Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star by Susan Wittig Albert

book cover
The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star
by Susan Wittig Albert


ISBN-13: 9780425260593
Mass Market Paperback:
320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: September 3, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The ladies of the Darling Dahlias garden club are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals…

The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. She’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may be involved with the husband of one of Darling’s local ladies?


My Review:
The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is a historical mystery set in the summer of 1932 in Alabama. It's the fourth book in the series, but you don't have to read the previous novels to understand this one. This novel did not spoil the whodunits of the previous novels.

The historical details were woven into the story without slowing the pacing. The interesting and enjoyable characters and the historical details brought the story alive in my imagination. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. It's about sabotage, not murder, which was a refreshing change from most mysteries. Whodunit was pretty easy for me to guess, but the other details of the story kept me reading.

There were no sex scenes. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable historical mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beneath a Navajo Moon by Lisa Carter

As a member of Amazon Vine, I'm able to review books through them, but--as I understand the terms--I'm only allowed to post my review on Amazon. Because I liked this book, I'm posting a description of the book here with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

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Beneath a Navajo Moon
by Lisa Carter


ISBN-13: 9781426757990
Trade Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: March 4, 2014

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The search for a woman who disappeared in 1906 has lead cultural anthropologist Erin Dawson to Cedar Canyon, where the iconic terrain of red rock walls and mesas keep Navajo traditions and maybe criminal evidence well hidden.

Erin's search leads her into the path of tribal policeman Adam Silverhorn. The two fight their feelings for each other even as they become entangled in a dangerous battle. An insidious drug cartel has spawned the recent rise in gang violence on the reservation, and Adam's working to find the meth lab hidden somewhere on the Rez. The gangs are willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of their goals...

My Review: Link to my review on Amazon.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Close-Up On Murder by Donald Bain

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Murder, She Wrote:
Close-Up On Murder
by Donald Bain


ISBN-13: 9780451465252
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Signet
Released: September 2, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Cabot Cove is being invaded—by Hollywood. One of Jessica’s older novels is being adapted into a big-budget movie. The producer has decided to shoot on location, since the book was loosely based on a murder that shocked Cabot Cove several years earlier.

Unfortunately, everyone on the set seems to have a hidden agenda. A novice director wants his shot at the big time. The lead actress has many unreasonable demands. Her astrologer sees trouble in the stars. And a stranger on the movie lot is stalking Jessica.

When a body is found on the set, a strip of celluloid film wrapped around its neck, there’s a cast and crew of possible suspects. With tensions between locals and the Hollywood horde mounting, Jessica must find the killer before anyone else is left on the cutting room floor.


My Review:
Close-Up On Murder is a cozy mystery. It's the 40th book in the series. You don't have to read the previous novels to understand this one, but it'll be more fun if you have some familiarity with the "Murder, She Wrote" TV show.

If you've watched the TV show, you have a fair idea of what the book is like. The characters were enjoyable and realistic. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. I had a fair idea of whodunit by the end, but I wasn't certain until about the same time Jessica was, so the pacing of the clues was good.

There was no sex. There was one use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable mystery.

Blooper: In the novel, Jessica picks up a gun at the scene of a crime. I don't know why she didn't give it to the cop; it just disappears.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peril at the End House by Agatha Christie

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Peril at the End House
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9780007119301
Paperback: 287 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: 1932; 2001

Source: Borrowed from the local library.

Book Description from Amazon:
A young woman who has recently survived a series of very close calls appears to be the target of a dedicated killer—and it’s up to Hercule Poirot to save her life.


My Review:
Peril at the End House is a historical mystery set in 1932 in England (though it was a contemporary mystery when it was written). There were plenty of clues, and it was a clue-based mystery. I fairly quickly caught on to whodunit and even why and how--which is unusual for a Poirot novel. All the clues were there (unlike some Poirot novels where a hidden clue is pulled out at the last moment). There were other strong possibilities, so I don't think the answer was obvious, but I was surprised to get it so completely right for once.

There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to those who enjoy puzzle-mysteries and Christie fans.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shear Trouble by Elizabeth Craig

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Shear Trouble
by Elizabeth Craig


ISBN-13: 9780451469502
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Released: August 5, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from the Back Cover:
The Village Quilters of Dappled Hills, North Carolina, are desperate to finish their quilts before an upcoming show. To help, fellow member Posy has opened the back room of her shop, the Patchwork Cottage, for everyone to use. But the ladies are less than thrilled when Phyllis Stitt and Martha Helmsley—members of their rival quilting guild, the Cut-Ups—ask to join them.

