Category: Murder by the Book meeting lists, star ratings
Valentine's Day for Mystery Lovers
Looking for something a little romantic for mid-February? Try the Murder by the Book reading list
A Love to Die For: Husband and Wife Detective Teams.
This list was created in 2005.
Some highlights from this list:
Conrad Allen: Murder on the Lusitania
Book # 1 with George and Genevieve Dillman, who work as detectives on luxury ocean liners, early 1900s
* * *
Carrie Bebris: Pride and Prescience
Book # 1 with Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, from Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice; 19th century England
* * *
Peter May: The Firemaker
Book # 1 with police detective Li Yan and American pathologist Margaret Campbell, Beijing; the New China series
* * *
Elizabeth Peters: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Book # 1 with Amelia Peabody, Victorian feminist Egyptologist & husband scholar-colleague Radcliffe Emerson
* * *
Last but not least, an actual Valentine's Day mystery:
Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
Book # 26 with Hamish Macbeth, a police constable in Scotland
* * *
Find more Murder by the Book themed mystery reading lists in the Reader's Café
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
The Calling of the Grave
by Simon Beckett
Forensic science/British police procedural
Book # 4 with Dr. David Hunter, forensic anthropologist in England
Book review from Euro Crime: Forensic anthropologist David Hunter continues his geographical wanderings after his experiences in Norfolk, a remote Scottish island and at Tennessee's "murder farm" in three earlier books. This latest in the series has a prologue set in the past, when Hunter's wife and child were still alive. Hunter is asked by DI Terry Connor to attend an exhumation on Dartmoor. The body turns out to be that of a young teenager killed by "monster" Jerome Monk. Monk has been found guilty of killing her and other young women, so when he offers from his prison cell to reveal the sites of the other graves, he is brought out to the moors along with the police, prison officers and their various specialist medical and behavioural advisors. Of course, things don't go as planned. . . .
Read the rest of the Euro Crime review here.
First book: The Chemistry of Death
Christmas mysteries 2011
Time to re-read my favourite Sherlock Holmes Christmas story:
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (or read it online here)
and my one of my favourite Holmes spin-offs:
Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose
Summary: When a priceless ruby known as the Malabar Rose vanishes while being guarded by Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson, the formidable Mrs. Hudson sets out to give a lesson in criminal deduction for her most famous and logical of tenants, the master sleuth himself. NoveList
## Related post: MBTB review of Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose
* * *
2011 Christmas mysteries include:
Elizabeth Duncan: A Killer's Christmas in Wales
Book # 2 with Penny Brannigan, a manicurist and expatriate Canadian living in Llanelen, Wales
Summary: As the townsfolk of the Welsh valley town of Llanelen settle in for the snowiest winter in 25 years, an American stranger arrives. Harry Saunders charms the ladies and convinces Evelyn Lloyd, a wealthy widow, to invest money with him. When he goes missing with her money his body is soon discovered with a letter opener belonging to Mrs. Lloyd in his back. It's up to Penny Brannigan to prove her innocence.
Carol K. Carr: India Black and the Widow of Windsor
Book # 2 with India Black, a young madam running a brothel catering to gentlemen, in 1870s London, England
Summary: Spy for Queen Victoria, India Black, disguises herself as a servant to protect Her Highness from a possible assassination attempt by Scottish nationalists while spending the Christmas holidays in Balmoral. NoveList
Alan Bradley: I Am Half Sick of Shadows
Book # 4 with Flavia de Luce, an 11-year old sleuth and aspiring chemist in 1950, in the small village of Bishop’s Lacey, England
Summary: Colonel de Luce rents his beloved estate of Buckshaw to a film company. They will be shooting a movie over the Christmas holidays with a reclusive star. She is widely despised, so it is to no one's surprise when she turns up murdered, strangled by a length of film from one of her own movies! With a blizzard raging outside and Buckshaw locked in, the house is full of suspects. But Flavia de Luce is more than ready to put aside her investigations into the existence of Father Christmas to solve this yuletide country-house murder. NoveList
## Related post: MBTB review of I Am Half Sick of Shadows
* * * * *
Want more Christmas and Holiday mysteries?
