Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Murder in Notting Hill (DCI Isaac Cook Thriller #6), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, January 2018

DCI Isaac Cook has a puzzle on his hands.

Two women have been murdered in his area. One of them is Christine Devon, a forty-something, hardworking black woman from Jamaica. She works as a house cleaner, and there's no obvious reason for her to have been professionally killed. And yet she has been.

The other woman, Amelia Brice, is wealthy, privileged, the daughter of a contentious and controversial radio talk host. She lived only a fairly short distance from Christine Devon, and yet in a wholly different world. She's had unfortunate tastes in men ever since her relationship with a rising young banker ended. Some of them could have been dangerous--but she was killed in the very same, highly professional manner as Christine Devon. Exactly the same way, with just enough time between the two deaths for the same killer to have committed both murders.

Monday, February 26, 2018

InterWorld (InterWorld #1), by Neil Gaiman (author), Michael Reaves (author), Christopher Evan Welch (narrator)

HarperAudio, June 2007

Joey Harker has no sense of direction. He has even managed to get lost in his own house.

But one day, on a social studies assignment, he outdoes himself. He wanders out of his own world into a neighboring dimension where he doesn't exist.

Beings from assorted other neighboring worlds and dimensions are now after him for his worldwalking ability. There are the people from Hex, who want to boil him down to his essence, and use him to power their ships. There's also another empire among these alternate worlds, ruled by science. Earth itself is somewhere in the middle, leaning science, not yet irrevocably committed--or conquered by either side. There is also InterWorld, an organization, backed by whom we don't know, committed to keeping balance between the opposing forces.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magicial Cats Mystery #1), by Sofie Kelly (author), Cassandra Campbell (narrator)

Random House Audio, June 2014

Librarian Kathleen Paulsen has moved from Boston to Mayville, Minnesota, to take on the renovation and modernization of the town library. She's settled in, made friends, and been adopted by two stray cats, tuxedo cat Hercules and tabby Owen, from the colony on the abandoned property of Wisteria Hill.

Then Kathleen has an unpleasant encounter with the guest conductor for the town's music festival, and finds the conductor's body the next morning.

She's obviously a suspect in the murder, and even though even the police don't think she's a very likely suspect, she wants to know what happened, and what it has to do with the library.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Dark in Death (In Death #46), by J.D. Robb (author), Susan Ericksen (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, January 2018

Dallas is investigating a puzzling murder with no apparent motive, a well-liked actor watching Psycho at a "classics" video theater with her friend, stabbed to death with an ice pick, quietly, efficiently, in the dark, during the Janet Leigh murder scene.

The actor has no enemies. Everyone likes her. She doesn't even have any bad romantic breakups that might have left simmering resentment. Yet the murder was clearly carefully planned, with the method and setting clearly tailored to this particular victim.

What's going on?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Deadly Art of Love and Murder (Caribou King Mysteries #2), by Linda Crowder (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Linda Crowder, February 2018

Caribou King, fine arts dealer in Coho Bay, Alaska, and the town's only licensed realtor, has closed up her gallery for the winter, and stops by the Tilamu house to check on it after the departure of the summer tenant, Mrs. Nash.

Instead, she finds Mrs. Nash's dead body.

Old Doc Tilamu had been the town's only  doctor until he died, and his thre e children had all left town for the lower 48 as soon as they were able.  When Alex Tilamu shows up at Mrs. Nash's funeral, drunk and ranting about murder of his parents, it causes quite a stir.

Thus begins a disturbing post-season season, looking for a killer, and a possible motive for the murder.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Bleak and Empty Sea: The Tristram & Isolde Story (Merlin Mystery #3), by Jay Ruud

Encircle Publications, August 2017

Tristram, one of the famous knights of Arthur's Round Table, and his lover, La Belle Isolde, wife of King Mark of Cornwall, are dead. Sir Tristram was wounded in a skirmish against the Norse, but though the wound seemed minor, he lingered for weeks, growing weaker and weaker. At last he asked for the greatest healer he knew, his lover Isolde, to be sent for.

His wife, Isolde of the White Hands, was not pleased, but she could hardly object.

La Belle Isolde is sent for--and arrives moments after Tristram dies, following a cruel remark from Isolde of the White Hands. Upon finding Tristram newly dead, she collapses in a faint, and is dead within minutes.

Now Merlin, necromancer and King Arthur's great advisor, and his young assistant, squire and hopeful future knight, Gildas of Cornwall, are investigating the two deaths,  Merlin does not believe in death by broken heart.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

One Crazy Summer (The Gaither Sisters #1)

Recorded Books, November 2010

It's 1968, and Delphine is just eleven years old when she and her two younger sisters (Vonetta, age nine, and Fern, age seven), travel alone on an airplane from New York to Oakland, California, to see their mother Cecile, for the first time since Delphine was five.

Only Delphine has any real memories of their mother.

It's Delphine who tells the story, and Delphine who has to take responsibility for her sisters, even after Cecile picks them up at the airport. Cecile is cool, not at all motherly, and pays as little attention to them as possible. The girls long for the motherly affection and connection they've never had, and still don't have.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Case of the Missing Letter (Inspector David Graham Mysteries #5), by Alison Golden

Alison Golden, February 2018

DI David Graham and his team have just gotten a fantastic write-up in the local paper, about their success in solving local crimes and bringing down the local crime rate. Since no good deed goes unpunished, they are of course in for some excitement.

