Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

The Trouble with Charlie-Merry Jones

February 4, 2013

The Trouble with Charlie
Merry Jones
Oceanview, Feb 5 2013, $25.95
ISBN 9781608090747

The divorce ending the decade marriage of Philadelphia elementary schoolteacher Elle Brooks and Charlie Harrison is almost a fait accompli. Elle comes home to their townhouse after a night on the town with her friends. Although Charlie moved out weeks ago, she senses he is here. When she feels a light kiss on her nape, Elle becomes disturbed. However, Elle panics when she sees long-stemmed rose on floor. Grabbing a kitchen knife, she looks for the intruder only to find Charlie dead on their living room couch, stabbed to death by a kitchen knife.

The police suspect Elle murdered her husband especially when she cannot explain what she was doing or where she was at the time of his death. Elle fears she may have killed Charlie as her short-term amnesia may be a repression of a memory she cannot accept; made worse by Charlie’s ghost accusing her of murdering him. After consulting with her friends, Elle looks into Charlie’s activities only to find she never knew her mate who not only cheated on her but had connections with nasty people. Each revelation is another motive for her to have killed him; but also for his amoral associates to kill her and for the cops to arrest her.

This exciting paranormal amateur sleuth is a fun whodunit as the more the heroine learns of her late almost ex-husband, the more danger she places herself in as well as she increasingly begins to conclude she may be his killer. Though the living relationship between Elle and Charlie is not developed enough; fans will enjoy the fast-paced investigative storyline as Elle dodges killers, cops and ghosts.

Harriet Klausner


Speaking from Among the Bones-Alan Bradley

January 20, 2013

Speaking from Among the Bones
Alan Bradley
Delacorte, Jan 29 2013, $24.00
ISBN: 9780385344036

In 1951 in Bishop’s Lacey, Great Britain, church officials are excited with the opening of the tomb of Saint Tancred on the five-hundredth anniversary of his death. However, no one is as enthused with the excavation as tweener amateur sleuth Flavia De Luce the home grown chemist. She has solved murder mysteries (see I Am Half-Sick of Shadows) but not the mysteries of her older sisters or the enigma of her mother.

The Vicar and other adults fail to keep the curious Flavia away. As she sneaks closer to the crypt, Flavia stumbles over the body of the current church organist Mr. Collicutt. Complicating her inquiry is Adam Sowerby, who insists they team up on the Collicutt investigation as Flavia works alone.

The latest fabulous Flavia 1950s amateur sleuth (see A Red Herring Without Mustard, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag) is a superb locked crypt whodunit. Flavia is her usual precocious self as she relishes chemistry, dead bodies and irritating her siblings. Fans will enjoy this exciting historical village cozy as Flavia works the murder mystery, deals with a “partner” and makes progress on her mom’s mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Proof Of Guilt-Charles Todd

January 20, 2013

Proof Of Guilt
Charles Todd
Morrow, Jan 29 2013, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062015686

In 1920 London, WWI officer turned Scotland Yard police inspector Ian Rutledge still mentally suffers from his harrowing experience in the trenches. However one incident remains the prime cause of his battle fatigue; he killed insubordinate Hamish for disobeying a direct order; Hamish “resides” inside Ian’s head.

Based on a suggestion from Metropolitan Police Constable Meadows, Scotland Yard Acting Chief Superintendent sends Rutledge to look into a hit and run accident that normally would be a local matter. Rutledge goes to Chelsea where he learns no witnesses not even the milk man have come forth. The unidentified victim possesses a valuable watch. The inspector tracks the watch to Lewis French, a missing person from a wine merchant family. His sister looks at the body and says he is not Lewis. Rutledge realizes he has two probably unrelated cases: to find a killer while identifying the deceased and to locate Lewis; but guided by Hamish and hampered by the new acting chief, Rutledge’s investigation turns even more complicated when French’s partner and cousin Matthew Traynor arrives from the Madeira office only to vanish too.

Once again team Todd’s latest exciting Inspector Ian Rutledge historical police procedural (see A Lonely Death and The Confession) combines an entertaining clever mystery with a deep look at PTSD during an era when sufferers conceal their ghosts to survive in a condemning society. Making the investigation more difficult is the protagonist’s new boss who rejects any clues that lead away from one of French’s women especially the ex-fiancée. With only Hamish (though less haunting than usual) having his back, Rutledge becomes the next target.

Harriet Klausner

The Dead Shall Not Rest-Tessa Harris

December 31, 2012

The Dead Shall Not Rest
Tessa Harris
Kensington, Dec 24, 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758266996

In 1782 at the Oxfordshire annual spring fair, Lady Lydia Farrell asks her betrothed American Dr. Thomas Silkstone to examine attraction eight-foot-tall Charles “Irish Giant” Byrne. The anatomist concludes that Byrne is dying. Not wanting to be a dissected freak in death especially after learning that unscrupulous Dr. John Hunter plans on grave robbers snatching his body, Byrne arranges his burial at sea; Thomas vows to insure the man’s wishes are met.