Phyllis is hoping to leave the Cut-Ups and join up with the Village Quilters now that Martha’s dating her ex-fiancĂ©, Jason Gore. She’s not pleased when he visits the shop and even more upset when her new shears disappear. After offering to search for them, Beatrice discovers Jason with the shears buried in his unfaithful heart. Now she must sharpen her sleuthing skills to find a killer before someone else’s life is cut short.…


My Review:
Shear Trouble is a cozy mystery. It's the fourth in a series. You don't need to have read the previous novels to understand this one, and the previous whodunits aren't spoiled in this novel.

The main characters were interesting and nice enough, but I had some problems with the mystery. The clues were basically from the heroine asking good questions and getting answers. We're told that a certain person was in the shop, yet later that person was never in the shop. This was a writing mistake, not a character lying (as far as I can tell--pages 216 and 250). I felt like I couldn't trust the clues.

Next, our heroine tells the detective everything she discovers...until she learns that a critical phone call was placed at a certain location. This could be the big break if the detective discovers who the call was made to! But the heroine decides to stay quiet and hope that the very shy gal will change her mind and go tell the police about this major lead. Which she doesn't.

At the end, the heroine has just figured out whodunit when of course whodunit arrives at her house. The heroine is scared whodunit will kill her, yet she lets whodunit inside and asks unnecessary questions that make it clear she knows whodunit is involved in the murder. Er, duh, bad idea. And the heroine has two dogs that are growling at whodunit as they know whodunit is a danger, yet whodunit opens the house door and...the dogs dash outside so they can growl at whodunit from the other side of the door? Huh?

There was no sex or bad language.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran

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Well Read, Then Dead
by Terrie Farley Moran


ISBN-13: 9780425270288
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: August 5, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Read ’Em and Eat is known for its delicious breakfast and lunch treats, along with quite a colorful clientele. If it’s not Rowena Gustavson loudly debating the merits of the current book club selection, it’s Miss Augusta Maddox lecturing tourists on rumors of sunken treasure among the islands. It’s no wonder Sassy’s favorite is Delia Batson, who is painfully shy—which makes the news of her murder all the more shocking.

No one is more distraught than Augusta, Delia's relative and best friend. Sassy wants to help any way she can...but Augusta wants her to find Delia’s killer!


My Review:
Well Read, Then Dead is a cozy mystery. The characters were interesting and varied. The heroine avoids conflict and is always trying to soothe over or divert any conflicts. Yet midway through the story, she decides that she needs to go confront a man who scares her, has threatened her, and that she's certain is a murderer...and she's going to do this by herself! Huh? She simply takes the guy's word for it that he's not a murderer. When she tells the police about his alibi, she finds out that the police already knew about it.

Skip ahead to nearly the end. It's a fairly straight forward mystery, and there have been enough clues that I know whodunit. The heroine is still trying to figure it out. She gets a note to met an anonymous person to get more information. She thinks about how she'd be yelling, "No! Don't go" if this was a horror movie, but she still doesn't think this is dangerous. She goes alone, only leaving a message about her whereabouts on the phone of someone who is currently having phone problems. Yeah. You know what happens. Only she doesn't know who tried to kill her. She only succeeds in discovering whodunit by yet again nearly getting killed. Good thing the police arrive in time to save the day!

And, of course, the boyfriend realizes she's making dangerous, foolish decisions in how she's investigating the murder and asks her to stop--and she gets in a huff about him trying to tell her what to do! These poor cozy mystery boyfriends--would the heroines really prefer a fellow who doesn't care if they get themselves killed? Sorry, this novel just hit too many of my pet peeves.

There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Cat, the Vagabond, and the Victim by Leann Sweeney

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The Cat, the Vagabond, and the Victim
by Leann Sweeney


ISBN-13: 9780451415424
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Released: August 5, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
When Clyde the cat travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.

But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an eldery man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned to his home again—and he’s found another body...


My Review:
The Cat, the Vagabond, and the Victim is a cozy mystery. It's the sixth in a series. You don't need to have read the previous novels to understand this one, and the previous whodunits aren't spoiled in this novel.

The mystery was a clue-based mystery, and I was able to get a good idea of whodunit and why from those clues. However, one aspect of whodunit was a surprise as the author very successfully managed to misdirect my attention. Well done! The cats were fun (and acted liked cats), and the characters were varied and interesting. The heroine was a nice person who was considerate of others and tried to help others. I liked her.

There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.