Check out the book list Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's) (in the Reader's Cafe/Book & Author lists/Mysteries)
## Christmas mystery posts from previous years:
Holiday Mysteries Update 2010
Update for 2009: Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's) (contains plot descriptions)
Murder by the Book discussion group meeting: Chilly Bones: Winter and Winter Holiday Mysteries (contains star ratings and plot descriptions)
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
by Linda Castillo
American police procedural, Rural
Book # 3 with Kate Burkholder, female chief of police in the Amish town of Painters Mill, Ohio
Summary: When Solly and Rachel Slabaugh, along with Solly's brother Abel, are found dead in a hog pit, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates the gruesome scene. Once again teaming up with Agent John Tomasetti, Kate reveals that the death may not have been accidental, but one of the most horrific hate crimes ever to befall the Amish community of Painter's Creek. NoveList
First book: Sworn to Silence
Something for Remembrance Day
It's time for me to re-read the first book in one of my favourite series:
Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs *****
Book # 1 with Maisie Dobbs, a psychologist and investigator based in 1920s and 1930s London, England
Summary: Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.
## Related post: MBTB full review of Maisie Dobbs # 1
* * * * *
Other mystery series that take place during or just after World War I or II:
Charles Todd's series with
Ian Rutledge, a shell-shocked World War I veteran returning to his job at Scotland Yard, in London, England.
A Test of Wills **** ½
Summary: Ian Rutledge returns to his career at Scotland Yard after fighting in the war, still suffering from shell shock. His next case, with a war-ravaged ex-soldier as the witness, could spell disaster for him. NoveList
Charles Todd's new series with
Bess Crawford, a British army nurse in WWI
First book: A Duty to the Dead *** ½
Summary: Independent-minded Bess Crawford's upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. At the outbreak of WWI, she volunteers for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, she promises to a deliver a message from a dying officer to his brother. Once she's able to do so, she's disturbed at the brother's indifferent reception of the message, and when an unexpected turn of events provides her with an opportunity to stay with the family for a short time, she takes it. NoveList
Barbara Cleverly's series with
Commander Joe Sandilands, a World War I veteran and Scotland Yard detective assigned to post-WWI India
First book: The Last Kashmiri Rose (2001) *****
Summary: In March of each of the past five years the wife of a cavalry officer in the Bengal Greys has met with and violent and terrifying death. World War I hero and detective Joe Sandilands finds himself running a race against time. Publisher's description
James Benn's series with Billy Boyle, a Boston cop from a family of Boston cops, on the staff of distant relative, General Eisenhower, during WWII
First book: Billy Boyle ****
Summary: Billy Boyle is a Boston cop, from a family of Boston cops, but he is a reluctant soldier who prefers walking the beat in Southie to fighting Nazis. Using her cousin by marriage, a certain General Eisenhower, Billys mother lands her son a seemingly soft job with Ikes staff in London. But Ike wants Billy to use his investigative know-how to sniff out a possible spy in the Allies inner circle. Young Billy, oversold by his mother as a crackerjack detective, is definitely in over his head, especially when it turns out that the apparent suicide of a Norwegian dignitary may have been the work of the spy. . . . Booklist
## Related post: MBTB mini-review of The First Wave # 2
Want more titles?
Here is a list in the Regina Public Library catalogue generated by the key words "world war mystery fiction".
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
by Lee Child
Action/adventure/lone wolf investigator
Book # 16 with Jack Reacher, ex-military policeman in the USA
Summary: Child’s compelling 16th thriller featuring incorruptible vigilante Jack Reacher rewinds the clock to 1997 when Reacher was still a military cop and working on the case that led to his eventual break with the Army. Reacher must figure out whether the shocking murder of 27-year-old Janice May Chapman in Carter Crossing, Miss., has any connection with nearby Fort Kelham, where Army Rangers are trained. . . . Publisher's Weekly
If you haven't started this series yet, read The Affair as a prequel to the first book, Killing Floor
## Related posts:
MBTB review of Bad Luck and Trouble # 11
MBTB review of 61 Hours # 14
Mysteries set in Greece
Before, during and after any trip I take, I try to read mysteries set in the destination. Here's what I've read so far about Greece - I was on vacation there from mid-May till mid-June.
These books run the gamut of contemporary, historical, police procedural (and at least one with a "woo woo" component).
Barbara Cleverly: Tomb of Zeus (2007) *** ½
Historical, set on the island of Crete in 1928.
Book # 1 with amateur archaeologist Laetitia Talbot
MBTB mini-review: After she is tossed out of Cambridge for bad behaviour, Laetitia goes to help with an archaeological dig in Greece. While there, she gets involved looking into the death of the head archaeologist’s wife. This was a re-read for me, and I liked it better now that I’ve been to Greece.
Book # 2 Bright Hair About the Bone is actually set earlier in time than this book, and could be read first.
