Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ruff Cut by Kasey Riley

I have another good book for you.
Ruff Cut: Sheriff Megan Book 1 by Kasey Riley

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Here's what it is about:
"Army veteran Sheriff Megan Holloway has a lot on her mind. A dog with a bellyful of smuggled diamonds, a terrified woman hiding at the Bailey’s Boarding House and a mafioso who is likely connected to both of them. What’s that city crook doing in her town, anyway?

Add to that, the man Megan’s been close to for the past year is flirting with another woman and, last night, she relived her personal nightmare of the war in Afghanistan, again…yeah, her life is just peachy. Her psychological trauma has kept her from committing to Aaron; maybe he’s given up waiting for her. Maybe he's begun looking for a woman with less emotional baggage…

Forced to call in the proper government agencies, Megan fights to keep control of the investigation by hook or by crook. Protecting the citizens in her town is her first priority. Fortunately, she has an ace-in-the-hole the Feds don’t. The citizens of Riverview trust her and will help her any way she needs.

Formulating a plot to take down the crooks, Megan decides to play on their lack of knowledge about the denizens of the Colorado high desert, and she gives the villains just enough information. Will the trap be sprung and the leader caught? Possibly, if she can just keep the Feds from messing up her plan.

Riverview once again is the setting for this mystery. The small rural ranching town set in the high desert of Colorado where your neighbors are your friends and can be counted on to help when times get tough… or things get dangerous."


I loved this book; two mysteries, a romance and a dog all in one. The story starts out with Sheriff Megan Holloway searching for a lost boy at the R-B (guest ranch- mystery #1). We get a peek into Megan's background, skills and abilities and her decision to start the Riverview Mounted Search and Rescue squad. The main story of Megan cracking the major crime ring is quite a page turner. (mystery #2).  Aaron is Megan's love interest or vice a versa. Can't wait to see what happens with Aaron (romance) and the dog on the cover.
I was happy to see it end with : "The End...for now". I am ready to move on to the next book.
Kasey Riley has written four other books. They are stand alones BUT three of the four books feature characters/people in Riverview, where Ruff Cut takes place. This was interesting to me. It might just be a new experience for me but I have not read stand alones by the same author that take place in the same setting, where different characters are the main character(s) in the different books and others from another book, cross paths with the featured main characters. I like it. For instance, in Skeleton Trail: A Riverview Mystery, Megan is introduced but she is not the main character.
Ruff Cut has the first two chapters of Skeleton Trail as a preview at the end. (It also grabs you right away so I will be getting that book in a minute.) It looks like there is going to be a series that features Megan Holloway now.
Here is Kasey Riley's website: http://www.kaseyriley.com/index.html
Ruff Cut is so engaging, I was ready to sign up for Megan's Riverview Mounted Search and Rescue!
 
I received a free copy but voluntarily provided this review.





Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Downside Up by Jane Thornley

I just finished a book by an author that is new to me and thoroughly enjoyed it.



About:

"Jenna’s back on the roof again. But she's no longer a troubled child. This time she's hunting a killer.

Jenna Elson has tried to escape her troubled past, but her uncle’s sudden death has brought her home to London.
The police have ruled the death accidental but Jenna’s aunt is screaming murder. Wheelchair-bound and as formidable as ever, Aunt Clair urges Jenna to play their old game of “be my eyes” and search for clues from her childhood refuge far above the city streets.

Though Jenna knows every chimney and every dormer of those Victorian rooftops, the night landscape has changed. Renovations and skylights have made spying on the neighbours easier—even addictive—but navigating her old sanctuary has become treacherous: a killer lurks nearby and nowhere is safe.
When Jenna’s sleuthing comes to a crashing end, leaving her memory damaged, she knows she’s lost something crucial amid her brain’s scrambled images. Dark revelations challenge her trust in those closest to her and danger is stalking her every step. But time is running out and Jenna must pull herself together before death strikes the final blow and takes everything she loves with it."

