Sunday, September 30, 2007

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

TITLE: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 306
Date: 30/09/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 2 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Library

This was the 15th book I read during the Cozy Mystery Challenge, and the last one, since the challenge is now over.

Maisie Dobbs is hired by a former acquaintance of her mentor, Maurice, to find his daughter, who has ran away from her father's house.
As Maisie and her assistant, Billy, investigate the not so young woman's disappearance, they discover that her friends are dying, and while one death was ruled a suicide, the other two were definitely murder. It would appear that the missing Charlotte is in grave danger, but from whom, and why?
At the same time, Billy has some problems of his own, and Maisie has to take a close look at her own life; her past, her relationships in the present, and most importantly, her future.
I like these beautifully written books. The mysteries are solid, the past is very well researched and Maisie is a very likable character. I will try to get my hands on part three soon.

With the end of September, comes the end of the Cozy Mystery Challenge. And although I did enjoy reading the books I did, I'll be get to get a bit more variation in my reading again. I guess I'm just not a one genre kind of girl.

Friday, September 28, 2007

DEATH IN A HOT FLASH

TITLE: DEATH IN A HOT FLASH
AUTHOR: JANE ISENBERG
Pages: 215
Date: 28/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 2 Bel Barrett Mystery
Own

This was the 14th book I read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
A colleague of professor Bel Barrett at a Jersey City Community College is murdered, and the police's main suspect is one of their students with a criminal past, who recently had and argument with Vinnie, the victim.
Bel is not at all convinced the police is looking at the right suspect and finds herself investigating, with some help from her friends.
At the same time she's worrying about her son, who is in Israel, her daughter, injured in an accident, and her recently widowed mother who appears to be losing her hold on reality. And to top it all off, her relationship with Sol appears to be at an end.
Good mystery and a nice story. I especially like the friendship between Bel, Illuminado and Betty as they again join forces to investigate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

THE BURRY MAN'S DAY

TITLE: THE BURY MAN'S DAY
AUTHOR: CATRIONA MCPHERSON
Pages: 361
Date: 25/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 2 Dandy Gilver Mystery
Library

This was the 13th read in this month's Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Dandy Gilver is spending time with friends in Queensferry, Scotland. It is August 1923, and the annual Ferry Fair is on, which traditionally involves the walk of the Burry Man.
But the day before the Fair, the man who has been the Burry Man for years, announces that the can't do it this year, only to change his mind after a talk with Dandy.
On the day, the Burry Man does his traditional round, only to die shortly afterwards. it's up to Dandy to discover whether his death was an accident or murder.
This was a good mystery with a for more involved solution than I could guess at.
Dandy is an interesting main character, and I will go back to read the first book in this series, and then read onwards.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

IF I'D KILLED HIM WHEN I MET HIM...

TITLE: IF I'D KILLED HIM WHEN I MET HIM...
AUTHOR: SHARYN MCCRUMB
Pages: 273
Date: 23/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 8 Elizabeth McPherson Mystery
Own

12th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Elizabeth McPherson is battling depression after losing her beloved Cameron. To give her life some direction, her lawyer brother Bill and his business partner A.P Hill ask her to be the investigator for their law firm.
And while Elizabeth can't do a lot for A.P's case of a woman who shot her ex husband and younger new wife and seems proud of it, she does succeed in solving two cases of arsenic poisoning, one in the present and one in the past.
This was a very well written book, funny and with a good mystery and a clever solution.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PERISH BY PEDICURE

TITLE: PERISH BY PEDICURE
AUTHOR: NANCY J. COHEN
Pages: 243
Date: 22/09/2007
Grade: 4-
Details: nr. 8 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
Library

This was the 11th book I read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
I don't think I'll be returning to this series. If I remember correctly, I wasn't overly impressed with the first instalment in this series, which I read some years ago, and this one didn't really work for me either.
The thing is, I'm not sure why I don't like these books.
There is nothing much wrong with the mystery or the characters, but I can't seem to get into the story. So I don't mind putting these books down and find myself in no particular hurry to get back to them. And since there are so many series out there I do enjoy, I'm just going to be giving this one a miss.
As for the story; Marla Shore is invited to help out at a beauty show, when on the welcome cocktail party the company's director, Christine Parks, is murdered. Christine was not liked by anyone who worked for her, so there's no shortage of suspects, including Marla's friend Christine.
Determined to clear her friend's name as well as increase her chances of working with the company in the future, Marla sets out on an investigation.
But her attention is divided because she has her fiance's ex-in laws staying in her house, apparently determined to find fault with her. And of course the murderer is determined to make sure that she won't get to the truth.
All the ingredients for a good and exciting read are here, but for some reason it just didn't work for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MURDER ON A GIRL'S NIGHT OUT

TITLE: MURDER ON A GIRL'S NIGHT OUT
AUTHOR: ANNE GEORGE
Pages: 244
Date: 19/09/2007
Grade 4+
Details: nr. 1 Southern Sisters Mysteries
Own

