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A Ronnie Lake Mystery #3

Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery

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He’s handsome, wealthy, and oh so mysterious…but you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

A fifty-something divorcée turned private eye, Ronnie Lake turns the pages on her current case with her beloved German shepherd at her side. Adultery, betrayal, and romance are the main characters until murder steals the scene and plunges her into the exclusive world of rare book collecting.

When a priceless first edition vanishes, everyone becomes a suspect...and a target. But a literary shocker speaks volumes about an historic book series - curiously lost to time - that holds the key to it all.

Be sure to enjoy the eBook bonus prequel to Ronnie Lake’s story in the first several chapters of "Stunner" and the beginning of "Delilah!"

321 pages, Kindle Edition

Published November 20, 2016

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About the author

Niki Danforth

10 books39 followers
Niki Danforth, daughter of a Cold War covert intelligence officer, has the "thriller/adventure" gene in her DNA. After a career as a successful TV/video producer and director in New York, this empty-nester is picking up her first love of mystery books and recreating herself as an author in the genre. Danforth lives in the New Jersey countryside with her husband and two drama-queen dogs.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 63 reviews
Profile Image for Cheryl.
1,891 reviews65 followers
October 3, 2018
This is a 4.5 star read.

As I have a few sniffs and wipe away the tears I must say that Searching For Gatsby has been the best Ronnie Lake novel that I've read so far.
A P.I. murder mystery that has leanings towards the cosy mystery genre but with far more bite, the book was a mesmerising read that held a little bit of everything - a murder, mysteries surrounding missing and stolen 1st Edition books, mysteries surrounding the backgrounds of various characters and, yes, a bit of chaste romance thrown into the mix.
The thrilling conclusion left you with heart in mouth, a grievous worry and dare I say, more than a little bit heartbroken.
A stunning, thrilling read for those that love their murder mystery investigations less visceral, with a wonderful puzzle to solve and warm, rich characters. ....... and don't forget the doggies! (And here I am, not even a dog person)

I received an ebook of this novel from the author via Bookfunnel. I have voluntarily chosen to review the book and the gifting in no way influences my review/rating, which reflects my honest opinion.
Profile Image for LadyTechie.
767 reviews43 followers
April 18, 2017
What a great read! I received a copy from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review. I can honestly say I am really sorry it took me a while to finish it but, once I got into it I wanted to savor it and I regret not knowing there were two books before it. One good thing is that despite there being two books that precede Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery I did not feel lost and the characters were still engaging and I still felt like I got a good feel for them. I know I have missed some of the history but, had I not recognized that the beginning of the book referred to something that obviously happened in the previously happened I would not have known it. The good thing is it gave a brief synopsis of what I missed and I was still cooking with this read.

Searching for Gatsby is the third installment of the Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery series where Ronnie Lake is a a divorced woman with two adult children, one in college and the other I will leave the reader to experience. She is a great character that any woman, single, married, divorced, younger or older can identify with and enjoy following along with in the book. Ronnie has a well-trained German Shepard who is a war vet that served in the war in Afghanistan. They are a tight knit family duo until comes Peachie. Peachie is the little terrier that belongs to the victim in Searching for Gatsby. Peachie is a great little dog that was a great addition to this story. He gave it personality and gives the reader a good impression of another side of the victim in this story. Another aspect of this mystery is the literary fiction, i.e., Great Gatsby book at the center of this story. It gives the reader a great glimpse into the avid classical book world and the extent that people will go to just read or hold a copy of first edition classics. The murder mystery in Searching for Gatsby also had some great twists and even though there were a couple of good red herrings in there I can say I didn't even try to guess who killed the victim. I was along for the ride and enjoyed every word.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
2,895 reviews34 followers
March 8, 2018
Searching for Gatsby - a review by Rosemary Kenny

What starts as a little sleuthing for a worried wife and friend soon turns into an intriguing hunt for two editions of Scott F Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and with danger at every turn and a murderer on the loose, PI Ronnie Lake, with her trusty war-dog Warrior at her side and her PI pal Will Benson as a sounding-board, has to stay alive and find the truth before it's too late!

Who are Marilyn and Win Winston - and who is shot at their home? Why was the victim there?
Who attacks Ronnie and who finds her unconscious? Who has the first edition of Gatsby?
Who is Katya Alessandro? Why does she want the book? What is found at Alessandro's Rare Books? What is the meaning of the code inside the torn copy of Gatsby? Where are the other pieces?