This was quite a page turner.

Jenna was raised by her Aunt Clair and Uncle Dan (brother and sister) after her mother died an her father ran off. Aunt Clair and Jenna played a game - Jenna would climb and walk the rooftops of their London flat and describe what she saw to her aunt, who is wheelchair bound and cannot get around. Jenna is living in Canada and as a "travel journalist",  is up for a big promotion as editor at a travel magazine.  She is anxious to get back after her uncle's affairs are in order.

But her aunt is certain Uncle Dan was murdered and wants Jenna to help her find out who killed him. She has her suspicions.  There are several characters that are good possibilities.  Is it Brian Dunn, a neighbor that Aunt Clair is certain did it? Uncle Dan had said he was going to visit Brian Dunn, the night he was found dead. Or what about Nicholas Hewitt? The actor that lives in another flat? Jenna observes, on her rooftop visits, lots of arguing with Brian, Nicholas and a women named Suzanna. Then there are Aunt Clair's "rent a dudes", as Jenna calls them. Two young men Aunt Clair has hired: Jake for redoing Uncle Dan's garden, and Harry, computer expert. They are always around and now Aunt Clair has let Harry move in! Jenna is suspicious of these two.

Another main character is Mac the dog. Poor Mac. He has a big part in the story. He is frequently tied up in the yard waiting for Jenna to take him out. Mac keeps getting away and running to Brian Dunn's place. Why is that? Can Mac identify the killer?

Well...someone seems to be following Jenna. Then she and Nicholas have a mishap. Was it an accident or not? And in true Midsomer Murders fashion (one of my favorite shows), a couple of other people end up dead.

The story moves at a pretty fast pace once the background is laid out. I found myself trying to read faster than I can as the drama escalated. This is a very suspenseful story.

I was happy to see this is the first book in a trilogy.

As I said, Jane Thornley is a new author to me. Here is a bit about her.

"Jane Thornley has been writing for half-past forever. Though she's been an English teacher, professional librarian, travel host, collaborator in a software company, a knitwear designer, and a superintendent of schools, she considers "author" to be her default position. She now lives nestled by a river in Nova Scotia and travels the world gleaning inspiration. Once upon a time, Jane Thornley explored many roles--librarian, teacher, designer, school administrator, software consultant--but writer has always been her default self. She began writing stories in elementary school and completed 4 novels before graduating public education. But that was just the warm-up. She loves to play her books out in color, adventure, travel, and quirky characters, leaving readers hungry for more.
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, she continues as an art-to-wear knitwear designer and impassioned traveler while weaving her stories against a colorful international backdrop so vibrant, readers constantly remark on it in reviews."

Her new None of the Above suspense series has just launched with book 1, Downside Up, which readers describe as an addictive new thriller.

She also writes the Crime by Design series:  "How do you go from unemployed to illegal in a matter of hours? Begin with a missing brother and lost treasure. Discover that your family is tied up in the black market and trip over a few bodies trying to find them, and then start running for your life ... Phoebe is scrambling across multiple countries, embroiled in INTERPOL's most high-stakes heists, and all in the name of love. Maybe she didn't pick her family, but she's choosing both her friends and her enemies. Too bad they're one and the same ...
Love, adventure, suspense, and wit--Crime by Design takes you on a thrilling ride through the art and antiquities world served up with a side of knitting and textiles. If you love the humour of Janet Evanovich , the spirit of Indiana Jones, and prefer your books to be fast-paced page-turners, read the Crime by Design series.
Book 1 begins in Nova Scotia and Bermuda, Book 2 races across Turkey, and Book 3 features the Amalfi Coast, each location adding to the gang of vibrant characters and settings so vivid, you'll thing you're there. Fasten your seatbelts. This series is a fun, suspense-filled thrill-ride.

Visit her home page: http://www.janethornley.com/blog/index.php/crime-by-design/#    

I received a free copy and voluntarily am providing this review.           


Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth

Time flies when you are having fun. Been off doing some non book things. Although, during that time, I managed to acquire some more books that I will be sharing here soon.

Meanwhile for our November Mystery Book Club (MBC) meeting we read:
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The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth.
It is a nonfiction book, so we were steering off our normal path, but it is certainly a mystery and we are located near the setting so that made it pretty interesting.

Here's what it's about:

"In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.

Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city."

The MBC groups take: We all liked reading about the history of Austin; how the capital was built, the building of the Driskill hotel, the street names we are still familiar with, the family names that are still known around Austin, and the moonlight towers of which a few are still standing. We were all appalled at how investigations were done at that time. The police and anyone else, tromping through the crime scenes and disturbing any and all evidence, to the point even the hound dogs they brought in to try to track the killer, were so confused by the hundreds of smells, they were of no use.  We had to remind ourselves that this was 136 years ago. We couldn't believe that some people slept in the same room, while some of these murders took place. We were also appalled at the treatment of the African Americans. It was also unsettling as to how quickly the police were to name a suspect, bring him in and charge him with the crimes, keeping him locked up, and not treated well at all. They did that 12 times as if to blame someone, convict him, then all would be well. The book also shows the politics at the time. Many said nothing has changed in that area. lol

One of the group members gave us a head's up that there was a rerun of the History Detectives that did a show on this story also. Many of us were able to watch it. That was very interesting too. The History Detectives felt there was a likely suspect, but it was never proven. (I highly recommend History Detectives if it comes back or you get a chance to see any reruns. One of my favorites.)

We were all glad to have read it, and found it interesting, but the concensus was we are all fiction mystery lovers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Glimpse of Death by Leslie Wolfe

Just finished Glimpse of Death -  Special Agent Tess Winnett #3.

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Here is what it is about.

"When the body of a young woman is found in her own backyard, a week after her disappearance, evidence leads investigators to a chilling conclusion. She is not the first victim of a serial killer no one knew existed. She most definitely is not the last.

FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett joins the local detectives assigned to the case and searches for answers in the intriguing investigation that offers a plethora of forensic evidence, yet no viable leads. When another body is found, the search intensifies, and details about the killer’s unusual signature emerge. He likes to stalk his victims before abducting them. He likes to show them a flash of what’s coming, a foreboding warning of their grim futures."

So. I have read three others of Leslie Wolf's books. Dawn Girl (Tess Winnett #1), Watson Girl (Tess Winnett #2) and The Executive which is Alex Hoffman #1 book.

Obviously I like Leslie's books. They are definitely riveting, page turners, quick reads because you really cannot put them down. Dawn Girl was pretty gritty but I had to finish it. Watson Girl was not as gritty, but was certainly a psychological thriller. The Executive is really good to but more about crooked business deals and people out to do bad things. 

I missed the part about  Glimpse of Death being a " serial killer thriller. It is pretty disturbing to me. Violent. Gritty. But I had to finish it to make sure whoever got caught. There are plenty of opportunities in this book, to shout out loud: "Don't do it! No, don't be so stupid! Hey, you better say something!" etc etc.

But Leslie's writing is so good and her books so gripping, that I will read more...and just skip over some parts.

Hallmark Movies and Mysteries

Wanted to let you know about new Hallmark Mysteries airing this month.

Gourmet Detective: Eat, Drink and Be Buried
October 13, 8 p.m central
(This showed once already so this is the second showing.)

The Gourmet Detective Poster

Hailey Dean Mystery: Dating is Murder
Sunday October 15, 8 p.m. central
(Nancy Grace writes this series and appears in the movie)



Darrow and Darrow
Sunday October 22,  8 p.m. central
This is a new movie series. Not sure it is a mystery, but looks kind of good. Can't get a picture I can post but you will recognize Kimbery Williams Paisley and Wendie Malick.

Here's what it is about.

