Friday, March 25, 2016

The Three Deaths of Magdalena Lynton

I read another really good thriller by Katherine Hayton called The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton that I happily got to read as an ARC last month.


"Forty years ago Magdalene Lynton drowned in a slurry. She choked to death as her hands scrabbled for purchase on the smooth concrete walls. A farmhand discovered her bloated body three days later.

Or she didn't.

Paul Worthington just confessed to her murder.
Forty years ago Magdalene Lynton died in a dirty shed. He smothered her life along with her cries for help and tossed her defiled corpse into a river when he was done.

Or he didn't.

As Detective Ngaire Blakes investigates the death, she discovers clues that won't piece together with either version. Gaps, inconsistencies, lies. And forty years have eroded more than memories.

Is it possible to uncover the third death of Magdalene Lynton when time has eaten away at the evidence? And will the person responsible let Ngaire live long enough to try?"

Ngaire Blakes is a detective with the Christchurch (new Zealand) Police Department. She is on light duty after having suffered an assault. They haven't arrested the person responsible. No one knows who assaulted her. Or does someone?

Ngaire isn't very happy pushing papers, when Paul Worthington comes in to the station to confess to suffocating Magdalene Lynton when he was a teenager. Paul is dying of cancer and wants to confess before he dies. Ngaire mentions the case to her good friend Finlay, a journalist. He had been doing a piece on a church and in his research notes, he has information that says Magdalene was found drowned in a slurry on the property what was at that time, the Christ Cult. Ngaire and fellow detective Deb, interview Paul. His information doesn't seem to match what the records say. Ngaire feels drawn to getting to the truth and gets an o.k. to visit Magdalene's parents who now live in a retirement home. Gradually going toward working on this case.

Flash sideways: William Glover is a lawyer with political aspirations. He grew up on a dairy farm near the Christ Cult. He is married and has a little girl. He reads the article in the paper about Paul's confession to the murder of Magdalene. He leaves his office in a fury to go see Paul. He hasn't seen him since they were teenagers, but he will represent Paul...or make sure he doesn't say too much.

This is a really good, fast paced, fast read with lots of twists. Most of the characters have lots of baggage. Some you will sympathize with, some you will despise.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Recipient is ready for pre order!


Hey everyone! I know a some of you were interested in reading The Recipient by Dean Mayes when it comes out.

It is now available for pre-order from Book Depository, discount for pre-order, free shipping, and a bonus signed post card from the author! Got mine ordered.


"Casey Schillinge is a vivacious young woman on the verge of making her mark on the world. While backpacking, she is struck down by a tropical disease and suffers cardiac failure. But at the eleventh hour, Casey receives a life-saving heart transplant - and a rare second chance to begin again.

Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. ​In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare.

This story is pretty close to "this could happen" and some of it has, without giving too much away.
Really an excellent, captivating book. You won't be able to put it down.

Here's the scoop on pre-ordering:

"The Recipient - the powerful new psychological thriller from Australian author and Intensive Care Nurse, Dean Mayes, is available for pre-order now through The Book Depository. Orders placed ahead of the May 1st release date include free shipping. The Recipient is also available for pre-order through Amazon US & Amazon UK.

Dean would like to offer readers who pre-order an exclusive signed post card to include as a memento with their copy. Contact Dean with your proof purchase to take advantage of this offer."   
(Here is Dean's blog:
I think you will really like it.

Addendum: It is also available for preorder for Kindle now, and then will be available May 1, 2016.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sea Change

I keep finding more and more good mysteries of all different types, through different opportunities. I can't believe I used to read only a couple of different authors for so many years. Of course I have a little more time now and attribute a lot of my branching out to the MBC, which led to blogging, which led to authors introducing me to their books, which led to "wow there are a lot of books I would like to read."

My latest find was Sea Change; A Nina Bannister Mystery by husband and wife team T'Gracie and Joe Reese. Sea Change is the first in a series of 7 books, so far. All 7 books are something Change - Sea Change, Set Change, Game Change etc.