With a dangerous gunman on the loose who will stop at nothing to obtain all parts of the copy with its mysterious code, the clock is definitely ticking in this satisfying novel by Niki Danforth, that's sure to be a favorite with book lovers, fans of murder-mysteries and feisty female sleuths alike!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ravin Maurice.
Author 13 books37 followers
May 9, 2020
This isn't my first Ronnie Lake mystery and it certainly won't be my last. Danforth sets up a really engaging mystery that rolls along at a great pace.
At a party at her dear friend Marilyn's house, an intruder falls of the roof after being shot at, putting into action a series of events involving rare books, missing coins, and a mystery leading back from World War II. Danforth doesn't disappoint with her plot and character development, with the last hundred pages making this already page turning mystery one to keep you up at night.
Fans of a good mystery with a different type of detective should check this out.
25 reviews
June 9, 2017
To say this book is interesting is denigrating it. Intriguing is a better word. Intriguing in many ways. Ronnie Lake is or was an ultra-rich lady with her own backstory of sorrow. She is now a private eye (fully qualified or still training, the book left me unsure) and is at a party when a shot man falls out of a tree. Ronnie of course takes it upon herself to discover why this dead man had come to burgle the house, carrying with him one-third of a wartime edition of The Great Gatsby. Between hunting for the missing two-thirds of the book and a missing treasure, and in trying not to fall in love with a real-life Gatsby, Ronnie has a few exciting days.
One note of warning. The book has a long Introduction about the burglar arriving at the house and searching for the book. I suggest you skip this section. There is little or nothing in this part that isn’t in the rest of the book I found this section over long, perhaps even pedantic in its detail, and appears to be more the author writing them into the story than the story itself. Leaving aside these quibbles, this is an enjoyable read.
John McAllister, writer and avid reader. @John_Armagh
Profile Image for Alisa.
777 reviews37 followers
January 10, 2017
Ronnie Lake is a divorced 50-something private investigator. At a party that her rich friends Win and Marilyn host, a thief is murdered and a new investigation starts. Ronnie figures out who the thief is and with the help of her friends she is able to uncover what he was really after. Once she figures out what he was after, she still has to piece all the clues together and figure out who killed him and why.

It was interesting to read about first edition books - I had no idea how valuable some of these books were. Or how valuable some coins were. I liked seeing a better side of Ronnie - her interactions with young Sally at the bookstore showed a softer side to her. She has a new love interest, Jamie Gordon, and I felt like that could have been developed more. I liked Jamie and I wish we could have gotten to know him better. Will Benson, her mentor and friend, made some appearances (especially when she got in over her head).

Rating: 3.5 stars
Content: Swearing
Source: Review copy (opinion is 100% my own)
Profile Image for Vanessa.
881 reviews19 followers
June 9, 2017
To be honest, I was really skeptical when I decided to read this book. Why's that? Well, the reason why I love reading in the first place was because of the suspense/thriller/mystery genre. What's the connection? Well, because of that reason, I tend to get picky in this genre that I don't easily get impressed. But man!!!! This book surprised me.

I'm already intrigued just by reading the first chapter, it was also narrated from a third person so it was kind of nostalgic since it's been a quite long time that I have read one. The story started when this "guy" entered a private property to stole something valuable. I thought at first it's just a simple burglary but all of the guests inside the house was surprised to hear a gunshot and saw the burglar fell from the roof and was in the verge of dying. Before his last breath, he said something that really intrigued me. And that my dear was the start of my favorite who-dun-it part. I always love Mary Higgins Clark's who-dun-it and I was really hoping that this one will give me the same experience. And surprise, suprise! It sure did.

What I like

Aside from making me feel intrigued, what I like about this story is that it only introduces few number of characters unlike what I'm used to with Mary Higgins Clark's books. That's great news since it's going to be easy-peasy pointing out the real culprit right? Well, that was what I thought haha. But for this story, I really had a hard time sticking up with my guess lol. And btw, my first guess was wrong again. Man! I really don't have any Sherlock blood in me.

Searching for Gatsby was just a short read but it felt like it was longer. There's a lot of things happened in this story that it made me believe that I was right with my guess so imagine my surprise when the culprit was finally named. Now that's what I call a good mystery/suspense book.