"Claire Darrow, a lawyer, fights for what’s right, regardless of whether it makes her a dime. Naomi, Claire’s estranged mother and a lawyer as well, would rather make a profit. They clash on nearly everything, even on the best way to raise Claire’s daughter, Louise. Stars Kimberly Williams-Paisely, Tom Cavanagh, Wendie Malick."

I love the Mystery Movies on Hallmark. Their website, not so much.

Enjoy




Friday, September 29, 2017

Spooky books for Halloween

I read three books this month that are good, spooky books for Halloween.

1. Leaving Birds by Virginia King.



About: "Leaving Birds is a collection of creepy folktales with adult themes. It contains a Russian folktale, a modern ghost story re-imagined from an Irish folktale, and the possibly true crime behind a traditional English murder ballad.

If you like to peek behind the scenes of books and how they're written, Leaving Birds is also a companion to Laying Ghosts, the prequel to the Selkie Moon Mystery Series, with insights into how the folktales inspired the prequel."

These short stories are reminiscent of the tales we all heard and told in the dark or around a campfire, as we grew up.

The Woman with Hair of Gold reads like a children's folk tale but it is not for children. Is Gilda a witch? Does she have magical powers? What fate befalls Gilda?

Peig's Place is a good old fashioned ghost story set in modern times. Read it at night, in the dark during a storm and you will be looking over your shoulder.

Polly's Folly - The Possibly True Events Behind the Murder Ballad 'Pretty Polly' is the third story. A tale that has been told since long ago about events that possible took place in the 1700's. Very interesting to read the research that has been done to validate this tale.

I really liked the author's notes after each story, that shows how they played into her book Laying Ghosts and Selkie Moon
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You will have to read the stories to discover the meaning of "Leaving Birds."

I have read Virginia's other books that tie into this ; Laying Ghosts, The Selkie Moon series, and really liked them.

2. Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway series book 2)

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About: "It’s been only a few months since archaeologist Ruth Galloway found herself entangled in a missing persons case, barely escaping with her life. But when construction workers demolishing a large old house in Norwich uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway—minus its skull—Ruth is once again called upon to investigate. Is it a Roman-era ritual sacrifice, or is the killer closer at hand?

Ruth and Detective Harry Nelson would like to find out—and fast. When they realize the house was once a children’s home, they track down the Catholic priest who served as its operator. Father Hennessey reports that two children did go missing from the home forty years before—a boy and a girl. They were never found. When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is trying very hard to put her off the trail by frightening her, and her unborn child, half to death."


I had read the first in the Ruth Galloway series last year and liked it. (The Crossing Places)
This was a spooky book. Someone is trying to scare Ruth by writing her name in blood, leaving models of babies, hanging around her door in the dark and breathing and worse. The writing is so descriptive, that it is scary.

Besides all that, the books have the underlying story of Ruth, her work as a forensic anthropologist, her friends and all of the relationships that go with it. Ruth is very likeable; independent, not a size 2 or probably not even a size 12 and doesn't care what people think about that, lives alone and is fine with it, but yet has several men vying for her attention. And it looks like she has gotten herself into a predicament. I found myself very worried about her unborn child while she was getting scared, walking around at "digs" in the dark and more.

I really liked this book and wanted to jump right into the next in the series but went on to....

3. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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About: "West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself."

Creepy, creepy, creepy. We get to go back and forth from Sara's diary from 1908 to present time with Ruthie and Fawn. Lots of shadows slinking around, old creepy women that may or may not be witches, ghosts, a weird ring (that needs to be gotten rid of), other people looking for other people that disappeared, spells, snow, cold and dark. Even the end is creepy. I was surprised at the ending.

Sounds complicated? The story is so well written that it is easy to follow. Besides, you won't be able to put it down, so it's easy to keep up.

I do want to read more of this author's books.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Stranger in a Strange World, On The Spooky Trail, Leaving Birds

Good grief! Where have I been?

