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What Are You Reading / Reviews > What Are You Reading: April - June 2019

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
We'd like to know what you are reading; Because others of us might want to read it as well please include in your review:

Why you liked/disliked the book

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
A Rescue For A Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #11) by Fiona Buckley

Rescue for a Queen, Fiona Buckley

★ ★ ★

From the inside flap: "February 1571. When Ursula's foster daughter Margaret receives a proposal of marriage from a Dutchman she barely knows, her estranged parents ask Ursula to escort her to the Netherlands to meet her suitor. But Ursula's journey has a deeper purpose. When the Queen's spy-master Sir William Cecil (Lord Burghley) learns that banker Roberto Ridolfi will be honoring the wedding celebrations, he asks Ursula to find out what he's (Ridolfi) up to. For Cecil fears that Ridolfi may be plotting to put Mary Queen of Scots on the English Throne.

And, so, once again, Ursula finds herself reluctantly engaged in affairs of the state. her reluctance is well-founded; for in the Netherlands she will come face to face with her greatest enemy - and the exiled Countess of Northumberland is not the only figure from Ursula's past to put in a surprising appearance."

There was a glaring error of blatant stupidity on Ursula's part which led her into the trap set by Anne Percy.. as well as the deliberate betrayal of Ursula's jealous retainer Fran Brockley. That knocked off one star!

The twist was a reintroduction of Ursula's past, which was well written.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Heirs of the Body (Daisy Dalrymple, #21) by Carola Dunn

Heirs of the Body, Carola Dunn

★ ★ ★

From the inside flap: "In the late 1920's in England, the Honorable daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is recruited to help her cousin Edgar, Lord Dalrymple. About to turn 50, his Lordship realizes it is time to find the proper heir to the viscountcy and estate. With the help of the family lawyer, who advertises Empire-wide, they come up with four credible claimants. Edgar invites would-be heirs of the family to Fairacres, the family estate.

With the help of her husband, Scotland yard Detective Alec Fletcher, Daisy must uncover the truth and find the rightful heir before it is too late."

Well, I obviously read this out-of-order.... It was a fast, easy & satisfying read which held my interest...

In the meantime, daisy is asked to be the family's representative at the lawyer's interviews with the claimants. The four potential heirs reside in every corner of the world and come from all walks of society. However, one of them seems to have disappeared from thre face of the earth - whether permanently or not, no one knows. While the various claims are still being evaluated, the other three descend upon Fairacres, where a series of unfortunate accidents begins to occur. But are they really accidents, or is someone truing to eliminate the competition while there still is time?

Obviously I read this out-of-order.. but it was a fast & easy read that held my interest.

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Jaret | 43 comments Panning For Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #28) by Jessica Fletcher by Donald Bains
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Jessica's plans to enjoy a relaxing cruise to Alaska are dashed when her friend Kathy Copeland joins her. Kathy's sister vanished from the very same vessel on a prior voyage, and though Wilimena often disappeared on flights of fancy, this time Kathy is convinced of foul play. The Copeland sisters had a notorious aunt - the most famous madam in Alaskan history - who, rumor has it, struck it rich during the Gold Rush. It seems the daring Wilimena has gone in search of the treasure, and may have attracted the wrong kind of attention. Suddenly, Jessica's vacation becomes a challenging investigation. And before she and Kathy are even halfway to their destination, Jessica senses that someone is watching every move they make.

my thoughts: Another fun episode in the Murder, She Wrote series. I loved the characters and the setting. The conclusion was perfect for the storyline built up. A quick, fun read if you need a cozy mystery moment.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
A Traitor's Tears (Ursula Blanchard #12) by Fiona Buckley

A Traitor's Tears, Fiona Buckley

★ ★ ★ 1/2

1573, Recently widowed by her 3rd husband, Ursula (Queen Elizabeth's 1/2 sister) has returned home to Hawkswood & is raising her son, who is the child of her 2nd husband (conceived after the death of #3)....

Her neighbor, Jane Cobbold, a self-righteous gossip-monger, has purposefully spread malicious rumors of Ursula & her son. When Jane is murdered in her garden, a fanciful but cheap knife thrust into her heart, Ursula's man, Brockley is arrested for Jane's murder, even though it was not his knife nor he was anywhere in the vicinity.

The Constable, being a bigoted, misogynistic, pig-headed man refuses to investigate the murder, content with assuming Brockley is guilty.

When Ursula begins to investigate, both Lord Cecil Burghley & Frances Walsingham step back, but something isn't right in Walsingham's offices.

Ursula's life is threatened, a midnight intruder attempts to murder Brockley, one of the guard dogs is poisoned, and then Ursula sets a trap for the murderer as he attempts to poison her....

Finally, with the help of a Captain from Dover castle, Ursula is able to unmask the murderer.

I liked the story, it certainly held my interest, but I identified the murderer immediately as the clue is barely hidden. (Not going to tell you where, as that would be a "spoiler")

I took off 1/2 Star because of the unwillingness of Cecil & Walsingham to help Brockley for fear it would put them in a precarious position when all along in the series Brockley has aided & abetted them while doing the Crown's bidding.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
A Perilous Alliance (Ursula Blanchard, #13) by Fiona Buckley

A Perilous Alliance, Fiona Buckley


What a terribly insipid story line with the most unlikely & improbable situations... Seemed more like a plot from a children's fantasy novel than a historical mystery written for adults.