Another plus why I like this story was the terms and words used. As a non-native English speaker, it really is a big deal for me a certain book isn't that just have a good story but also on how it was being delivered or executed. And Searching for Gatsby is a very easy to read story.

And lastly, I love love love the little romance this story contains. I'm always a sucker for romance especially if it's incorporated in a suspense story and this one just perfectly blended those two together. I was honestly surprised about the romance part though since the main character was already in her fifties, and I was already expecting it to be just...well, just fine. But another surprise, haha, I find myself grinning like crazy. Man! I was really affected haha, sucker I know. Niki Danforth should write a romance story and if that happens, I'll be number one in line. *wink

What I like the least

I don't think I have any complaints about this story, maybe about Ronnie's HEA? hehe.


While I did enjoy this story, I think I'll be giving it 4 star rating for now. Besides, I'm pretty sure there'll be more mystery Ronnie will be solving soon.

I'm used to some nosy heroines and that they will end up solving the crime in every suspense/mystery books that I read and I don't remember a time that I hate them, maybe I did once or twice but mostly I like them. For this story, I really like Ronnie. She's already in her fifties but still as sharp as ever that I really find it remarkable whenever she discovers some new clue. I also love that she's a dog lover and owner. She had quite a not-so pleasant past but it was great to know how she's doing fine with her life. Also, didn't I tell you how badass she was fighting the culprit in the end of the book?! Also, I adore her relationship with his brother, it's just so touching. My! That is why I always wanted to have a big brother hehe.

Another thing I noticed in this story was I think the author is a fan of Veronica Roth? The full name of the main character was Veronica Rutherford Lake. Well, that's definitely a good thought. *wink

Searching for Gatsby is the 3rd book of the Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery but it can be read standalone. If you're looking for a cozy suspense/mystery read, you may want to check out this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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30 reviews4 followers
March 24, 2018

Niki Danforth adds a surprising and welcome new twist to Gatsby-flavored stories. At the outset, it looks as though her heroine, the 50-ish divorced empty-nester with the glamorous old-Hollywood name of Veronica (“Ronnie”) Lake, might wind up with the role of the beloved and beautiful Daisy. Lake has already made her mark in a demanding career. Romance is not out of the question. But one of the delights of the “Accidental Lady Detective” series is watching Ronnie figure out what parts of her old life mesh with the new one she is creating. Having lived a wealthy life, she can follow the excitements of polo and skeet shooting—she can even follow a handsome partner in a waltz on a mansion ballroom floor. But she’s started a new chapter. The story of how she acquires an eponymous pair of red-soled pumps has more grit to it than the story of Cinderella’s slippers. Her characterization lets readers into a world many women share, where hard work, good friendships and the determination to turn losses into gains are essential to what looks like effortless glamour.
SEARCHING FOR GATSBY is full of more surprises. Her would-be Gatsby has a darker and more complex background than it first appears. What looks like glamour on the surface covers very human problems that a reader doesn’t have to be wealthy to understand. Danforth’s mystery unfolds by showing how each character has motives that define their actions in ways that are completely different from what they first seem. Niki Danforth makes two big challenges look easy. First, putting her story in a setting resembling that of a famous novel, then adding an element of real history to the story increases the risk that her characters will seem like paper cutouts. Instead, she fills them out with human emotions and responses suitable both to their ages and their times.
At the base of the story, under the diamonds and charity parties and rare books, is a humble treasure: an Armed Services Edition of THE GREAT GATSBY, divided in segments so that men who had become close friends through combat could share a little relief from its horrors as well. It is this twist that puts the feet of the characters in SEARCHING FOR GATSBY firmly on the ground in a way nothing glamorous could. There’s some glamour in the ending—but a lot of human warmth as well.
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,155 reviews316 followers
May 16, 2017
Check out all of my reviews at: http://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

It has been a while since I have read a first person classically written private detective novel and this was a great one to remind me of my love of this genre!

SEARCHING FOR GATSBY: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery by Niki Danforth is the third book in this series. It can be read as a standalone, but I will definitely be going back for more character backstory and new mysteries in the first two books.