August was not a good month for me. No, did not get a direct hit from either hurricane, so I shouldn't complain. We were within 180 miles or so from Harvey so did get some rain. But I knew people from work that were effected by Harvey and have friends and relatives effected by Irma. All o.k. But we were glued to the news.

What else..#1 Had a dental thing that was very bothersome for a couple of weeks. I believe it was directly a result of #2 Dragged unwillingly into an issue with a place I worked over a decade ago. Very stressful. If you know me, I don't like rocking boats. Both are behind me for now, but I keep looking over my shoulder.

I did read some things but haven't read as much as I would have liked. Anyway....

I read:

1.  Stranger in a Strange World: Asperger's: The Outsider (Brier Hospital) by Lawrence W. Gold, M.D.

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I had read the first book in the Brier Hospital series last year and liked it and was offered a chance to read this newest book.

"An automobile accident shatters the near-perfect lives of David and Luke Hyatt, identical twins. David survives intact, but Luke nearly dies from his injuries. The residue of Luke’s head injury is an acquired form of Asperger’s. The twins had graduated from medical school and were about to enter an internship at Brier Hospital in Berkeley. Although Luke is gifted with savant-like intelligence, can he continue his career in medicine? Will health professionals, administrators, and patients themselves accept Luke as a physician or succumb to the petty fear of someone different, or is it time for the world to consider the value of an individual beyond his or her label?"

But there is more. It is a "House"/Crime Thriller. Despite Luke's Asperger's due to an accident, he has uncanny abilities to diagnose difficult cases. He is called in to help on the mysterious illness of Colonel Tay Carson. Col. Carson had been contacted by an anonymous caller with information about a government cover up. Now the Colonel is in a coma and no one can figure out why. Others in his circle have become sick or have died. The clock ticks for Luke to find the cause of the illness and the Colonel's best friend, Conrad (Connie) Silver to find out who is behind all of this. Medical drama, cyber hacking, whistleblowing, cover ups...this book has it all. I enjoyed it.
( I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it.)

2. On The Spooky Trail by Virginia King

I have read the 3 books in the Selkie Moon series by Virginia. This is a short story or novella that shows her love of "spooky tales".

On the Spooky Trail: Travels in Supernatural Wales

" A hag’s pool. A ruined abbey. A house with a skull. Join award-winning mystery author Virginia King on this tale of true travel, when her role as an accompanying delegate at a conference turns into an investigation of some of the spookiest places in Wales."

If you like folk lore and supernatural stories, you will love this. Great short story that will take you to the edge of one spooky tale and on to another.
Fun, quick read. Definitely recommend it especially if you are traveling...This is the kind of tour I would like.

3. Coming up:  Leaving Birds by Virginia King
This will be published 9/15/17 and will share the info then.

Currently reading: The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths.

More to come!


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.

Image result for garage sale mystery pictures

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
Image result for aurora teagarden movies pictures
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.

Image result for hannah swensen pictures


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/







Friday, June 23, 2017

What's on this summer: TCM and Film Noir

Do you watch TCM? Turner Classic Movies?
If you haven't explored this channel, you are missing some great classic mysteries.

Here is a link to their weekly schedule. Just to give you a snapshot. Notice their movies have a category by them, so you can easily find mysteries.
http://www.tcm.com/schedule/weekly.html?tz=est&sdate=2017-06-23

For instance, 6/24/17 at 9:30 a.m., there is a Suspense Mystery listed.
"After Midnight with Boston Blackie". This is a 1940's series. It was on the radio also. Ok it is before my time, but we really enjoy this old series.

Here is what I really wanted to tell you about. Get your DVR's ready.

Image result for rear window movie
Rear Window is showing 6/24/17 7 p.m. central standard time. (cst) This is featured on the TCM segment entitled "The Essentials" which is on Saturday nights at 8 pm.