Patricia Anne (Mouse) and Mary Alice (Sister) are sisters and each others complete opposite.
When Marie Alice buys a country and western bar, Patricia Anne has her reservations. When a few days later the former owner of the bar is found brutally murdered in the bar, Patricia Anne knows she was right to doubt the project.
Curious people that they are, Mouse and Sister do some investigating, but keep on coming up with more mysteries rather than answers.
And by the time the answers become clear, Patricia Anne is very close to becoming the murderer's next victim.
Fun story with a few laugh out loud moments and a good mystery.
Definitely a cozy, and the 10th in this months challenge.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A CUT ABOVE THE REST

TITLE: A CUT ABOVE THE REST
AUTHOR: MARINA OLIVER
Pages: 216
Date: 17/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: Stand-alone
Library

This the 9th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Dodie Fanshaw is staying with her daughter Elena in Markenlea, England, when they spot a soaking wet girl emerging from the river behind Elena's garden. Because the girl leaves with giving her name, they call her the Mermaid.
Later on the same day they visit Elena's neighbour, Rick Wilbraham, a famous author, only to find him murdered.
There is no shortage of suspects for this murder, and when it appears that the first draft of Rick's second novel has disappeared, the plot only thickens.
Dodie can't help herself and decides to investigate, emerging herself in the literary world in the process. She eventually comes to the right conclusions, but not before someone else has died.
A clever and fun read. I loved Dodie and Elena and can't help hoping that Oliver will write more mysteries featuring these two.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

MAISIE DOBBS

TITLE: MAISIE DOBBS
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 292
Date: 16/09/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 1 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Own


Quotes:
" Truth walks towards us on the paths of our questions. As soon as you think you have the answer, you have closed the path and may miss vital new information. Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing."


"Coincidence was a messenger sent by truth."


"Pay attention to the reactions of your body. It is the wisdom of the self speaking to you. Be aware of concern, of anticipation, off all the feelings that come from the self. They manifest in the body. What is their council?"


"The truth grows even more powerful when it is suppressed, and often it takes only one small crack to bring down the wall, to release it."


This was the 7th read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Absolutely wonderful first book in this series. Reminding me a bit of the books by Laurie King featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.
When the book starts Maisie Dobbs has just opened her office as a psychologist and investigator.
Her first case appears to be one of looking into the apparent infidelity of a wife. But it soon emerges there's no infidelity to investigate, but a much deeper mystery relating to WW 1 and the injuries it caused.
The investigation causes Maisie to look back on her own past, the opportunities she was given and her own experiences as a nurse during the war. Forcing her to deal with and come to terms with the pain it caused.
Set in 1929, this is a thought provoking book. The investigation is more about finding answers and proof than about who done it. The language used is gentle and beautiful, as is the main character. I can't wait to read part two.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

THE CORNBREAD KILLER

TITLE: THE CORNBREAD KILLER
AUTHOR: LOU JANE TEMPLE
Pages: 242
Date: 15/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 5 Heaven Lee Culinary Mystery
Library

This was the 7th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Heaven Lee is a chef and restaurant owner in Kansas City with a tendency to run into murder mysteries. And the dedication of Kansas City Jazz and "black" district, Eighteen and Vine, is no different.
The festival planner is an out-of-towner who somehow managed to get the job. A week before the festival is to take place she's found out ripping of the contributors to the festival. But just before the organizing committee can confront her, she dies from electrocution. Accident or murder?
Heaven, in charge of organizing the food end of the festival is never one to let a mystery lie, but has her own troubles as well when an out of town chef sets out to sabotage the catering.
Then Charlie Parker's saxophone is stolen from the soon to opened museum, and Heaven and her adversary are both attacked. And a former lover of Heaven is back in town and could be involved in one or more of the mysteries.
It all leads to a rather eventful finale, where most of the questions are answered to the character's satisfaction. But in this case, the reader knows more than the participants.
A fun and fast read, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to go back and read the whole series.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

RUEFUL DEATH

TITLE: RUEFUL DEATH
AUTHOR: SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT
Pages: 275
Date: 13/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 4 China Bayles Mystery
Own

China Bayles needs a break from her life to sort out her priorities and goes to a convent with her friend Maggie, a former nun.
But it turns out to be anything but a quiet retreat, as on arrival she's asked to investigate disturbing instances of poison pen letters and small, non accidental fires.
To complicate matters, the nuns are divided into two groups with very different hopes and aspirations for the monastery.
And then there is Tom Rowan, with whom she had a relationship in the past. And it appears some of the old feelings still linger.
China makes a few big mistakes on her way to eventually coming to the right conclusion. But justice does appear to come in all sorts of ways.
A very pleasant read although not one that captured me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

AND NO BIRDS SING

TITLE: AND NO BIRDS SING
AUTHOR: BRIAN EASTMAN
Pages: 277
Date: 10/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 Rosemary & Thyme Mystery
Library