This is a new to me P.I. that I should have already been following. I love that Veronica “Ronnie” Lake is a mature character who is starting a second career as a P.I., has grown children, a second degree black belt in Aikido, a bright red mustang convertible and a retired German shepherd war dog. She is still learning the trade of being a P.I. under Will Benson, a former cop turned private eye.

At a dinner party held by Ronnie’s friends Win and Marilyn Watson, she meets an intriguing newcomer to the community, Jamie Gordan. The flirtation is interrupted by a loud gunshot and the body of a thief falling from the roof outside of Win’s library of rare books. The thief has a valuable diamond necklace in his pocket, when he could have much more easily and for more of a reward stolen Win’s rare edition of “The Great Gatsby”.

This starts a mystery that has many well place red herrings and twists between the main plot and two secondary plots. Ronnie has many mysteries pulling her in different directions. She would like to know who killed the thief, but the police, especially Detective Sofia Rossi, are anything but accommodating. She needs to find who took Win’s copy of Gatsby. She is suspicious of Katya Alessandro who owns Alessandro Rare Books in regards to her connection to Win and Jamie. Also, all of the players are connected by four WWII soldiers who happen to have left a treasure map for their descendants to solve.

The cast of characters could walk off the page, they are so realistically portrayed. I love the fact that Ronnie has a dog and when you learn of his backstory it will break your heart. Then throw in a fun and feisty terrier named Peachie and I just could not put this mystery down.

I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in this series. I love Ronnie!
111 reviews4 followers
January 25, 2018
In the story’s first two paragraphs the word ‘yawn’ doesn’t make much sense in context. I think the author meant ‘yips’ or ‘yelps’. And why would anyone pay $40 to $100 to have someone else's Jack Russell professionally groomed when it's a short haired breed that doesn’t require such extensive care? It would much cheaper for her to wash and comb the dog herself, after all. It's only later that readers learn Ronnie is well-off and is only working to have something to do with her time. Until that point, it seems like she's on a limited salary and being frivolous with her money.

This is a fairly easy to read book. However, some earlier reviewers have complained that the action drags in places, which is a fair assessment. A sizable portion of the novel is spent dealing with Ronnie’s relationship or lack thereof. This was a bit distracting from the story's real mystery, which was uncovering the reason that her friends' home was robbed by a local book dealer prior to his untimely demise. I kept expecting her new boyfriend Jaime to actually be the villain or in league with him/her because of his constant reappearances. (minor spoiler alert) But that’s not the case.

I also agree with the reviewer who said the two dogs in the story seemed to have more personality than the people did. However, most of the characters are likable enough with the possible exception of Ronnie’s friend Marilyn, who is quite the stereotypical picture of a jealous wife, and Katya, whose abrasive personality serves as an indicator of what lurks beneath the surface. Readers should additionally be warned that there is a slightly gory scene in the beginning when the burglar falls out of the window and impales himself on a tree branch before he ultimately dies of his wounds.

Even so, this is a good, fairly short read with a mildly unexpected twist at the end.
Profile Image for Heather McNamara.
5 reviews2 followers
February 1, 2018
Fresh out of training as a private investigator, Ronnie Lake’s first big case falls right into her lap when a cat burglar is murdered while attempting a robbery during her friends’ dinner party. The key to solving the mystery of what the thief was looking for, and who killed him, is a rare edition of a beloved American novel. With the aid of her best friend/mentor and her faithful former military dog, Ronnie dives into the labyrinth of rare book collecting to crack the case. As she puts her rookie crime-solving skills to work, she must contend with her friends’ marital intrigues, a femme fatale book collector, a rude police detective, a book-obsessed literature student, and an adorable Jack Russell terrier. As if things weren’t complicated enough, a handsome mystery man has his sights set on Ronnie, who finds herself too enamored for her comfort.

SEARCHING FOR GATSBY is an involving crime case full of intrigue, betrayal, and suspense. Although it is the third in a series, the story stands alone and gives newbie readers enough of a backstory without information overload. Author Niki Danforth keeps the plot moving at a brisk pace, deftly maneuvering plot twists and dropping enough breadcrumbs to keep readers hungry to see the outcome. Main character Ronnie Lake herself is an appealing heroine; smart, amicable, and quick on her feet, her charm and wits will make readers want to check out the other books in the series. The peripheral characters are gorgeously detailed, making the story crackle with provocative energy. Bookworms will also appreciate the detail given to the world of book collecting and a peek into one of the most celebrated works of American literature.