The Essentials is hosted by Alec Baldwin. He has a weekly guest also. For the past few weeks, his guest was David Letterman. Tina Fey will be his guest June 24 - August 4. No kidding.

The show was previously hosted by Robert Osborne, who passed away recently. His most recent guests were Sally Field and Drew Barrymore.

Rear Window will be followed by three other Suspense Mysteries on 6/24, 6/25. They are not part of The Essentials.

The Window - 9:15 p.m. cst
Witness to a Murder - 10:45 p.m. cst

6/25/17
The Skull Murder Mystery - 12:30 a.m. cst

Here's another of TCM specialty segments.
Noir Alley on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. cst
Check it out with this link. Really cool page.
http://noiralley.tcm.com/

So what is film noir? "Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classical film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s."
Each movie is introduced by Eddie Muller.

"Eddie Muller is an American writer based in San Francisco and is a second-generation San Franciscan per his website. He is known for writing books about movies, particularly film noir. Founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, and co-programmer of the San Francisco Noir City film festival, Muller is considered a noir expert and is called on to write and talk about the film genre, notably on wry commentary tracks for Fox's film noir series of DVDs."

Here are a few of the movies coming up this summer.

June 25

Image result for high wall movie

High Wall: "After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence."
 
July 2
They Live by Night Poster
 
 They Live By Night (1949): "An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning."
 
July 7
 T-Men Poster

T-Men (1948): Tauted as "Terrific and True! Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring."

July 16
Gun Crazy Poster

Gun Crazy (1950): "A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

July 23
Deadline at Dawn Poster

Deadline at Dawn (1946): "When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon to be drafted sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl."

July 30
Born to Kill Poster

Born to Kill (1948): "A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister."

Don't you love the promo posters?

Next up: Hallmark Mysteries and Movies

Sorry about the font...problem between the  chair and the monitor.

 
 
 

 






 
 

 
   
 



What's on this summer - PBS

All the network television shows are off for the season. Not that I watch that many, but I have a few I like such as Elementary, Hawaii 5-0. (I like the banter between Danny and Steve) :)
Did you notice how this last season of Elementary ended like the last Sherlock episode?

So what's going to be on this summer for mystery lovers?

Here's what I found out.

Longmire will not be on Netflix until Fall 2017.
Wayward Pines will not be on in 2017. It was left with a cliffhanger so there is room for another season, but the writers haven't decided what's next.

Lets start with PBS

Image result for grantchester series

Granchester: Season 3 started 6/18/17. Sunday 8 p.m. central time

"James Norton (Happy Valley) stars as the handsome, jazz-loving vicar Sidney Chambers, with Robson Green as his law-enforcement ally, Inspector Geordie Keating, in Grantchester, a mystery series based on the acclaimed novels by James Runcie. Although Sidney lives the life of a clergyman, sometimes he can’t help but fall into more worldly habits as he solves murders in the bucolic village of Grantchester, tirelessly searching for justice, spiritual fulfillment, love, and a really hip jazz club.
The crime-solving duo returns for Season 3 this summer. When we last left the sleepy village, Sidney faced a moral dilemma: be with the woman he loves, or take the moral high road. The vicar has never been a saint, but is this a step too far?"

Such a good series. The first episode took place at Christmas time with snow. Great to watch with it being 90+ out. 7 Episodes! You can watch the first episode on your local PBS website or they usually reshow it before the new episode.

Image result for prime suspect tennison


Prime Suspect: Tennison: Season 1 starts 06/25/17 Sunday 9 p.m. central time

" Jane Tennison isn’t on the force for long before she starts to learn the cold facts of police work. She turns the head of her handsome boss, DI Bradfield, but also impresses him with her instincts. He enlists her help, and Jane becomes immersed in her first murder investigation".
3 Episodes

Image result for endeavor series

Endeavor: Season 4 starts 8/20/17 Sunday 8 p.m. central time

"Shaun Evans (The Take, The Last Weekend, Silk), charms audiences with his portrayal of the cerebral and solitary Detective Constable Morse in Endeavour, written by Inspector Lewis creator and Inspector Morse writer Russell Lewis.
In Season 4, it’s the summer of 1967, and the effects of the Cold War and sixties counterculture are being felt in Oxford. How will this changing landscape affect our favorite detectives?"

