Killing Custer by Margaret Coel is a contemporary mystery that deals with historical re-enactment. I actually know a number of medieval re-enactors an...moreKilling Custer by Margaret Coel is a contemporary mystery that deals with historical re-enactment. I actually know a number of medieval re-enactors and a few Victorian re-enactors , but all these people are hobbyists. There isn't one of them who truly believes that he or she is a historical personage re-born. I will not say that such a thing is impossible. Reincarnation is a cherished belief of Hinduism, Buddhism and a number of other religions. Yet in the context of historical re-enactment, a belief that you really are the role you play can cause some serious difficulties in your relationships with the real people with whom you are currently interacting. This is seen in the lives of several characters in Killing Custer.
I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher, Berkeley Prime Crime, through the good offices of the author's publicist, Julia Drake.
I've read other books in Margaret Coel's Wind River mystery series that takes place on the Wind River Arapaho reservation. My favorite is The Spirit Woman which deals with Sacajawea, the Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark.
What I enjoy most about this series is the friendship between Vicky Holden and co-protagonist Father John O'Malley, who is a priest at the St. Francis Mission on the Wind River Reservation. There are some wonderful moments in this friendship during the events of Killing Custer that will gratify the fans of this series. So I will give my fellow Margaret Coel fans a heads up that this latest installment in the Wind River series will be available very soon. It is slated for release on September 3, 2013.
The Rinaldi Quartet by Paul Adam is a book that I suggested for the mystery F2F group that I attend, and they selected it. I was pleased because it so...moreThe Rinaldi Quartet by Paul Adam is a book that I suggested for the mystery F2F group that I attend, and they selected it. I was pleased because it sounded unusual. The central character who investigates the case is luthier Gianni Castiligione. Luthiers make stringed instruments.
Although the mystery aspect is about the case of the murdered luthier, Tomasso Rinaldi, it also deals with a quest for a legendary violin.
I really liked the perspective. We get to see into Gianni Castilliogne's mind. We get insight into how he experiences music and his love for violins. I was impressed by what he had to say to Rinaldi's granddaughter, a budding violinist.
Other good points of The Rainaldi Quartet were the plotting, the background about luthiers, violin dealers and the history of violins.
I would have read Original Death by Eliot Pattison eventually because I am a fan of his Colonial American mystery series to which this book belongs. I...moreI would have read Original Death by Eliot Pattison eventually because I am a fan of his Colonial American mystery series to which this book belongs. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read it a good deal sooner since I was provided with an advance copy by publicist Julia Drake.
The best reason to like a mystery is a plot with unexpected twists. Original Death definitely delivers plot twists. When the revelation of whodunit finally came, I could honestly say that I didn't expect it.
The characterization was excellent. The anguish of Duncan's Native American companion Conawago over the village massacre that he and Duncan encounter was quite moving as was Duncan's inner conflict precipitated by this mystery. There were also some wonderful side characters such as Hetty the Irish seer, Kassawaya the Oneida warrior woman and the real historical personage, Colonel William Johnson.
I can recommend this novel to fans of historical mysteries and of the Sara Donati novels that take place in the same period and were also inspired by the Leatherstocking Tales.
I was impressed with the thoroughness of Johnstone's research and his ability to incorporate it into the plot without trying to overwhelm us with deta...moreI was impressed with the thoroughness of Johnstone's research and his ability to incorporate it into the plot without trying to overwhelm us with detail. For those who are interested in knowing more, there is a glossary which includes the sectors of the city of Alexandria.
I was surprised that the protagonist's wife, Titania had the right to take his son when she left him in the opening of the novel. According to Wikipedia on Women in Ancient Rome , in a marriage between two free citizens, a wife could take custody of the children if she could prove that her husband was "worthless". Titania probably could have done so because he had lost everything he owned.
From a mystery standpoint, this is a noir novel which is not my genre. Aculeo, the sympathetic central character, made Furies seem less dark with his sense of honor and decency in the midst of all the corruption. Another character that I really liked was Sekhet, the Egyptian healer/medical examiner who assisted Aculeo in solving the case.
I liked it, but...The greatest strength of this book is the excerpts from Madame Daeng's memoirs. I enjoyed learning about the role she played in the...moreI liked it, but...The greatest strength of this book is the excerpts from Madame Daeng's memoirs. I enjoyed learning about the role she played in the history of Laos.
Yet I can’t say that I was completely enamored with The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die. The Dr. Siri series has been a pretty wild ride especially when it comes to the paranormal, but in this book the mystery's solution can be arrived at by employing the rather mundane Occam's Razor. (The simplest explanation is the one that will turn out to be true. ) This is a principle of logical reasoning that I would never have thought had any place in Dr. Siri's world where the improbable is almost to be expected. For me, it's a disappointment that a case that seems so intriguing should be resolved in such an ordinary way. There is also some unbearable cutesiness toward the end. So aside from Madame Daeng's memoirs, this book was disappointing.
I read books with an Amish background if they seem authentic and have plots that raise interesting issues. This is the first book I've read by P. L. G...moreI read books with an Amish background if they seem authentic and have plots that raise interesting issues. This is the first book I've read by P. L. Gaus. It had more German than I normally see in an Amish themed novel written by an Englisher. The only lapse from authenticity that bothered me in this book was an Amish man using Englisher slang regarding sex. I can see him knowing sexual slang from Rumspringer, but not actually using the slang in ordinary conversation. I didn't abandon the book at that point because I'd gotten involved with the plot.
