The Herb of Death & Other Stories (all stories originally written 1933 and earlier; first appeared in The Tuesday Club Murders). This collection f...moreThe Herb of Death & Other Stories (all stories originally written 1933 and earlier; first appeared in The Tuesday Club Murders). This collection features three stories which were presented as puzzles for the members of the "Tuesday Club" to solve--with Miss Marple always appearing as the successful detective--even when pitted against Sir Henry Clithering of Scotland Yard. The final story takes place long after the gatherings when Sir Henry happens to be visiting St. Mary Mead. The stories which Joan Hickson reads are "The Herb of Death," "The Thumbmark of St. Peter," "The Affair of the Bungalow," and "Death by Drowning." I'll give a short description of each...
"The Herb of Death": Mrs. Bantry takes her turn at presenting a puzzle for the group. She tells of a dinner party where fox gloves leaves were mixed in with sage and everyone at the dinner became ill. Everyone recovered except the ward of the host. The young woman died and it was initially thought that the leaves were simply mixed in by mistake. But Miss Marple spots the clues that prove murder...and correctly names the murderer as well.
"The Thumbmark of St. Peter": Miss Marple tells the story of her niece Mabel who wed unwisely and soon regretted it--for her husband was a bit of bully and they quarreled often. After one particularly heated argument, the husband died mysteriously the next night. Small villages just can't resist gossip and soon rumors are flying round that Mabel has poisoned her husband. Mabel called upon her aunt to help her out of her mess. Miss Marple was able to discover that the man was indeed poisoned and the guilty party was soon identified.
"The Affair of the Bungalow": Jane Heiler, a beautiful actress, tells this story. She presents it as having happened to "a friend," but the others are quite sure that the story is Jane's own. While on tour with a play, she was called in by the police to be identified by a young man who claimed she had written a letter and requested his presence at a certain bungalow which belonged to another actress. He had met her there and then been drugged. A robbery had taken place at the bungalow and he is being held as a suspect. But when Jane arrives at the police station, the man says that she isn't the right woman. What really happened? Miss Marple knows...even though she says she doesn't while the group is all together.
"Death by Drowning": Rose Emmett has been found drowned in the river near St. Mary Mead. She was pregnant and her lover had refused to marry her so everyone thought she had killed herself. But Miss Marple knew she'd been murdered. When she hears that Sir Henry Clithering is in town for a visit, she asks him to investigate. She has no proof and doesn't think the local police will take her reasons seriously. She writes down the name of her suspect and asks Sir Henry to find a way to discover whether she's correct. When an apparently unshakeable alibi is produced, it begins to look as if Miss Marple has made her first mistake....but Christie fans know that can't be possible.
Joan Hickson provides a very entertaining reading of these four classic short stories. And Agatha Christie provides her usual caliber of mystifying narrative. I was quite taken in--particularly in the last one where I was sure I knew the name written on that piece of paper, only to find out that I was wrong. Excellent mysteries by the Queen of Crime.
My Take: This is going to be fairly short. Book Clubbed caught my eye on the New Arrivals shelf at the library. I mean, what's not to love? A mystery...moreMy Take: This is going to be fairly short. Book Clubbed caught my eye on the New Arrivals shelf at the library. I mean, what's not to love? A mystery bookstore owner as amateur sleuth. With a cat named Miss Marple. A corpse killed by a fallen bookcase. A clue in a family Bible. Books everywhere you look. I was in need of just six more library books to fulfill the I Love Library Books reading challenge and this seemed like a perfect entry--a quick, cozy read.
Yeah...no. At first I thought that maybe the reason I wasn't connecting with Tricia Miles and her sister Angelica (and about 95% of the rest of the characters) was because I hopped on the Booktown Mystery Train at stop number 8, but a glance through other less favorable reviews by readers who have been on board from the beginning lead me to surmise that it wouldn't have mattered much. Tricia apparently has been in a weird funk from her divorce (and other man troubles) all along. She's being stalked by her ex--I don't care what anyone says. The fact that he watches her every move from a window that looks down on her store and straight across from her apartment is very creepy. And, it's not enough that she's got hang-ups over men. She's also got her troubled relationship with her mother.