The PBS website doesn't say how many episodes of Endeavor there will be. Looks like you can watch previous season episodes online.

They are showing Midsomer Murders on Thursday nights too. Two episodes back to back!

Next up: TCM and Film Noir!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Award Winning and Nominated Books

Good Grief! I fell like I am in a sequel to Lemony Snicket and a Series of Unfortunate Events!

After a short vacation, we have had a lot of home large and small appliance "distractions" and technology "distractions." So I have been absent from here.

For our June Mystery Book Club meeting, we read any books from the Award Winning and Nominated Books for 2017 and late 2016.  Below is the list of everything the members in our MBC read from the Awards list. It's a lot, isn't it.

I read A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny. This book won an Agatha Award. Louise Penny is one of the book club's favorite authors. I would describe her as a story teller...you feel like you are in the story, can see the scenery, see the characters and smell the great food they describe. If you have read any of her books in the Gamache series, Ruth is my favorite character.  :)

I wanted to quickly share the list, in case you are looking for summer reading.
You can find the complete list and awards at http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/

Enjoy!

Award Group Title Author
* indicates winner
Agatha Murder in Morningside  Heights Victoria Thompson
Agatha  Fogged Inn Barbara Ross
Agatha* The Semester of Our Discontent Cynthia Kuhn
Agatha*, Lefty A Great Reckoning Louise Penny
Agatha, Anthony, Lefty Design for Dying Renee Patrick
Agatha, Lefty Nature of the Beast Louise Penny
Agatha, Lefty Decanting a Murder Nadine Nettman
Agatha, Lefty Terror in Taffeta Marla Cooper
Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark Say No More Hank Phillipi Ryan
Anthony You Will Know Me Megan Abbott
Anthony, Barry Wilde Lake Laura Lippman
Anthony, Barry, Edgar, Shamus IQ Joe Ide
Anthony, Barry, Edgar, Shamus, Thriller Where it Hurts Reed Farrel Coleman
Anthony, Barry, Left, Macavity The Killing Kind Chris Holm
Anthony, Edgar  Shot in Detroit Patricia Abbott
Anthony, Edgar, Lefty Heart of Stone James W. Ziskin
Arthur, Ellis * Strange Things Done Elle Wild
Barry Missing Presumed Susie Steiner
Barry The Darkest Secret Alex Marwood
Barry Collecting the Dead Spencer Kope
Barry The Wrong Side of Goodbye Michael Connelly
Barry The Queen's Accomplice Susan Elia Macneal
Edgar The Ex Alafair  Burke
Edgar The Lost Girls Heather Young
Edgar Jane Steele Lyndsay Faye
Edgar A Brilliant Death Robin Yocum
Edgar What Remains of Me Alison Gaylin
Edgar*, Anthony, Barry, Steel Dagger, Ned Kelly  Rain Dogs Adrian McKinty
Edgar*, Barry Under the Harrow Flynn Berry
Edgar*, Thriller Before the Fall Noah Hawley
Gold Dagger, Steel Dagger Real Tigers Mick Herron
Left, Agatha Murder in G Major Alexia Gordon
Lefty Die Like an Eagle Donna Andrews
Lefty Crowned and Dangerous Rhys Bowen
Lefty*, Agatha Body in the Bayou Ellen Byron
Lefty*, Agatha* Reek of Red Herrings Catriona McPherson
Mary Higgins Clark Quiet Neighbors Catriona McPherson
New Blood Dagger Freedom Child Jax Miller
Shamus Brush Back Sara Paretsky
Thriller Underground Airlines Ben H. Winters