Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hank Phillipi Ryan has a great new book The Other Woman. This is a tale of a TV reporter who, by not naming a source, for a story was fired from her job when the station was sued. She got a newspaper job through a more-than-friend cop (there is a lot of chemistry between them but their positions make anything more than friendship a no-no). When the "source" turns up dead, all Jane's hopes of being back on the TV spot are dashed.

This story has lots of action, realistic characters, situations, possible love-interests and a real mystery. Who is the "other woman"? Jane has ideas but seems to just miss the connection quite often. At the end, it all comes clear -- and almost deadly -- for Jane and she is rewarded for her tenacity.

Ryan herself comes from the TV broadcasting world so really understands her character and what is involved in the day-to-day life of a reporter. This is good stuff!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Like pie? Then you will probably like the new "Pie Shop Mystery" series by Carol Culver. The first book "A Good Day to Pie" introduces the main characters: Hanna who is now running the pie shop for her retired grandmother, her best friend Kate, and hunky ex-high school crush Sam, the new Chief of Police of their worthy seaside village in California.

When it looks like Grannie is going to charged with murdering her bridge opponent (with a slice of cranberry pie, nonetheless) Hanna sets out to find the real murderer.  A lot of twists and turns later, she does, of course (or else it wouldn't be a cozy!)

The descriptions of the pies are enough alone to cause your mother to water, let alone the sleuthing and yearning for some sign of acceptance by Sam and the other people of the village.

It is a comfortable and fun read.

The second in the series will be coming out in August of 2012, with the title of "Never Say Pie." It introduces even more zany characters with a Food Fair to die for -- with local vegetables, fruits, and homemade goodies being sold from booths.  Unfortunately, someone does die, but not from the food. This time the murder is caused by a knife that cuts, slices, and serves all at once.  It is also good for cutting throats! No blood and gore though; just clean deductive reasoning and some snooping catches out the murderer.  This is a good addition to the series. Check them out!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

C.S. Challinor is a kind of modern-day Agatha Christie, with a Scottish barrister solving murders. Rex Graves is a middle-age widower with a college-age son who is an amateur sleuth in the manner of Miss Marple, albeit without the formal gathering to trip up the murderer.

He has been involved in murders at a bed and breakfast belonging to a friend of his mothers, a nudist resort in France, and in Florida at the college where his son Campbell is matriculating. These are cozies in the best sense of the word  --  no blood and gore, no graphic sexual scenes (although Rex is a virile man), and a logical conclusion reached by using the clues and information presented in the story.

The books are not overlong so easily and quickly read.  They are great light mysteries. I most recently read "Phi Beta Murder" which delightfully had a romantic subplot. Go Rex!

Give this author a try.  As usual, I gathered this author's name from Cozy-Mysteries.com. Check this website out; it is awesome.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It has been a while since I have added to my blog. That does not mean I have not been reading. Oh no! I read every day. I wanted to tell you about four books that I have just finished.

David Baldacci is one of my favorite thriller writers. I just finished "The Innocent."  It is a very thrilling read about an assassin in an unnamed U.S. federal program, who gets caught up in an unforgettable mess of killings, running from other assassins, and a very complicated plot to get him killed. Not only does he have to worry about himself, but a fourteen-year old girl whose family has been killed is in the mix. At first I thought she was the owner of the title (Innocent) but there is much more to the story than that. It is very much a book to read and savor but it does move fast.  This is a keeper for sure.

James Patterson has become a fast read  --  short chapters, quick paced story. Two of his newest books are no exception. I read "The 11th Hour" and "Guilty Wives" in two days. Of the two, I found "Guilty Wives" the most fascinating. It details the story of four housewives, living in Switzerland, on a girls' weekend to Monte Carlo. You know it is going to turn horrific because the book begins with them in a French prison, one of them being killed there. Abbie Elliott, the narrator, needs to find out who the real murderers are so she can get her friends and herself out of the prison. Horrendous prison scenes give a glimpse of torture and degradation. The ending is foretold but comes as a real surprise, too. It is a good read. David Ellis is a co-author.

"The 11th Hour" is a Women's Murder Club novel with the characters from previous books experiencing life-changing events. This is more of a typical Patterson with Maxine Paetro story. Easy reading, short chapters, some characterizations, and a relatively good story.