This was the 5th read in the cozy mystery challenge
When Laura Thyme's husband announces that he's leaving her for a younger woman, she travels straight to the house of her friends, Sam and Vicky Trent, only to be told that she can't stay there and be brought to a hotel.
Also in the hotel is Rosemary Boxer, in the area to look into sick trees belonging to a former student of hers, Daniel Kellaway.
Then Sam, who is Daniel's business partner, dies in a suspicious car accident, and Daniel turns out to have a mysterious, possibly life-threatening skin disorder.
The two women soon develop a friendship and are both suspicious of the misfortune befalling the two business partners.
This was a real cozy, with two interesting and likable main characters.
The mystery was well plotted, and although I sort of guessed the answers, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It's good to know there are two more books in this series.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

THE BODY ON THE BEACH

TITLE: THE BODY ON THE BEACH
AUTHOR: SIMON BRETT
Pages: 327
Date: 09/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 Fethering Mystery
Own

Carol Seddon lives her life according to self-imposed rules and regulations which tie in completely with those of the other inhabitants of Fethering.
When a newcomer moves in next to Carol, it's clear from the start that she is nothing like the reserved regulars in the town. For starters, she only identifies herself as Jude. Carol quickly decides to keep her distance from this dubious woman.
But then Carol finds a dead body on the beach, only for it to disappear again. When the police dismiss her report as a fantasy, Jude is the only one who does believe her. And the two women decide to solve the mystery of the missing body together.
Their investigation bring them into contact with a lot of different characters in Fethering, a place where "keeping up appearances" hides a lot of pain and secrets.
This was a fun read, made better by the two main characters being so different and the mystery was clever and well plotted.
I'm looking forward to more from Fethering.

Friday, September 7, 2007

THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE

TITLE: THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE
AUTHOR: JOHN DUNNING
Pages: 432
Date: 07/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 2 Cliff Janeway Mystery
Library

This is the third book in the cozy mystery challenge, although I really don't think this series qualifies for that category. Never mind, I'm enjoying the books.

An ex-colleague he never liked, asks Janeway to travel to Seattle to take custody of a young woman wanted for assault and burglary. He is not inclined to leave his bookstore, especially not for this particular man, but when he's told there's a book involved, his interest is piqued, and when the book in question turns out to be a print of Poe's Raven so rare that most experts don't believe it exists, Janeway know he has to go.
He has no problem finding the young woman, who is called Eleanor Rigby, but finds it hard to believe she could be guilty of the violence she has been accused of.
And when the girl disappears again, Janeway has to solve the mystery of the book and the man who created it, to prevent further deaths.
Good read, provided you're interested in books. Just as well that I am.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

SNAGGED

TITLE: SNAGGED
AUTHOR: CAROL HIGGINS CLARK
Pages: 306
Date: 04/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 2 Regan Reilly Mystery
Library

This is the second book I've read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Regan Reilly is in Miami to be a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding.
There is also a panty hose convention going on in Miami, and the bride's uncle Richie, is hoping to sell his indestructable panty hose there. And the money is much needed to safe the retirement home where he's living with others, from being sold and closed.
But it appears that not everybody is happy about Richie's plans as two attempts are made on his life and it takes a lot for Regan to keep Richie alive to complete the deal and enjoy it's benefits.

An easy and entertaining read. Not at all taxing on the reader, but it works well as a mystery.

Monday, September 3, 2007

BOOKED TO DIE

TITLE: BOOKED TO DIE
AUTHOR: JOHN DUNNING
Pages: 394
Date: 03/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 1 Cliff Janeway Mystery
Own.

This is the first book I've read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Cliff Janeway is a Denver Homicide Detective with a passion for books and a collection of rare and first editions.
When a local book scout is found murdered, Janeway immediately has a suspect in mind, one who has been alluding him for two years. As Janeway once again can't bring a case against his Nemesis, he flips and extracts his own form of justice, which costs him his batch.
Now, without a job, Janeway opens his own used bookstore, but soon finds himself faced not only with the deaths of two more book people, but also the emergence of an unlikely amount of rare and valuable books.
Unable to leave the mystery alone, he soon finds the book world is not as peaceful as one might expect.
This was a good mystery with characters that are not one dimensional. And it's great to be reading about somebody with a deep love for books. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

A MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN

TITLE: A MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN
AUTHOR: L.M. JACKSON
Pages: 351
Date: 01/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 1 Sarah Tanner, Victorian Mystery
Library

In 1850's London, the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens a Dining and Coffee House in one of the lesser neighbourhoods. Her past is a mystery and her present sends out conflicting details.
Happy in her present circumstances, Sarah is determined to leave her questionable past behind her. Until, that is, she witnesses the murder of a man she knew in that past.
Unable to report what she saw to the police, she decides to investigate herself, and soon finds herself having to return to places and people she had been trying to get away from, as well as mixing with the upper classes.
Putting her own life in danger on more than one occasion, she has to untangle a complicated web of deceit with several layers and unlikely villains.
Well written with life-like descriptions of Victorian London and a feisty and independent heroine, I'm looking forward to more.