled throughout. From gritty Chicago to the jungles of the Amazon, this book takes on a life of its own, and what a trip!
Two strangers, talented but unsuccessful in their lives, are "hired" individually to perform their music once a week at Rita's Bar. Emily provides vocals with guitar and Dan is a pianist. This is their first performance and the place is packed. Unknown to everyone there, the Grim Reaper is waiting in the wings. Terrorists driving a car bomb for reasons we are not yet privy to, are about to come crashing through the front window. Only two survive the horrendous blast. Our newly introduced musicians are found alive but unconscious. Rita has disappeared and no one knows if she was vaporized along with all the patrons, or left before the bomb detonation. No bodies are ever recovered.
In another part of the world, not far from Belem, Brazil, an elderly chief of the Tokablaki tribe is about to partake of a ritual which will return him to his earlier vibrant self. A form of rebirth, a kind of fountain of youth. This ritual had been passed on through the ages, and soon it will be his "Sacred Night". This ritual will involve the retrieval and ingestion of silt, Algala, from the bottom of the Amazon River. I like to learn something new in books I read and found the chapters about this ritual and its beginnings fascinating. Do I know if this really exists? No, but then this story is tagged a fantasy. Regardless, the author has given this part of the tale a plausibility and a sense of possibility bathed in tribal hierarchy, and therefore it plays a major role in our developing story. Certainly there is factual information mixed with the fantasy.
Shifting back to our two survivors, they have been hospitalized in the same room and under constant surveillance. Emily is the mother of two girls and Dan is the father of two boys. It is decided for the present the four children would be best served by keeping them all together in a foster home while their individual parents either come out of their coma or pass on.
There is so much happening in this book all the way through. Even with three stories weaving in and out, it keeps the reader riveted. No one realizes that Emily and Dan are together in their comatose world and are trying to unravel puzzles in order to get back to "save" their children. There is some mysterious substance found in their blood, unidentified. No one knows if this is compromising or helping their chances of survival. Emily's 16 year old daughter Miranda holds part of the key, but no one is listening to her.
Meanwhile, back in the Amazon jungle, many changes are taking place. The "business" that has been going on undetected for so long is in extreme danger, a type of danger that could mean death to our two unwitting protagonists, Emily and Dan. The Amazon tribe who have been using Algala for so many generations and whose secrets were used to create this life-giving drug, are all killed. Suicide bombers seem to be reaching out everywhere, and there is no hint of who is controlling them or who will be the next victim(s).
At the hospital, Emily and Dan appear to be losing their battle, they both seem to go through each step together. With so much going on in the book, it is difficult not to give too much away in a review. The tension which started the story has been building steadily, each bombing bringing a new flood of anticipation and fear to the characters and Ms. Connelly has a knack of transferring that anticipation and tension to her reading audience. The various threads running through the book create their own kind of tension and bring together all the elements in the end, leaving the reader with a feeling of closure and relief, and yet is it the end? We are left with tantalizing possibilities in the future as the few survivors of the Tokablaki tribe hide in the forests of the Amazon.
This was definitely a thrilling ride for me, with lots to keep me interested quite aside from the mystery and thriller components. A complicated story that's easy to read, a difficult and unique challenge to an author and with Valerie Connelly at the helm, we ride out the tumultuous waves to safe harbor and enjoy the sail....more
This book is referred to as a "Rapid Read" book, short, with a little larger print. These books are easy to read and would be great for invalids, anThis book is referred to as a "Rapid Read" book, short, with a little larger print. These books are easy to read and would be great for invalids, anyone with a shorter attention span, a commuter, or anyone who enjoys a quick break with a book.
Medora Sale has authored a great story with all the traditional and exciting elements of mystery held within a smaller package. As a shorter story, "The Spider Bites" lost none of its edge of mystery.
This full-fledged story begins with Rick Montoya, a suspended police officer under investigation for corruption. His nickname is the Spider, and he is innocent but does not expect to be accepted by his fellows even if cleared. He has spent the summer working on a farm and is just returning home.
