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
This novel is written by a bookseller about a bookseller, in fact the author is very respected in the industry. There are seHound by Vincent McCaffery
This novel is written by a bookseller about a bookseller, in fact the author is very respected in the industry. There are several mysteries in the book, some solved before they are even thought about. The story is creative and true to the background of both writer and character. This is his first novel featuring Henry Sullivan, the first in a trilogy. Perhaps the character of Henry will advance and grow in future stories.
Do not expect a roller-coaster ride on this one. This book builds slowly, forming each character and location completely. The mysteries are almost background to the characters. The most consistent part that positively glows throughout is Henry's love of books and quotes from many of the old classics. In his work he meets many people with different preferences, different feelings about books. There are readers who have a full-bodied love of reading classics, readers of westerns, unexpected secret lovers of books, and the collectors. I think I would not be too far off the mark to say that the author has lived in this book, it lends so much personality to the books themselves.
The novel is not just about books and the book trade though. It also twists and turns around several love stories, past and present. Many of the characters have connections they are unaware of or have never questioned. There is also the murder of someone very special to Henry. One of the final mysteries begins as a love story after the discovery of letters and pieces of paper stuck in books in a hidden room. As an old mystery, it has its own unique pull, and it's own surprising finish.
Did I like the book? For content, story-telling, learning something new, and characters, yes I did. Expecting a mystery, I had my blinders on evidently because I started reading with a definitive murder mystery as the main theme of the book in my mind. Once I took the blinders off, I found the book enjoyable, but not a "real page-turner". This book does not need to be devoured but savoured slowly. All told, it was an interesting read, I'd recommend it but not for anyone who is looking for instant gratification and action in the mystery department...more
Death, Guns, and Sticky Buns by Valerie S. Malmont
This was a new cozy author for me, although this book was copyright 2000. The style is reminiscent oDeath, Guns, and Sticky Buns by Valerie S. Malmont
This was a new cozy author for me, although this book was copyright 2000. The style is reminiscent of Tamar Myers or Mary Daheim, with a smart but clumsy and hilarious heroine, Tori Miracle. I quite enjoyed this quick and complicated murder mystery, which takes place in a small town named Lickin Creek, Pennsylvania, where Tori has arrived from New York to fill in for the editor of the local paper. A town full of quirky characters who are about to put on a traditional Civil War reenactment. Naturally things go horribly wrong and with her boyfriend the Sheriff out of town it looks like Tori will have to do a lot of digging to prove that the wrong man has been arrested by the temporary sheriff. There are lots of red herrings, and lots of sticky buns, for which the town is famous, recipe included. It was a good read, a nice break from heavier fiction, and I will be watching to see if I can find any more of Valerie Malmont’s books. An enjoyable murder mystery with interesting bits of history blended in, including some interesting information on antique carousels....more
#12 in this mystery series, Abby Timberlake, owner of the Den of Antiquity antique store, fighting off some very high bidders, has purchased at auctio#12 in this mystery series, Abby Timberlake, owner of the Den of Antiquity antique store, fighting off some very high bidders, has purchased at auction the world's most beautiful birdcage. Built in the form of the Taj Mahal, it arrives with a mynah bird named Monet. Monet turns out to be quite a one bird show, he can not only voice obscure phrases but he can switch genders (in voice) without a break.
First Monet disappears, then people start to disappear. But if there is something about the birdcage that someone wants, why take the bird? Tamar Myers is well-known for her off-beat comic heroines in her series'. This almost tops it in content. Although maybe not quite as laugh out loud as earlier books, it is still giggly humorous. But then, after crashing a high society party, one of the main characters, who usually plays a truly priceless part for Abby to bounce off of so gleefully, is quickly among the missing.
This is how the story begins and Ms. Myers soon has us all embroiled in guessing and suspecting, also wondering why everything keeps coming back to the bird. There are serious accusations to sort out and downright hilarious ways in which four-foot-nine Abby goes about investigating. It takes her awhile to realize there is more to this crime than stealing the bird because she can't understand the phone calls she's getting. It's not really until she gets a package that fear takes over. Her friends the Rob-Bobs stay right with her almost every complaining step of the way... usually Rob complaining about Bob's "epicurean" cooking. All in all, another entertaining cozy mystery from Myers and certainly different....more
The first in the Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series; as one might expect there is time given over to the introduction of the main characters ofThe first in the Shannon Delaney Paranormal Mystery Series; as one might expect there is time given over to the introduction of the main characters of which there are quite a few. I’ll be interested to watch further developments in later books. Solving a mystery that is over 130 years old may seem a daunting task, but interesting, especially when the mystery involves a famous magician, his old mansion and mysterious chest, handsome descendants, and a psychically sensitive heroine.
