Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Onyx Webb Book 10 - The End

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As you may know, I was fortunate to be in the "100 Readers" club for this series. And as you have seen in previous posts, I really enjoyed it.

The final book in the series is out. It is done, all over, the end.

"In Book Ten: The Mulvaneys deal with aftermath of the Solstice Eclipse Ball. Stan Lee and Spider Boy finally meet. Readers finally learn the fate of Onyx Webb."     

I loved every book in this series. And this last one was just as good. Still plenty of twists and turns and surprises. Some "last books" leave you feeling empty, angry, and or dissatisfied. The end of this series actually has a feel good ending. I love how the authors treated all of the characters in the end. There is also some humor and nods. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but I think the authors were able to touch on every character from the series in this last book, and wrap it all up. No easy task. Now we wait and hope for a Netflix, HBO etc. series. It would make a great televised series.

I think the thing to do now, is read the whole series beginning to end. Thanks Richard and Andrea!          

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Indian Bride by Karen Fossum

August Mystery Book Club theme: Dream Vacation Spot

For our MCB meeting this month, we read mysteries set in somewhere we would like to vacation.

I chose to find a mystery set in Norway for two reasons. First, it sounds like it would be cooler than Texas this time of year, lots of mountains and water. Second, two sets of my great grandparents were from Norway and my other hobby is genealogy.

I read The Indian Bride by Karen Fossum. It is #5 in the Inspector Konrad Sejer series, set in Norway.

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"When perpetual bachelor Gunder Jomann goes to India for two weeks and comes home married, the town of Elvestad is stunned. On the day the Indian bride is supposed to arrive, the battered body of a woman is found in a meadow on the outskirts of town. None of the "good people of Elvestad" can believe that anyone among them would be capable of such a brutal murder. But in his quiet, formal way, Inspector Konrad Sejer understands that good people can commit atrocious deeds, and that no one is altogether innocent—including the café owner who knows too much, the girl who wants to be a chief witness, and the bodybuilder with no outlet for his terrible strength.

Another brilliantly conceived, dark novel from one of Europe’s most successful crime writers."


This was a sad story. Gunder is a middle age bachelor and decides he wants a wife. He wants a wife from India. He has a travel book about India and thinks the women are beautiful. He buys a special brooch, which is native to a Norwegian women's bunad or costume representing a region of Norway. He goes to India in search of a bride.

Elvestad is a small town, just over 2000 people. Everyone has lived there their entire lives, it seems. Everyone knows each other, grew up together, went to school together. Several people have seen bits of the crime, possibly. But since they aren't sure and wouldn't want to say anything bad about anyone they know, how could that person possible be involved, they don't say anything...for months. Even Gunder doesn't say anything when his bride doesn't show up as planned. He keeps telling himself, maybe she will be there when he gets home...for several days. Oh and if that isn't bad enough that his bride is probably the victim, he missed getting to the airport to pick her up because his sister was in a car accident, is in coma, and his brother in law is out of the country on business, so it is all on Gunder.

The story goes on with Inspector Sejer trying to solve the murder of course. But the people of the town are not very forthcoming. It is a pretty intense story, fast paced, quick read that once you agree on the murderer, it changes.

I hate to say it but I didn't like the ending. I would probably read another Inspector Sejer book though.

"Karin Fossum (née Mathisen) is a Norwegian author of crime fiction,often known there as the "Norwegian queen of crime". She lives in Oslo. Fossum was initially a poet, with her first collection published in 1974 when she was just 20. It won the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize. She is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer series of crime novels, which have been translated into over 16 languages. She won the Glass key award for her novel "Don't Look Back", which also won the Riverton Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger in 2005 for "Calling Out For You"."





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Heirloom by Ed Lynskey

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One of the books I read this summer was Heirloom, the 8th in the Isabel and Alma Trumbo series.

 "For their eighth mystery, Isabel and Alma Trumbo, the retired sister sleuths living in Quiet Anchorage, Virginia, undertake solving yet another murder mystery. Uncle Jimbo who runs the town antique shop discovers the dead body of Angelo Conti, the town EMT and firefighter. Sheriff Roscoe Fox launches his investigation while Isabel and Alma don their sleuth hats. The first suspect is Eloise Starr, a schoolteacher whose fourteen-year-old daughter Bunny drowned in the Coronet River, and Angelo was unable to revive on the scene, angering Eloise. The second suspect is Twyla Coolidge, a wealthy socialite who recently moved to town. Isabel and Alma call on their young helper Sammi Jo Garner and their elderly gentlemen friends known as the Three Musketeers for their able assistance. Meantime, Isabel and Alma give Sammi Jo an old cameo broach, a family heirloom with reputed strange magical powers. Heirloom is a clean read and a traditional whodunit set in a charming small town. Join Isabel and Alma when they set off on solving their latest mystery that is as fun and challenging for them as it is for the reader."