I was interested in the Amish genetic study and other aspects of the novel, though I did lose interest when it turned into a standard serial killer kind of plot.(less)
I received this book from Net Galley. The central character is a lawyer who has been assigned her first homicide case. She is defending a woman of col...moreI received this book from Net Galley. The central character is a lawyer who has been assigned her first homicide case. She is defending a woman of color charged with the murder of her husband. It was an inter-racial marriage in a rural French community where all outsiders tend to be viewed with suspicion, but I anticipated that racism would play a role in the way that the accused woman is viewed. I thought that this book would grapple with some interesting issues.
I will say that Granotier has created multi-layered characters with complexity. Complex characterization doesn't necessarily make for sympathetic characters. There were only two characters in this book that I found sympathetic and neither of them was the protagonist, Catherine Monsigny. She didn't understand her client because of her own racism. It's true that all defense lawyers in France are hampered by France's legal presumption of guilt until proven innocent. Catherine Monsigny also has a tendency to leap to unwarranted conclusions which doesn't serve her well either as a lawyer or as an "investigator". I put this in quotes because she doesn't really investigate. She stumbles on evidence, but never examines it fully or investigates further. I feel that she displays poor judgement in both her professional and personal life. I would normally make allowances for her inexperience, but she doesn't seem to learn from mistakes. The plot strand dealing with a mystery in Catherine's past didn't raise my estimation of her acumen at all.
I don’t recommend this book for mystery fans. Catherine’s shortcomings irritated me. In fact, my opinion of her worsened over the course of the novel.
For my complete review which includes some interesting facts about French lawyers and the history of France, see my May blog entry "The Paris Lawyer: When Inexperience Tries My Patience" at http://www.maskedpersona.blogspot.com (less)
This is a fun read. I enjoy Phryne Fisher and I thought I would especially like a novel that deals more centrally with her as an aviator. Did I say "m...moreThis is a fun read. I enjoy Phryne Fisher and I thought I would especially like a novel that deals more centrally with her as an aviator. Did I say "more centrally"? Well, flying isn't quite as central as I would hope, but there are some wonderful scenes related to aviation.
There are some great side characters--particularly the artist sister of the flying school owner who is accused of murder. Phryne knows many independent woman professionals and I am always delighted to see them.(less)
Inspector Shan, once a crime investigator in Beijing, is now to quote him "an official damned inspector of dams" in Tibet. There were some wonderful c...moreInspector Shan, once a crime investigator in Beijing, is now to quote him "an official damned inspector of dams" in Tibet. There were some wonderful characters and some interesting Buddhist practices, but from a plot perspective, I could have wished for more believability. Readers are asked to swallow some incredible stupidity on the part of the Chinese regime in Mandarin Gate. I am willing to believe that Chinese government functionaries can be corrupt, but not idiotic. Chinese government decisions described in this book contradict what I know about their established policies. (view spoiler)[For example, I don't think it's probable that Chinese authorities would have re-located an entire street gang to Tibet without breaking them up. In the United States, authorities try to break up youth gangs by not allowing gang members to associate with each other as a probation requirement. In the case of the Chinese government,this is especially unlikely considering that Beijing normally breaks up the families of criminals and dissidents. The group of dissident intellectuals who were sent with their families to the same settlement is another example that contradicts this policy. (hide spoiler)] If policy had been followed, a number of the characters could not have played the roles they did. It boggled my mind that it didn't occur to the bureaucrats in Beijing that these particular decisions could cause them a great deal of trouble. I know that we are supposed to suspend disbelief for fiction, but there are limits. Pattison owes me new suspenders. My current set of disbelief suspenders are completely ruined.
Ruth Galloway finds herself dealing with the remains of a fictional medieval bishop named Augustine Smith. In this book, Ruth Galloway finds herself d...moreRuth Galloway finds herself dealing with the remains of a fictional medieval bishop named Augustine Smith. In this book, Ruth Galloway finds herself dealing with the remains of a fictional medieval bishop named Augustine Smith. There was a mystery involved with the bishop’s bones, yet the sub-plot about the repatriation of Australian aborigine bones was actually much more interesting to me. Frankly, Griffiths often invests more drama in the personal life of her protagonist than in her cases. As a mystery fan, I find this disappointing. Yet this particular novel did concern itself with some weightier matters that gave it more substance.
I really liked the first book in this series, Dogs Don't Lie: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir because Pru seemed to care so much about animals, but in this one...moreI really liked the first book in this series, Dogs Don't Lie: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir because Pru seemed to care so much about animals, but in this one Pru seemed very manipulative but not smart. In noir, the detective really needs to be smart and there should be snappy dialogue. Unfortunately, the snappiest dialogue belongs to Pru's cat. That doesn't speak well for any of the humans in this book. But I really did like the felines. They were purr-fect.(less)
This is a paranormal mystery taking place largely in Oakland and Berkeley, California. I've lived in that area almost forty years, so I guess you can...moreThis is a paranormal mystery taking place largely in Oakland and Berkeley, California. I've lived in that area almost forty years, so I guess you can say I know it pretty well. Yet I learned about the history of Oakland's Lake Merritt from this book. I knew nothing about it previously.
I also liked the protagonist who is a psychic and a Tarot reader who works with a private investigator to solve the murder of one of her clients. It wasn't an especially interesting case, but I liked the paranormal aspect and the local context.(less)
I've only read the first two in this series, but jumped to the most recent one because it sounded more interesting than the third in the series. I was...moreI've only read the first two in this series, but jumped to the most recent one because it sounded more interesting than the third in the series. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the Native American cultural content and there were some touching moments.
I have to say that this is the first time that I was not annoyed by Lonnie Little Bird's verbal tic "Um hmm yes, it is so." I guess it grew on me. I found that I was saying to myself at moments when characters weren't telling the truth "Um hmm yes, it isn't so."
I liked the unusual mentor relationship that Longmire developed with the new Tribal Police Chief. It was an opportunity for some good character development.