An exploding Christmas cracker kills two guests and a snowman seems to be haunting the Pennyfoot. All in all it's a pretty typical Christmas for CecilAn exploding Christmas cracker kills two guests and a snowman seems to be haunting the Pennyfoot. All in all it's a pretty typical Christmas for Cecily and her staff at the country club. Although this year sees Cecily's closest friend, Madeline, marry the local doctor, which adds to the general festivities of the season.
It's a very light mystery with fairly simple solutions to the questions of the the murderer and the ghostly snowman, but I always enjoy reading these at Christmas time.
This book had all of the highlights of my favorite cozies - English countryside, old manor house, cut off from the outside world, and non-gory murdersThis book had all of the highlights of my favorite cozies - English countryside, old manor house, cut off from the outside world, and non-gory murders of characters to whom the readers are not attached. The pace was fast with a murder at the outset and bodies continuing to pile up throughout the story. Snow, Christmas decor, descriptive foods, and a puppy were a bonus. Most of the clues were available for the reader to pick up along the way, though the detective did keep some observations to himself until the end. The reveal was also perfect for a cozy with everyone gathered around the fire in the library.
One little error was that Graves and another guest were able to ski to the village and then back to the hotel during the storm when apparently the police couldn't figure out how to do so - even though bodies were piling up. I understand it was so Graves could do all of the detecting on his own, but I don't think any point was served by the trip to town that couldn't have been achieved by having the two stay on the hotel grounds. It kind of ruined the illusion of isolation.
The characters aren't as well-developed as they might have been in a longer book, but I was looking for a light cozy, Christmas, murder so this worked for me.
There are anti-American views expressed by a few characters that may make some readers uncomfortable. However, I found them to be fairly representative of the views of American tourists and American foreign policy that will be found in much of the world. The author is American by birth though she was educated in Britain....more
Rhys Madoc is a Canadian Royal Mounty from a respectable titled family in Wales. He has just become engaged to Janet when the couple is manipulated byRhys Madoc is a Canadian Royal Mounty from a respectable titled family in Wales. He has just become engaged to Janet when the couple is manipulated by his mother in to spending the Holidays with the grand, but eccentric Crandyke family in northern Canada. Not long after their arrival at the family estate, Granny Crandyke dies, but in her memory the family decides to continue with the Christmas celebrations. Madoc suspects that Granny did not simply die of old age, but was helped along by one of the party-goers.
In the great tradition of so many cozy mysteries, this story takes place at an isolated family estate, cut off from the rest of the world by a tremendous blizzard. The setting, the food, the high tea, the revelry, and the quirky characters make this an interesting Christmas read.
The way Madoc caught the murderer was a bit far fetched. Also, clues were not revealed to the reader as they were discovered. However, what I found most unfortunate was that instead of the satisfying feeling of conclusion after the reveal, Madoc reflects that ultimately the murderer may get away with it. I know that's how it often works in real-life, but I like more of a "Justice served" conclusion to mysteries. But as we don't actually get a follow-up from the trial, we don't know if in fact the murderer gets away with it or not. A bit of a let down there.
Lord Lislelivet, an odious man, has been poisoned, though not fatally, by one of the famous fruitcakes of Monksbury Abby. The bishop, fearing for theLord Lislelivet, an odious man, has been poisoned, though not fatally, by one of the famous fruitcakes of Monksbury Abby. The bishop, fearing for the reputation of the Abby's nuns, asks Father Max Tudor to stay at the abby as a guest and investigate the poisoning. The bishop also tells him that there may be a problem with some financial irregularities, and that some donors will be staying there to try and find out what has happened to their donations. Once he arrives, Max senses that something is happening, but can't quite put a finger on it. Then there is a murder and it becomes critical that Max do everything he can to protect the abby and prevent any further murders.
I loved this book. It may be my favorite in the series so far! However, even though most of these characters are not recurring, I think newcomers to the series would be better off starting at the beginning to get a real feel for Max's character and history.