Quite honestly, living inside her head and seeing the other characters from her point of view is no treat. She's labeled a goody two-shoes, but she's not particularly charitable in her thoughts about most of the others. When tragedy strikes at the end, I'm not even invested enough in her character to feel terribly sorry for her. The most sympathetic characters--in my opinion--are her employees. Unfortunately, we don't see nearly enough of them. And let's not even talk about the dialogue...mostly flat, almost always at cross-purposes, and sometimes I'm left thinking "what-the-heck?" because the subject has just been changed abruptly for no discernible reason.
The good points? Decent mystery and plotting, although not enough clues displayed so the reader could possibly arrive at the solution on their own. Booktown atmosphere is also a plus. But not enough good points to entice me into reading any more of the series.
Billionaire Francis Reboul has a gorgeous coastal estate that is just perfect for hosting vacationing friends like private investigator Sam Levitt and...moreBillionaire Francis Reboul has a gorgeous coastal estate that is just perfect for hosting vacationing friends like private investigator Sam Levitt and his lovely lady Elena Morales--as well as hosting an auction benefit for the lovely city of Marseilles. But Reboul isn't the only one who thinks his estate is perfect. Oleg Vronsky, a Russian tycoon, has been cruising up and down the French coastline looking for the villa of his dreams. When his binoculars fill up with the wonders of Le Palais du Pharo, he knows he's found it. He immediately contacts his realtor and tells him he wants it. But Reboul isn't in the market to sell. At any price.
Unfortunately, the man known as "The Barracuda" isn't used to taking no for an answer and he certainly doesn't intend to start now. Vronsky has contacts in the underworld and he isn't afraid to use them to put pressure on the current owner of his house. And, if it comes down to it, he's prepared to make Reboul disappear in order to create a vacancy. But Vronsky hasn't encountered Sam Levitt before. Nor has he tried any of his under hand tricks amongst the close-knit Corsican community. He's about to find out that neither Sam nor the Corsicans take kindly to his treatment of Francis Reboul.
But don't be misled...just because Sam and Elena are on guard against the machinations of the Russian baddies that doesn't mean this is a tough guy, shoot-em-up story. On the contrary, Sam and Elena swan about the countryside sampling restaurant fare and doing a bit of house-hunting of their own. In fact, despite the appearance of a private investigator and the involvement of underworld characters, this book fits firmly in the cozy genre. There's no blood, no gore....and finally, no murder. It's a story about a caper and how Sam manages to keep the evil mastermind from winning (that's no spoiler--surely you know the bad guy can't possibly win in a book that features such delights as velouté d'asperges and roast duck breast stuffed with green olives).
This was a fun little reading escape. Not quite my usual fare in the mystery genre...because, really, there's no mystery. You know who the bad guy is from page one. You're given his M.O. straight up, so you know what he's going to do. And it's no surprise when Sam foils his plans. But the writing is crisp and the characters engaging. A nice little outing.
Death in an Ivory Tower is the fifth installment in Maria Hudgins' Dotsy Lamb cozy mystery series.Dotsy is a 6o-something grandmother and teacher of a...moreDeath in an Ivory Tower is the fifth installment in Maria Hudgins' Dotsy Lamb cozy mystery series.Dotsy is a 6o-something grandmother and teacher of ancient and medieval history who is determined to finally complete her PhD. She and her doctoral adviser, Professor Larry Roberts, are off to Oxford for an academic conference revolving around the myths of King Arthur and their influence on Elizabethan England. Larry is currently a bit miffed at his student--Dotsy somehow managed to influence a couple of New Age Arthurian zealots with an agenda to apply for the conference. Bram Fitzwaring and his on-again, off-again lover Mignon Beaulieu plan to rock the conference with their "proof" that Arthur was a real king and not just the stuff of legends.
Fitzwaring rocks the conference all right....but not with a major Arthurian bombshell. He's found dead in his room just hours before his scheduled presentation. It's first thought that the diabetic conferee died from a case of hypoglycemia. But Dotsy is a diabetic as well and certain facts surrounding the death just don't add up. Then a family friend who is a visiting doctor at a local Oxford hospital is shot and Dotsy wonders if there is a connection. But what could the connection be...and will she be able to make the British police listen to her suspicions?
