Friday, June 23, 2017

Walking on My Grave: A Death on Demand Mystery

It's Friday!  Congrats on making it through another week!  Cindy Woodsmall's Gathering the Threads will be be published on August 15. It is the third book The Amish of Summer Grove series.  The publisher is giving readers an opportunity to download and read the first chapter of Gathering the Threads.  Click here to go to the Waterbrook Multnomah site for the download link.

Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart is the twenty-sixth (and last) novel in A Death on Demand Mystery series.  When Rufus Roundtree passed away a year ago, he left his fortune to his sister, Ves.  Upon Ves’ death the money will pass to six heirs listed in the will.  Four of the heirs need money and would like some of their inheritance now.  Ves has no intention of parting with the money and as she is only in her 40s, Ves expects to live a long life.  On the one year anniversary of Rufus’ death, Ves holds a dinner at her home.  She invites the six heirs—Curt Roundtree, Bob and Katherine Farley, Jane Wilson, Fred Butler, Adam Nash—along with Gretchen Roundtree (Curt’s mother) and Tim Holt (Jane’s boyfriend).  When Jane brings in the dessert she feels a cold chill—like someone is walking on her grave—and knows that someone wishes to kill her.  A few days later, Ves limps into Death on Demand to speak with Annie Darling.  Ves confides that someone tried to killer her.   Ves confronts the heirs with Max Darling present hoping to find the culprit.  Fred Butler disappears and is discovered by a fisherman in the harbor.  When Ves fails to show up at a meeting, Annie and Police Chief Bill Cameron go to her house.  They find blood smears along with her purse, but they find no sign of Ves.  Did the killer get to Ves?  Annie, Max and their friends work together to find the guilty party before he strikes again.  Will they succeed?

Walking on My Grave will appeal to the fans of A Death on Demand Mystery series.  If you are new to the series, I suggest starting with Death on Demand (first book).  Walking on My Grave is easy to read and has interesting main characters (Annie and Max Darling).  It was nice to revisit Broward’s Rock and the delightful characters in this series.  I would love to visit Annie’s bookstore Death on Demand.  It would be paradise to visit a bookstore filled with just mystery novels.  I also appreciate that Annie and Max work with the police.  They may gather information and talk to suspects, but they share the intel with the local authorities.  There are no mean or idiotic police in Carolyn Hart’s series (for which I am very grateful).  Unfortunately, Walking on My Grave was not on par with the previous books in the series.  There is repetition of information throughout the story (especially about the case).  I lost track of the number of times we are told about Max’s cars.  Do readers need to be told whether he is driving the Lamborghini or the VW (each and every time he goes out)?  Annie is working on chapbooks for Laurel, Emma and Henny.  We hear about them frequently throughout the book along with book titles and authors, Latin quotes, clothing descriptions and mystery quotes.  It felt like the author was trying to pad the story.  I found Laurel (Annie’s mother-in-law) annoying and quickly tired of her nonsense (I do not know how Annie puts up with her).  My rating for Walking on My Grave is 3 out of 5 stars.  I wish I could say that the mystery redeemed Walking on My Grave, but that would be an untruth.  I identified the perpetrator before Ves fell down the stairs.  Only one suspect could commit the crimes and that person sticks out like an individual with fluorescent pink hair.  It felt like the author’s heart was not into this book knowing it was the last.  I do wish there had been an epilogue, but I did like who identified the books that went with the watercolors.  I am looking forward to Carolyn Hart's Ghost on the Case. It is the eighth A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel and will be published on October 3.

I appreciate you visiting and reading my books reviews.  The next book I will be sharing with you is Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson.  May you have a fantastic Friday!  Be careful if you are out driving.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Confusion of Languages: Debut novel by Siobhan Fallon

Greetings!  I hope everyone is having a good day.  Emerson Knight and Riley Moon are back in Janet Evanovich's Dangerous Minds. Wayan Bagus' island has disappeared and he wants it back. Emerson loves nothing better than an odd and improbable mystery. Emerson enlists the help of Riley Moon and his cousin, Vernon to find the missing island. Pick up a copy of Dangerous Minds to join in on the adventure.