Someone is, or so Mrs. Hollingsworth claims, hanging around the Gorey public library on the nights when the new librarian, Laura Beecham, is working late.

Someone breaks into the local museum, and night watchman Nobby Norris dies, apparently of a heart attack, although he also hit his head on the extremely valuable Satterthwaite desk displayed in the museum.

Both Charlotte Hughes, daughter of the former owner of the desk, now a candidate for Parliament, and Don English, her stepbrother, are on in Gorey, apparently looking for something that might have been hidden in the desk.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Mercer Girls, by Libbie Hawker (author), Amy McFadden (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, May 2016

In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, Asa Mercer traveled from Seattle in the Washington Territory to the mill city of Lowell, Massachusetts. His project is to recruit single women of good character to return to Seattle with him, to become wives to the loggers and and other hardworking men there.

He hoped to recruit 200 potential brides. He returns to Seattle with just thirteen. Among them are Dovey Mason, just sixteen, and fleeing her father's efforts to marry her off to a repellent man in an attempt to restore his business fortunes; Josephine Carey, 35 years old and fleeing a secret she shares with no one; and Sophronia Brandt, a minister's daughter in her twenties, with no more marriage prospects and a strong desire to spread the Lord's Good Word.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Queen of Hearts, by Kimmery Martin

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780399585959, February 2018

Zadie and Emma met at a camp for high school students interested in becoming doctors. They stayed friends, and attended medical school together. A dozen years after their explosive third year of medical school, they're still friends, and both in Charlotte, North Carolina. Zadie is a pediatric cardiologist, Emma is a trauma surgeon, and they are both happily married, and mothers of young children.

Then Dr. Nick Xenokostas, chief resident when they were med students, reappears in their lives.

Nick was at the heart of the events that nearly derailed their medical education. They've put that behind them, in part because of their strong friendship.

Emma has a secret about those years that she's never told Zadie. With Nick now back in their lives, that secret is going to come out.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe, by Richard Dee

4Star SciFi, ISBN 9780995458161, June 2017

Andorra Pett and her friend Cy have fled Earth for a mining colony in orbit around Saturn after they both had bad breakups with their boyfriends. Andi, who ran a dress shop on Earth, has bought a bar, the Lucky Strike, which she plans to rename The Oort Cloud Cafe.

Unfortunately, on their first day, they find the body of Mike, the previous owner, who is supposed to have left the station suddenly after alcohol was banned, in one of the bar's two freezers.

It quickly becomes clear to them that local politics are sufficiently complicated that they'd be the most convenient suspects, even if it makes no sense. They can't report the body until they solve the crime.

I started this book expecting to find it silly and light, with the mystery just a convenience providing some structure. It's by no means a heavy, dark book, but there's some real substance to both the story and the characters.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wintersmith (Tiffany Aching #3), by Terry Pratchett (author), Stephen Briggs (narrator)

HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061373398, January 2007 (original publication 2006)

I love Pratchett's Discworld books, and I particularly love the Tiffany Aching books, so it was a surprise to me that I apparently missed noticing Wintersmith for ten years. Well, at least it means a new-for-me Pratchett when I thought that opportunity was gone.

Tiffany Aching is an apprentice witch, currently living with a witch in the mountains, far from her beloved chalk hills. She's taken as part of her training to watch a dance she didn't know existed, the Dark Morris, which brings the beginning of winter as the Morris Dance we know brings the beginning of summer.

Since this is the Discworld, the dances really do bring the starts of those seasons.

Monday, February 5, 2018

As Bright as Heaven, by Susan Meissner

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780399585968, February 2018

In 1918, with the Great War under way, but not yet having a big impact at home in America, the Bright family moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia. Thomas Bright has been asked to join his Uncle Fred's undertaker business, and eventually be his heir.

It's not Thomas's viewpoint, or Fred's, that we see this story from. It's Thomas's wife, Pauline, and their three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa, who tell the story.

All seems bright and hopeful when they arrive. Evelyn has access both to her uncle's own library, and to the public library not far away. Maggie makes friends with Charlie Sutcliffe, and his older brother, Jamie, who live across the street. Willa makes new friends. Thomas learns to be an undertaker, and in time, a fully trained mortician. Fred is reluctant to agree, at first, but Pauline takes over the cosmetics for the dead, once they are embalmed and any major injuries repaired by Thomas and Fred. Even more gradually and reluctantly, Maggie is allowed to join her mother in that final preparation of the dead. They both find comfort and fulfillment in it.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A High-End Finish (Fixer-Upper Mystery #1), by Kate Carlisle (author), Angela Starling (narrator)

Audible Studios, December 2014

Shannon Hammer runs a home renovation and repair business in her home town of Lighthouse Cove, California--very happily and successfully. She's single, though, and lets a friend talk her into going on a blind date.

It's a mistake, ending in a very public struggle on the beach when her date, Jerry Saxton, doesn't want to take no for an answer. She and some of the spectators drive him off. She's not hurt, though, and puts off reporting it to the police until morning--and then gets caught up in issues relating to the current jobs her crew is working on. One of those is a call from a client. He's gotten a call from a neighbor that there's running water in the house Shannon is renovating for him. He's still in San Francisco; can she go check it out? She does--and finds a dead body, Jerry Saxton. And he was killed with one of Shannon's tools.