Working as a team, five main characters try to determine what happened to Eric Blackthorne, the magician of over 130 years ago; did he just disappear or was he really murdered? The story builds throughout the book as the team resurrect clues from varying sources. The excitement of discovery and meaning of each clue is contagious to the reader. Not least of the clues appear to come to Shannon in the night. Is she dreaming them or are they manifestations? Is there a ghost helping her? and are the hilarious appearances in the night truly clues? All these questions come to bear on the case and play their role in the mystery. I loved the author’s wily way of incorporating not only clues but humor in the mix! The story flows well, the discoveries of the past weave through the present day smoothly and build the reader’s interest. Hints of jealousy and romance appear throughout the story, and it seems to end with a promise of more about to blossom with the continuation of the series, but not without its complications.
I really enjoyed this first book and look forward to the growth of the series. I am definitely hooked on Shannon’s dreams! The cast of characters form a unique alliance, too. Once the first characters were established the book took off and took over, leaving me reading almost straight through at one go. Easy to read, strange quirks to throw us off balance, glimpses of life of the rich and of early San Diego, two families tied together in mutual interest in the case, all make for an effortless but exciting journey through a very “cold case”!
An enjoyable read, lots of fun, mystery, zany characters, I really enjoyed this book, part of the Sarah Kelling series. A renaissance party with costuAn enjoyable read, lots of fun, mystery, zany characters, I really enjoyed this book, part of the Sarah Kelling series. A renaissance party with costumes and food of the time, morris dancers, an antique car collection, two of which disappear, the sudden disappearance of Sarah's aunt from the festivities, and a murder all come together to define the phrase "murder and mayhem". I recommend Charlotte MacLeod's books for light enjoyable cozy entertainment....more
I'm not quite sure how to describe this one. Once again, Tamar Myers has tickled my funny bone with her antebellum wit overflowing in this hilarious sI'm not quite sure how to describe this one. Once again, Tamar Myers has tickled my funny bone with her antebellum wit overflowing in this hilarious series. It was truly laugh out loud. The mystery almost played out in the background behind the characters, but on the other hand I found a lot more characterization in this book than earlier ones I've read; the characters grew some in this outing.
Someone is switching priceless oriental rugs with machine copies and no one has been aware until Abby's very own purchase became the latest ruse. Abby owns the Den of Antiquity and is an expert in antiques so this was quite a blow! Put that together with Abby's June Cleaver-mother who has changed nothing, including her crinoline style, from the day her husband died in the 1950s, the zany C.J. who is full of incredible stories about everything and nothing, and all the other quirky characters and some new ones too, and you have hilarity and mayhem... and a solved crime. This is #14 in the series and I feel it concentrated considerably more on the Keystone Kops type of solving with all characters on board than usual. Great entertainment for a quick cozy read.
Tamar also writes the "Pennsylvania Dutch" series featuring Magdalena Yoder who runs a very unique Amish Bed & Breakfast, another hilarious cozy mystery series, includes recipes....more
A little different from some of the other Gideon Oliver aka Skeleton Detective series, it was still fun and educational as well. Julie, Gideon's wifeA little different from some of the other Gideon Oliver aka Skeleton Detective series, it was still fun and educational as well. Julie, Gideon's wife & her friend Marti Lau, wife of Gideon's good friend John Lau, have decided to vacation at a spa in Cabo San Lucas, and she tells Gideon he and John should take a vacation together somewhere too. A phone call to another friend who arranges vacations "On The Cheap" soon sets them up for a trip to the Amazon.
The book opens with a scene from the past involving headhunters and three unlucky botanists who inadvertently take a shortcut through the tribe's coca fields. The story then brings the reader into the present with the only survivor of this fiasco. Now a professor, department head and author, he is about to return to the Amazon with other ethnobotanists, an entomologist, and his co-author.