In London, someone removed the larynx from Signor Cappelli after murdering the castrato. Because of his unsavory grave-robbing reputation and the surgical precision, Hunter becomes the prime suspect though he swears he is innocent. His rival Silkstone believes the anatomist is innocent so in spite of his preference to see the amoral doctor sent to the gallows, he investigates the homicide.

The second Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery (see The Anatomist’s Apprentice) is an outstanding late nineteenth century whodunit. The investigation is top rate with clever clues and anchored by a strong sense of time and place; for instance Byrne and Hunter were real persona and grave-robbing was a thriving occupation as the opening transaction depicts. The Dead Shall Not Rest is a fabulous historical investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Sound of Broken Glass-Deborah Crombie

December 25, 2012

The Sound of Broken Glass
Deborah Crombie
Morrow, Feb 19 2013, $25.99
ISBN 9780061990632

Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan and DCI Gemma James Kincaid plan a weekend of fun with their foster child Kit and their two younger children. They enjoyed Friday night Pizza, but Saturday morning, Gemma’s subordinate DS Melody Talbot informs her they have a homicide in which a naked bound man is found at the Belvedere in Crystal Palace. While Duncan watches the kids, Gemma leads the investigation.

The victim is highly regarded barrister Vincent Arnott, who while tied up was strangled to death in this dive of a hotel. Not long afterward, the corpse of a second barrister, murdered in the same manner is found. Besides the M.O., other evidence points to the same killer. Gemma and Melody soon link these homicides to a lethal encounter between two lonely people, a young male teen and a grieving widow teacher, fifteen year ago in Crystal Palace.

The latest James and Kincaid British police procedural (see No Mark Upon Her, Necessary As Blood and Kiss A Sad Goodbye) is a super entry as flashbacks interweave deftly with the present day investigation. The police inquiry engages the reader as Gemma and Melody take the lead in that subplot; while the marital relationship and the kids show the caring gentler sides of the Kincaid couple. Series fans will enjoy this fine whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

The Silence of the Llamas-Anne Canadeo

December 10, 2012

The Silence of the Llamas

Anne Canadeo

Gallery, Jan 22 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451644791


Married a few years, Bostonians Ellie and Ben Krueger leave successful careers to open up the Laughing Llama Farm just outside a New England coastal village, Plum Harbor. They host a grand opening fiber festival to introduce their llamas to their neighbors.  However, someone maliciously attacks the llamas with a paintball gun.  Black Sheep Knitting Shop assistant Phoebe Myers sees the effect on the llamas and brings help, but not before Buttercup suffers a head trauma and seizure.  The Krueger tenant Dot takes charge with washing the paint off the llamas as they were becoming sick from the toxin on their skin. 


Ben blames reclusive nutcase Justin Ridley, who expects the newcomers to flip the property to developers once the legal date to sell occurs.  Black Sheep Knitting Shop owner Maggie Messina suspects Angelica Rossi, as the vandal since the owner of the alpaca fiber Sweet Meadow Farm has been spreading negative rumors about llama fiber.  The culprit stabs to death sweet llama Daphne followed by the homicide of Ridley.  As the Black Sheep knitters investigate the murders, the killer remains hidden in plain sight like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


The latest Black Sheep Knitting Mystery (see Till Death Do Us Purl) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth mystery with the members investigating because of the friendship between Dana and Ellie (reunited thanks to Facebook); the other Knitters welcome the newcomer as a kindred spirit.  The storyline is fast-paced from the first assault until the final confrontation with two fabulous twists while also providing insight into fiber spinning.  Although the knitters’ reason to make inquiries remains soft in spite of the friendship and love of animals, fans will appreciate The Silence of the Llamas.


Harriet Klausner

Dead Ends-Sandra Balzo

August 30, 2012

Dead Ends

Sandra Balzo

Severn, Sep 1 2012, $28.95

ISBN 9780727881748


Wisconsin police reporter AnnaLise Griggs takes a month long leave of absence to help her ailing mom Daisy in their hometown Sutherton, North Carolina.  Noting her mother’s failing memory; AnnaLise suggests the town create a website with a blog. 