I abhorred Ursula in this book she showed a complete lack of good judgment throughout the story and all the problems, perils & travails she brought on to herself & unfortunately her staff....

There was very little if any interaction w/ Walsingham, Lord Burghley or Queen Elizabeth, which is what usually makes the series credible.

Queen Elizabeth has asked (commanded) Ursula to marry a Frenchman w/ close ties to the French Court....

While staying w/ Ursula someone in the Count's retinue eavesdrops on Ursula's conversation w/ one of the Queen's men, but she opens the door to catch the person much too late.

When her maid Joan sees one of the Count's men enter Ursula's rooms she becomes suspicious of them and then eavesdrops on the Count, hearing a part of a sinister plan to do away with the Queen's man. When Joan tells Ursula, all hell breaks loose & Ursula flies into an uncharacteristic rage... which everyone in the household hears and causes Joan to be murdered by one of the Count's men....

Even more uncharacteristic to Ursula is the fact that she chooses to believe that Joan fell down the stairs, even though it is pointed out that there are finger bruises on her neck.

Even more unbelievably out of balance for the series, is the Count running away w/ one of the other household women's daughters & Ursula et. al. giving chase, which leads to the Count's death in a duel and everyone in Ursula's retinue being kidnapped by a white slaver & pirate....

So let me just say the book was fantastically unbelievable and inane. I Hated this book so much that had it been the first in the series I'd never read another.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
Us Against You (Beartown, #2) by Fredrik Backman
Us Against You – Fredrik Backman – 3.5***
Backman returns to Beartown to explore what happens in the aftermath of the first book’s stunning events. I love the way that Backman writes these characters. He moves back and forth between characters’ points of view as he tells the story of the town. Yet the story is always moving forward, keeping me enthralled and interested. Best enjoyed if you’ve read Beartown first.
LINK to my review

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Empress's Tomb (Kiki Strike, #2) by Kirsten Miller

The Empress's Tomb, Kirsten Miller

★ ★ ★ ★

From the inside cover:

"What's happening in New York City?
Giant Squirrels.
A Haunted Mansion.
Six fierce friends with even fiercer secrets.

Amanda might be sent off to a remote boarding school, Kiki's life is in danger (as always), Betty seems to have found a love in all the wrong places, and Oona... well, Oona's the one in the most serious trouble. From Chinatown to Saks Fifth Avenue, whether rescuing kidnapped children or resuscitating a long dead Empress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Irregulars have a knack for finding trouble and putting it out of its misery."

Oona's father is a Chinese Crime Boss and has plans to replace the Met's nudes w/ forgeries & sell them to....

Kiki's nemesis & would be assassin who works for Kiki's aunt & cousin who had Kiki's family murdered.

Annaka is in danger of being sent away for truancy & sleeping in History class, she redeems herself by writing about the Underground Railroad station for Slaves that is hidden under a Temple (former church) where the Irregulars meet...

Being hidden underground in the tunnels off of the Underground Railroad, the Irregulars find, Yu, who was kidnapped from Taiwan by Oona's father...

Lester Liu, deals in illegally imported exotic animals, that keep mysteriously being set loose in the city... including Giant Squirrels whose portraits are showing up city-wide as Giant Murals w/ cryptic messages...

All of the Irregulars have secrets but they work together to keep each other safe & fight crime.

This was a very interesting book, it was easy to read and certainly kept my interest.

I won't go out of my way to read the previous book or any others in the series, but it I would recommend it to young girls who like adventure series & want to read more about female protagonists.

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Jaret | 43 comments Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1) by Janet Evanovich by Janet Evanovich
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston's North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down--and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn't always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins. With delectable characters and non-stop thrills that have made Janet Evanovich a household name, Wicked Appetite.

my thoughts: It's exactly what I expected from a Janet Evanovich novel. Yes, it's a little formulaic, but it's still fun. The quirky characters and humor kept me laughing from beginning to end. The highlight of the book was Lorelei King's narration of the audiobook. She captured each character's personality perfectly and added even more whimsy to the story. It is very similar to the Stephanie Plum series, even including some characters from the between the numbers stories, but if you enjoy Stephanie Plum, you'll enjoy Lizzy as well.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite – 4****
What an interesting concept! I was immediately drawn into the sisters’ co-dependent relationship. I understood and sympathized with Korede’s dilemma; she loves her baby sister, but she wants her to stop her behavior. The tension is nonstop. Will she? Won’t she? When will she? How will she? In the end I’m left wondering WHO is the psychopath here?
LINK to my review

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Jaret | 43 comments Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri by Andrea Camilleri
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Montalbano's gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets him on a search for her killer. Among the suspects are her aging husband, a famous doctor; a shy admirer, now disappeared; an antiques-dealing lover from Bologna; and the victim's friend Anna, whose charms Montalbano cannot help but appreciate. But it is a reclusive violinist who holds the key to the murder. Montalbano does not disappoint, bringing his compelling mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love ofgood food to solve another riveting mystery.

my thoughts: I enjoy this mystery series. The descriptions of the Sicilian culture is interesting without overtaking the mystery story. I really enjoyed the mystery in this novel. The twists were fun without being too over-the-top. I love Montalbano as a character. He is interesting as a knight with dented armor. Grover Gardner did an excellent job as narrator of this audiobook.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Murder at Westminster Abbey (Elizabethan Mysteries, #2) by Amanda Carmack

Murder at Westminster Abbey, Amanda Carmack

★ ★ ★

Two Southwark Geese/Bawds have been murdered as well as one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies.... What they all have in common is, they all resemble the Queen.