"Bay St. Lucy is a sleepy little Gulf Coast community and that’s the way its residents like it. Most of them generally ignore the monstrous old Robinson mansion that sits in the center of town, until one day insane old man Robinson dies and leaves the house and its accompanying fortune to the town.
The residents are ecstatic and begin planning improved schools and cultural centers. Local retired school teacher and village elder Nina Bannister is sent to the man’s funeral in New Orleans to represent Bay St. Lucy at the reading of his will. However, Nina returns from her trip saddened to report that a lone Robinson relative has appeared to claim the entire inheritance. Almost immediately, the new owner–flamboyant Eve Ivory–arrives and announces her plans to turn Bay St. Lucy into an extravagant vacation resort. These are not plans that anyone in this small town likes at all, and ones that will quickly lead to murder."

Nina Bannister was a school teacher in Bay St. Lucy, and is now retired. Seems like she taught everyone in town that is younger than her. Everyone loves Nina. Her character reminds me of Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. She has the smarts and common sense for a lot of the town and is well respected. Her mode of transportation, rain or shine, is a Vespa. We often get to see what she is thinking in contrast to what she says, which is always politically correct. It is pretty funny. Her husband, Frank, passed away but she discusses things with him anyway. Another thing I loved about Nina is - guess what church she attends? The library! She goes there to think and sort things out when she is in the need of spiritual guidance. And who provides this spiritual guidance? Authors! In this book, it is Jane Austen. Jane helps her work out the mystery. :)

Nina's good friend is Margot Gavin who owns a shop with artwork, pottery, and knick knacks. Margot has retired to Bay St. Lucy after a career at the Art Institute of Chicago as the Managing Director. She is having a little trouble adjusting to a slower pace. She likes her martinis and cigarettes.

Then we have Penelope Royale. Nina goes fishing with her once a month. This description of her is great:

"She was a square block of granite, except harder.  Everything about her was square.  She was five feet tall and five feet wide and five feet deep.  Her mouth, the wrinkles on her forehead, the wrinkles on her chin, were all perfectly horizontal, like lines of latitude. Nowhere on her body were there lines of longitude. She was a latitudinal human being, with no use for the ups and downs in life. She had flaming red hair, done in the manner of materials used in packing crates. Penelope was also the only woman Nina knew who spoke only in obscenities."

Now I will tell you that this book has no printed obscenities, only suggested.

Besides these great characters, each chapter starts with a quote from an author and have to do with writing. I will share a few because I really enjoyed them.

You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country.” Robert Frost

“If I didn’t know the ending of a story I wouldn’t begin.  I always write my last line, my last page, my last paragraph, first.” Katherine Anne Porter

“The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes.” Agatha Christie (Do you think Agatha Christie did dishes?)

Nina keeps her head about her when everyone else is loosing theirs' and solves the mystery.

I will definitely read more of the Nina Bannister books.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. And I really liked it.





                                                      Agatha Christie



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Masterpiece Mystery 2016

Well....Downtown Abbey is done.

But here comes Masterpiece Mystery to the rescue!

Daylight Savings Time has started here this week. :( I am not adjusting to the time change but want to tell you about what is coming up. So I am relying on Wiki and quotes.

I didn't watch the first series of Grantchester last year. Somehow it got by me. But I watched repeats of Episode 1 and 2 of the first season and I really like it.

The series is actually based on a book series called The Grantchester Mysteries.


"The Grantchester Mysteries is a series of crime fiction books of short stories by the British author James Runcie, set during the 1950s in Grantchester, a village near Cambridge in England. The books feature the clergyman-detective Canon Sidney Chambers.
The first volume in the series, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, was published in 2012. The book comprises six short standalone mysteries. The second, Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night, was published in 2013.
The books in the series include:
  1. Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (2012)
  2. Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night (2013)
  3. Sidney Chambers and The Problem of Evil (2014)
  4. Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins (2015)
A total of six books are planned. The series was inspired by James Runcie's father, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. 
In 2014, some of the The Grantchester Mysteries short stories were turned into an ITV drama titled Grantchester. Filmed on location in Grantchester, Cambridge, and London, the initial six-part series was shown in the UK in Autumn 2014. A second series will be released in 2016."