The Confusion of Languages is a debut novel by Siobhan Fallon. Cassie Hugo’s husband, Dan is a soldier assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Jordan.  Dan signed them up to sponsor the Brickshaw family (Crick, Margaret and their son, Mather) without consulting her.  Cassie is hoping that Margaret will be a friend, but she has reservations because of their son, Mather.  Dan and Cassie have been trying to get pregnant for nine years without success and it has strained their marriage.  Cassie explains the rules for women to Margaret (how to act, dress, etc.), but Margaret seems to pay little attention.  She is more interested in exploring the city and immersing herself into the culture (breaking many rules along the way).   One afternoon Margaret and Cassie are out driving when they are in an auto accident.  Margaret needs to go to the police department to pay a fee, but first she returns home.  She asks Cassie to watch Mather for her while she is gone.  As the hours pass, Cassie gets bored.  She finds Margaret’s journal and starts reading it.  What Cassie reads makes her concerned for Margaret and guilty.  Margaret has not answered her phone, and she never arrived at the police department.  Where is Margaret?  To discover what led to Margaret’s disappearance, pick up The Confusion of Languages.

The Confusion of Languages was a dissatisfying novel (for me).  The story starts in the present and then goes back to when the Brickshaw’s arrived in Jordan.  It then keeps going back and forth in time (as Cassie reads Margaret’s journal).  I found it disconcerting.  The book is written in the first person which did not help (Margaret and Cassie’s perspectives).  The book started out good, but then the pace slowed down considerably when Cassie started reading Margaret’s journal entries.  The story does get more interesting toward the end after Cassie has finished reading the journal (if you make it that far).  The Confusion of Languages has two women who are very different (of course).   Margaret wanted to be friendly with the locals (a rule breaker) and Cassie was suspicious of them (a rigid rule follower).  The author shows readers what women are thinking and feeling as well as exploring female relationships (which always seem to be explosive).   The story seemed to be building up to some big revelation, but it was a huge disappointment.  The ending was unoriginal and expected.  I found the characters (Cassie, Margaret, Crick, Mather, Saleh) to be unpleasant.  I really disliked the scenes with Mather (he cried and screamed all the time as well as running rampant making messes and destroying things while leaving disorder in his wake).  I was surprised the embassy had not shipped the husbands back to the states based on their wives’ behavior. I give The Confusion of Languages 1 out of 5 stars.  We can see how an individual’s make judgements about people that can cloud a situation or relationship. You do not know what goes on in someone else’s life.  They suffer from insecurities and doubts too.  The book does contain an extreme amount foul language.  The Confusion of Languages shows the importance of behaving or following the rules when we are in other countries (especially in the Middle East).  We may not like or understand the laws or regulations, but not following them can harm innocent people. The Confusion of Languages was not a pleasant book to read (at least for me).  The Confusion of Languages will be published on June 27.

As you can probably tell, I had trouble writing this review.  You would not believe how many times I rewrote it.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart on Friday. It is the final book in A Death on Demand Mystery series.   I am off to finish reading Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman and then finish installing a light for my mother.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Leave It To Cleaver: A Vintage Kitchen Mystery

Welcome!  Rose Pressey has If the Haunting Fits, Wear It coming out on June 27.  It is the fifth book in A Haunted Vintage Mystery series.  This time Cookie Chanel is heading to the Kentucky Derby.  There are some lovely descriptions of vintage fashions in the story.

Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  Jaymie Leighton is thrilled when Jakob Muller proposes to her on Valentine’s Day.  Jaymie loves Jakob and adores his little girl, Jocie.  Jaymie and her sister, Becca have agreed to clear out the Paget house for Lesley Mackenzie.  The perk is getting first pick of the items.  They go to the basement where they come across an old truck.  Upon opening it, they discover a body clad in a red sweater with a cleaver in the skull (can you imagine what the yarn must be made of to not disintegrate).  Back in 1984, Becca knew Delores Paget who owned an identical sweater.  Delores supposedly left town that year and was never heard from again (now we know why).  A few days later, Jaymie watches while divers pull up old Ford Falcon with a body inside wearing a red sweater identical to the other victim (that is some yarn).  The victims are identified as Delores Paget and Rhonda Welch.  Becca knew both victims in high school and they disappeared from town at the same time.  The common link between the two girls is Brock Nibley.  Chief Ledbetter asks Jaymie to listen for any details that will help him with this case.  Jaymie considers this the green light to start nosing around and asking questions.  The killer is less than thrilled with Jaymie’s inquiries and will not hesitate to strike again. Will Jaymie make it to her own wedding?

Leave It To Cleaver contains good writing and the story has a nice flow/pace.  Jaymie Leighton is a great character with her big heart and love of vintage items.  The mystery was complicated (thank you Victoria Hamilton) and fun to solve.  The best part of a cozy mystery is following the clues and see if I correctly guessed the killer’s identity.  I liked finding out more about Becca and what happened after Jaymie was born.  The story goes from present day back to 1984 (and then back again).  I am not a fan of this technique, but the author pulled it off (it was not confusing or overdone).  I give Leave It To Cleaver 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The only part of the story I did not like was Heidi.  She is planning the wedding, and I found her maddening.  Leave It To Cleaver is the sixth book in the series, but it can be read alone. The ending will leave readers with smiles on their faces. There is a excerpt from Muffin to Fear at the end of the book.  Leave It To Cleaver will be available on June 23.  Good News:  Victoria Hamilton has signed to write three more books for A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  The seventh book will be No Great Danger and will be published in Spring of 2018!

Thank you for visiting today and reading my latest review.  I am currently reading The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. I will see you again soon.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mocha and Murder: A Killer Coffee Mystery

Salutations!  I wanted to remind those of you that enjoy cozy mysteries, that Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton will be released on June 23.  It is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.   If you prefer dystopian type novels, Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman is the third book in The Remnant series.  Amazon has released the paperback version early (so you can get it now) and the ebook will be available on June 27.

Mocha and Murder by Tonya Kappes is the second book in A Killer Coffee Mystery series.  Roxanne “Roxy” Bloom owns The Bee Hive coffeehouse in Honey Springs, Kentucky.  Roxy needs to pick up apples from Fred Hill of Hill’s Orchards at the Farmer’s Market.  Patrick Cane, Roxy’s fiancĂ© goes with her so they can enjoy some time together.  When they arrive, Roxy witnesses a disagreement between Fred and Louise Carlton of the Pet Palace, the shelter for homeless pets.  Fred tells Louise to stay off his property.  The next day Roxy heads to Hill’s Orchards to pay Fred for the apples.  She finds Louise in the apple orchard standing over Fred’s still body with a knife dripping blood in her hand.  Roxy quickly calls Sheriff Spencer Shepard.  Roxy discovers that Fred and Louise were fighting over chicken eggs.  Fred had adopted Bertie, an Ayam Cemani chicken, from the Pet Palace and he wanted the eggs the bird had laid prior to the adoption (they are rare).  Roxy knows Louise would not harm anyone and agrees to be her lawyer.  Roxy needs to discover who else had a beef with Fred even if it means ruffling a few feathers (I couldn’t resist).  One thing Roxy did not count on was the sudden arrival of her mother, Penny.  Why has she suddenly come to Honey Springs? 