The Isabel and Alma mysteries are always a quick, light cozy to read after a heavier mystery. As I have said before, this series is like Mayberry meets Tuna. If you are from Texas you are probably familiar with the stage play series Greater Tuna. I picture several of those characters, when I read these books. Then "The Three Musketeers" remind me of the busy body men that hung out at  Floyd's barbershop.

Ed Lynskey writes two other cozy mystery series.

  • The Hope Dove Cozy Mystery Series has two books: Nozy Cat 1 and Nozy Cat 2 written under the pseudonym Lyn Key. Nozy Cat is the name of Hope's talking cat. Well to Hope anyway.
  • Robin and Bill Piper Cozy Mystery Series: There are two books so far in this series. Robin and Bill may be your next door neighbors...or you.
He also writes a "hard boiled" series.
  • Private Investigator Frank Johnson Mystery series: There are six books in this series. I have not had the chance to read them yet.
Oh, Ed has also written six stand alones. Pretty busy and creative. He has something for everyone.

From Wiki:

"Ed Lynskey is an American poet, critic, and novelist, mostly of crime fiction. He was born in Washington, D.C. where he still lives and works. He writes four mystery series, including the P.I. Frank Johnson Mystery Series, the Isabel & Alma Trumbo Cozy Mystery Series, the Piper & Bill Robin Cozy Mystery Series, and the Hope Jones (Nozy Cat) Cozy Mystery Series.

His creative work has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, San Diego Union-Tribune, London Free Press, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Lansing State Journal, The Virginian-Pilot, Tucson Citizen, and Nashville City Paper. Lynskey's work has been compared with that of Loren D. Estleman, James Lee Burke, Daniel Woodrell, Bill Pronzini, and Robert Crais.

His essays have been reprinted by Gale Research and Gryphon Books. He has written reviews for New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, Kansas City Star, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ronoake Times, Des Moines Register, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), and Columbus Dispatch. His speculative literature has appeared in Strange Horizons, Chizine, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

His numerous poems have appeared in such venues as The Atlantic Monthly, American Poetry Review, and Chicago Review. He won the 1993 Denny C. Plattner Appalachian Heritage Award in Poetry from Berea College, Kentucky. His work has been anthologized by St. Martin’s Press, University of Virginia Press, and Storyline Press.

His poem was cited in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, editor. His stories were cited in Hardcore Hardboiled, Todd Robinson, Otto Penzler, editors, Kensington Publishing Group, 2008 and Sex, Thugs, Rock & Roll, Todd Robinson, editor, Kensington Publishing Group, 2009."


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Remember Me, Garage Sale Mysteries

Wow. I didn't realize I had been gone so long. Between work, air conditioning ups and downs and tooth ups and downs (hoping both make it through the summer), July has flown by. Did I mention the heat? 25+ days over 100 F. Hit 107 a few days ago. Kind of sucks the energy and ambition out of you. But now it is August which is a countdown to fall -which may be October here.

I really wanted to tell you about a 3 part series that just finished (I know, I know) on PBS. Remember Me.
I didn't think it was something I would want to watch. Looked like some melancholy drama by the title and short description I saw. As I looked more into it, I went ahead and recorded it. It is not a melancholy drama.

Remember Me Poster

Looks who's in it. Michael Palin. I know him from Monty Python. I never would have looked for him in this roll. Also Julia Sawalha. She played Saffron in Absolutely Fabulous. (Ok so now you know my other side.)

Here is what it is about:

" Michael Palin’s portrayal of pensioner Tom Parfitt, who stages a fall in his eerie Yorkshire home in order to escape into residential care, leading to a chilling and macabre mystery.
At the age of "eighty-odd," Tom Parfitt sits alone in his terraced house in the otherwise entirely Asian community of a small Yorkshire town, and remembers a strange drowned figure washed up on a beach. Tom carefully fakes a fall, to trick his social worker into taking him into residential care."

And then someone apparently falls out of the window of Tom's room and dies.
And then there is water pouring down the stairs from the attic of Tom's house.
And there are shells lying on the floor.
And there is a locked attic with a creepy saree that may be moving.
More water, more shells, more creepiness.

This is a supernatural mystery that will give you the willies. Palin and Sawalha are really good in these characters. Other leading actors in the series are Mark Addy and Jody Cromer.

