Monday, January 7, 2019

Duplicate Death (Inspector Hemingway Book 3) by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer, famous for her Regencies, wrote quite a few mysteries that have stood the test of time. The Characters are quite charming-very posh and have hidden secrets. The time-frame warrants both "bounders" and debutantes with hard as nails Mama's not to mention our likeable Kane's who featured in a previous book. What more could you ask of a teaser of a mystery?

Mr. Timothy Kane has taken a decided interest in Miss Beulah Birtley, secretary to Mrs. Haddington. She is dark, and has some sort of mystery as well as a large chip on her shoulder. Mr. Kane's Mama has sent his big Brother down to check everything out- only to wander into a murder. The mystery has a lot of interesting characters...very English and clues are thrown out with increasing regularity as Inspector Hemingway has to dig into each story. His faithful sidekick, Inspector Grant, has an endearing way of sprinkling his sentences with Gaelic.

But will this be the only murder Hemingway has to deal with? I fund this Mystery quite wonderful in its period expressions and details to clothes, drawing-rooms and even a nod to the wild and frivolous lifestyle of the rich. Published in 1951 it has all the background of the 1930's which is when many of the other mysteries were published. If you like this Golden Age Period or Heyer's writing you will certainly want to read this. I gave it five stars.


An elegant card party turns deadly...

Inspector Hemingway has his work cut out for him when a seemingly civilized game of Duplicate Bridge leads to a double murder. The crimes seem identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? Things become even more complicated when the fiancée of the inspector's young friend Timothy Kane becomes Hemingway's prime suspect. Kane is determined to prove the lady's innocence-but when he begins digging into her past, he finds it's more than a little bit shady...

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer

Charles and Celia, along with Peter, and Margaret, brother and sister to Celia, have inherited an old house in a small village in England. An eccentric Aunt had left it to them complete with no electricity and a ghost known as the Monk. It has an old Priory and a neighbor, Mr. Titmarch, who floats around in the dark of night chasing moths and crosses regularly onto their land. The other Neighbors are the Colonel, and the Vicar and his wife. If the place only had rats Celia and Margaret could probably manage but they draw the line at the Monk.

Georgette Heyer writes a very well-executed Mystery with this one. Her characters are droll, sophisticated and amusing.The book is a light-hearted mystery but at the same time there is a sinister undercurrent. Things keep happening that are odd.  Heyer, has a natural genius for farcical remarks and post-war humor in which the men are both bored, sanguine and witty while they perform quite heroic things they make light of...this was a very good book to start at night but the problem was how to stop. I like the way the Golden Era produced mysteries.The plot and people are entertaining enough that I kept reading till the early hours and still kept on.

This one is much lighter, and funnier than other Heyer's but the plot is no less interesting. The Aunt adds a lot to the eccentric side. I wish I could have joined them while they moved the planchette around. I just really like the characters in this one. I feel Georgette Heyer is underrated as a mystery writer. This is a good one...


What begins as an adventure soon becomes a nightmare...

Locals claim it is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door, but to siblings Peter, Celia, and Margaret, the Priory is nothing more than a rundown estate inherited from their late uncle-and the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday. But when a murder victim is discovered in the drafty Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all! With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims of a supernatural predator, or will they uncover a far more corporeal culprit?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Book Six) by Cindy Brown

Ivy Meadows goes undercover at a Renaissance Fair as a sashaying, mute, belly dancer ...with a sign hanging on her bum. She plunges into her sleuthing to find out who had killed a Jouster. The Knight's horse that had been stolen- ended up at a famous Broadway Producer's Ranch. Strictly in the name of following a lead she puts herself up for an acting job as Marilyn Monroe. The characters at Renaissance include a bird training act, a fellow jouster who has been arrested and a Wizard who partakes of magic dust a little too often.

Cindy Brown writes from a strong background in the Theater. Her cast of characters are finely drawn and ring true to form. The hilarious Ivy, who is always late, drinks too much coffee and has a boyfriend she worries about- adds a great touch to these cozy mysteries. The action keeps the book a fast read because you never know what Ivy/Olive will get into next. The character is someone you would love to have as a friend though.

 The Renaissance Fair plot provides a lot of magic, color and fabulous people. If you enjoy funny, fast- paced mysteries this is the one for you. I do and so I am giving it 5 stars


A jouster, a playwright, and a detective walk into a faire…but it’s no joke when one ends up dead.

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows is thrilled when she learns that the famous playwright behind Hello Dolly Madison is in Arizona. Not so much when she realizes he’s a suspect in the murder of a Renaissance faire jouster.

As is her friend Riley. And about a thousand other people, all disguised in Renaissance costume during the fatal jousting match.

When Ivy is hired to investigate the killing, she goes undercover as a Cockney belly dancer at the faire and finagles her way into the playwright’s Kennedy-inspired version of Camelot—as Marilyn Monroe, no less.

Then, in the midst of her toughest case ever, Ivy has to solve another dilemma: Will she follow her lifelong dream of being an actor or settle down with the love of her life?

The murder investigation, the play, and real life come together in a twist that begs the question: Is there a happily-ever-after for anyone?

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery by Duffy Brown

Evie wandering around the dockside at night finds a dead body-one more to add to her black cloud. Evie had been trying to save money on freight, apparently her bike rental shop makes just enough to pay bills yearly. Fiona and she are intrigued and determined to be in on the solution. The local Police come in the form of Nate Sutter. The body appears to be one that Sutter recognizes or else he likes looking at the stars in thought...a lot. There is a sweet addition in the form of Evie having a romance, not that stops her from dogging the investigation. The Wedding planners added a nice touch as did the Police Clerk and her boyfriend...but Evie's Mother was quite simply a hoot.