With SEARCHING FOR GATSBY, Niki Danforth has put together a gripping mystery with an appealing heroine. One can only hope there will plenty more Ronnie Lake novels where this came from.

Author 1 book3 followers
January 25, 2018

Searching for Gatsby is the third book in the series about Ronnie Lake, a fifty something divorcee who becomes a Private Investigator.
She’s asked to investigate for her friends when a burglar is shot during a dinner party, and ends up on the back lawn. However, he’s no ordinary burglar, and seems to be searching for a rare book - or part of one.

What I really enjoyed about Ronnie was that she was in her mid-fifties and was not super gifted. She was a woman making a change in her life and decided after having to hire a private investigator for herself previously that she liked that career field. She has a mentor and took classes in order to better herself. She knew her limits and also considered herself “green” in the PI business. I loved that! Ronnie tried to follow police procedures and collaborate with the local officers, even when they were hostile. She was an excellent main protagonist and I really enjoyed how her character reacted to all situations she was a part of. This was a fun mystery read that has many twists and turns. The mystery is quite good and even though I was pretty sure who was behind the murder itself, it was the why that kept me reading until the very end. The characters are all well fleshed out and play their parts to perfection. I loved that this was more than just a murder mystery. The subplots were just as intriguing and but by the end, everything had come together to give a very satisfactory ending.

My favorite characters, however, are Peachie, a terrier that Niki rescues, and Warrior, a retired German shepherd war dog who is a veteran of Afghanistan. He is one of the characters introduced in the author's first novel .
279 reviews6 followers
March 3, 2021
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review
Actual rating: 3.75 stars

This was fun! Definitely an improvement over the first (mostly because Ronnie feels genuinely helpful instead of overly nosey). The central mystery was intriguing, especially when we got over some of the initial fake-outs and revelations to dig into the deeper mystery. I liked the love interest here more than Will in the first book (though it is weird to me that Ronnie/Will have almost no sexual tension in this book after a decent amount in the first), and I hope he appears in later installments. I also liked the pure weirdness of one of the suspects, a girl who steals first editions purely to read them. It was so improbable and strange that it somehow ended up feeling more real to me - like when your parents ask you what you're doing as a kid, and you really can't give a good reason for pounding nails in the table or whatever, it's just something bizarre you felt made sense at the time, but was completely nonsensical in reality. She's immature and kinda naive, so it fit her character. The conclusion also felt more "punchy" than in the first book, where it seemed kinda contrived.

Overall, if you liked the first book, you'll definitely enjoy this one, and I'd recommend the series to anyone who likes the genre. If you're curious, you can totally start with this one - it won't hurt your experience of the first. (I actually started with #4 and still enjoyed the first and this one just fine.)
9 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2017
Searching for Gatsby
A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery
Niki Danforth
Pancora Press
Amazon Digital Services
ISBN: 978-1946403001
$ 13.99
320 pages