Urban County, Wisconsin D.A. Benjamin Rosewood, his wife Tanja and their teenage daughter Suzanne arrive in Sutherton.  Having had a tryst with Rosewood, an abashed AnnaLise stays out of his way as much as feasible in the small town.  Tanja dies in a car crash when she drives her Porsche off Sutherton Mountain.  AnnaLise and Daisy came close to following her over the edge.  Police chief Chuck Greystone and his team learn someone shot Tanja with AnnaLise a major suspect.  A second homicide and a failed attempt to kill Daisy follow.


The second Main Street Murders (see Running on Empty) is a great regional rural whodunit.  The action never slows down as a killer stalks victims whose only seemingly connection is AnnaLise.  Dead Ends is a terrific mystery.


Harriet Klausner

The Edge of Nowhere-Elizabeth George

August 30, 2012

The Edge of Nowhere

Elizabeth George

Viking Juvenile, Sep 4 2012, $18.99

ISBN: 9780670012961


Her raging psychopathic stepfather pursues fourteen-year-old Becca who needs to silence her since he learned of her uncanny ability to hear people’s thoughts that he is a vicious criminal.  Becca takes the ferry from Seattle to Whidbey Island with no resources or support.  Kindhearted recovering alcoholic Debbie takes Becca into her home as they connect on a psychic plane.

 Becca makes friends on the island while attending high school as she and Ugandan expatriate Derric become buddies as well as she and Seth the musician.  When he takes a nasty fall and ends up in a coma, his adopted father an undersheriff and other law enforcement officials investigate who pushed the teen off a hiking trail ensues.


With Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (see Believing the Lie) taking a respite, Elizabeth George writes her first young adult thriller.  The teen paranormal mystery is entertaining due to the likable and believable heroine.  Although the engaging storyline feels too long especially the overly-extended Derric subplot, readers will enjoy the mystery of Whidbey Island.


Harriet Klausner

Marriage Can Be Murder, Every Wife Has A Story-Susan Santangelo

August 19, 2012

Marriage Can Be Murder, Every Wife Has A Story

Susan Santangelo

Baby Boomer Mysteries Press, Jul 1 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780985779900


On Nantucket Island, Jenny and Mark are marrying while her brother Mike and his wife Marlee who wed in Tahiti will renew their vows in front of family.  The father of the bride Jim is unhappy with the location and having to travel to a remote island; while the mother Carol is pleased for her children especially since competent wedding planner Tiffani of Cinderella Weddings hosts the event.


Carol knows that Bob, husband of her BFF Nancy, is having an affair with Tiffani.  Though Carol conceals what she knows in spite of pangs of guilt, Nancy learns who her spouse is cheating with.  Nancy turns to Dream Dates on-line dating.  During a midnight bladder call, Carol sees Bob standing over the corpse of Tifani at an eerie spot that haunts her.  Though she tells the police, Carol, with Jim not quite as adamant for her to mind her business, investigates for the sake of her friend.


The third Baby Boomer Mystery (see Retirement Can Be Murder and Moving Can Be Murder) is a wonderful extended family affair as even the canines Lucy and Ethel help in the investigation.  The cast is fully developed with most boomers understanding Carol’s bladder “talking” to her.  The inquiry is fun as Susan Santangelo provides a wonderful wedding amateur sleuth.


Harriet Klausner

Curveball-Jen Estes

August 19, 2012


Jen Estes

Camel Press, Oct 1 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603818957


Baseball reporter Cat McDaniel lost her first Big Leagues’ position when she exposed deadly wrong doings at the Las Vegas Chips.  Though she did the right thing, Cat has become persona non grata in the sport she loves.  Thus when Buffalo Soldiers’ General Manager Roger “Rakin'” Aiken invites her to town for a job interview, Cat is ecstatic.  Aiken says the team reporter position is hers in the spring if she covers the team’s winter Latin American training facility in Santo Domingo. Cat accepts the terms, but is aghast when Aiken tells her his spoiled daughter Paige, expelled from Fillmore University, will be with her working as a scout assistant to Joe O’Donnell.  Besides baby sitting out of control Paige, the only drawback to shuffling off to Buffalo is her boyfriend Benji teaches in Vegas.


The pair meets Worldwide Baseball Talent Management agent Chance Hayward, who charms Paige and disgusts Cat.  When the three find the corpse of a prospect on the beach followed by a woman screaming at Chance for a death of a loved one, Cat investigates Worldwide Baseball Talent Management agency with help from Paige’s ex, coach Junior DeLeon as she learns how the unscrupulous take advantage of the local young talent; unaware that her inquiry could be strike three for her.


The latest Cat McDaniel baseball mystery is an engaging amateur sleuth that is at its best with the insider look at the importance of baseball in the Dominican Republic.  Paige is a foolish individual who will either step up to the plate or be benched permanently while Cat feels annoyed by her antics.  Readers will enjoy Curveball as Cat deals with a splitter spitter bean-ball.


Harriet Klausner