This is a well-paced cozy mystery with an academic setting--a winner for me, as you all know! Dotsy is a likeable character and interesting as an amateur detective. She works with the police and doesn't assume that she can take on villains all on her own. I'm not sure how the rest of the series works (this is my first foray into the Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries)--but this one in particular works with Dotsy as sleuth because of her personal knowledge of diabetes. We also learn a bit about Arthurian legend versus history along the way, but Hudgins doesn't load the story down with details. There's just enough for interest and background. A solid cozy mystery that, while part of a series, can certainly be read as a stand-alone with no need to have read previous books first. I will certainly look forward to catching up on others in the series--particularly if they include academic settings as well.
A Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan is the second in the League of Literary Ladies series set on South Bass Island (one of Ohio's islands in Lake Eri...moreA Tale of Two Biddies by Kylie Logan is the second in the League of Literary Ladies series set on South Bass Island (one of Ohio's islands in Lake Erie). The group was originated when a judge required them to form a book club and work out their differences after they had appeared before him once too often. They had just settled themselves down in that task in the first book, when the owner of a local restaurant (The Orient Express) was murdered--and naturally they had to help solve that crime.
This time out, a rather unlikeable young man named Richie is murdered during the inaugural Bastille Day--a local festival celebrating the Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities. He had already complained to Hank, the local police officer, that someone had tried to kill him by shoving him into the lake earlier that week. But given his tendency to complain and dramatize, his story was discounted. When he winds up full of poison in the corner of the bar, it looks like the dunking in the lake was more than an accident. There are a lot of motives floating around--from the man who lost everything because of Richie's "little mistake" to the owner of a million-dollar home that was blown sky-high because Richie forgot to turn off the gas to the lead singer of Guillotine (a rock band playing at the festival) who had a heated discussion with Richie despite claiming that he never met the man before in his life. While Hank follows the official routes, Bea Cartwright and her literary ladies follow up with casual questioning.
This was a fun, quick read. Definitely a cozy mystery--small town, quirky characters, no blood & gore, very little official police work, and an amateur sleuth who doesn't take herself too seriously. The references to Dickens' work throughout the book fit very nicely and add to the fun. The only drawback? The culprit was as plain as plain could be--if you pick up on the right references and notice the spoiler on the cover of the book. Fortunately, getting to know the characters and enjoying their interactions made for so much fun that having a puzzle to solve wasn't as necessary as usual in the mysteries I read. Three stars for good, solid fun.
Death by the Book is the second in Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering series of cozy mysteries set in the 1930s. It is just a few months after the eve...moreDeath by the Book is the second in Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering series of cozy mysteries set in the 1930s. It is just a few months after the events in Rules of Murder--when Drew helps Chief Inspector Birdsong get to the bottom of a series of murders committed at his country house--and Drew wants nothing more than to spend his time convincing his lady love to accept his proposal of marriage. But his plans are interrupted by the arrival of Madeleine's disapproving aunt and another series of murders that once again strike too close to home for comfort.
First, Drew's solicitor is found murdered in a hotel room--bashed over the head with a bust of Shakepeare and with a cryptic message "Advice to Jack" affixed to his chest with an antique hatpin. Suspicion surrounds the man's family when it is discovered that the supposedly upright member of community was having an affair with a shop girl. But then a local doctor is found dead on the golf course of Drew's club and again there is a strange message pinned to him with a hatpin. Two more deaths follow, and the murder of a young woman makes the police settle on one of Drew's acquaintances as the culprit. But Drew's interpretation of the hatpin clues makes him certain that Inspector Birdsong has arrested the wrong man. But will Drew be able to find the real villain before someone even closer to him is killed?
This series is fun and breezy with definite homage being paid to Christie and Sayers as well as other literary lights. The characters are well-drawn and interesting and I thoroughly enjoy the conversations and interactions among them. The addition of Aunt Ruth is a masterstroke that kept me laughing every time she appeared. She is just sure that Drew is out to ruin Madeleine's virtue and she'll do whatever she can to put a spoke in that romantic wheel. The weakest part of the story is the mystery plot--I spotted the perpetrator quite early for reasons I can't mention without spoiling it and I'm not completely sold on the motive. But following Drew and company as they make their way through the clues and watching he and Madeleine sort out their relationship more than made up for it. 3 1/2 stars (rounded to 4).
First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.
Lola Summerville is jealous of all the chick lit authors who are signing book deals right and left and having their books optioned for movie deals bef...moreLola Summerville is jealous of all the chick lit authors who are signing book deals right and left and having their books optioned for movie deals before the printer has finished spitting out their first run. It doesn't help that everyone from taxi drivers to policemen are being asked to "tell their story" and make mega-bucks. And it's not like Lola hasn't written a book. She has and it's a good one--but no one seems to notice. And she hasn't heard from her agent in ages.