The relationship between Max and Awena is so uplifting and beautiful. I enjoyed the details of the handfasting ceremony. The returning characters are well-developed and interesting. Max's little village seems like a real and wonderful place. DCI Cotton is an intriguing character, and I like the companionable working environment between the two men.
Malliet also did a fabulous job setting the scene in the Abby. I could visualize it and I wish it was a real place - especially the gift shop! The nuns functioned as a single unit, but each of the major characters had very distinct personalities. It was interesting to have each chapter begin with a verse from the rules of the Order of St. Lucy. It was a fascinating snippet of cloistered life. I appreciated that she even took time to flesh out the Abby's history.
There is just enough humor in the books to balance the intensity. Also, there are plenty of red herrings and they are all cleared up when Max calls the suspects all together to reveal the murderer. ...more
Mrs. Pollifax plans to retire from the CIA and spend her leisure years enjoying safe and simple travel with her new husband. However, when Bishop convMrs. Pollifax plans to retire from the CIA and spend her leisure years enjoying safe and simple travel with her new husband. However, when Bishop convinces her that she is just the person to carry out a very safe delivery to a man in Thailand while on vacation and bring something home from this man with her, she agrees. Then her contact is found dead and Cyrus is kidnapped and she is off on another exciting adventure.
I love the way, Gilman really captures the cultures where Mrs. Pollifax is traveling. This had all of the exciting twists and turns of previous Mrs. Pollifax stories without the brutality of the last book. I enjoyed it very much....more
When Rose decides to improve her career credentials as a bibliotherapist by taking a summer course at her alma mater, she finds that in addition to thWhen Rose decides to improve her career credentials as a bibliotherapist by taking a summer course at her alma mater, she finds that in addition to the rigorous study required, she is in fact dealing with as much drama from home as she ever had. Her relationship with her husband is stagnating, her daughter is facing personal and professional challenges, her mother is declining, and her twin sister is as useless as ever. Then an old love from 40 years ago pops up and risks further complicating and already complicated situation.
I found this book very compelling and couldn't stop reading it. It took me a while to warm up to Rhose, but I found myself caring very much about what happened to her, her friends, and her family. I liked her mother, Grandmary, and her daughter, Lorna, right from the start, and their storylines were the most interesting to me.
There were some pretty wild coincidences, though in life there are often coincidences. So I took a leap with the author and was pleased with the outcome. I felt the ending was very satisfying.
What I found most unusual was Rhose's relationship with her ex-boyfriend from college days, David. Their relationship had ended over forty years previously, Rhose had married and raised a family, and yet running in to David on the street made her act like a petulant school girl. First relationships can be powerful, and therapists aren't all paragons of mental health, but I felt her reactions at first and throughout the story were extremely strange. I wondered if there had been a trauma of some sort, such as an assault, but that didn't seem to be the case. I hoped it would be explained eventually, but (and this is a minor spoiler alert) it never was. It had been over forty years and one can fit a lot of recovery in to 40 years. Her behavior towards him was just irrational though he did finally do something worthy of all her angry responses. So because this major plot point seemed off and was never fully explained, I gave the book three rather than four stars.
I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. ...more
This book begins two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the people in the story are all adjusting to the fact that they now live in a country aThis book begins two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the people in the story are all adjusting to the fact that they now live in a country at war. The story largely revolves around Lillian Hapsey, her fiance Charles, and her two young sons. With all of the uncertainty in the world, Charles thinks it would be better not to get married, and Lillian is confused and hurt by this decision. To complicate matters her sons aren't getting along as well as she would like, and her younger son Gabriel seems to have created an imaginary friend. At Charles' office the sixty year old Mrs. Murphy runs in to a lost love, while at Lillian's office, Lillian's friend struggles with the possibility of losing her fiance who was injured in Europe while serving with the RAF.
I really enjoyed this book. It's a very touching story about people trying to find their footing in a time of terrible uncertainty. It is the moment in history when the US entered WWII, so although it is Christmas time it is not all happiness and light and several times it brought me to tears. However, it is filled with hope and love and family and resilience.
I received this book as a goodreads first-reads giveaway, and was thrilled to discover there are others in this series. I will certainly seek them out!...more