Once again Kate Haywood, the Queen's Lute Player is asked by Elizabeth to investigate which puts Kate into danger, as people are not who they seem to be.

This was a fast read w/ enjoyable characters

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Murder at Whitehall (Elizabethan Mysteries, #4) by Amanda Carmack

Murder at Whitehall, Amanda Carmack

★ ★ ★

Christmas 1559: Queen Elizabeth's Court... Secrets going back to 1546, Queen Dowager Catherine Parr's death & the birth of her daughter are at the center of the intrigue.

Lady Catherine Grey (surviving sister of Queen Jane Grey) wants to marry Lord Hertford, however, Elizabeth demands her Ladies remain single. There are factions that would set Lady Catherine on the throne for which she has no interest.

There is a young woman hiding at the local Inn who bears an uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth.

Kate is given a piece of musical code in the hand of Dowager Queen Catherine Parr by her father to translate.... Someone is searching Kate's papers & music for something....

Señor Feria of Spain has been replaced by Bishop de Quadra, who has brought two young cousins with him acting as his secretaries...

Queen Elizabeth finds a threatening drawing in her bed and later a poppet (doll) w/ an intricately made crown hanging from a tree with another threatening note.

When on of the Spanish cousins is found dead w/ his throat slashed, it first seems like suicide... until Kate points out that his dagger is in the wrong hand!

There was quite a bit of intrigue and references to Catherine Parr & the time of Elizabeth being her ward.

Once again, Kate Haywood, is pressed into service beyond her duties as the Queen's personal musician by Elizabeth.

I did figure out the guilty person early on. I liked the story and found it held my interest.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Heretic's Creed (Ursula Blanchard #14) by Fiona Buckley

Heretic's Creed, Fiona Buckley

★ ★ ★ ★

Finally Buckley is back on track!

From Goodreads:

"February, 1577. Sir William Cecil has a dangerous new mission for Ursula Blanchard. He has asked her to visit Stonemoor House on the bleak Yorkshire moors, the home of a group of recusant women led by Abbess Philippa Gould. In their possession is an ancient book, and the Queen's advisor, Dr John Dee, is eager to get hold of it.

However, while the Abbess is anxious to sell the book, others such as her half-sister Bella believe it to be heretical and demand that it be burned.

It is not Sir William's first attempt to secure the book. His two previous emissaries vanished without trace. What happened to them and will Ursula suffer the same fate?"

This was a very interesting book, and story....

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
A Deadly Betrothal (Ursula Blanchard #15) by Fiona Buckley

A Deadly Betrothal, Fiona Buckley

★ ★ ★ ★

Elizabeth is about to accept the proposal of Francis de Anjou, the French Duke of Alencon. Although the Duke is 20 years younger than the Queen she is intrigued by his intelligence & interest in things similar to her.

Elizabeth calls upon her 1/2 sister, Ursula Stannard, to come to court & help her make the decision on whether or not to marry & advise Elizabeth on the more intimate intricacies of marriage.

After Francis is called back to France in order to deal with a problem in the Netherlands, Ursula meets & keeps company w/ the French envoys discussing the marriage proposal, while receiving & forwarding messages from Walsingham and Cecil to England's man in the French Court.

During the same period, Ursula & her household is investigating the disappearance of a youngster whose body is later found in a tree and then the murder of her former ward's husband... all related.

When Ursula discovers who the murderer(s) are, Cecil & Walsingham order her to stop investigating & keep her mouth shut.... (This is what gave me the identity of their messenger)

During this time unknown to Elizabeth, Robert Dudley, has secretly married the Queen's cousin Lettice Knollys, and when she finds out both Lettice (whom Elizabeth hates) and Dudley are banished from court.

After having dinner with the French envoys, one falls ill and the rumor is that Dudley poisoned the man... Which leads to a 2nd dinner, where everyone, including Dudley & Ursula falls ill and one of the Queen's Ladies dies....

I liked this, it seemed more realistic and stayed closer to the events of Elizabeth's betrothal to Francis of Anjou, Duke of Alencon and Robert Dudley's fall from grace.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty – 2.5**
It’s not Moriarty’s best work, in my humble opinion. On the one hand I really enjoyed some of these guests’ stories. On the other hand, I didn’t really like any of these characters, and was completely irritated by Masha’s psychobabble new-age philosophy on fixing what was wrong with them. I also didn’t like the ending, with its fast-forward to weeks or years later in order to catch up on what happened.
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua
A River Of Stars – Vanessa Hua – 3***
Hua’s first novel looks at the immigrant experience from a slightly different angle: wealthy Chinese who pay a high fee to ensure their babies will have the always-coveted native-born U.S. citizenship. The story focuses on Scarlett Chen, the mistress or Boss Yeung, and Daisy, the unwed teenager whose parents want to keep her from her American boyfriend. I found this an interesting and engaging story. I really liked Scarlett, but thought Daisy was frustratingly immature. Final verdict: a good, but not great, debut. I’d consider reading another of Hua’s works.
LINK to my review

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Damsel In Distress (Daisy Dalrymple, #5) by Carola Dunn

Damsel in Distress, Carola Dunn

★ ★ ★

This was a fast & easy read...