Then, up-and-coming chick lit authors start dying faster than the deals have been made. And Lola has to wonder if the murders are connected--is there a chick-lit-hating madman on the loose? Will Lola be next? And, if she isn't on the hit list....well, then, why the heck not? Lola begins poking around when one of the suspects asks for her help and it isn't long before she's high-heels-deep in the mystery. She figures that if she can point the way to the killer, then she'll be able to sell the story in print and for a mega-bucks movie deal. She'll finally get the attention she deserves. But that won't happen if her investigations make the killer notice her first.
This is a fun, light-hearted mystery that pokes fun at the publishing world and the chick lit genre without lampooning or being too sarcastic. There are a lot of snappy, one-liners and a great deal of worry over relationships and impending mommy-hood--but all in good fun. This is definitely the book for anyone who wants to mix their mysteries with a chick lit flavor. There are several red herrings and a nifty twist to the plot before the culprit is caught. And a nice little happy ending for Lola and her long-suffering hubby. Three stars for a pleasant, fun read.
Despite the fact that my library has The Wonder Chamber by Mary Malloy shelved on the mystery "New Arrivals" shelf....a real mystery it is not. In fac...moreDespite the fact that my library has The Wonder Chamber by Mary Malloy shelved on the mystery "New Arrivals" shelf....a real mystery it is not. In fact, for a good long while (try 214 pages out of 265 total) there isn't a terribly good indication that there's going to be a mystery at all--beyond the mystery of a missing Michelangelo candlestick. But certainly not the kind of mystery that crime fiction fans are used to. And when the mystery shows up it doesn't take anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention much brainpower to figure out A. who the mummy really is; B. who killed the person who became the mummy; and C. who turned the victim into a mummy. But...I get ahead of myself.
So...what we have here is Professor Lizzie Manning, professor of St. Patrick's College in Boston, who has just landed the assignment of a lifetime. She will have full access to an art and cabinet of curiosities ("Wonder Chamber") belonging to family related to the college founder. This is a collection dating back to the Renaissance which holds everything from natural treasures ("unicorn" horns and "dragons") to a beautifully preserved Egyptian sarcophagus. Professor Manning has already written a book about the college founder and now the college president and the family want her to oversee the organization of a special display of the family treasures in time for the centennial celebration.
She goes to Italy to survey and catalogue the proposed exhibit pieces and becomes interested in the Gonzaga family's history--particularly in Maggie, wife of Lorenzo Gonzaga and daughter of the college founder. Her interest takes her through the turbulent years of World War II and she becomes aware of events that will require a modern day explanation. For when she examines the sarcophagus, instead of an empty coffin she finds a very real mummy. But the mummy is not as old as its container. Who is it? And how long has it been hidden in the sarcophagus?
As I mentioned above...as a mystery, this story falls short of a mystery lover's expectations. It take forever to get to the real puzzle. And when you get there, there isn't much of a puzzle. There's no real build-up; there's no real conflict; and the denouement leaves a bit to be desired. If this had been billed as a straight fiction story (with a bit of mystery flavor), then it would rate higher. There is a lot of interesting historical information about Italy during the Second World War. There are some fascinating passages about curiosity collections. There are some fine character interactions between Lizzie Manning and the modern day members of the Gonzaga family. For the most part I like Lizzie and the descriptions of her researches are well done. I do find it difficult to believe that someone as smart as she is would not have seen the implications of the monologue (for lack of a better description without giving away what little mystery there is) which she recorded and the effect it might have on the person who translated it. There's no way she could be that obtuse. Given that I was expecting a mystery--and an academic mystery at that!--I'm afraid that The Wonder Chamber rates a less-than-wonderous two stars--an okay read that could have been much better.
Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh is a "reread" for me. Reread is in quotes because I actually listened to it this time. Our local library had clear out...moreDeath at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh is a "reread" for me. Reread is in quotes because I actually listened to it this time. Our local library had clear out of all their books on tape about this time last year and I scooped up this 8-cassette rendition read by James Saxon. Saxon, by the way is terrific to listen to. He manages to give all of the characters their own distinct voice (although I think it was a good thing that there were only two ladies--one of whom had a nice Irish brogue). I am not, generally speaking, an audio-book kind of reader. Not that I have anything against them, I just process the books much better in print (particularly on a first go-round). But when faced with a weekend trip in the middle of a read-a-thon I thought listening would be a great way to stay on track for the 'thon. And as mentioned I thoroughly enjoyed Saxon as the reader.