The framed corruption is only part of what happens in this book. His former life is in chaos and the house his apartment is in goes up in suspicious flames. The action is crisp, the reader learns a surprising amount about his former life, his friends, his wife. There is a strong sense of more than one thing going on. Two people died in the fire, one of them in his apartment, which changes the core of the story... or does it? Are the murders related to the corruption charge? Is there something else going on?
This book will hold your attention to a satisfying close, regardless of being a faster than usual read. I really enjoyed the story-line and read it all in one day, not something I'm usually able to do. Quite frankly, I want to read more from this Canadian author....more
Take a wild ride on the railroad to oblivion or to a better life with "sidetracks" that will define you and your outcome. What thought would go througTake a wild ride on the railroad to oblivion or to a better life with "sidetracks" that will define you and your outcome. What thought would go through your head while sitting in this darkened train? On one hand we have a nondescript middle-aged woman who has just fallen in the tub and cracked her skull, as an equally ordinary delivery man arrives to deliver flowers, notes water coming down the stairs and rushes to her aid, pulling her out of the tub. Peyton was able to quickly punch in to 9-1-1. But while he is trying to save her life, someone else has slipped in unnoticed, and fires shots at both before Hannah's dog attacks the assailant and is subsequently killed. A very timely visit by Lynn Hargrove, a lawyer friend of Hannah, having a gut feeling that all was not well with her friend, results in again alerting the police and ambulance for both victims, who arrive just in time.
Our two protagonists, Hannah and Peyton, next recognize, if recognize can be considered the correct word, that they appear to be riding on a train to an unknown destination, though they do not "see" each other yet. Hannah is the first to become aware of the train and finds herself locked in a probable stateroom alone. But wait! Someone is welcoming her, although she seems to be nothing more than a disembodied voice. She is explaining to Hannah what has happened to her and that she will be accompanied by various "Agents" who will assist her to relive important formative parts of her life. What she learns from these times of her life will eventually help her to make choices and if she makes the wrong choices she could die. Hannah chooses a risk she has always wondered if she should have taken, and Peyton chooses a decision of wealth found where he might have changed his life around. The final decision will depend on the "Processor".
Although the theme has sometimes been used in various ways in the past, Valerie Connelly has written this book as fresh, fascinating, all-encompassing and surprising, the passages and sidetracks are thought-provoking, and the end result may bring surprises. The journey and trials in this book are personal and the reader can learn a lot from them.
Being that this is essentially a murder mystery, there are many chapters interspersed with what is happening in the background of their lives during this search within themselves. There is a lot going on in all directions, with Lynn and Detective O'Riley, the cop detective who responded to the calls, in a race against time to find the attempted murderer or murderers while bodies begin to pile up. There is plenty to keep the murder-mystery fan guessing. Are the deaths related?
This book took my attention right from the start. The theme is fascinating in its growth and direction, the murder mystery is well-written, and I could hardly wait to see the final conclusion. I found myself rooting for this or that to happen, there are surprises, happy times, disturbing times, and confusing times, all wrapped up in a neat little bundle. While reading about the sidetracks, I found myself thinking along those lines, but decided I took the right track after all. Now to live up to it. I feel an affinity with the four main characters in the book, a sign of an excellent writer....more
James W. Nichol has given us a well-written, complicated murder mystery/thriller. Beginning with the protagonist Canadian pilot Wilf McLaughlin duringJames W. Nichol has given us a well-written, complicated murder mystery/thriller. Beginning with the protagonist Canadian pilot Wilf McLaughlin during WWII, under heavy fire and toward the end of the war, begins his death spiral as his Spitfire speeds to meet the earth the hard way. "I'm dead" is one of his last thoughts.
But death did not claim him. His plane is found days later with him still in it. His injuries are very serious but he is still alive. After several months in hospital, he returns home to a hero's welcome, but his head full of questions. With one useless arm, and a damaged leg as his main physical problems, there is much more going on in regard to his crash, not the least of which is several days of unaccounted for time, and unexplained blindness for 3 months.