Naturally all this ties in as all the players arrive in Isquito to begin their cruise along the Amazon. Their "cruise" boat turns out to be over 100 years old and rickety, with few amenities. There are interesting characters, strange happenings, and of course the requisite bone fragments. There are also surprises in store for the reader. I am a great fan of Aaron Elkins' series and enjoyed this light read, as always....more
This book was a delightful surprise; Erin Grady aka Erin Quinn has written a fascinating, multi-layered, mystical romance. Time shifting through earliThis book was a delightful surprise; Erin Grady aka Erin Quinn has written a fascinating, multi-layered, mystical romance. Time shifting through earlier lives, the two stories blend to a final destination. Each character has a counterpart in both levels, and the shift to past history holds the key to the main story.
Tess Carson, a successful businesswoman in New York City, receives a call from the tiny rural community of Mountain Bend, California from the principal of the elementary school. Feeling very confused it takes time for her to realize that this must be the school her niece Caitlin attends. The caller informs her that Caitlin’s mother, Tess’ sister Tori France, did not pick her daughter up from school that day and seems to have “disappeared”, and as the emergency contact, Tess finds herself winging her way to a remote location in California “...a couple of hours east of Sacramento or several hours west of Salt Lake”. Tess knows that her sister is not particularly reliable, but when it comes to Caitlin she would never desert her.
Stories abound in this small town, much as they do in all small towns, but Tori appears to be in the middle of everything. However, it is not many hours before Tess becomes a reluctant witness to something very strange, is it hallucination or reality? That becomes her mantra as time shifts again and again, but always to the same period. Though sometimes spending days in the past, she always arrives back moments after she “leaves”.
The town is full of secrets, and yet they apparently are all related to one family, the Westons, the very family Tori was working for. Is it coincidence? Did she discover something hidden? Did she kill someone? Only the story will tell but the answer will be found buried in the past. A great read, passionate, mysterious, steadily building; a story of love, deceit, and jealousy through the ages. The characters are strong and full-fledged within both levels. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more....more
A timely and perilous trip into the darkness of suburbia, this book grabbed me from the first page and kept me going straight through to the end. I onA timely and perilous trip into the darkness of suburbia, this book grabbed me from the first page and kept me going straight through to the end. I only stopped reading long enough for a few hours of sleep! Libby Hellman has created a plot touching on two very real aspects of living in today’s world, teen prostitution and unscrupulous land development, and turned it into an absorbing read. Full of twist and turns, relationships good, bad and ugly, the main character Georgia Davis, ex-cop and now P.I., is up to the challenge.
Upon the murder of a young teen, a mentally disabled young man is found at the scene of the crime holding the weapon and covered in her blood. The lawyer for his defense is sure that he did not do it and hires Georgia to try to find evidence to prove it. Through her search she finds herself trying to put together clues that seem to be buried in the very upscale and political North Shore. This book has secrets galore and as each unravels more secrets appear. Full of powerful interconnections, blocking her at every turn, Georgia has a difficult time breaking through the codes of the elite. Leads keep turning around, who can she trust? Who can she safely question? Who will the killer strike next? This book will definitely hold your attention. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the characters were well-formed, and grew as the story went along. I highly recommend this murder mystery and will definitely read other books by this author, I loved this book....more
Just the series for those who like their witches gently turned out. Number 2 in the Ophelia and Abby series, Ophelia, the apprehensive witch, finds heJust the series for those who like their witches gently turned out. Number 2 in the Ophelia and Abby series, Ophelia, the apprehensive witch, finds herself stumbling alone without the guidance of her grandmother Abby, her trainer, tracking a witch-killer.
The troubles began with the death of Ophelia’s good friend five years previously, leaving her fearful of her destiny. Abby is the powerful witch but the two though able to perform many of the same feats, do not necessarily have the same gifts and Abby has the feeling that she will not be able to help her granddaughter on this mission. She can only give her clues as to what Ophelia’s visions may portend. The women of the family have passed down this destiny, skipping a generation here and there, one of the missed being Abby’s daughter, Ophelia’s mother. Abby gives Ophelia some ancient Norse runes that belonged to her great grandmother believing she will gain her insights through them. The runes come with a journal, and awaken deep feelings within.