But down to cases: Attorney, Luke Watchman is headed to Devon and the Plume of Feathers pub for an annual holiday with his cousin Sebastian Parish and his friend Noman Cubitt. On the way there he has a minor mishap with another motorist. Watchman jumps out of his car to berate the other man on his driving habits and the driver mutters an apology at him and tries to avoid being seen clearly. Watchman is somewhat mollified, but gets the impression that he might know the other man and that the driver definitely doesn't want to be seen by him.
Watchman arrives at the Feathers and once settled he meets up with Parish and Cubitt in the private bar--where he regales them with the tale of his accident and his impressions of the other man. The other man is none other than Robert Legge--a fellow guest of the pub and a man who has been sitting in a secluded part of the bar. Watchman tries to engage him in conversation, but it is clear that Legge does not want to be sociable.
During the course of the evening it is revealed that Legge is a "masterpiece" with the darts and can do all sorts of tricks with the darts and board--from playing Round the Clock (hitting point sections in order) to a circus-type move where he can outline a person's hand with darts. Watchman doubts his skill--challenging him to repeat exactly a set of dart moves from the previous evening (and losing money on the bet) and then a game of Round the Clock, but shying away from presenting his hand for the circus trick. The next evening Watchman changes his mind and says that if Legge can beat him at Round the Clock again, then he will let Legge do his dart and hand trick with him--he figures the worst that can happen is a prick from the dart and he's gotten a bit of courage from the brandy bottle produced by the proprietor.
He would be wrong...by the end of the night Watchman is dead and a trace of cyanide found on the dart. There was plenty of the stuff about the place--Abel Pomeroy, the pub owner, had been using the deadly poison to dispose of rats. Someone decided to use it to dispose of Watchman. But who? The obvious person is Legge because he threw the dart. But there are several witnesses to swear that he could not possibly have smeared poison on the instrument. When Inspector Roderick Alleyn and Detective Sergeant Fox arrive to assist the local constabulary, they find all sorts of motives lurking about--there's Decima Moore and her boyfriend, Will Pomeroy who differ on politics and who don't appreciate Watchman's attentions to the lovely Decima; Parish and Cubitt are legatees under Watchman's will; and there are a couple of people who had dealings with Watchman in court. The difficulty is that those with the most motive seem to have the least opportunity. Fox will get a taste of poison himself (and be saved by Alleyn) before they can bring the crime home to the culprit.
The last time I read this one Marsh fooled me. She did it again and (this is embarrassing) I'm pretty sure she fooled me in the same way. I latched onto a particular character and, just as one of the characters kept bleating on about how Abel Pomeroy has tried to poison them all (he hasn't), I could not get that character out of my head as the villain of the piece. Marsh managed to force the clues on me and I still missed them. I thoroughly enjoyed having the wool pulled over my eyes. Four stars.
I thought I'd start things off nice and light and cozy with a trip to New York City in the late 50s/early 60s and drop in on Pam and Jerry North and...more I thought I'd start things off nice and light and cozy with a trip to New York City in the late 50s/early 60s and drop in on Pam and Jerry North and see what they're up to. In Murder Has Its Points by Richard and Frances Lockridge, the Norths are embroiled in another murder investigation when one of Jerry's star authors is killed by an apparent sniper shot after a publicity party. Only...maybe it wasn't a sniper after all. Sure, the city has had a rash of such shootings over the past few weeks, but it does seem odd that Anthony Payne just happened to have a whole lineup of people who would have loved for him to drop dead. In fact, a few of them mentioned what a fine idea that would be while supposedly celebrating his success at the party. And then, of course, he did...drop dead, that is.
It's not long after that Pam has visits from from various "well-wishing" party-goers who seem to be brimming with information that she might pass on to her "nice policeman." Pam's quicksilver brain begins working furiously while her nice policeman, Captain Bill Weigand, goes round to see if there is any reason to believe that this wasn't just another sniper shooting. And not too long after that Pam is off "sticking her neck out" as Jerry and Bill call it, trying to help one of her "lame dogs"--a suspect in trouble who she believes to be innocent. It all winds up with Pam and a group of suspects in a lonely house in the country. Someone gets shot, someone gets framed and Bill, Jerry, and the troops arrive just in time for the grand finale.