Starting out working in his father's law office, reconnecting with his old friend Andy who is in the police force, and gradually connecting with Carol, his father's secretary, life begins again, but he suddenly finds himself in another type of death spiral. Several deaths in a small town raise eyebrows and awareness and when Wilf seems to be involved in one way or another, whispers around town begin. The deaths all appear to have happened since he came home.
The author has concocted a number of unusual deaths that appear to be unrelated and in some cases appear to be natural causes or accidents. But Wilf will not accept these quick decisions and is sure that they are all related and are in fact, murders. He convinces Andy to help him investigate "unofficially", help that causes Andy a demotion, devastating for a family man.
At the same time, he is trying to acquire his records to find out about his missing time and the mystery of his blindness, falls in love, and does not realize his loved one is already in danger. His father is studying files on the gas chambers and human experiments, which brings Wilf some confusing bits of memories pushing him even harder for answers. Answers he will come to realize he doesn't really want to know.
This book delves into many psychological and philosophical areas, dark places, and bizarre events, interspersed with the humor of friendships. Still, it is an easy book to read, holds the reader's attention, and reminds those of us who can remember, of the terrible crimes of war....more
Murder by the Numbers: The Righteous ONE, An Enneagram Mystery by Richard Hicks
The first in a rather different mystery series, has the victim been murMurder by the Numbers: The Righteous ONE, An Enneagram Mystery by Richard Hicks
The first in a rather different mystery series, has the victim been murdered? Was it a suicide? An mercy killing? Richard Hicks has hit it on the nose with his new series. Chief Eddie DeSilva has just taken early retirement under pressure. His wife had died 10 months earlier in the final throes of cancer, and he has been under a psychologist's care since a shooting incident which, though considered clean, gave rise to suspicions that he was not coping with his wife's death nor having killed a man.
In his reality, he is aware that he is no longer with the department, but his sense of justice will not let him go. When his psychologist, Pauline Graham, asks him for help for a friend of hers, he finds himself drawn into a case he has no business being in. But her friend is believed to have administered a fatal dose of drugs to her father, in terrible pain in his anticipated last few days of terminal illness. Assisted suicide could be construed as murder and the police have arrested Allison
We are introduced to the field of Enneagrams in this series, a personality typing system used by psychologists, therapists, business executives as a method of understanding personalities for whatever direction their particular business takes them. Pauline, a strong supporter of the Enneagram, is convinced that it is not possible for Allison to perform this act, nor for her very religiously faithful and upstanding Catholic father to commit suicide.
Eddie takes on the case like the bulldog he has always been, calling in favors from friends on the force, jeopardizing them with the new police chief, and putting himself in disfavor with her as well. He has gone from being a favorite among the department to a liability and warned off the case, but he just can't leave it alone.
Since his wife's death, Eddie has been sleeping on his boat, but suddenly it seems he has become a target when someone sabotages his boat, then causes a near-fatal accident. Having been a police chief for so many years, these incidents are treated as possible revenge acts by ex-cons. Everything starts to heat up, though, and it's anybody's guess what is really going on. A surprise admission of guilt redirects the whole case of the possible mercy killing. Within hours the case is redirected again as the pace gets faster and faster until the last red herring is pitched, leaving us wondering how many "accidents", how many deaths, how many secrets were part and parcel of this great first novel. I'm ready for the next one. Well-written and flowing, characterizations spot-on, subject matter quite fascinating. If you're looking for a new series, look no further....more
Sharyn McCrumb is a favourite author who caught me by surprise with this book. This is from the Elizabeth MacPherson, forensic anthropologist series.Sharyn McCrumb is a favourite author who caught me by surprise with this book. This is from the Elizabeth MacPherson, forensic anthropologist series. Elizabeth is still mourning her husband lost at sea in Scotland, or maybe he is not, we have no idea if he is dead or alive. Elizabeth keeps writing letters to him regardless, but of course she just hides them away. This story brings her back to Virginia when her brother Bill invites Elizabeth to join him and his partner A.J. Hill, offering her work in their small and struggling office of MacPherson & Hill Attorneys at Law. He hopes she will be able to get her life sorted out and overcome her grief. These three are the main characters consistent to the series.
