I've heard some good things about Catriona McPherson's Dandy Gilver series over the years, and since I love Scotland and that period of time, I though...moreI've heard some good things about Catriona McPherson's Dandy Gilver series over the years, and since I love Scotland and that period of time, I thought it was time to give the first book in the series a try. I've read many books about World War I and the years leading up to the conflict as well as its aftermath. The prologue of After the Armistice Ball immediately wove its spell and took me right to that time when the fighting was finished, and people were taking their first tentative steps in a brand-new world. I also fell in love with Dandy Gilver and her slightly arch, slightly sarcastic, sense of humor. Her husband is a paragon of predictability, and I had fun watching Dandy as she plotted how to take her little investigative tours with spouse Hugh being none the wiser.
The mystery of the diamonds and the murder is a true puzzler, and Dandy definitely needs the help of Alec Osborne, fiance of Cara Duffy. There are real diamonds, there are fake diamonds, there are false trails, and people aren't always whom they seem to be. I joined Dandy in confusion on more than one occasion. However, one thing about this book drove me up the wall and across the ceiling: how Dandy and Alec came to solve the crime. How? By endless talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. And when these two weren't rehashing everything for the millionth time, Dandy was think, think, think, think, thinking about it. This book told me that I need a bit more action in my mysteries, and it reminded me of something else.
As a rule, I don't read Golden Age mysteries because I don't enjoy them-- especially if the crime solver is a female. Most females of the era don't have unlimited travel privileges. They have a few opportunities to see, observe, and question, and then they must retire to their parlors to ponder everything over endless cups of tea. After the Armistice Ball is written in the style of one of these classic Golden Age mysteries. If you read them and enjoy them, you're going to love Dandy Gilver. Unfortunately, although I enjoy Dandy Gilver, Golden Age mysteries just are not my cup of Darjeeling. (less)
Sandra Parshall has crafted a finely tuned and fast-paced mystery that I found difficult to put down. There's a lot going on in Poisoned Ground-- from...moreSandra Parshall has crafted a finely tuned and fast-paced mystery that I found difficult to put down. There's a lot going on in Poisoned Ground-- from Rachel trying to get used to being part of a couple, to showing how veterinarians can be called in to care for the pets of deceased owners, to how the promise of jobs can transform normally sane people into something a little less than human, to-- last but not least-- how sheer stubbornness can lead to justice. All these factors as well as a fine cast of characters make this a very satisfying read.
As more information slowly comes to light, the investigation starts changing directions, and I really enjoyed trying to figure things out. However, in many ways I felt that the best part of the book showed how the promise of paychecks can rip an entire county in two. Parshall does an excellent job of showing all sides of the conflict while fully engaging the reader's emotions.
Rachel Goddard has grown and matured since the first book in this series (the Agatha Award-winning The Heat of the Moon), and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's in store for her next. (less)
The further Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop series goes, the more I like it. The setting and the characters are really coming into their own. Brown bla...moreThe further Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop series goes, the more I like it. The setting and the characters are really coming into their own. Brown blazes a mysterious trail indeed, and lays enough red herrings along the way that even Reagan's hot dog-centric mutt, Bruce Willis, would be led astray.
The cast of characters is a strong one, all the way from sassy and stubborn Reagan to her nemesis (and romantic interest) Walker Boone to two elderly sisters who are professional mourners... all the way to Reagan's strait-laced mother (who's a judge known as Guillotine Gloria) and flaky Aunt KiKi, who was a roadie for Cher. These characters are growing and changing, and in each book we learn things about them that alters our perceptions.
There's also plenty of delightful Southern sass and humor, and as Reagan follows leads, we're treated to plenty of the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia, along the way. Come to think of it, I must be getting hooked on this series because I worry about Reagan not being able to pay her bills. Not only that, I'm thinking that she really should get herself a less conspicuous handbag if she's going to take it along on her investigations! You can't go wrong when you spend an afternoon or two with Reagan and the gang. (less)