At first I wasn't sure if I liked this book or not. The story develops slowly, Dame Ngaio Marsh setting up the tale of a theatre company getting ready...moreAt first I wasn't sure if I liked this book or not. The story develops slowly, Dame Ngaio Marsh setting up the tale of a theatre company getting ready for a production of Macbeth. For those not familiar with "the Scottish play," Macbeth is a source of superstition among some theatre people. Dame Marsh's experiences as a theatre director give the book authenticity and I found myself drawn into her world.
The murder doesn't happen until halfway through the story but Dame Marsh does a wonderful job of depicting the gruesome scene and its aftermath. I'll admit I found the killer's motive less than convincing but overall I enjoyed the story more than I thought. Recommended for readers who like British mysteries and stories with theatrical settings. (less)
Stanley Hastings is a private investigator with a penchant for opening his mouth, inserting foot, and biting down hard. After being hired to rescue a...moreStanley Hastings is a private investigator with a penchant for opening his mouth, inserting foot, and biting down hard. After being hired to rescue a teenage girl from the clutches of a supposedly lecherous Congressman, Stanley finds himself almost implicated for murder. It doesn't help he has to do a delicate balancing act while trying to convince his lawyer and the assistant district attorney he's innocent, despite having been in the building the day of the murder.
Stanley is a likable character with a penchant for dry wit. Sort of like Columbo but without the shrewd intelligence. He's loyal to his case although others around him often find this exasperating.
Like most mysteries, Parnell Hall tosses us the proverbial red herrings. The twists, when they come, are believable and organic.
Overall, Caper is a great choice for a quick read if you like mysteries that fall between hard-boiled and cozy. Not sure how to categorize Caper but I'll be checking out the other Stanley Hastings mysteries that came before. (less)
The extraordinary cases of Savannah lawyer Bree Beaufort and her rather unique Company are not only satisfying "paranormal cozy mysteries" (Publishers...moreThe extraordinary cases of Savannah lawyer Bree Beaufort and her rather unique Company are not only satisfying "paranormal cozy mysteries" (Publishers Weekly's description) but a refreshing take on angelic lore. The main and secondary characters are likable and have defined personalities. The occasional squabbles between Petru (paralegal) and Ron (secretary) are amusing as are Bree's attempts to keep her role as an advocate for the deceased from her human family and acquaintances. Nevertheless, Mary Stanton deftly weaves both the temporal and the ethereal together. Not only that but she builds on each book, raising the stakes for Bree, who inherited the position after graduating from law school.
Avenging Angels is the third book in the Beaufort and Company series (Defending Angels and Angel's Advocate are the first two.) Like the former books, Bree is contacted by the deceased. This time she finds herself having to solve what she suspects is a murder disguised as a suicide. Despite the circumstances surrounding the case, there are no dei ex machina here. The mysteries are solved the old-fashioned way: by gathering clues and processing information.
I mentioned likable characters. Bree appeals to me because she's not only smart and capable, she's a far cry from the TSTL heroine. And the angels, from the fashion-conscious Ron to the stoic private investigator Gabriel Striker, are not your typical celestial beings. Instead, Mary Stanton gives them distinctive preternatural features that go beyond the stereotypical wings and halos. If Bree and her Company were real, I'd have coffee with them any time.
I realize this review is more of an overview of the series and not book-specific. My apologies. But if you like your cozies with a side of the supernatural, I highly recommend the Beaufort and Company series. (less)