You can watch it on line on PBS still.

Four new Garage Sale Mysteries are coming up this month. I really like these.

Garage Sale Mystery Collection

August 6: The Beach Murder
August 13: Murder by Text
August 20: Murder Most Medieval
August 27: A Case of Murder

All premiere on Sundays at 8 central time.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

And now for something completely different...




I recently read a really good book, that was not a mystery. Not in the true definition of a mystery book anyway.

Roses

Roses by Leila Meacham is a family saga. As the cover says, it did remind of Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine.  It is a long book - 609 pages. BUT it didn't take me any longer to read than a book half that size.

Here's what it is about:

"Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town's founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been--not just for themselves but for their children, and children's children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love".

The story begins with Mary Toliver, now an elderly woman, changing her will to not leave the family cotton plantations to any immediate family. She wants to break the curse that has haunted the Toliver's for 100 years. Once that is done, she heads home and asks her maid to pull her husbands old trunk in the attic out and unlock it. She must get to it and look for something. Once that is taken care of she will be traveling to west Texas to tell her niece in person, that she is not leaving the family business to her. Mary dies before she is able to do either of those things.

The story is then told, of the Toliver, Dumont and Warwick families, their journey from Louisiana to Texas, how the families are intertwined, their successes, failures, and heartaches.

I can find a mystery in almost any book. The mystery in Roses is why does Mary not want anyone in the family to inherit the business, what does she mean by curse (that word also grabs my attention) and what is the story between she and Percy...hmm?

There is a second book, Somerset, which is a prequel to Roses. It was published after Roses so it is probably meant to be read in that order. She has written several other books too. I plan on reading Somerset also.

About the author: 

"Leila Meacham is a former teacher and the author of the New York Times bestseller Roses. She graduated from the University of North Texas and lives with her husband in San Antonio."




Home by Harlan Coben

Our Mystery Book Club selection for June was Home by Harlan Coben.

Home (Myron Bolitar) by [Coben, Harlan]

It is the 11th in the Myron Bolitar series and most recent. I hadn't read any of the Myron books prior to this. I did read Missing You by Harlan Coben and really liked it. It was a stand alone. (I reviewed it on here).

Here is what Home is about:

"A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home."

I really liked it. It reads quick. Not a lot of fluff. Thrilling. Witty. And definitely a surprise twist at the end. Almost everyone in our book club really liked it also. A few had read the other books. You get enough information to fill you in on some of the history of Myron and his friend Winn, to keep up with the book. It made me want to read the prior books to find out what all has gone on with Myron, Winn, Esperanza and the characters with the funny names such as Big Cindy and Zorra. And I mean characters!

Friday, June 30, 2017

What's on this summer: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries


When you live in Texas, summer starts in May. Time for lots of reading and watching movies.

 I was looking forward to some new Mysteries on Hallmark, especially Murder She Baked which takes place in Minnesota. (visions of cooler places). Looks like we have to wait until August when there will be 4 new Garage Sale Mystery movies on Sundays at 8c. They have the following sneak peeks for the first two. Nothing yet on the other two.

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Garage Sale Mystery: The Beach airs Sunday August 6th at 8c

"Annie Winters is a long-time customer of Rags-to-Riches and her husband Garret is a wealthy internet entrepreneur. When Garret’s dead body is found washed up on the beach, it looks like an apparent surfing accident. But Annie doesn’t believe the death was accidental and pleads with Jenn to take a closer look. Stars Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange and Kevin O'Grady."


Garage Sale Mystery: Murder by Text airs Sunday August 13th at 8c

"Famous country singer John Dalton's concert rehearsal is stalled when the entire crew receives a suicide note from Lita, the band’s bassist. After discovering that a Taser was used to immobilize her before her death, Jenn is skeptical that Lita’s death was actually suicide. Stars Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange and Steve Bacic".

Meanwhile they are showing some reruns of their other mystery movies.

June 30th
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Aurora Teagarden Mystery: Three Bedrooms and One Corpse 6c
                                              The Julius House 8c

July 3

Hanna Swenson: Murder She Baked - A Deadly Recipe 6c

Here's a pic of the books the series is based on.

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Hallmark is showing a lot of Christmas movies for July - Christmas in July. Not mysteries but probably good movies.

Watch for a rerun of Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery. It was really good.


"Brilliant, dedicated, and driven, archaeologist Emma Fielding is trying to unearth evidence of a 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body that accompanies it has embroiled Emma and her students in a different kind of exploration. Stars Courtney Thorne-Smith and James Tupper."

Here is the website:  http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/