Mocha and Murder is a light cozy mystery novel.  It is nicely written and has a good pace.  While Mocha and Murder is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  The author provides the particulars on what occurred in Scene of the Grind and background specifics on Roxy.  Mocha and Murder contains entertaining characters that live in a small Southern town.  I like that there is the Pet Palace that rescues pets of all types and the owner, Louise along with Roxy work to place them in good, stable homes.  It is a shame there are not facilities like the Pet Palace across the United States.  I give Mocha and Murder 4 out of 5 stars.  I thought it was amusing that the victim was killed over a chicken (a unique chicken—all black including its internal organs). The whodunit can be solved long before the reveal (if you pay very close attention).  I think, though, that many readers will be surprised by the killer’s identity.  Mocha and Murder contains romance (of course) with the relationship of Patrick and Roxy (they are now engaged).  I was glad that they are not going to rush into marriage and spend time getting reacquainted.  I appreciated finding out more about Roxy’s mother and their relationship (what caused their estrangement).  Aunt Maxi and Penny provided some comedic relief with their antics.  Mocha and Murder is a charming story that will appeal to many readers.  

Thank you for visiting today.  I am currently reading If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey.  I will return tomorrow with another book evaluation.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Monday, June 19, 2017

Patterned After Death: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend with their family and friends.  Elizabeth Lynn Casey is a pseudonym for Laura Bradford. She writes A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series as well as An Amish Mystery series, An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series, and A Tobi Tobias Mystery series.  A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series starts with Sew Deadly and ends with Patterned After Death.    

Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the twelfth (and final) book in The Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series.  Librarian, Victoria “Tori” Sinclair lives in Sweet Briar, South Carolina with her elementary school teacher husband, Milo.   Tori’s car is on the fritz and Margaret Louise tells Tori take it over to her son, Jake Davis.  Milo and Tori are going out after dinner to check on Rose Winters and stop by Jake’s garage.  Jake is working on a fancy silver car, but takes time out to show them around the newly expanded garage.  Tori notices the trunk of the silver car ajar and goes to close it.  A piece of fabric is in the way and as she tucks it inside the car, Tori touches a hand.  Inside the trunk is Jake’s new business partner, Noah Madden.  People in town were surprised when Noah and Jake went into business together.  The town has been split since the two men were rival quarterbacks in high school (over eighteen years prior).  Unfortunately, the evidence is stacked against Jake, and he is arrested for Noah’s murder.  Margaret Louise is extremely distraught and she asks Tori to find the real killer.  Tori starts asking questions and gathering clues so she can get Jake out of jail and back to his family.  Tori’s attention is split, though, with Rose being under the weather.  Tori is worried and cannot bear to lose the dear woman.  The members of the sewing circle will need to band together to help their friends during their time of need and to capture a murderer.

Patterned After Death is well-written and has a good pace which made the book easy to read.  It contains delightful, friendly characters and a welcoming, Southern town.  It was wonderful to catch up with Tori, Milo, Rose, Margaret Louise, Leona, Georgina, Charles, and the other members of sewing circle (and town).  I have read this series from the beginning and each book is better than the previous one (Wedding Duress is my favorite).  Patterned After Death has a sweet ending that will delight admirers of the series.  While Patterned After Death can be read alone, I recommend reading the series in order.  You can watch the characters (and their relationships/friendships) grow and develop over the course of the series.    I give Patterned After Death 5 out of 5 stars.  I thought that the mystery was well-crafted.  There is a good twist that will surprise many readers.  The whodunit can be solved, but not easily (my favorite type).  Elizabeth Lynn Davis took various elements and stitched them together into one engaging, heartwarming cozy mystery.  I am sorry to see this charming cozy mystery series come to end.  

I hope you have a delightful day.  I will be sharing my thoughts about Mocha and Murder by Tonya Kappes next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!  I am remembering my special father, Gene Anderson, on this day.  I miss him each and every day.  May each of you have a lovely day with the dad in your life.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Marsh King's Daughter

I hope you are having a pleasant Saturday.  I wanted to share a new book with you today.  It is Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson.  It is the first book in Plainly Maryland series.  I have only read a small portion so far, but I am enjoying it.  