Daisy's childhood friend, Hon. Phillip Petrie has fallen in love w/ American Gloria Arbuckle.

When Gloria is kidnapped, Daisy & her friends descend upon her childhood home, now owned by her cousin, and they proceed to track Gloria down & rescue her....

This was a really lightweight mystery, but it kept me entertained!

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Book Concierge wrote: "Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers
– Liane Moriarty – 2.5**
It’s not Moriarty’s best work, in my humble opinion. On the one hand I really enjoyed some of these ..."


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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Dead in the Water (Daisy Dalrymple #6) by Carola Dunn

Dead in the Water, Carola Dunn

★ ★

A group of oarsmen descend upon Fairacres, once Daisy's home, to compete for a Prized Cup the acrimony between them leads to murder with Daisy, of course, caught up in the midst.

Not very likable characters, got what was coming to them...

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Reluctant Assassin (Ursula Blanchard #16) by Fiona Buckley

The Reluctant Assassin, Fiona Buckley


Not historical as this installment really did not deal so much w/ Queen Elizabeth as I would have liked

Queen Elizabeth is still entertaining a marriage to Francis d'Anjou Duke Alencon and once again calls her 1/2 sister Ursula Stannard to court.

Since the death of Ursula's husband, leaving her a wealthy woman, there are no end of suitors attempting to win her hand in marriage (as well as her property). When the book opens, Ursula is being accosted by Master Woodley, proclaiming his undying love & proposing for a 2nd time... when Ursula's manservant, Brockley intervenes.

Returning to her home Hawksmoore, Ursula begins the process of hiring new grooms for her Stud farm & a tutor for her son, Harry. The tutor she hires, ends up being Brockley's son from his first marriage.

When Harry is kidnapped, the family sets out to find him, but Ursula herself is set upon & Kidnapped as well...

Somewhere in between all of this, Ursula is asked by Elizabeth to poison Mary Stuart, which Ursula is unable to do (hence the title)...

The book was predictable and it was obvious who the kidnappers were... I did not like the ending at all, for there was no justice for one of the kidnappers.... Ursula just let him go, which made me take off stars!

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Rattle His Bones (Daisy Dalrymple, #8) by Carola Dunn

Rattle His Bones, Carola Dunn

★ ★ ★

The book begins with a jewel theft & the movements of the thief through the museum: although a floor-plan of the museum was provided, I was still confused as I had to go back and forth between the floor-plan & the movements of the thief to figure out, what was going on.

While writing a travel article on the highlights of the British Museum of Natural History for an American Magazine, Daisy meets many an odd character. The most interesting is the Count of a now gone country, who would like the Ruby that was gifted to Queen Victoria and is now on display in the museum returned to his family.

On Daisy's second visit to the museum, she is in one of the dinosaur halls along with a group of young children & their grandmother when in the hall next a particularly odious geologist is murdered.

When Detective Sergeant Tom Tring interviews those who were in the museum at the time, he discovers that few if any of the dead man's co-workers are saddened by his demise...

On a subsequent visit, when Daisy is reviewing the Mineral & Gem displays, the Count notices that the Ruby on display is no longer the genuine stone, but an excellent glass copy. The scientist taking Daisy on the tour comes to the same conclusion and she begins to see a possible connection between the missing ruby & the murder of the Geologist who was responsible for the Gem & Mineral exhibit.

As I stated, the trying to use the floor-plan throughout the story was confusing for me...

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Mistletoe and Murder (Daisy Dalrymple, #11) by Carola Dunn

Mistletoe and Murder, Carola Dunn

★ ★ ★

I really liked this story, it held my interest and the ambiance of the historical setting was positively foreboding.

From the inside cover: "In December of 1923, the formidable Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple has decided that for Christmas the family will all gather at Brockdene (Castle) in Cornwall at the (wrangled) invitation of Lord Westmoor.

Her daughter- Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher-is something less than pleased but yields to the demands of her mother, especially as she'll be there before the holidays working on another article for Town & Country about the estate itself.

But the family gathering quickly goes awry. Brockdene, it seems is only occupied by the Norvilles-poor relations of Lord Westmoor-and Westmoor himself won't be joining them.

So Daisy, her husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, and their families must spend their Christmas holiday trapped in an ancestral estate with a rich history of lore, ghost stories, rumors of hidden treasure and secret passageways, and a family seething with resentments, grudges, and a family scandalous history.

The veneer of civility that pervades the halls of Brockdene, however, begins to wear thin when long-held family secrets threaten to bubble over, and one of the Christmas guests is found savagely murdered (in the chapel).

With few clues as to who committed the murder and with too many motives as to why, it is once again up to Daisy to sort out the truth that lies beneath a generation of poisonous secrets."

I took off 1 Star, because although the book was set in 1923, it was written in 2002, and Dunn was disrespectful & graceless in her use of the "S" word when describing a Native American woman and the feather purchased that Daisy purchased for daughter's "costume".... Totally inappropriate & incorrect information.