Sidney Chambers is the "dishy vicar" in Grantchester.
(as Rose used to say - Keeping Up Appearances)

His side kick is Inspector Geordie Keating. (Columbo?) See picture above. (Not Rose, the other picture)

Sidney Chambers has lots of issues - looks like PTSD from "the war" and is drinking to squelch the memories. His good female friend from school, that he seemed to think was something more, is engaged. And people keep getting murdered and dragging him into it. Sidney's housekeeper is Mrs. Maguire, who quietly gives him good advice in a round about way. The character's relationships are well developed and the mysteries are good.

The series will be on beginning March 27, 2016, 8 p.m. central time through May 1, 2016.

Then we will have the last season of Wallander. I really like this series too.


 "The series is based on Kurt Wallander (Branagh), a detective and police inspector in the small town of Ystad, Sweden. Branagh describes Wallander as "an existentialist who is questioning what life is about and why he does what he does every day, and for whom acts of violence never become normal. There is a level of empathy with the victims of crime that is almost impossible to contain, and one of the prices he pays for that sort of empathy is a personal life that is a kind of wasteland."

 Wallander: The Final Season, will air Sundays, May 8-22, 2016 at 8pm central time on PBS.

PBS doesn't give a date for this but Dark Angel starring Joanne Froggatt is also coming up.
We know Joanne from Downtown Abbey.

Joanne Froggatt in Dark Angel

"Froggatt plays the notorious poisoner Mary Ann Cotton...Born in North East England in 1832, a child of the coal fields, Mary Ann Cotton grew up in poverty with the dream of escaping the hard life of a miner's family, a goal she came tantalizingly close to achieving. Her chosen means were her good looks, sexual allure, and the dirty secret of nineteenth-century suspicious deaths: arsenic, which is tasteless and easily disguised in a cup of tea.
For authorities, the problem was that arsenic poisoning, if done skillfully, mimicked the symptoms of two of the major public health scourges of the day; typhoid fever and cholera. The passing of a child or husband after a week of severe stomach pains, convulsions, and other portents of disease was all too common -- and even less surprising when several members of the same household succumbed.
Mary Ann did tempt fate by taking out a modest insurance policy on her intended victims, whenever possible, but she inadvertently hit on the major success strategies of a serial killer: keep moving, be charming, and exude self confidence. And along with others in this line of criminality, her body count can never be certain; the current best estimate is at least thirteen, ranking her far above her Victorian male counterpart, Jack the Ripper."

Oh my!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Free Little Library

I saw this on our local news this week. I had seen one of these book boxes on our bike ride route and assumed the home owners set it up on their own for their neighbors. But this is a "little library". Really cool.


"Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that supports the worldwide movement to offer free books housed in small containers to members of the local community. The organization is based in Hudson, Wisconsin, US. Little Free Libraries are also referred to as community book exchanges, neighborhood book exchanges, book trading posts, pop-up libraries, and micro-libraries, [3] and have been likened to human bird feeders.

The idea was popularized in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009 when Todd Bol mounted a wooden container designed to look like a school house on a post on his lawn as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher. Bol shared his idea with his partner, Rick Brooks, who spread the word, and the idea spread rapidly. Library owners can create their own library box, usually about the size of a doll house, or purchase one from the website. For a fee, libraries may be registered and assigned a number at the organization's website. Owners receive a sign that reads "Little Free Library". They often have the phrase, "Take a Book. Leave a Book."[5][6] The Little Free Library Index[7] lists locations with GPS coordinates and information.
The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of January 2014, there are over 15,000 Little Libraries worldwide. As of February 2013, all 50 U.S. states and 40 countries worldwide have been involved in the program.[8] An estimated 1,650,000 books were donated and borrowed from 2010 to 2013.[9]"

Here is the link to the organization that helps you set one up in your yard. Hmmmm....



I don't have a book to tell you about this week. But I am currently reading two books. One is a take to the gym and work book and one is on my computer book. I am enjoying them both. I will report back soon.

One is Sea Change: A Nina Bannister Mystery by T'Gracie and Joe Reese.

The other is In the Blood (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery) by Steve Robinson


So I will share this fun link for now.

Thanks Casey for posting this. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Follow our (MBC) leader to the Left Coast!


Our MBC leader, Kay got to go to this years Left Coast Crime convention in Phoenix.