Duffy Brown writes a quirky, just-fun mystery. Mackinac Island is one that anybody would want to visit with no car traffic and charming little shops. The characters are people you would like to revisit and build a relationship with if you knew them in person. The dialog is hilarious at times with a touch of slapstick events but I found myself laughing more than once.

Do yourself a favor and read this one if you like warm, rollicking mysteries with likeable people, charming places and a few red herrings. Five stars for this one.

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.
To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.

With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Tied up with strings by Madeline McEwan

Betty Grape has flown to England and ultimately Devon, to visit her old friend's Daughter, Catia. She has promised her mother to check up on her. She finds the cottage is seven miles from town and the nearest neighbor are two brothers living in a caravan in a field. Katia is babysitting the house for a Professor Braithwaite and his wife. On the first day that Betty arrives someone has left a package with a cat collar in a box. While visiting the outside loo she finds a lot of medicine that belongs to the Professor's wife. Her bedroom though, has been cleaned out and is cold and sterile. This will lead to a two-fold mystery. 

I found Betty a strong, opinionated, character. She obviously would like to convert the British to American ways and food.  I can see that the character could be amusing. Katia has a sad history with a fiance that committed suicide. She is working on a thesis but remains sullen more than friendly. But there is a surprising twist to the Novella. I liked the characters of Peter and Paul and the introduction of a character in Peter that is not mainstream.

The questions throughout the plot threw me out of the story a few times. I felt as though I had no background about Betty's Detective Agency. The premise deep in Devon with a mysterious death looming over it has a lot of promise-but there is an odd, jerky quality to the plot. The heart of the story was the mystery and possible murders but they sizzle out without a definite end. I am rating this three stars.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen

Ellery Queen is once again involved in a mystery and this one is a real puzzler. He has been invited to dine with Kirk, whose Partner collects valuable stamps and jewels.  A plump, middle-aged man shows up, who refuses to state his business, and is put into the Office sitting area. By the time Kirk's Secretary, Mr. Osborne, remembers he is is too late. He is dead. The room has had all the furniture turned the wrong way and all his clothes have been put on backwards. Two African spears have been inserted between the body and behind the head, giving the appearance of horns and of a trussed-up offering.

This Mystery is considered to be one of the best of the series. It was written in 1934 and it has all the elegant sophistication of William Powell in the Thin Man Series. Wealthy people live in Hotels with Secretaries and dress for dinner. The elderly Father is looked after by a private nurse and even though the Depression is on- it does not touch wealthy collectors of stamps. The writing flows like a well- filled cocktail and the who "dunnit" aspect is intriguing and led me to read these pages till four in the morning. The Chinese Orange  Mystery was voted the eighth best locked- room mystery of all time by seventeen well known Detective Writers and Reviewers.

This particular Novel is also cited in reference works referring to the locked- room puzzle. It is intriguing and keeps your mind working furiously to solve it. What more could a Reader ask for than a top of the line puzzler? I know you will like it.The ending alone is a minor miracle. This is another in the golden mystery time frame that I highly recommend.

My thanks to Netgalley and Penzler Publishers


A topsy-turvy crime scene sends a detective on a puzzling quest for the truth.

The offices of foreign literature publisher and renowned stamp collector Donald Kirk are often host to strange activities, but the most recent occurrence­―the murder of an unknown caller, found dead in an empty waiting room―is unlike any that has come before. Nobody, it seems, entered or exited the room, and yet the crime scene clearly has been manipulated, leaving everything in the room turned backwards and upside down. Stuck through the back of the corpse’s shirt are two long spears―and a tangerine is missing from the fruit bowl. Enter amateur sleuth Ellery Queen, who arrives just in time to witness the discovery of the body, only to be immediately drawn into a complex case in which no clue is too minor or too glaring to warrant careful consideration.

Reprinted for the first time in over thirty years, The Chinese Orange Mystery is revered to this day for its challenging conceit and inventive solution. The book is a “fair-play” mystery in which readers have all the clues needed to solve the crime. In 1981, the novel was selected as one of the top ten locked room mysteries of all time by a panel of mystery-world luminaries that included Julian Symons, Edward D. Hoch, Howard Haycraft, and Otto Penzler.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer, famous for her Regencies, also added to her stock some delectable mysteries set in the Golden Era. The writing is crisp with snappy dialogue and eccentric characters. I found myself laughing more than once. Part of the charm of this Era is coming across sophisticated people-very reminiscent of The Thin Man Movies. This book is of course set in pre-war partying of the thirties with dinner parties and lots of drinking.

The Verekers, Tony and Kenneth are brother and sister. Along with Murgatroyd, their maid, they live in artistic quarters and rub along. Arnold, the older brother, is murdered and discovered in the Stocks near a Village, where he has a little hideaway for Women. It could almost be a bad joke but it isn't. Inspector Hannasyde is assigned to the case and focuses on the Verekers and their friends. The mixture of secretiveness and naivete mixed with a second murder adds to the mix. I didn't try to figure out who the Murderer was I just enjoyed the Story for its mixture of fun and buildup.

If you enjoy Mysteries from the 1930's and 1940's add this one to your collection. I am a big fan of that period and I really enjoyed this Story with all its froth and cunning characters. I plan on continuing with the series and I am giving it five stars.


A Moonlit Night, a Sleeping Village, and an Unaccountable Murder...
In the dead of the night, a man in an evening dress is found murdered, locked in the stocks on the village green. Unfortunately for Superintendent Hannasyde, the deceased is Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, especially his odd and unhelpful family members. The Verekers are as eccentric as they are corrupt, and it will take all Hannasyde's skill at detection to determine who's telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction. The question is: who in this family is clever enough to get away with murder?
"Miss Heyer's characters act and speak with an ease and conviction that is refreshing as it is rare in the ordinary mystery novel."-Times Literary Supplement