Ronnie Lake is a fifty-six-year-old woman beginning her new business as a private investigator. While at a party sponsored by some wealthy friends, she listens to her friend, Marilyn's suspicions about whether her husband Win, is having an affair. She is a little hesitant accepting the position being that she is friends with both Win and Marilyn.
Marilyn is suspicious of a gorgeous woman, Katya Alessandro who just left the party.
Frank, Ronnie's brother and Juliana seem like they are still honeymooners. Frank's first wife, Joanie died, and his new wife appears to fulfill all her brother's dreams and wishes.
Ronnie still has the grief of having a son die in Afghanistan. Fortunately, she adopted her son's K-9 partner from the military. Warrior is very protective of her and is a great partner in sharing their sorrow.
Jamie Gordon has a charismatic quality attracting Ronnie as he joins the party. His handsomeness certainly draws everyone's attention.
Suddenly a commotion is outside with the sound of breaking branches as an older man dressed in black falls through the dogwood tree. While hanging in the tree, while moaning, Frank calls 9-1-1 just as the branches again break dropping him to the ground, The man looks at Jamie and whispers, "The book."
"I always said...if it was the last thing...I ever did..." These are the man's last words. Why? What did the burglar steal upstairs while the people were enjoying the elaborate party downstairs?
While waiting for the police, Win notices a bulge in the man's pocket. Would you look? It's evident that the man was stealing something from upstairs.
Ronnie ends up investigating much more than Win's loyalty to his wife in Searching for Gatsby.
Niki Danforth, the author, resides in New Jersey with her dogs and husband. Notice, the dogs are listed first. She believes her desire for excitement is from being the daughter of a covert intelligence officer of the Cold War. She previously has worked as a television director.
Searching for Gatsby is a fast-paced, tightly woven, cozy mystery. The characters are believable and intriguing. With a little touch of romance, a smattering of thrills, and mystery with as many tentacles as an octopus Searching for Gatsby is a fun, fast novel for mystery fans.
Profile Image for T.J. Green.
Author 30 books453 followers
August 14, 2017
Searching for Gatsby is the third book in the series about Ronnie Lake, a fifty something divorcee who becomes a Private Investigator.
She’s asked to investigate for her friends when a burglar is shot during a dinner party, and ends up on the back lawn. However, he’s no ordinary burglar, and seems to be searching for a rare book - or part of one.
As well as rare books, the story is about hidden treasure, and a mysterious photo that links a group of people to the second world war.
There’s a large cast of characters, plenty of suspects, and a little bit of romance.
Ronnie is a likeable heroine, who is reinventing her life, and she knows how to take care of herself. She’s gutsy, inquisitive, and has good instincts.
I would describe this story as a cosy murder mystery, but it’s well written, and the pace is good. My only quibble is that there’s too much detail sometimes. It’s told in the first person point of view, so there are times when Ronnie shares her every move, which we don’t need.
I can see this series could go on and on, as there’s plenty of scope for other stories, and is recommended for those who like their crime fiction light.
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.
128 reviews7 followers
November 11, 2018
I love crime mystery books, and this was certainly worth a read. The central character, a rookie private investigator Ronnie Lake, happens to be attending a party when a murder is committed. The rest of the story is spent unravelling the lives of all those involved, throwing up suspects and suspicious activity amongst her friends along the way as all good crime story’s do.

The story revolves around the finding of a mysterious third of a copy of The Great Gatsby, having been torn apart from the rest of the book. Filled with mysterious notes, Ronnie tries to put all the clues together while carefully manoeuvring around friends and colleagues as suspicion falls everywhere. The hunt to find the rest of the book takes on a sinister turn as Ronnie is followed, tail-gated and shot at.

At times the dialogue is a little wooden and the twists and turns are not very surprising when they come but is kept me entertained and I would be interested to read the next instalment. It was refreshing to have a strong, independent female lead in crime fiction which tends to be dominated by men but let down only a little by allowing the end to be a little too predictable.
Profile Image for Elaine.
189 reviews13 followers
May 5, 2020
Crime mystery books are my favorite genre to read and this was certainly a page-turner. The main character, a rookie private investigator named Ronnie Lake, happens to be attending a party when a murder is committed. The mystery evolves and there are many suspects along the way. It is the kind of book that keeps you guessing and interested to read more. The mystery revolves around the finding of a mysterious copy of The Great Gatsby, having been torn apart from the rest of the book. Ronnie tries to put all the clues together while carefully maneuvering around friends and colleagues as suspicion seems to fall everywhere. The hunt to find the murderer allows the book to take on a sinister turn as Ronnie is followed, tail-gated, and shot at. The subplots were intriguing and by the end, everything comes together to give a very satisfactory resolution to this mystery. I enjoyed Ronnie’s character and found her to be humble in admitting her limitations as well as relentless in solving this crime. Another plus for me was that this book centered around one of my favorite books, The Great Gatsby.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 1 book24 followers
May 9, 2020
This is book three in the Ronnie Lake mystery series and it's the first book I've read. I wondered if some things would go over my head, but background details were included throughout this story that I never felt truly lost to the plot, the characters, or their development.

This was a fun mystery with lots of twists and turns, though it was easy to keep track of the characters and the story as a whole. Ronnie is a great protagonist. You don't see too many main characters sleuthing in their 50s, so it was a nice change of pace. Also, you can't go wrong with having an animal companion and Ronnie's partner was Warrior, a German Shepard.

While the story was fun to read and easy to follow, my only complaint was that I had a hard time picturing what was happening. There was a lot of dialogue where the characters stated the obvious to themselves or each other about their surroundings. However, there wasn't too much description other than what the characters themselves were doing, such as taking a sip of their coffee.