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Helene Pelletier had an unconventional childhood growing up in an isolated area where her only human contact was her mother and father.  That all changed when she was twelve years old.  Helene discovered that her mother had been kidnapped by Jacob, her father, when she was only fourteen years old.  Thanks to a stranger who got lost, Helen and her mom were able to escape.  Helene’s father, Jacob Holbrook was captured and has been serving time in the local maximum-security prison.  Helene counts herself very lucky that she now has a wonderful husband and two little girls.  But then Helene hears that Jacob has escaped while being transported.  She is afraid for her little girls.  Stephen, her husband, is unaware of Helene’s past, but is quickly brought up to speed when the police arrive on their doorstep.  Helene knows that the police will never be able to find her father.  He can easily disappear into the marshland and never be found.  Jacob taught Helene all the necessary skills to survive and how to track.  If anyone can locate Jacob, it will be Helene.  She knows this is the only way to ensure her families safety.  On the trail of her father, Helene reminisces about early years and what happened when she returned to civilization with her mother.  Helene knows she is on her father’s trail when she finds objects he left for her.  But is Helene hunting Jacob or is Jacob drawing her in?

The Marsh King’s Daughter has an interesting premise, but the final product did not live up to the summary on the book. I read The Marsh King’s Daughter, but I did not get into the story.  It never captured my attention.  I particularly disliked Helene.  Her admiration for her father was disconcerting, and Helene’s dislike of her mother was upsetting (the poor woman had been kidnapped, raped, belittled, tortured).  I could not understand Helene living on her paternal grandparent’s property (she inherited it).  Personally, I would have sold the land to the highest bidder and moved to a different state (far, far away).  Jacob raised Helene to be like him and think like him (she hunts, fishes, tracks).  It makes me really question if this woman should be allowed around children (and glad that she is a fictional character).  I give The Marsh King’s Daughter 2 out of 5 stars.  I found the pace of the story to be glacial and key details are repeated throughout the whole novel (like how Helene is the only person who can find Jacob).  There is no suspense and little action (yawn).  The story is told more in a “matter of fact” fashion.  The Marsh King’s Daughter plays out exactly as I thought it would (predictable).  The “twist” was no surprise to me.  I could see it coming based on Helene’s personality.  For those people who love animals (like me), be warned that there is bear hunting in the story.  My favorite character (I actually liked one) was Iris, Helene’s eldest daughter (a sensitive child).  The youngest, Mari sounded like a holy terror.   The one good quality of The Marsh King’s Daughter was its ability to help me drift off to sleep (I suffer from insomnia).

Thank you for checking out my latest book evaluation.  I will be reviewing Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn Casey next time. May each of you have a very special Saturday.  I am relaxing, reading and indulging in chocolates. Until I return, take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, June 16, 2017

Scene of the Grind: A Killer Coffee Mystery

It's Friday!  Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton will be released on June 23.  It is the sixth book in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.  I just love the descriptions of the vintage kitchen items in the books (I grew up with many of the items described). The books in the series are A Deadly Grind, Bowled Over, Freezer I'll Shoot, No Mallets Intended, and White Colander Crime.  If you have no read any of the books in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, you are missing out.

Scene of the Grind by Tonya Kappes is the first book in A Killer Coffee Mystery series.  Roxanne “Roxy” Bloom has recently moved to Honey Springs, Kentucky after her divorce.  Roxy has decided to pursue her passion and open The Bean Hive (a coffeehouse) on the newly renovated boardwalk.  The opening of the shops on the boardwalk coincides with the annual Honey Festival.  Roxy can thank Aunt Maxi for making this happen.  She has many fond summer memories of spending time with her aunt and uncle (before he passed away) and enjoyable hours at Crooked Cat Bookstore.  Alexis Roarke owns the bookstore, but is unhappy with Aunt Maxi who is raising the rent on the building.  Early one morning, Roxy decides to take coffee and a treat over to Alexis (cute scary music).  The door to the shop is unlocked, the lights are on, and the banned book section is in a disarray.  Roxy’s dog, Pepper goes through a private door, and Roxy follows to find Alexis dead on the floor.  Someone murdered Alexis and Aunt Maxi is at the top of the police’s suspect list (there was also a very public argument).  Roxy sets out to prove her aunt’s innocence and find Alexis’ killer.  Alexis’ contentious daughter, Leslie does not help matters by causing public scenes and insisting that Aunt Maxi be arrested.  Roxy has assistance in her quest from Patrick Cane.  Patrick and Roxy dated in high school until a misunderstanding separated them.  This is a second chance for their relationship if Roxy is willing to grab it.  But first she has to get Alexis’ murderer behind bars!