Here's a little history if you are not familiar with this.

"Left Coast Crime is an annual conference organised by mystery fiction fans for mystery fiction fans, first held in San Francisco in 1991. It is concerned with western North American region mysteries, but the conference itself travels worldwide, having been held in Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as different parts of the United States. The conference enables fans to mix with authors. A prominent author of western mystery fiction is invited to be guest speaker."

Books are nominated and awards given out for:
Best Humorous
Best Historical
Best Regional
Best World

Kay shared her adventures with us at our monthly book club meeting and she had a wonderful time.
She also has a great blog and will be sharing about her trip through her blogs next week. She has a post about it today also. I wanted to share her blog so you can follow her to the Left Coast Crime convention next week.


Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes


I finished this book for our March Mystery Book Club (MBC), a couple of weeks ago. We are postponing our discussion about it until April, but I heard murmurs of anything from "I loved it! to I hated it!"

Published description:
"When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can't believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee's dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she's stunned to find they don't believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . "

(loud sigh)

 Well....this book is pretty violent and graphic. If that bothers you, don't read it. If you can skim those parts, and stay with the story, it is quite suspenseful and scary. I almost didn't continue with it but wanted to see the "bad guy" get what he deserved.

It goes between past events and current events culminating when the two time periods meet. It was hard to put down, but some of it was hard to read. I didn't find Catherine as strong or resourceful as Lizbeth Salander in "The Girl" series. The ending was somewhat different than I thought it would be which provoked interesting emotions, without saying too much.

This was Elizabeth Haynes first novel:

"My first novel Into the Darkest Corner was published by Myriad Editions in February 2011 and was featured on Channel 4′s TV Book Club. It was selected as one of Amazon UK’s Rising Stars and went on to win Amazon UK Best Book of 2011."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fur the Win by Ed Lynskey


Isn't this cat pretty?

After reading the book I will talk about later this week, I had to turn to a cozy. This is the second book in A Piper and Bill Robins Cozy Mystery series.

"Piper and Bill Robins, a retired couple, are enjoying their leisure years spent in the tranquil, leafy Washington, D.C. suburb of Beverly Park, Virginia. Bill watches “Pawn Stars” on TV and mows his lawn while Piper shops for clothes and solves crossword puzzles. One sunny June afternoon, their friend Etta Garagiola while returning home from bird watching finds a murdered homeless man in their neighborhood and calls the Robinses. They decide to investigate the murder with the help of Bill’s younger sister Noreen, a retired CPA, and her opinionated, smart tuxedo cat Snoozy Q. They follow the clues and soon identify three murder suspects. With the assistance of Noreen’s ex-cop boyfriend Rick Novak, the skillful sleuths track the crafty killer until the surprise ending. Besides a clean read and a fair play modern “whodunit” mystery, Fur the Win offers cozy mystery fans likeable protagonists, lots of good-natured humor, and a fast pace. Fur the Win follows The Corpse Wore Gingham, the first book in the series."

Both of the Piper and Bill Robins books and Ed Lynskey's other series, Isabel and Alma Trumbo Cozy Mystery series, make me laugh.  As it says in the description, Piper and Bill are retired. Twice now they have stumbled upon a murder. Piper has decided they are amateur sleuths and will solve the murders. Bill would much rather watch old film noir and Pawn Stars, eat things that are not good for him. Piper attempts to keep him on a healthy diet. It all makes for some humorous banter.

I enjoy this series because their are some similarities to my life (not the sleuthing) : we like old TCM movies, and I especially like film noir. Someone in my household likes to stay up 'til all hours watching said TCM movies. I also like Pawn Stars. I am sure a lot if it is "put on" but I get a kick out of it. I have two cats. They do not talk like Snoozy Q does in this book. But they do have a magic portal like in Harry Potter that they disappear into and reappear. Honestly, I can look and look for them, not find them, and turn around and there they are.

"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. His first four books are mysteries featuring his Private Investigator Frank Johnson: The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Blue Cheer, Pelham Fell Here, Troglodytes, The Zinc Zoo, and After the Big Noise. A P.I. Frank Johnson short collection is Out of Town a Few Days."