Overall, this was a fun read and I'll definitely go back to check the first two books of the series.
Profile Image for Teri Donaldson.
314 reviews6 followers
May 7, 2017
This is my first book by Niki Danforth. While it was good to read as a stand alone, I look forward to starting with the first book in the series so I understand Ronnie Lake's story.
This was a good mystery surrounding the classic The Great Gatsby. As I have always loved that book, I was intrigued with the title and description of this book.
Being of about the same age as Ronnie, the central character, I especially enjoyed that she has reinvented herself as a private investigator. She also has a much younger and very handsome man that wants her and a very rich, mysterious and handsome man that wants to get to know her. I kept saying, "You go girl!"
I liked the storyline, the secondary characters, the mystery with the old books and the world of collecting them, and especially Warrior and Peach.
The book held my interest and kept me engaged until the end. While not a cliffhanger, the ending certainly left me wanting to read the next book!
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.
Profile Image for Dame.
Author 5 books2 followers
June 4, 2017
Like thousands of people, I grew up enthralled by F. Scott Fitzgerald's'The Great Gatsby' book and later lived on the north shore of Long Island visiting a beautiful area where the mansions and horse farms were built overlooking the Long Island Sound water towards NYC. The title, the cover and the association was enough to draw me in but Niki Danforth's book grips on another level. It's about Ronnie, a red Mustang driving mature woman detective with a German shepherd looking into the theft of the original edition from a private library and the death of a robber. A host of characters with lots of interesting conversations flames our imagination continually. It's written in the first person drawing us in further with lines like "Maybe what’s in the painting is more important than the painting itself" which twang our curiosity nervous! Ending with a reference to 1960s icon Dusty Springfield, singing “I Only Want To Be With You” engenders a deeper nostalgia from a generation brought up fantasising about Gatsby. A very enjoyable standalone read for the 3rd book in a series.
Profile Image for Randi Robinson.
570 reviews10 followers
October 18, 2017
I received a copy of this book from the Reading Deals Review Club in exchange for my honest review. At first I wasn't sure how well I would like it. How exciting can a book about searching for an old book be? It sounds like Nancy Drew,but I had heard good things about it so I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. I instantly liked Veronica "Ronnie" Lake, the 50-something divorcee and newbie Private Investigator, a rather unlikely heroine. The story begins with a robbery at a dinner party at her friend's' house. First she is asked by the wife to investigate possible adultery and then after the crook dies she is asked by the husband to investigate the robbery and death. And then there is the missing copy of The Great Gatsby. Ronnie methodically investigates and solves all the mysteries. The book is not at all cut and dried and it has lots of twists and turns. I wasn't sure who to trust. This book has it all-a good mystery, logical investigation, a great heroine I want to learn more about, some humor, a little history, and romance. The ending left me wanting more.
Profile Image for Judy Johnson.
734 reviews2 followers
April 25, 2018
This was a quick fun read that was a real page turner up until the end! Ronnie Lake is an amateur sleuth, in her 50s who just has a knack for finding a mystery. This story is centered around a rare edition of the classic "The Great Gatsby." This is my first book by Niki Danforth and I had no problem picking up right here, without having read any of the previous Ronnie Lake Murder Mysteries. The characters are well developed as is the story which makes everything flow so well. NO SPOILERS here, just know that the cast of characters is quite entertaining, as with any good book there are those that you love to love and love to hate, and if you like some good clean fun, this is the story for you. You also get the most delightful combo of twists & turns, intrigue and mystery, a little bit of romance and a completely surprise ending! Thoroughly enjoyable, I absolutely recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hidden Gems and now I am leaving an unsolicited, honest review.
August 9, 2017
3 and 1/2 stars and rising. Overall: easy read, interesting style, unusual voice. The book is written in a style reminiscent of the classic older noir crime books: think Nick and Nora or the Maltese Falcon. I find this a fresh interesting approach. (I am a fan of this vintage style and love seeing inventive recreations. I'd read more of the series for the enjoyment of this aspect.) On the downside, the style of writing and large cast resulted in a slower paced plot that sagged a bit with too many characters and longer narrative passages than are popular these days. Plot and pacing needs tightening. The beginning suffers from some wording that can be off-putting -- "a shrill canine yawn lets loose from the back seat" -- but most of the novel is well written. Well worth picking up more of the Ronnie Lake series to see how Ronnie Lake (woman PI) evolves. Review was provided in exchange for a publisher's review copy.
36 reviews
October 30, 2018
Searching for Gatsby follows Ronnie, a 50-something newbie detective, as she works to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death of a burglar with connections to her old friends. Searching for Gatsby is an entry in a series and Danforth sets up a fun story world that many readers will want to return to for future entries. I really appreciated how this book gets right into the action and that Ronnie is a relatable protagonist. Danforth does a good job peppering the plot with unexpected developments. I also enjoyed the role a first edition book (and its small typos) play in the plot. This was an inventive touch, and one sure to appeal to keen readers. I have to say that the Jack Russell Peach and former military dog Warrior were two of my favourite characters; they add a sweet touch to the story. This book is well-suited to readers who enjoy mystery books that are light on bloodshed and heavy on warm characters (particularly those of the canine persuasion).
Profile Image for Roo MacLeod.
Author 11 books201 followers
March 14, 2018
Here's a good old fashioned cozy mystery with romance thrown in. And there is a hook included at the end, making us want to read the next Ronnie Lake mystery. This wasn't fast paced, but well paced. The characters well developed. I liked the fact that Ronnie is no spring chicken, but full of life and smarts. The clues are well placed, the antagonist vaguely hidden, but guessable. So a man is murdered, a cat burglar shot in the act of robbing a house of a necklace, but in his death he drops a number of clues. Fortunately for the story, Ronnie Lake is at the house at the time, being asked to investigate an unrelated misdeed. And so the plot deepens, the suspects come and go and we are all left with a feeling that all is well because good has trimphed. Yea for Ronnie Lake. But does she get her man?
I received a free copy of this book from Hidden Gems for an honest review
Profile Image for Anna.
376 reviews21 followers
March 3, 2018
First, the good: Ronnie is an unconventional, intensely likable, and realistic heroine. It was refreshing to see a strong, intelligent, and driven female lead who wasn't in her teens or twenties. Additionally, the murder mystery was complex enough to hold my interest. Plus, the literary references (including a character who is essentially a real-life Jay Gatsby) were great.