Scene of the Grind is a light cozy mystery.  It is nicely written and easy to read.  Scene of the Grind is just the right length for the storyline.  Thanks to Tonya Kappes descriptive writing, I could visualize the town and the boardwalk with all its new shops in my head.  In this first book in A Killer Coffee Mystery series, we are provided the background details on Roxy and what ruined her relationship with Patrick.  As the series progresses, I am sure the characters will flesh out more.  We are introduced to quite a few characters and businesses in the beginning (which is confusing), but it then levels out as the book progresses (thank heavens).  I give Scene of the Grind 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The mystery was not at the forefront of this book.  It kept getting eclipsed by Roxy’s attraction to Patrick and her flirting with Spencer Shepard (in charge of the murder investigation).  I hope in the next novel that the mystery will be more complex (i.e.—hard to solve) and prevalent.  I wanted more sleuthing and less drooling over Patrick.  I appreciated the cute animals in the story.  Animals always enhance a story.  The ending was sweet and romantic.  Mocha and Murder is the second book in this series and will be published on June 16 (today)!

I hope you have a fun Friday!  I will be reviewing The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Knightsbridge Scandal: The Flora Maguire Mystery series

Welcome Back!  G. A. Chase (husband of author, Deanna Chase) is the author of The Malveaux Curse Mystery series.  Dogs Days of Voodoo (Kindle version currently on sale for $.99) and You, Me and the Voodoo Queen are the two books in this series.  They are humorous, paranormal mystery novels.  They are the type that my mother just loves.  Take a look and see if these books are for you!

A Knightsbridge Scandal by Anita Davison is the third book in The Flora Maguire Mystery series.  We are swept back to the Edwardian era (1903) in this novel.  Flora Harrington is visiting her biological father in London.  Flora discovered William Osborne was her birth father only a year ago.  Flora and her maid, Sally are staying with William in his apartment at the Prince Albert Mansions.  The first evening they have dinner and attend the theater.  They return home to find the police in the alley next to the apartment building.  A woman had been killed near The Grenadier (a pub).  The victim turns out to be Evangeline Lange, who was involved in the suffrage movement.  Flora’s curiosity is aroused because she had witnessed a scene between Ms. Lange and a resident of Prince Albert Mansions.  While William is away at work each day (secretary to the foreign office), Flora (along with her outspoken maid, Sally) starts nosing into Ms. Lange’s life.  Flora tries to share her findings with Detective Inspector Maddox, the lead investigator, but he does not appreciate her help (mostly because she is a woman).   Clues lead toward the foreign office and issues abroad.  What was Ms. Lange involved in?  Flora is determined to unveil the killer, but what happens when she finds herself in a sticky situation?