After an accident leaves Abby in a coma, it is up to Ophelia, ready or not, to be strong and learn. She must be the one to complete the mission. This series of books is light-hearted, fun, and yet interesting. There are some continuing characters in the series, each well-developed or developing individually. I love these books and turn to one of them whenever I am in need of calming my mind from weightier matters or tomes. The promise shown in this, the second book, is something I look forward to in each and every one. Totally enjoyable, no vampires, beasts, or were-people, just two enduring and loving witches. A quick, easy read....more
I haven’t read any of Dorothy Cannell’s books before but I must say I found it a lighthearted and sometimes laugh out loud change of pace. I completelI haven’t read any of Dorothy Cannell’s books before but I must say I found it a lighthearted and sometimes laugh out loud change of pace. I completely enjoyed the book, however implausible it may be, that is part of the fun. Ellie obviously has a rich imagination and a problem with drifting off into her own scenarios in her mind with the slightest trigger, into a world of gothic romance fiction with herself as the main character. Her partner in crime solving is the irrepressible and ever helpful Mrs. Malloy, her housekeeper. This time out, Ellie’s husband Ben’s twice-married cousin has won the lottery. His daughter Ariel from his first marriage shows up at the house in a anxious state and begs Ellie to come to Yorkshire to Cragstone House where the family has quietly moved since winning. There are many strange events happening. Of course the mansion is spooky on entering to add to the mystique. Disappearances, sudden “accidental” deaths, a bit of “gaslight” all add up to a delightful light romp solving the mystery. Very entertaining and funny, I loved Dorothy Cannell’s writing, wit, and old-fashioned plot with modern twists. I will definitely read more of her books, especially between “heavy” reads, what a relief she will be....more
Definitely not your usual whodunit The opposite of Bo-Peep, it's the sheep who "can't tell where to find" the murderer of their shepherd. Mystery bookDefinitely not your usual whodunit The opposite of Bo-Peep, it's the sheep who "can't tell where to find" the murderer of their shepherd. Mystery book with a twist, the sheep are the detectives, and very good at it, too. No fuzzy brained sheep here! An delightful romp, I really enjoyed the different characters of the sheep, the thought processes, and the idea of sleuthing sheep! Nice light read to enjoy....more
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A fascinating look at an island few know much about. BeginningThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A fascinating look at an island few know much about. Beginning in 1946, just after the war, this story is told mostly through letters, so well-written it is difficult to realize it is a novel. It soon encompasses the reader to such a point that the characters become friends. Mary Ann Shaffer has obviously done a great deal of research to capture the essence so completely. By a fortunate chance a farmer in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams, has written a letter to Juliet Ashton in London asking where he might obtain writings of Charles Lamb. He has contacted Juliet because he had an old book that had her name written inside. Juliet in the meantime has become an author in her in her own right. From this point on, communications are sent back and forth between Juliet and several people in Guernsey.
Guernsey was Occupied by the Germans during WWII and through the letters we learn how the Occupation affected the people of the island. The underlying thread is that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society came into existence on the spur of the moment, when a group of friends who had gathered for an illicit dinner, were caught out after curfew. Quick-thinking Elizabeth tells them they were at a meeting of the Guernsey Literary Society discussing “Elizabeth and Her German Garden” and enjoying it so much they lost track of time. This apparently appeased the patrol officer, and the Society was henceforth born, but now actually as to read and discuss books. You will laugh over the roast pig incident and learn that a few Occupiers were even compassionate.
Guernsey was totally cut off from the rest of the world during the Occupation, which lasted 5 years, and knew nothing of what was happening in England. They were able to see some of the attacks on France from the island. Now, in 1946, they are trying to return to normal living. The correspondence with Juliet brought them to a point where the members of the Society indicated they would love to have her visit, so visit she did. The island and the people won her over and Juliet is no longer sure she wants to return to London. This is a warm, friendly, funny and compassionate story, a war story, and a love story. I found myself feeling as though I personally knew these people and their island personally. In fact immediately after finishing the book I went to the computer and looked up Guernsey to see this island that captured her so. Although the final work on the book was taken over by the author’s niece due to the author’s health, whatever was done by Annie Barrows fits smoothly into the whole. I loved the book beginning to end. It is very sad to realize that there can be no more stories by Mary Ann Shaffer, as this shining light has been snuffed far too soon by her death earlier this year....more