I'll start by saying that I really loved the idea behind this book. Betsy wasn't like some people. She didn't set out to solve mysteries. She didn't h...moreI'll start by saying that I really loved the idea behind this book. Betsy wasn't like some people. She didn't set out to solve mysteries. She didn't have this natural nosiness about what other people are doing. Each time she's come across a mystery, it's been a matter of stumbling into them and not being able to let go until she had the answer.
This is one of the few mysteries series that I've read where the armchair detective actually tells people straight out, "I'm not really interested in being a detective." It's also the only one that I can recall where dealing with people she cares about dying, where almost being killed herself and where figuring out that people she might have liked were killers actually bothered her. It gave her nightmares!
In this book, she decides to get away from Excelsior for a bit, partly because of the nightmares and partly because her recent fortune has brought out a bunch of greedy people who want a piece of it.
I was a bit disappointed that things didn't work out between Betsy and Joe, but I'm hoping that they will at least not be at odds anymore after this book. I love the growing friendship that Betsy has with Jill. Godwin's brief appearances in this book were too funny. However, I hope that he will not have lost the little bits of maturity we saw in the previous book when we see him again.
I had part of the mystery solved at about the same time as Betsy. There was one thing that I figured out just before she did. However, for the most part, this was a complete surprise. That, I think, has less to do with the clues not being there and more to do with me just... not thinking that way.(less)
I think that I actually enjoyed this book more than I had the previous one in the series. There were some intense moments for me - like during the fir...moreI think that I actually enjoyed this book more than I had the previous one in the series. There were some intense moments for me - like during the first attempt on Betsy's life. I started reading this book this past Sunday and finished it by the next Thursday (yesterday). It was a quick read and there was quite a bit of action.
I really love the way the characters interact with each other. I'm glad to get to know more about Godwin and his boyfriend. I look forward to see what comes of their relationship in later books. I'm beginning to enjoy Joe and how he and Betsy interact. Sophie is such a typical cat that I think the author must have one. She has the feline nature down perfectly.
As with the previous books, I'm really pleased that all the clues are there for the reader. If you're paying attention to them, it's possible to solve the mystery along with or ahead of Betsy. I was caught up in the drama of the story in this case, so I was really surprised when the culprit was revealed.
All in all, it was really well-written. I truly am enjoying this series and I'm very much looking forward to picking up the next book this coming Sunday. I'll also be working the cross-stitch patterns from at least the last two books on crochet fabric and making a little blanket out of them. I'm looking forward to seeing how that comes out.(less)
This is the first book in a series that's being shared around in my church choir. I like cozy mysteries and I was pretty well stalled on my other read...moreThis is the first book in a series that's being shared around in my church choir. I like cozy mysteries and I was pretty well stalled on my other reading and falling behind on my goal of a book a month for the year. So... I picked it up and started reading it.
It was an excellent read and went quickly. I did not read that blurb on the back, so I was just a bit surprised (but only a bit) when Margot was killed.
The characters were likeable and engaging, also believable. I really felt for Betsy when she was struggling through her sister's untimely murder. The things she was feeling and how she reacted... it all made sense.
I enjoyed the characters as a whole. They were just the sort of people you might find in a small town. I think I like Jill the best of all. She was just such fun, partly because she reminded me of other characters I liked in other works.
I was able to solve the mystery right along with the main character - not ahead of or behind. That's always a plus with me. If I continue with the series, I might start getting ahead of Betsy. However, it was nice to see that the clues were all there for the reader to put together.(less)
The book starts off by setting the stage – introducing the characters that will soon be suspects and having the murder actually take place. It’s one o...moreThe book starts off by setting the stage – introducing the characters that will soon be suspects and having the murder actually take place. It’s one of the few mysteries I’ve read that began in this manner. Most books start by introducing the main character. This is not most books.
Because of how the story begins, the reader spends a good portion of the book knowing things that the main character hasn’t figured out yet. However, Owen is quick and he figures things out before the halfway point.
As with other mysteries I’ve enjoyed, the clues for solving the mystery were all laid out, but it took me until the very end to put them all together. Some things that happened were a bit predictable, however there was at least one false clue and enough twists and turns to keep the book exciting. I never saw the identity of the murderer until near the end. It was obvious, in hindsight, but it was completely unexpected for me – partially because it was so obvious.
The characters were all engaging. I loved the dynamic Owen had with them. I will definitely be looking to pick up the next book in the series, The Lady Chapel.(less)
It was really slow to start off, but things began to pick up once people began being killed. The title soon became clear, considering who most of the...moreIt was really slow to start off, but things began to pick up once people began being killed. The title soon became clear, considering who most of the people who were killed were. There was one moment where I was scratching my head.
Honestly, in the midst of his people being murdered and burned, the viewpoint character stops to have a dalliance with a random girl? Really? First of all: how can you possibly be in the mood for sex when you’ve just found your uncle murdered and you don’t even know if your mother and siblings are still alive? Secondly: how could you not see that she was playing you?
I supposed the argument could be made that he was in shock and wanting to feel alive. However… it just felt really unrealistic to me that something like that would be happening during riots where the viewpoint character’s people are the targets of violence.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. However, I don't think I'll look for more books by this author. It was one of those books, though, that people who feel uncomfortable with sexual references wouldn’t enjoy. There were quite a few instances like the one I described above. That was just the first.
I liked the characters, especially Farid. It was the first time I’ve read a book with a deaf and mute character in such a central role. I felt that Zimler did an excellent job with the character. I feared that he would die at one point in the book and I was really happy with how the situation was resolved and how it worked back into the plot later in the story.
Another thing that was interesting about the story was the point of view from which it was told. It was first person, from the viewpoint of Beri. However, rather than being told in the past tense, the story was told in the present tense, at least partially. (I kept meaning to check and see if he actually switched back and forth – switching to present when he wanted the scene to catch the reader’s attention, but I didn’t think to do so).(less)
I thought that I'd read this book years ago. It turns out that I, very like, actually read the second book in the series.
I loved this book! There were...moreI thought that I'd read this book years ago. It turns out that I, very like, actually read the second book in the series.
I loved this book! There were parts that had me laughing. Other parts brought me to tears. Still others, had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen. All in all, the author drew me into the world of the story. The characters were great fun - especially Luke, Justin and Nell. I look forward to re-reading the second book, now that I've read the first.(less)
This book was, obviously, a really fast read for me. I couldn't make myself put it down, actually. Every spare moment (and some moments that weren't s...moreThis book was, obviously, a really fast read for me. I couldn't make myself put it down, actually. Every spare moment (and some moments that weren't spare) I was reading it.
The characterization was great! I loved both Edgar and Catherine, as well as the minor and more secondary characters. Someone who is interested in everything being perfectly, historically accurate would probably not appreciate some of the things the author did - certain of the characters express some rather modern views. However, I didn't feel that it detracted from the story in any way.
The story was set in France, but - by and large - the author used a translation convention, so that the dialogue was in English. There were words here and there in French, Latin and Hebrew. Most of the time, the meaning (or, at least, intent) could be picked up from context.
As with most mysteries, the main character was trying to figure out the answers to her questions. There were a few instances where I was just a bit ahead of her in solving them. Most often, though, I was figuring them out right along with her. One character gave off a distinctly bad vibe from the moment he appeared, so it was no surprise that he was involved. A couple things surprised me.
All in all, I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I dearly hope to see Edgar again. He was, easily, my favorite character!(less)