A Knightsbridge Scandal is written during one of my favorite eras—The Edwardian.  That is my favorite part of the book.  The author did a wonderful job at portraying the scenery of London, the clothing, conveyances, and people’s attitudes.  I found the pace of the story to be slow (plodding) and the dialogue stilted (awkward).  I wish the author had provided all the background on Flora in this book.  I have not had the opportunity to read the first two books in The Flora Maguire Mystery series (nor will I), and I was missing some details.  I was especially curious as to why Flora’s husband is called Bunny and why Flora was attracted to him (and why would she marry Bunny after meeting his mother).  The missing information did not affect the story or my view of the book.  The novel would have been better without Flora’s husband and mother-in-law (especially her).  If those people were in my life, I would want to escape to London (I probably would never go back home).  The only reason Flora was investigating the crime is curiosity and boredom (I could understand being bored in that time period).  I give A Knightsbridge Scandal 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay).  Flora was not a character I enjoyed.  I like her curiosity, but not her acerbic comments (some of which did not help her relationship with her birth father) or her recklessness.  Detective Inspector Maddox was a pompous, blowhard.   His attitude, unfortunately, was in line with the time period.  Most men would not appreciate a women’s interference (thankfully, some men were more enlightened).  The mystery seemed complicated, but I could identify the killer long before the reveal.  A Knightsbridge Scandal was not the right historical, mystery for me.  Flora's Secret and Betrayal at Cleeve Abbey are the first two books in the series.

Murder on the Minneapolis is the next book in The Flora Maguire Mystery series and will be published on June 19.  Thank you for visiting today.  I am off to work on my plumbing (I have been to the hardware store three times so far).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dead and Berried: A Cranberry Cove Mystery

Happy Wednesday!  Peg Cochran is the author of A Farmer's Daughter Mystery series, A Cranberry Cove Mystery series, A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery series, and A Lucille Mystery series. Follow her page on Amazon and you will receive emails when she has a new book release.

Dead and Berried by Peg Cochran is the third book in A Cranberry Cove Mystery series.  Monica Albertson lives on Sassamanash Farm in Cranberry Cove, Michigan and provides baked goods to the farm store on the property.   The cranberry bogs are full of blooms, and it is time to pollinate the flowers.  Jeff, Monica’s half-brother and owner of the farm, has hired Rick Taylor of Rick’s Bees.  Rick and his assistant, Lori Wenk arrive at the farm with the bees, but are unable to release them that day due to the weather (honey bees do not like wet days).  Monica is back in the farm kitchen finishing her baking when Jeff comes running in asking for her to call 911.  Jeff found Lori on the ground near the bee hives.  Bees are swarming near the hives where someone let them out and stirred them up.   Lori was stung many times and has passed away.  Detective Tammy Stevens arrives and starts asking questions.  It appears to be an accidental death until the toxicology report proves otherwise.  Rick is at the top of the suspect list and his wife, Nora is distraught (she works at the farm store).  Monica begins making inquiries about Lori and discovers that Lori had been stirring up a hornet’s nest of her own.  Could this have led to her murder?  But what happens when Monica gets too close to discovering the killer’s identity?

Dead and Berried contains good writing, great characters (except Gina), charming small town and a good pace (makes it a pleasure to read).  I thought Dead and Berried was an engaging novel that held my attention.  I like that Monica does not sneak around behind Detective Stevens back doing her own investigation (I appreciate that there are no nasty cops either).   The two work together (share information) to find the killer (such a nice change).  Dead and Berried can be read alone (if you really want to).  The author provides the necessary background information so a reader will not be lost or confused. I give Dead and Berried 4 out of 5 stars.  One issue that I had with this book was the mystery.  I could identify the killer early in the story (right after the body was discovered).  I wish there had been a good twist (I love it when I do not solve the crime until late in the book or not at all).  I liked the information about shipwrecks that occurred in Lake Michigan (a writer has moved to town).  I found it fascinating.  It was also interesting to discover that cranberry flowers need migratory honey bees (or bumble bees) brought in to help pollinate the flowers.  They are not capable of self-fertilization.  The one character that I do not like is Gina, Monica’s stepmother.  She is a piece of work.  I found her extremely annoying and self-centered.  I keep hoping the author will decide to make Gina a victim of murder!  The ending is sweet and romantic (happy sigh).  There are cranberry recipes at the end of the book.  I look forward to reading more books in A Cranberry Cove Mystery series.

Thank you for visiting today!  I am off to work on a new plumbing problem in my attic.  I never knew that copper pipes could develop holes in them.  I will be reviewing A Knightsbridge Scandal by Anita Davison next time.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader