The second of Kelli Stanley's noir series featuring private investigator Miranda Corbie begins on May 25, 1940, the opening day of the second season oThe second of Kelli Stanley's noir series featuring private investigator Miranda Corbie begins on May 25, 1940, the opening day of the second season of the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.
Miranda is called to the discovery of a murdered performer, a young model by the name of Pandora Blake, who was stabbed and then had an anti-Semitic insult written on her chest with her own blood. Even though Miranda is an employee of Sally Rand Enterprises, fair management tell her she's a "security risk" (because of the incidents in City of Dragons) and ask her not to return to the site.
Out of work, Miranda calls the paper to run her usual ads, but when her own lawyer, Meyer Bialik, asks her to investigate on behalf of his new client who has been arrested for Pandora Blakes's murder, she agrees.
Pleased that she can officially continue to delve into the case, Miranda begins immediately. In her usual style, Miranda approaches her investigation obliquely, and digs up a lot more corruption than she expected.
Kelli Stanley is such a master of noir one could swear that she's Raymond Chandler reincarnated, and Miranda Corbie is the epitome of hardboiled. Unusual for a female character perhaps, but completely believable nonetheless.
And Ms. Stanley makes of San Francisco during the early years of World War II come alive as though the she had actually been there. The amount of research this would have required is mind-boggling, and it's no surprise that she has a scholarly background.
FTC Full Disclosure: Kelli Stanley was kind enough to send me an ARC of City of Secrets. I've done my best to write an impartial review....more
The story begins with what we soon realize is a flashback to an incident that occurred at an unspecified time.
Then, we realize that Detective InspectThe story begins with what we soon realize is a flashback to an incident that occurred at an unspecified time.
Then, we realize that Detective Inspector Armand Gamache is in Quebec City, visiting an old friend and mentor. His wife, Reine-Marie, has been with him, but returned home to Montreal that morning. Slowly, it is revealed to that Gamache is in the process of recovering from a trauma.
In Quebec City, he is filling his days by doing some historical research at the library of the English Literary and Historical Society. One day,he arrives to see emergency vehicles outside, and is at first not allowed to enter. Then, the Inspector in charge recognizes Gamache, and tells him that a body has been found in the sub-basement of the historic building, and that the body is not a centuries-old skeleton as might be expected, but Augustin Renaud, a local historian.
Gamache agrees to consult with Inspector Langlois on the case, partially to avoid thinking about the incident he's trying to come to terms with, a situation he believes he handled badly.
Gamache receives daily letters from Gabri Dubeau in Three Pines stating that his partner Olivier Brule is innocent of the murder for which he's been convicted (see The Brutal Telling). He begins to doubt hhis handling of Olivier's case as well, and asks his assistant Jean Guy Beauvoir, also on leave, to go to Three Pines and investigate. Though Beauvoir hates Three Pines, he'd do anything for his Chief (and is frankly relieved to be doing something).
The narrative moves easily between the flasbacks which slowly reveal the progress of the incident that put them both on leave, Gamache's investigation in Quebec City and Beauvoir's investigation in Three Pines.
This may well be the best book of a series in which all the books are extraordinary.
This is the second of the Where Are They Now mystery series featuring freelance writer Tilda Harper. Tilda's focus is on entertainment news, and she'sThis is the second of the Where Are They Now mystery series featuring freelance writer Tilda Harper. Tilda's focus is on entertainment news, and she's a big fan of classic television, so when she's asked to do a series of articles about a 1950s Western called Cowtown, she's thrilled.
She rushes to finish the article she's doing on pinup queen Sandra Sechrest, a contemporary of Bettie Page. Returning to Sandra's apartment late one night after forgetting her camera there, Tilda finds Sandra lying on the floor surrounded by blood.
She immerses herself in research for the Western article, hoping it will help her deal with the nightmares resulting from her grisly discovery. What she doesn't expect is that the two subjects will be linked by more than era, and finally realizes that the only way the nightmares will stop is if she figures out who killed Sandra.
Ms. Kelner's research into 50s-era television shows and pinup queens is obviously extensive. She's even created quotes from a fictional overview of Cowtown for the chapter headings.