* * *
Lindsay Davis: See Delphi and Die (2005)
** ½ for the mystery
*** for the description of traveling, the historical setting and the characters
Book # 17 with Marcus Didius Falco, an “informer” for Emperor Vespasian in 1st century Rome
Summary: Now married to his beloved Helena Justina, Marcus Didius Falco is hired to take on a murder investigation that will require him and Helena to travel to Olympia, Greece, to uncover the truth about a series of disappearances. NoveList
MBTB mini-review: The best parts, for me, were the descriptions of the ancient sites (Olympia, Athens and Delphi), ancient even then, and the tribulations of being a tourist. The characters were great, but the mystery didn't really catch my interest.
First book: Silver Pigs
* * *
Paul Johnston: A Deeper Shade of Blue (2002) ****
Private investigator, Greece
Book # 1 with Alex Mavros, a half-Greek, half-Scottish private investigator in Greece
Summary: When Alex Mavros is asked to track down a missing woman, he jumps at the chance to leave the stifling heat of Athens. Travelling to the small island of Trigono, he soon realizes that there is more than one mystery to be solved. How did a young couple drown in the nets of a fishing boat? Why did a British journalist leave without telling her friends? Why is the millionaire Theocharis so nervous and whose bones does old Maro keep beneath her bed? The answers lie in events that took place during the Second World War, events that tie in with the island's most ancient history. In a race to prevent a terrible crime being repeated, Alex Mavros is pitted against a ruthless and depraved killer... Fantastic Fiction
MBTB mini-review: Lots of action and interesting descriptions of the Greek islands. I liked the character of Alex and I'm going to track down Book # 2.
Next book: The Last Red Death
* * *
Jeffrey Siger: Assassins of Athens (2010) ** ½
Book # 2 with Andreas Kaldis, a Chief Inspector in Athens, Greece
Summary: Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis investigates after the body of a boy from one of Greece's most prominent families turns up dead in a dumpster in Athens.
MBTB mini-review: a little over the top but good detail on Greece. Not bad, but I doubt if I would have read it if not for my upcoming trip.
First book: Murder on Mykonos
* * *
Mary Stewart: My Brother Michael (1959) ****
non-series, set in Greece
Summary: Camilla Haven and her mysterious companion, Simon, are plunged into a deadly adventure as they search Delphi for the truth implied in a letter Simon's brother, Michael, had written before his death.
MBTB mini-review: Nicely done romantic suspense, with a little more action and violence than I remembered, having read it for the first time several years ago.
* * *
Anne Zouroudi: The Messenger of Athens (2007) ***
Book # 1 with Hermes Diaktoros, the Fat Man, a mysterious investigator from Athens, Greece
Summary: Idyllic but remote, the Greek island of Thiminos seems untouched and untroubled by the modern world. When the battered body of a young woman is discovered at the foot of a cliff, the local police - governed more by archaic rules of honour than by the law - are quick to close the case, dismissing the death as an accident.
MBTB mini-review: Hermes Diaktoros is an otherworldly investigator, with mysterious powers connected to Greek mythology. He appears on a remote Greek island after the death of young woman is written off as suicide. About half the book takes place before the murder, setting the scene. I preferred the second half, reading about the unusual Hermes talking to people and solving the mystery. Nice descriptions, and the "woo woo" aspects were subtle and believable in context.
* * *
Try the Stop, You're Killing Me! location index - Greece for a few more suggestions.
I'm reviving the category Murder by the Book meeting lists for themed lists with star ratings. This category was used for several years to report the star ratings assigned by our mystery book group members after we discussed mysteries with a particular theme.
Check out the themed book lists Pat and I created, still available in the Readers' Cafe - Book and Author Lists - Mysteries
series descriptions from Stop, You're Killing Me!
posted by Sharon
WHAT I'M READING NOW:
by Jan Burke
Book # 11 with Irene Kelly, a newspaper reporter in southern California
Summary: When the master criminal sons of serial killer Nick Parrish formulate a plan to spring their father from prison, investigative journalist Irene Kelly finds herself targeted by a deadly vengeance plot. NoveList
First book: Goodnight Irene
In the midst of the lazy days of summer, even if I'm not at the beach, I seek out "Beach Reads".
Check out the Summer 2009 MBTB blog post Murder by the Book discussion group meeting: Death Takes a Holiday: Beach Reads and More
Click here to see the full MBTB Beach Reads reading list online.
Download the list as a Word document.
And just a couple months ago, I posted Hawaii Mysteries.