Three very strange cases come up within hours of each other, so there is soon plenty to occupy all of them and the receptionist Edith, too. At the same time, their recently divorced mother has moved in with a "room-mate", causing misunderstandings and concern to her two offspring, including a hilarious get-together to meet her room-mate and new friends.
A fairly strange story line that keeps one reading, and some interesting facts turn up in research. There are many sides to this story and with a feminist like A.J. involved it becomes just plain traumatic with all three cases befuddling and frustrating at every twist and turn. Reading this book is like falling down the rabbit hole, and just as entertaining. Sharyn is one of a few authors I can’t get enough of. 4½ stars
Note: Sharyn is probably best-known for her Ballad series, with a new book scheduled to come out in June 2010: “The Devil Amongst the Lawyers: A Ballad Novel ”. She also writes a very funny series featuring NASCAR drivers with the third book “Faster Pastor” recently released. Not to mention an early Bimbos of the Death Sun sci-fi series....more
I have always found forensics of any type interesting and this forensic handwriting mystery did not let me down. Well-formedDead Write by Sheila Lowe
I have always found forensics of any type interesting and this forensic handwriting mystery did not let me down. Well-formed plot and characters, with suspense building throughout the book. This is the third in the Claudia Rose series by Sheila Lowe, but the first I have read. There are a few hints here and there that bring the reader up to date without going into a lot of repetition for those who have read the previous books.
On the strength of a television interview, Claudia receives an offer, albeit a rather demanding offer, to come to New York for an interview to work with Baroness Grusha Olinetsky -- immediately. The Baroness is a "world class matchmaker" and just fired her handwriting expert who also happens to be Claudia's nemesis. Claudia's first instinct is not to go, she is still recovering from the recent murder of a close friend and was nearly a victim of a psychopath herself. Her partner Joel Jovanic doesn't want her to go, nor does her ward, Annabelle. However, Grusha has arranged a flight the next day from California to New York, and offered a sum she feels she can not refuse. Besides, she is concerned about how serious the "bad mistakes" were that the previous expert made.
Once in New York her life becomes a whirlwind of unique characters, handwriting with "red flags" that were ignored, and too many coincidental deaths. Who is trying to bring Grusha and her business to ruination? The action picks up as the book goes along and Claudia becomes more involved with every page, while problems are also stirring back at home.
I found the book held my attention, loved learning bits and pieces of graphology, and will definitely be reading more of Sheila Lowe's books, starting with the first. Fascinating characters, bodies piling up, until the final diabolic debacle comes crashing down. An entertaining, cohesive story with lots of conceivable suspects. ...more
Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman Review based on Advance Reading Copy
A fairytale within a fairytale. This book was a wonderful surprise to me. The innerArcadia Falls by Carol Goodman Review based on Advance Reading Copy
A fairytale within a fairytale. This book was a wonderful surprise to me. The inner fairytale took me back to my childhood, but it did not leave me there once the outer fairytale began. The Rosenthals had been a very close and loving family, but after the sudden death of her husband Jude, Meg discovers an alarming amount of debt that she will be unable to deal with in present circumstances. Their teenage daughter Sally is not dealing with the loss of her father well, which is creating a rift between herself and her mother.
Meg is a folklorist and has entertained her daughter with some of her favourite fairytales as she grew up. In particular, she has followed and studied fairy tales written and illustrated by two women who created a school of fine arts. The school was originally opened in Arcadia Falls to women only at a time when women were expected to marry, have children and stay home. Meg is thrilled when she is hired to teach at Arcadia, now a co-ed boarding school a few miles from the town of Arcadia Falls. As isolated as the school is, it is here that she feels Sally will finally begin to heal.