As always, the Lockridges provide a nice, breezy little mystery. Sure, it may be a bit much to believe that one couple (and particularly the female half of the couple) could wind up involved in so many murders (Jessica Fletcher, anyone?), but a little suspension of disbelief never hurt anyone. Especially when it's so much fun. I love slipping into an earlier time when there are taxis waiting on every corner, special restaurants serving the perfect martinis, and small publishing firms like North Books. I also enjoy the way the Lockridges work the Siamese cats into their stories. They write about the cats with just enough humor to make it fun, without making it too cute.
This review (read in paperback) was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks!(less)
The Dancer family is a bit...shall we say eccentric? Their family tree includes Sir Harold Dancer who followed his king on the Crusades and returned t...moreThe Dancer family is a bit...shall we say eccentric? Their family tree includes Sir Harold Dancer who followed his king on the Crusades and returned to find his lady fooling around with a man-at-arms. He drugged his wife, killed and quartered the man, and dumped his bits into bed with the lady. Then there was Sir Charles Dance who admired the American Confederacy and had an antebellum facade built over his Elizabethan home (his son got rid of that as soon as he inherited). And, of course, Sir Godfrey Dancer who, at the turn of the 20th Century, decided to follow the mystic ways of the Far East, built a miniature Chinese temple, stocked it with priceless jade figures, and arranged for his burial there--complete with a curse to scare off anyone who might contemplate desecrating the temple and running off with the jade.
The current head of the family, Sir Amyas Dancer has decided that the curse was never meant for Dancers and has plans to pull down the temple and make way for his own particular obsession...a Roman amphitheater. Living with him at the ancestral country house are his children Carleton who collects buttons--particularly those with a macabre connection--and Cassandra who appears to be the most normal of the bunch. Also on site are his sisters, Bella who would spend every hour cooking if she had her way and Sybil who has a mania for reincarnation and a decided aversion to even the mention of divorce. The ladies live in the Dower House on the estate. There is also Sir Amyas's former father-in-law, Horace, who hangs out in the bushes wearing sackcloth and ashes. In the nearby village lives David Proctor, poet and former model, who is currently engaged to Cassandra, but was formerly the beau of her mother, Viola. Viola, by the way, is dead and nobody, except her father, seems to miss her much.
As the first anniversary of Viola's death by drowning approaches, Amyas begins inspecting Mandalay, the Chinese temple on the estate, in preparation for his amphitheater construction plans. To his horror, the first thing he finds when he unlocks the temple is a body. And it's not his revered ancestor. The body is that of Katherine St. Croix, alias Katie Parr alias Katerina Padrinski alias Kay Parnell--a woman who had weaseled her way into the house three months previous with a down-on-her-luck story only to vanish one night leaving only her buttons behind. The entire family comes under suspicion when it is revealed that she was a con woman, expert at blackmail and stealing any valuables left unattended. Sir Amyas calls on barrister Robert Forsythe, a man who has earned a bit of a reputation as a discreet amateur detective, to dispel the fog of suspicion and bring the crime home to the murderer...even if it means that a Dancer must go to jail
Forsythe, aided by his superlative secretary Miss Sanderson ("Sandy"), soon find themselves no further than the police--ten suspects all with fair-to-middlin' motive and none with a decent alibi, but no real evidence and no definite finger of suspicion pointing towards anyone in particular. It isn't until Forsythe visits the murdered woman's London apartment that he finds a clue that focuses his attention...and it will take a bit of theatrics on a "dark and stormy night" with a bit of "the wrath of God" to bring the culprit out into the open.
E. X. Giroux is a new author for me. The mystery is fast-paced, well-plotted, and stocked with interesting characters who even though they are a bit dotty are thoroughly believable. I definitely will be on the look-out for more books starring Forsythe and Sandy--I really enjoyed their interactions. The weakest part of the novel (and what keeps it at ★★★ instead of four stars) is the wrap-up. Forsythe cannot produce the evidence to allow the police to arrest the murderer, so he has to rely on theatrics to force a confession. A weak ending--but overall a solidly entertaining mystery.