The newest Mary Higgins Clark was rather a disappointment to me. Her characters Alvirah and Willy were the sleuths in a story about a Biblical treasure discovered, then stolen, with murder thrown in. A letter supposedly written by Jesus Christ to Joseph of Armathea was stolen from the Vatican in the 1500's has come to the attention of a Biblical scholar, who is then killed. Police think he was killed by his Alzheimer-suffering wife. Their daughter must find the real killer. Her friends Alvirah and Willy help her discover the truth. Clark produces a much better product when it is not with these characters, but a stand-alone. While Alvirah is an interesting character, she is so unrealistic that it makes the whole story seem convoluted.  I have read better.

Now back to my cozies!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rosemary Harris's series about gardening sleuth Paula Holliday ("Dirty Business Mysteries") is a great read about some fun characters. Paula is very well realized as a former film tycoon (so to speak) coming to small-town Springfield, Connecticut to start her own gardening business -- planning and physically planting each customer's gardens. The author really knows her plants and garden layouts. She has said that she is part of the Philadelphia Flower Show team and spends a lot of time with that.

The character of Paula eminates quirky, plucky, and intelligent. When she ends up with a mummified body of an infant in the first in the series Pushing Up Daisies she ends up solving a very old disappearance/murder and a very fresh one, too. There seem to be some sparks flying between her and the police detective ("Mom") Michael O'Malley.  This should be fun to follow in the continuation of the series.

Rosemary Harris is an Agatha and Anthony nominated author who is very active in Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She has been the driving force behind the Mystery PopTop Stage at two annual American Library Association conferences.

Pushing Up Daisies is followed by The Big Dirt Nap, Dead Head and her newest title Slugfest.  You will enjoy this snappy reads!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If you like wacky mysteries, try Lisa Lutz and her series about the Spellmans.  The whole family runs a detective agency but the only one who seems to be really detecting is oldest daughter Isabel. Older brother David has left the agency to become a lawyer; younger sister Rae is now off to college and has lost the taste of late night stakeouts. Isabel has a significant other, Henry, who is a police detective but in the latest in the series (#5), "Trail of the Spellmans" there are conflicts with he and Izzy --  mostly of her making. There are usually many small mysterie to solve, not least of them what are the other members of the family doing.  So Izzy follows them, too.  Humorous footnotes keep the story going while quirky characters (so unreal sometimes to be wholly believable) carry the plot along in earnest.

In this latest caper, Izzy discovers that Rae and her dad have nicknames for all the family members.  Izzy is the Gopher.  This is not pleasing to her.

When Henry's mother comes to visit, Izzy finds her more compatible than Henry. Until Gerty hooks up with Izzy's old nemesis Bernie.  This is totally unacceptable!

Izzy finds that the detective agency is not only following a husband (from his wife's directive) but following the wife (from her brother's order).  Just what is going on here? Izzy thinks she knows so she starts counter stakeouts to ferret out the truth.

The author Lisa Lutz uses the humor and outlandish situations to make a memorable mystery series fun, as well as fascinating.  Give these books a try.  The first in the series is "The Spellman Files", followed by "Curse of the Spellmans", "Revenge of the Spellmans" and "The Spellmans Strike Again."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kik Lowenstein is a great amateur sleuth who gets into some really dangerous places. Author Joanna Campbell Slan has a winner of a series here.  The first in the series was nominated for the Agatha Award. The "Scrap-n-Craft" series features Kiki who is a master at scrapbooking. Not only are the mysteries well plotted and intriguing, the scrapbooking hints are well appreciated.

The latest installment, read from a NetGalley ARC, is just as exciting as all the previous novels. Kiki is pitted against a murderer who is probably the one who killed her husband in "Paper, Scissors, Death". She gets into the middle of the action by having been present when the murder occurred. Trying to solve the mystery, keep her family safe, survive a visit from her wacky mother, and keep the romance alive with her policeman heartthrob is almost more than she can handle.

Watch for an unusual lamp  --  think armadillo roadkill -- as well as a tangled plan to catch a killer. Kiki endures it all with her sense of humor and integrity intact. I do question, however, the very abrupt ending.  I wanted to know more about how what happened with the scrapbooking store  --  it was left rather as a cliff-hanger.  So is this a literary method sure to fire our appetites for book number six?