However, the romance really frustrated me. It's very sudden and the chemistry between the couple is lacking.

Overall, this is a fun cozy mystery. It's a quick, enjoyable read.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Laura Ruetz.
1,242 reviews66 followers
September 29, 2018
This is a very enjoyable and intelligently written mystery. Ronnie Lake is a great character, she is older, having left her prior job to be a private investigator. She has strength and depth and is very relatable. The author has crafted a great set of characters that all compliment each other, such as Ronnie's mentor and her friends. The mystery at the heart of this book is about books, which, for any book lover, is an instant plus. I found this to be a solid read and I was wholly engaged in the book. I really look forward to reading more by this author and more about Ronnie!

I received a free copy of this book
33 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this book by Niki -I am an animal lover, especially dogs, Warrior is a nice addition to this book. Great research done for this one - Niki should continue to write as she is an excellent 'story teller' with a touch of romance but a great attention giver with the mysteries involved with old books and coins. Looking forward to more of her books. She e-mailed me to read and review this book and I am very glad that I accepted her gift of this free book in exchange for this honest review.
98 reviews2 followers
June 18, 2017
I thought this was a good book. I was a little nervous thinking about "The Great Gatsby" and would this book want me to remember my English classes in school. I was pleasantly surprised to see that although the focus was on the book "the Great Gatsby," there were no flashbacks to high school. This was about antique books and booksellers and was definitely a murder mystery. It kept me in suspense and I really enjoyed how the characters interacted with each other. I would like to read more books by this author and the main character, Ronnie Lake.
Profile Image for Jay Williams.
1,707 reviews20 followers
June 21, 2017
An interesting and exciting story that wraps many elements together to make a satisfying murder mystery. A tinge of romance, a suspicious wife and rare books keep the story engrossing as Ronnie Lake tries to balance cases for a husband and his wife when a mysterious burglar is murdered after searching a library while a big party is in process. All of the characters are realistic, and the plot involves much imagination. Violence is limited, and the action is fun and entertaining. A bonus is two more Ronnie Lake stories tucked into the book.
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