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Jaret | 43 comments Manhattans & Murder (Murder, She Wrote, #2) by Jessica Fletcher by Donald Bain
3 stars

from my library's overdrive catalog: Promoting her latest books brings bestselling mystery writer Jessica Fletcher to New York for Christmas. Her schedule includes book signings, chat-show appearances, department store shopping, and-murder. But it all begins with a sidewalk Santa staring at Jessica with fear and recognition.

my thoughts: This episode was one of the first few in the Murder, She Wrote series and you can tell Donald Bain was figuring out his characters. The ending of the story did not match the Murder, She Wrote environment. It was a fine ending for another mystery, but it did not fit Murder, She Wrote. I liked the New York backdrop and the characters were definitely developing. I enjoyed it and I definitely see the potential the series has in this episode.

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Jaret | 43 comments Deep Blue by Tom Morrisey by Tom Morrisey
3 stars

from my library's overdrive catalog: A suspense-filled search for hidden treasure—and hidden truths. While University of Michigan graduate student Jennifer Cassidy is researching the family history of Cecilia Sinclair, a long-deceased Southern expatriate, she discovers that something of great value is hidden in a spring near the family plantation in Florida. Jennifer contacts Beck Easton, a cave diver and former Marine, to help her. When Beck finds a map, it sets off a race for gold, and both pro- and anti-Cuban groups follow Jennifer and Beck as they travel from Florida to the Bahamas to Lake Huron, tracking clues that pre-date the Civil War. After nearly losing her life, Jennifer is confronted with the meaning of Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven ... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And she realizes that she will have to make a decision

my thoughts: I would have enjoyed this more as just a treasure hunt story. The political subplot felt forced and unnecessary. It seemed to be included just to show off Beck Easton's military training and give a climactic moment for Jennifer to be Saved. The treasure hunt aspect, however, was very well-developed. I enjoyed the alternate history included regarding the Civil War and the dive facts were interesting. If Morrisey had left out the Cuban politics and stuck to the Civil War Era sunken ships, I would have given it a 4 star rating.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Die Laughing (Daisy Dalrymple, #12) by Carola Dunn

Die Laughing, Carola Dunn


Well, this was downright boring:

We never got to know the dentist as he is already dead at the beginning of the book, so we never know what kind of person he was.

Daisy goes to the dentist (a neighbor of hers who has an office to the side of his home) only to find him dead, in his chair of a Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) overdose....

His wife was having an affair, as was he... She, however, is pregnant by her lover, so they both agree to end their affairs & work things out for the baby.

Then, the dentist's lover's husband is found dead w/ his head in the oven... Could it have been a second murder?

I really didn't like the characters, I especially do not like Daisy's mother-in-law nor her mother...

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
A Mourning Wedding (Daisy Dalrymple, #13) by Carola Dunn

A Mourning Wedding, Carola Dunn

★ ★

Daisy's best friend Lucy is finally going to marry her long-time beau, Gerald (Binkie).

At the behest of Lucy's mother, Grandfather paying for everything and Lucy's entire family is up at the family mansion.

Unfortunately Lucy's Aunt Eva has a nasty penchant for keeping journals' of the family's peccadilloes and keeping the knowledge to herself, until such time as she wishes to impose her will (control) upon one of her unsuspecting family members.

When Aunt Eva is murdered there is no shortage of suspects.

The following day during tea-time, Gerald happens upon Lucy's Uncle, the heir apparent, in his conservatory, dead from the oleander leaves mixed in with his tea. Gerald administers CPR to no avail....

With all the frenetic activity in the household: people chasing after Daisy for information, quarreling with each other, demanding to leave... Lucy , in a fit of stress, decides to break up w/ Gerald... but then Gerald is struck from behind, as the murderer fears, Gerald might have witnessed the murder.

This was quite long & drawn out, which made it boring; and even with the Family Tree on the front pages, it was difficult to keep track of who everyone was....

Most everyone in the family had something to hide and all had motive for murder, including Lucy.... most were not very nice people!

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Queen's Bounty (Ursula Blanchard, #10) by Fiona Buckley

Queen's Bounty, Fiona Buckley

★ ★

Very little if anything inclusive of Elizabeth, Lord Burghley, Walsingham...

Mostly about Anne Percy: Countess of Northumberland & her plotted revenge against Ursula Blanchard-Stannard for foiling her previous plot to put Mary Scots on the throne.

Ursula & her household are thrust into turmoil as Ursula & her maid Sybil are framed for witchcraft.

It is time for a rest from this series!

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman – 5*****
What a marvelous character-driven novel! I loved Eleanor as much as I was frustrated by her. Her conversations with Mummy gave us clues to the trauma in her past that resulted in the fragile woman she is when we first meet her. I love the way the friendship between Raymond and Eleanor develops; how he introduces her to possibilities, but also accepts her at face value. Honeyman gives us some wonderful supporting characters as well; even if their scenes are small, they are fully developed and add to the richness of the novel. A fantastic debut novel!
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard – Linda Sue Park – 4****
This middle-grade novel is a beautiful introduction to the Korean culture, as well as to the art of pottery. Park gives us a wonderful cast of characters. I love the relationship between Tree-Ear and Crane-man, how they care for one another, and give to one another so selflessly. I learned much about celadon pottery, and particularly the uniqueness of the inlay process. The novel was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in Children’s Literature.
LINK to my review

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Zamba The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer
Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived – Ralph Helfer– 3***
I’m not a great animal lover, but I was interested and engaged in most of Ralph Helfer’s memoir of raising and working with the lion he rescued as a young cub. I did find Helfer a bit preachy at times. Still, I applaud the way that he changed the minds of many animal “trainers” about the best techniques to use.
LINK to my review

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Rival Queens Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom by Nancy Goldstone

The Rival Queens, Nancy Goldstone

★ ★ 1/2

Arrrrrrrrrrg! This was so difficult to read....

If you thought Henry VIII, Bloody Mary Tudor & Mary Scots whack-jobs.... The French under Catherine de Medici were worse...

De Medici was a vicious controlling sociopathic piece of work & how her children, once in power, went along w/ her was amazing. She was two-faced & duplicitous lying to & ruthlessly using everyone to keep herself & then her favorite son, Henri III in power.

She was the authoress of the Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre and instrumental in continuing the religious dissension between the Catholics throughout the succeeding years of her sons' reigns.

The treatment of her two youngest children Francois de Alencon & Margot de Valois was nothing less than abusive. Although, both Francios & Margot fought back brilliantly, with exception to those times when they succumbed to their mother's duplicity.

What I got out of the book is Catherine de Medici was the only reason that mother & daughter were "rivals".

Catherine de Medici was fat, ugly, graceless, without ethics, & had no power of her own; therefore resorted to using emotional blackmail to gain power over her children, which did not work w/ Margot.

Margot, was well read, intelligent, guileless, & beautiful and possessed a greater understanding of peace & justice.

The book was over flowing w/ historical happenings, that could well have been shortened in their telling.

One thing that stood out, was the author's comment about Elizabeth I keeping Mary Queen of Scots prisoner. The author made it sound as Elizabeth I did so out of pure spite... omitting that Mary Scots was continually plotting to overthrow Elizabeth I via murderous plots & claiming herself Queen of England.....

The writing was tedious but I finished the book because I wanted to know what happened to Margot of Valois.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Styx and Stones (Daisy Dalrymple, #7) by Carola Dunn

Styx and Stones, Carola Dunn

★ ★ ★

At the behest of Daisy's brother-in-law she begins investigating a series of poison pen letters he is receiving. Much to her dismay, Daisy finds that gossip is the main occupation of the local church's Women's Institute and not only is there no small number of suspects, there is also no small number of victims.

Then there's the body of the Vicar's brother (wearing the Vicar's hat) found pinned under the fallen angel statue. The question being who was the intended victim? The Vicar or his brother? And who would want to kill either of them?

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
To Davy Jones Below (Daisy Dalrymple, #9) by Carola Dunn

To Davy Jones Below, Carola Dunn

Daisy & CDI Alec Fletcher are now married and on their way to their honeymoon, when their plans are most rudely disrupted & rearranged to send them on a trans-Atlantic voyage to the u.s. in order to help quell corruption in the FBI.

Rather than standing up & defending their honeymoon plans, Alec agrees to the trip, telling Daisy that they'll have two extra weeks added to their honeymoon via their voyage.

Unfortunately & unbeknown to the entire group, one of their companions has married a much disliked former showgirl and much to their dismay brings her along on the voyage.

From that point on I figured it all out: Two smarmy young men are seen in the company of the showgirl, whom she claims are merely "stage-door Johnnies".

A young woman sees a man heaved overboard, but no one, especially Alec, believes her, they think he somehow just fell overboard, even though he was too much short to go over on his own. Throughout the book he remains in a coma.

Next one of the "Stage-door Johnnies", who turns out to be a card-shark & cheating one of the passengers, is shot & he falls overboard, his body unrecoverable. Then the second "Stage-door Johnnie" falls overboard and drowns as well....

During all of this the chorus-girl is indisposed, as is Alec w/ sea-sickness one of the passengers, a herbalist (prejudicially called the "witch" by the author), comes to the rescue w/ her natural remedies.

When all seems to calm down the chorus girl is stricken by belladonna poison, which she has been using as eyedrops to brighten her eyes, and dies....

From the beginning, who-done-it was too easy to figure out, even though there were plenty of suspects.... Alec was a total azz, acting out of character by dismissing the first witness's account of what she saw.


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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
November Road by Lou Berney
November Road – Lou Berney – 4****
Frank Guidry is on the run from the mob because he’s figured out his boss’s role in the JFK assassination. Charlotte Roy is running from an unhappy marriage, taking her two girls to a new life. When they meet in New Mexico, Guidry sees the perfect disguise and turns on the charm to convince Charlotte that he can help her. It’s a fast-paced thriller with an unlikely romance thrown in, and it kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
LINK to my review

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A Broth of Betrayal (Soup Lover's Mystery, #2) by Connie Archer
A Broth Of Betrayal – Connie Archer – 2.5**
Book two in the Soup Lover’s Mystery series. There’s a lot going on this summer in Snowflake, Vermont. Residents are protesting a developer’s plans for a car wash in historic downtown; a skeleton is found at the construction site; the mayor goes missing; and there are a couple of murders. Yet, with all that going on, the book felt slow to me.
LINK to my review

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas – 4****
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is the narrator of this contemporary novel that deals with some major social issues facing America. I love the way that Thomas writes these characters. The realities of living in an urban neighborhood that is stressed by unemployment, gangs, poverty, drug use and broken families are all present. Thomas gives Starr a relatively stable home environment: a family-owned house, neighbors who look out for one another, and, most importantly, two parents who love one another, work hard, and set a good example for their children. The novel raises more questions than it gives solutions. But these are issues than need examining, and this is a great way to start the conversation.
LINK to my review

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Laurie  (laugal) | 130 comments Angola Horror The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and Transformed American Railroads by Charity Vogel by Charity Vogel-my review- I would give this 10 stars if I could. As a resident of the region where this tragedy happened,I had never heard of this event.The prologue was dry and I feared the book would be also,but I was wrong.The story builds with anxious anticipation! There were a few sessions I read that it was a page turner,kept me up reading late at night.I felt as if I knew each passenger,the victims and townspeople.The author "places" you in Angola,NY.I disagree with some of the reviews that said there was too much graphic description.Once you "meet" each passenger you are "in it" to the end.Initially the injuries are described with the crash itself,but as each passenger or victim is rescued or recovered you do learn more about the physical damage, yes, it is very graphic,but this IS the story.This is the result of a horrific event. No rose colored glasses can take away the pain,death or carnage.This IS life and death.Just think of what the victims experienced! The author details unusual weather events for the year of 1867 that seemed to play out during the winter of 1867.The author's research was incredible,I learned so much about railroads as well as history of my own region.THE ANGOLA HORROR seemed to be a forgotten tragedy,so difficult to believe ,since our region is quite knowledgeable about our history. The victims deserve to be remembered and this book does just that.The unidentified victims are in a common grave in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, with no marker or monument to remember them.Their stories are handled with reverence.This tragedy changed railroad safety for the future. The author deserves the highest praise for her research and writing,there is beautiful prose in many areas of this book.

message 37: by Kimberly (last edited Apr 29, 2019 07:40PM) (new)

Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Médicis Daughter A Novel of Marguerite de Valois by Sophie Perinot

Medici's Daughter, Sophie Perinot

★ ★ ★ ★

A fictionalized account of Regine Margot de Valois from her childhood until she helped her husband Henri Navarre escape after the Saint Batholomew's Day Massacre.

I found this much easier reading & more enjoyable than the previous book I read about her & her mother Catherine de Medici. It made Margot come alive...

I had read two fictionalized accounts of Catherine de Medici, but wow were they ever romanticized, they made her out to be a good, but misunderstood woman rather than the scheming, duplicitous, megalomaniac of a harridan that she actually was, and those never really discussed Margot.

This was well written and it held my interest.

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee – 4****
This is an epic work of historical fiction that follows four generations of one Korean family living in Japan, beginning in 1910 and ending in 1989. I was quickly drawn into the story and eagerly followed Sunja’s story, but I did get a little bored with the repetition towards the end. Still, I was engaged and invested in these characters’ stories, and the setting and timeframe gave me some insight into a culture about which I know little.
LINK to my review

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
And Then There Were Nuns Adventures in a Cloistered Life by Jane Christmas

And Then There Were Nuns, Jane Christmas

★ ★ ★ 1/2

Jane who has been married twice before and has grown children is in a long-distance relationship w/ Colin. He lives in England, she in Canada.

When Colin finally asks Jane to marry him, she happily accepts on one condition, that he give her 18 months to spend in a convent in oder to answer her calling to become a nun.

During her 18 months, Jane stays in several different religious houses in both Canada and England, including two on the Isle of Wight and settling finally in North Yorkshire.

Jane learn not only about herself, but the quirks & proclivities of her co-inhabitants and sadly the many hypocrisies of both the Catholic & Anglican hierarchies.

There is quite a bit of history in this book, which gave me pause to search the internet in order to find out more.

Definitely an interesting read highlighting that spirituality is a highly personal practice and not all who take holy vows are saintly.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano, #1) by Andrea Camilleri

The Shape of Water, Andrea Camilleri

★ ★ ★ 1/2

I almost dropped this book after reading the first two pages: Endless paragraphs each made of run-on-on-on-on sentences that made absolutely no sense to me what-so-ever. But I skipped forward a bit to see if the rest of the book was as boring/confusing and found much to my happy surprise, that it wasn't and that I liked what I was reading.

Inspector Montalbano becomes involved with the death of a well known & equally respected politician. The politician is found dead in the passenger seat of his car, in a seedy area known as The Pasture where the whores meet w/ their clients.

The body is found by to local clean-up workers, one of whom also finds a very valuable gold & diamond studded necklace. When the workers call the dead man's attorney to report the death, they get no reaction, but rather instructions to report the body to the police.

Being set up for the death is the dead man's political rival's daughter-in-law....

The plot was interesting & it held my interest. I'll be reading more in the series.

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Jaret | 43 comments Death and Judgment A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon by Donna Leon
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Italian commissioner Guido Brunetti investigates the shooting death of a lawyer on a Venice-bound train, andin the process discovers a drug and prostitution racket run by some of Venice's finest citizens.

my thoughts: Donna Leon starts the roller coaster ride right from the beginning in this novel. This is the first book I've read in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, but it won't be my last. The action carried through most of the book. There were very few parts that dragged and even those moved quickly. The content of this novel is tough to read, so be aware if you have triggers.

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Jaret | 43 comments Crooked House by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
5 stars

from my library's catalog: Charles Hayward becomes a special assistant to Scotland Yard when his fiancee's grandfather is murdered, and her entire family comes under suspicion.

my thoughts: This book was supposed to be Agatha Christie's favorite book she wrote. I can see why. It is classic Christie storytelling, but her ending is one of the best endings I have read. This book definitely shows her talent as a mystery-builder, not just a mystery writer.

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Jaret wrote: "Crooked House by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
5 stars

from my library's catalog: Charles Hayward becomes a special assistant to Scotland Yard when his fiancee's grandfather is murdered, an..."

