Thursday, March 16, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen
Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,”
she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes
and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas,
Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century
Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas
to promote city rodent control and better public health.
But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the
tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions
and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo
smells a rat.
Laura Childs, in her eighteenth book, continues her successful Tea Shop Series... with an added dollop of murder set in Charleston. The first Chapter sets the tone with a "Rat Tea" for a Murder. Who among the group of prominent Suspects had a motive? Theodosia Browning, ends up on a murder hunt, along with her staff member and friend, Drayton... at the request of the victim's wife. She also runs a successful Tea Shop, which allows us to be treated to Child's wonderful research on Tea. Some of the scenes made my mouth water as I am a great Tea Lover. I suspect many who read this series fix their Teapot of leaves while they read.
The descriptions are lovely of Charleston and the roads that make up the historical district. I have in my mind's eye those same charming buildings while I read Child's very apt sketches.
But the heart of any mystery is the "who done it." Laura Child's is good at building the mystery- throwing in red herrings, so that at the end I was completely surprised. The pace is slow enough, so that if like me, you are a novice to the series, you can quickly pick up the thread of the characters.
This may have been the first book in the series I have read but it won't be the last.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Jadon Glover, the perfect Husband, did not return home one night. His wife Eve, calls the police, but too often errant Husbands have run off or had one drink too many, so, the Police are not very concerned. He is a financial Manager with Johnston and Pickles the Officers are told... but when they start digging- he doesn’t work there! Nothing is known of his background or Parents. In short, he is as beige as the background in his perfect life. But then things start to unravel.
The Detective in charge of the case is a second wife. D.I. Joanna Piercy and her Husband have no children together and his job is as stressful as hers. They are struggling with the need to move...she to accept his Parents. The death of a child in her Husbands job is heartrending to him and at one point he says, “he wishes he had something to come home to cuddle and love.” The bulk of our story though is the police work, fitted into a detailed investigation, which leads to a gritty, forensic find.
Priscilla Masters builds the mystery slowly. The layers are interwoven in her chapters... question by question and with a variety of clues. The comprehensive descriptions threaded within the plot reveal a vendetta against the main character that she ties up successfully. I sat reading until very late at night and I suspect you will too.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Jane Aiken Hodge was one of a series of Writers which included Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt that wrote gothic suspense. I devoured her books like “Maulever Hall” and “Watch the Wall, My Darling.” When I came across a Book of Hodge’s I had not read I was delighted. This is another Suspense that builds gradually and insidiously. We don’t know who or what.. until the end.
Marian is hired to accompany Stella as they travel through the Greek Isles. The Tour throws a group of Strangers together and then accidents begin to happen. Who can Marian trust? She becomes worried for both herself and Stella. To complicate matters Marian has become attracted to a classics Professor. This is a nice little mystery and just the type I am partial to. Read it on a rainy night and let the tension build with each page. Jane Aiken Hodge is good at that.
"Throughout her career, she wrote books set in what she called the borderland–that line between mystery and romance novel. In her last novels, her mysteries became thrillers. This invisible line–this borderland–made her “gothic romantic suspense” voice unique." (Wray, "Kiss And Thrill," Jan.22)
Thursday, November 3, 2016
“Satisfying . . . Smooth prose will keep cozy fans turning the pages.”—Publishers Weekly
Rex Graves is an Advocate at the English Court when the daughter of Lord Gordon Murgatroyd asks for his help. He is reluctant at first. Sentencing was heavy-handed at Court by Lord Murgatroyd and behind his back he was referred to as Judge Murder. Many people respected him but even more hated him. Now the old Judge has died but but was it a natural death or was it murder?
Then things are missing from the house. Odd things. First a stamp collection is gone according to the daughter but is she lying or really on the trail of something? Later... a latex fingertip, a pink slide are all found in the bedroom and examined for finger prints but the evidence is slight so the clues are building.
Ten years earlier a girl had been kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school. But had the man convicted really been guilty? And what did the second kidnapping of a teenager have to do with the Judge?
Rex and his friend Adrian pursue people and clues from London to Canterbury. They pour over events and interview witnesses. Bringing the right person to justice will depend on detail, luck and determination.
C.S. Challinor writes in the style of an English cozy. She leads us on a trail... laced with red herrings galore. In many ways, the jailbirds tended to be the stronger characters, along with the dark descriptions of their past lives. I love English Mysteries, so it was fun guessing how this would end. The pace is slow but with plenty of twists to keep you reading.
[A] winner . . . A must for cozy fans.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Will delight all cozy and Agatha Christie fans. C.S. creates devilishly complex characters keeping the reader on edge until the final page.”—Suspense Magazine