Carol Goodman has a wonderful descriptive flow in her writing. The story of "The Changeling Girl", a favourite tale of both Meg's and Sally's, was written in this location. On their arrival, they see many parts of that fairy tale in the surroundings, in particular the copper beech tree, central to "The Changeling Girl" tale. Thus begins a new chapter in their lives which quickly takes on the flavor and nuances of a new fairy tale, or perhaps better said, an entwined tale of past and present. Upon arrival at the school, the reader feels a sudden shift of reality. Meg has been offered free use of the very cottage the original story-tellers had lived in, but Sally has chosen the dorm, leaving her mother to live in the cottage alone.
In flowing prose, Ms. Goodman has written side by side the original story and the current happenings at the school in parallels. It doesn't take long for Meg to realize that the atmosphere is heavy with strange events and a feeling of evil lurking in the background. There are many secrets, pagan holidays are celebrated by the students and the woods are said to be haunted by the ghost of Lily, the original partner, who died in a fall... or was she murdered? Her death left Vera, her partner, devastated. A brilliant setting for fairy tales and an enjoyable read. This is a winner, and is the seventh novel by Carol Goodman. From the description of her previous book, "The Lake of Dead Languages", I will definitely want to read it too. 4½ stars.
Don Brun's characters come into the story fully fledged, at least they appear to be, although from the Prologue it would suggest the story is being toDon Brun's characters come into the story fully fledged, at least they appear to be, although from the Prologue it would suggest the story is being told by a dead man. Nevertheless, the characters at the beginning are definitely like comfy socks, well-worn and comfortable, and so they should, this is the third book in the "Stuff" series.
Still acting in their high school personae, these two bumbling lifelong friends are still chasing the American Dream. Even with Skip's Business School training he is still floundering in the security business he is now working for, while James works for Cap’n Crab.
An underachiever, Skip is put in charge of installing security for a government department (a big secret everyone seems to know), the Department of Defense, and it begins to look like they may finally be getting somewhere in life. He hires his crew, including James, and as an afterthought he also hires their neighbour who has not particularly been of interest to them, but seemed to have some knowledge of the equipment.
Skip's first order of business though is to play the part of boyfriend to the boss' girl-friend to throw his wife off the scent of infidelity. The plot is complicated and fun, I loved the interaction of all the characters, including those who have made their first appearance in this book. I am at a slight loss because I have not read the first two, but this works just as well as a stand-alone and is a very enjoyable and fast read.
However, Skip is no sooner introduced to the project than the first body turns up his feet under his desk and is found laid out behind said desk, very dead. Then they learn that other people on the government project have gradually gone missing. To complicate matters more, there are some very strange characters populating the book, and more spy intelligence equipment is soon purchased, or borrowed in order to get to the bottom of things. Skip is overwhelmed with women wanting his attention, not a common state. James is the Hardy Boys fan who is the catalyst to getting the equipment, but who to spy on? There are so many possibilities, not to mention that they are being tracked themselves.
Overall, this is definitely an entertaining book, complete with espionage, mystery, murder, spies spying on spies, and a romp that kept me reading. It was hard to put the book down. I most certainly will read the first two in the series....more
The author obviously has done in-depth research into not only the case itself, but into the mores, lifestyles, and beliefs of the time, even to the usThe author obviously has done in-depth research into not only the case itself, but into the mores, lifestyles, and beliefs of the time, even to the use of urine to clean wool in the mills.
Many terms in use in the mid-1800s are explained in current times as they are used, including those names given criminals and detectives. Charles Dickens' Bleak House featured the first detective in a novel, the story somewhat based on Whicher. Wilkie Collins also based some writings on this case.
There's a very interesting section on how Whicher became an undercover detective and how these investigators worked behind the scenes and were more or less undercover and invisible. This book is a very in-depth epistle, Kate Summerscale has made it easy to understand from a wording point of view, if not from the point of view of civilization. And who indeed could understand such an inhuman act although we do get a good look at the possibilities. A work of the time of women knowing their place, rich men taking advantage of their station in life, and where children were not the responsibility of a parent but of a stranger: governess, nursemaid, or other servant of the house.
This lurid crime becomes a scene of controversy on a large scale, and as such is made even more so by the press of the time. Nothing was sacred when it came to reporting, and everything is poked and prodded that would be expected of tabloid reporting today. There were no restrictions on the press, therefore speculation runs high and loud in the streets.
Summerscale takes us through Whicher's mind and method as he conducts many discussions, and his interpretation of the disappearance of a nightdress that may or may not have anything to do with the matter, it is simply a fact that it disappeared from the laundry, suspicious in nature for the fact that had it gone to the laundry as supposed, it may have had signs of blood on it, or it may have been innocent. Perhaps this was the original "red herring".
The culmination is that Whicher himself comes under fire and is made a laughing stock, bringing him down in the end. His theories are based on observations and appear to him and to the reader as correct but the country is too riled up to believe him.
This case became a turning point in the murder mystery genre and several fictional detective books were written in a manner closely related to Whicher and to this crime in particular. Once a suspect has been arrested and charged, the book turns to "what if?" It follows the continuing untangling of the skein of wool, leaving us wondering if the wool was pulled over our eyes. The case ruined many people, including the very detective who worked in such a clear manner but disturbed the balance of the classes. This is an interesting case and the author has handled the delivery well. There are many endnotes, references cited, and clarifications of text. I give this book 4 ½ stars on its content and handling of a difficult subject and will gladly read another book by Kate Summerscale....more
Sunday, January 3, 2010 Bookmarked for Death, #2 in the Booktown series, by Lorna Barrett Trisha is celebrating the anniversary of the opening of her boSunday, January 3, 2010 Bookmarked for Death, #2 in the Booktown series, by Lorna Barrett Trisha is celebrating the anniversary of the opening of her bookstore in Stoneham, the so-called Booktown due to the Chamber of Commerce inviting bookstores to fill an area of town to bring in new tourism and brighten up the town a bit. She is hosting a booksigning for the one-and-only Stoneham celebrity in town, Zoe Carter, a hugely successful author. Toward the end of the event, Zoe is discovered by Tricia as a murder victim on her premises. Anyone who read book #1, "Murder is Binding", will recall that Sheriff Wendy Adams is definitely not friendly nor helpful toward Trishia and forces her out of her store for several days to do her "investigation". Trisha takes refuge in her sister Angelica's Cookbook store/living quarters.
With many people attending the event, there are of course many suspects to go through, and with Tricia anxious to get back into her home and store, and with lack of trust in the Sheriff, she begins her own investigation. During her investigation she finds out more than she wants to know about Zoe, her niece and assistant, friends, and acquaintances around town and soon draws special attention to herself in a near miss accident. The book has many twists and turns, as did Ms. Barrett's first book and is an entertaining cozy read. It seems that every time Tricia thinks she is getting somewhere, someone else gets hurt with no apparent reason and that includes herself. I love the camaraderie of the booksellers and book clubs, the feel of small town unspoken separation between the originals and the newcomers is comical in its truth. I also got a kick out of the references to the Canada Goose problem around the town; anyone who has ever lived in their migratory route will certainly find the descriptions true to life and laughable in a "you have to laugh or you will cry" type of way. For a light-weight humourous read, fun yet focused, this series fits the bill. As a bonus there are some quick and easy yet tasty recipes at the back. 4 1/2 stars.
Even the indomitable Aunt Daisy is in danger in this one. Chalk up another great aboriginal (Ute) mystery for James Doss. Not only good mysteries butEven the indomitable Aunt Daisy is in danger in this one. Chalk up another great aboriginal (Ute) mystery for James Doss. Not only good mysteries but great fun. 4 1/2 stars. ...more