This Is My Favorite!

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Jaret wrote: "Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri by Andrea Camilleri
4 stars

from my library's catalog: Montalbano's gruesome discovery of a lovely, naked young woman suffocated in her bed immediately sets..."

This is the only one of the series the Library no longer has a copy of... but I like the others in the series. Thank-you!

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 1088 comments Mod
Mango Elephants in the Sun by Susana Herrera
Mango Elephants In the Sun – Susana Herrera – 3.5***
Subtitle: How Life in an African Village Let Me Be in My Skin. This is a memoir of the time the author spent as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Cameroon. I was interested and engaged in the experiences Herrera related, but somewhat appalled by how she lacked even basic understanding of the differences in culture before she arrived at her assignment. She relays some very interesting insights she gained from the women she befriended in the village.
LINK to my review

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The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann David Wyss – 3***
Originally published in 1812, this is a classic adventure tale of a mother, father and four sons who are shipwrecked on an unnamed (and apparently uncharted) tropical island in the South Seas. I had never read the book, though I had seen the Disney movie back in the ‘60s. My adult self recognizes the glaringly implausible (and, frankly, impossible) scenarios but the adventure still captures the imagination.
LINK to my review

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Terra-cotta Dog (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) by Andrea Camilleri

The Terra-Cotta Dog, Andrea Camilleri

★ ★ ★

An illegal arms deal gone bad leads Inspector Montalbano to a town where most roads leading away from it dead end. But there is the tunnel that was supposed to have been a new road, but fell through & ended up being sealed shut and all but forgotten...

Could the now sealed tunnel/cave be hiding a secret? Once opened, Inspector Montalbano comes across another sealed chamber. In it on a well made rug is the remains of two lovers embraced in death, a bowl of coins, a jug of water, & forming a point of a triangle a terra-cotta dog.

Thus Montalbano discusses the case w/ a long-time friend & the friend's wife, who just happens to have had a friend who disappeared at the same time the autopsy reveals that the lovers died....

Very interesting, many twists & turn with a satisfying conclusion along w/ wonderful descriptions of Italian meals I could dream of eating....

The author needs publish a cookbook w/ photos!

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Book Concierge wrote: "Mango Elephants in the Sun by Susana Herrera

Mango Elephants In the Sun
– Susana Herrera – 3.5***
Subtitle: How Life in an African Village Let Me Be in My Skin. This is a memoir of the time ..."

"but somewhat appalled by how she lacked even basic understanding of the differences in culture before she arrived at her assignment"

I'm beginning to believe that is how it is with people going on a "mission" or Peace Corps, or someplace very far from their home where they intend to do "good"....

message 48: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
The Snack Thief (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) by Andrea Camilleri

The Snack Thief, Andrea Camilleri

★ ★ ★ ★

A man is found murdered, a kitchen knife sticking out of his back, in the elevator of his building. Several neighbors saw the body in the elevator but chose to ignore it....

The man had recently reopened his business and went to his office every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. His Tunisian cleaning lady was also "cleaning up" on the side by providing extra service to him & the other retired men she worked for.

The cleaning lady is soon embroiled in mysterious non-business dealing of his business (the police audit showing he had no assets, no debts, no inventory) and she soon disappears with her son.

At a school in the town where the cleaning lady lived, children are having their food stolen from them on the way to school.... Inspector Montalbano sets a trap for the "snack-thief" who turns out to be the son of the missing cleaning-lady...

The story progresses from there as Montalbano takes the boy home to his fiancée and the boy & fiancée become quickly emotionally attached.

On-going is the killing of a Tunisian on a fishing boat, which turns out to be murder and connected to the boy & his mother...

Many a twist & turn that held my interest.

Once again, the description of Montalbano's meals are an epicurean's dream...

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Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Excursion to Tindari (Inspector Montalbano #5) by Andrea Camilleri

Excursion to Tindari, Andrea Camilleri

★ ★ ★ ★

Another interesting read in the Inspector Montalbano series:

But something is missing from the ending of "The Snack Thief": Livia & Salvo are still not married, nor is there mention of the plans to adopt the little boy!

Montalbano is called to the scene of a shooting, a young man w/ a fully decked out apartment has been shot in the face... In the same building a retired couple got on a bus, took the tour to Tindari and never returned. The bodies of the couple are later found in the charred remains of a fire, being murdered execution style.

The head of a mafia family wants his grandson arrested, but when they get there, guided by one of his cousins, they find him w/ his throat slit & his bodyguard gone.

A world renown surgeon's wife is having an affair & has been videotaped & features in a novel written by the young murdered man...

Well written & all coming together nicely....

Not as much food talk this time, but what there was sounded wonderful!

message 50: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Ann (auntie-nanuuq) | 1059 comments Mod
Catherine de Medici Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda

Catherine deMedici, Leonie Frieda

...because it was boring, The author made her out to be nearly a saint & excusing her enabling behavior on her son Henri and her part in the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre... "What had been intended as a relatively small-scale surgical operation designed to excise the canker in the heart of French politics...." She had the people she invited to her daughter's wedding murdered in cold blood & would have had Henry Navarre murdered as well.....

The author began almost at the beginning of her lineage & that of her husband Henry II.... the details presented were painstaking as well as painfully minute and headache inducing

393 pages of sheer biased drivel & an utter waste of time

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