Descriptions of Tilda's life as a struggling freelance writer are convincing, as are her relationships with co-workers and friends. I'm certain that roommate Colleen is drawn from a woman I shared an apartment with when I was in grad school!...more
There's been a lot of discussion about whether or not this book is a mystery. I don't think it really matters how it's classified, but readers lookingThere's been a lot of discussion about whether or not this book is a mystery. I don't think it really matters how it's classified, but readers looking for a traditionally constructed mystery novel won't find it here.
What they will find is an extremely well-written story about a young man named Billy Webb, recently graduated from university with a degree in philosophy, who takes a position as an editorial assistant at a dictionary publishing house.
One of his tasks is to respond to letters with questions about definitions and word construction. Asked to respond to a letter questioning a response from another young editorial assistant, Mona Minot, he talks to her about details of the original letter. While searching through the citation files for information, they stumble across a citation that looks like a quotation from a book called The Broken Teaglass. Curious about the book, they look it up, only to find that it doesn't exist, and are ready to disregard it when they find another.
Billy and Mona become obsessed with these fragments, and begin to search the citation files for more. This quest draws the two young people into an odd friendship, through which both learn about not only each other but themselves.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, this is an unusually constructed novel, with the unlikely premise of the business of lexicography. Mystery or not, it's a cleverly fashioned novel....more
Always trying to be innovative, Dae O'Donnell hosts twenty North Carolina town administrators at the first (and hopefully annual) Mayors' Conference WAlways trying to be innovative, Dae O'Donnell hosts twenty North Carolina town administrators at the first (and hopefully annual) Mayors' Conference Weekend at the Blue Whale Inn in Duck.
But a rainstorm that unexpectedly turns into a hurrican strands the visitors on the island. The next morning, Dae finds one of the mayors, former news anchor Sandi Foxx, dead in the rubble of the inn's toolshed.
Having found Sandi's ring a few hours earlier, and receiving a vision of Sandi being threatened with a gun, Dae is fairly sure that the other mayor's death was not accidental. But despite the storm, there are many candidates for the role of killer.
Meanwhile, Dae's being followed by a pirate ghost, who wants her to help him "cross over". He's driving her crazy, and Dae doesn't know which task to take care of first.
Joyce and Jim Lavene write a fantastic paranormal mystery that's not at all frightening, and even leaning towards the hilarious. Dae os am appealing protagonist, and the residents of Duck and its environs are suitably varied.
The book ends abruptly with a cliff-hanger which leads the reader to hope that the next installment in the series will be released in a timely manner....more
June Shaw's first mystery stars Cealie Gunther, a retired widow. Visiting her granddaughter Kat, she finds out that the honour student has not been atJune Shaw's first mystery stars Cealie Gunther, a retired widow. Visiting her granddaughter Kat, she finds out that the honour student has not been attending school because of the death of a custodian, which is being blamed on Kat's favourite teacher. Cealie's son, a widower, is too caught up in his own grief to notice what's going on with his daughter. Alarmed at the idea that Kat might not graduate at all, Cealie sets out to find out the identity of the killer by becoming a substitute teacher at the school. Of course, her meddling is unappreciated by her granddaughter, but Cealie persists. The first person narrative helps, as we are aware of the thought processes which lead Cealie to do what she does, which otherwise might be totally baffling actions. I enjoyed the book, and I look forward to more Cealie Gunther mysteries....more
Every time I read Jan Burke's latest book, I think it's her best. I thought Hocus was the best. I thought Bloodlines was her best. But I'm pretty sureEvery time I read Jan Burke's latest book, I think it's her best. I thought Hocus was the best. I thought Bloodlines was her best. But I'm pretty sure that Kidnapped is really her best. Members of the Fletcher family, a large, unusual SoCal clan, are being killed. One of Irene's former colleagues married into the family, though that is not the only reason Irene's investigative senses are tingling. She's just done a feature on children kidnapped by their non-custodial parents. One of the Fletcher kids disappeared five years previously at the time of her father's murder, and Irene is pretty sure she was kidnapped by her mother.
Reading about Irene and Frank is like visiting old friends. Exciting, yet comfortable, though certainly not boring....more