* * * * * * * * * *
The latest book in the Judge Deborah Knott series was a beach read for me:
Margaret Maron: Sand Sharks (2009) ****
Book # 15 with Deborah Knott, a district judge in North Carolina
Deborah is attending a judges’ conference at a beach hotel. When a judge is murdered outside a restaurant where many from the conference were dining, police ask Deborah to keep her ears open.
First book: Bootlegger’s Daughter (1992)
## Related post: MBTB review of Rituals of the Season # 11
posted by Sharon
I've just spent a few days in Hawaii and decided to read some Hawaii-themed mysteries. Here is what I've read, with brief comments and star ratings:
(I've added this post to the Murder by the Book meeting lists category - although those meetings are on hiatus, a themed reading list like this seems to fit in.)
Collins, Max Allan:
The Pearl Harbor Murders (2001) *** ½
Book # 3 in The Disaster Series
Summary: On the eve of World War II, Edgar Rice Burroughs is enjoying the peace of Honolulu, until he stumbles upon the body of Pearl Harada, a popular, young Japanese-American singer, on the beach, but his investigation into the crime is soon interrupted by the December 7, 1941 attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor.
MBTB review: I had a great time reading this book while I was in Honolulu - Collins slips in the history so well I enjoyed my visit more for having read it.
I've liked all the books I've read in this series - each book has a different famous writer as a protagonist. The Pearl Harbor Murders is the only one set in Hawaii, but check out the rest:
The Titanic murders (c 1999)
The Hindenburg murders (c 2000)
The Lusitania murders (c2002)
The London Blitz murders (2004)
The War of the Worlds Murder (2005)
The George Eliot Murders (1995) ***
Book # 2 with Beth Austin, an English professor
Summary: During a sabbatical in Hawaii, college professor and amateur sleuth Beth Austin prepares a seminar on George Eliot's "Middlemarch," only to find her peaceful excursion interrupted by murder, a fierce storm, and an unknown killer.
MBTB review: This book takes place on a resort on Hawaii (otherwise known as The Big Island). Besides the mystery, it was an interesting look at resort life - the tennis, the food, etc.
The Flaming Luau of Death (2005) *** ½
Book # 7 with Madeline Bean, event planner based in L.A. This book is set in Hawaii (The Big Island)
Summary: Throwing a fashionable "destination" bridal shower in Hawaii when her beloved assistant becomes engaged, Madeline Bean investigates the discovery of a dead body at the height of the festivities and wonders if her assistant's sudden cold feet may be related to her mystery marriage ten years earlier.
MBTB review: Great sense of place as Madeline drives around the island trying to make sense of the young man's death.
Elkins, Aaron: Where There’s a Will (2005) *** ½
Book # 12 with forensic anthropology professor Gideon Oliver
Summary: Forensics expert Gideon Oliver journeys to Hawaii (The Big Island) to uncover a deadly family plot involving greed, intrigue, skullduggery, and murder.
MBTB review: this book gives a glimpse into the ranching history of The Big Island, as Gideon and his friend John visit friends who own a working ranch. The mystery involves a couple of wealthy uncles, the original ranch owners, who died under suspicious circumstances 20 years before.
Still on my "To Be Read" bookshelf:
Muller, Marcia: A Walk Through Fire (1999)
Book # 20 with private investigator Sharon McCone
Summary: While investigating sabotage on the set of a controversial film in Kauai, San Francisco sleuth Sharon McCone finds a violent world of long-buried family secrets, drug dealing, political machinations, and murder. Novelist
Shelton, Connie: Vacations Can Be Murder (1996)
Book # 2 with Charlie (Charlotte) Parker, a Certified Public Accountant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, owns a private investigation agency with her brother
Summary: On a helicopter tour of Kauai, Charlie spots a dead body on a cliff. The body is that of a loan shark and when the pilot's friend is arrested for murder, the pilot asks Charlie to clear his name.
To find most of these books, I pulled the "Hawaii" entries from the MBTB Death Takes a Holiday: Beach Reads and More reading list. I also sifted through my Mystery Memo database for Hawaii and re-read a few of my favourites.
some plot summaries from Novelist. some character descriptions from Stop, You're Killing Me!
* * * * * * * * * *
Tagging in the Encore catalogue:
I've been playing with the Tagging function in the Encore catalogue.
Here's my selection of Hawaii mysteries tagged Sharon's picks Hawaii mystery stories.
I'm not convinced of the usefulness of this function yet, but I can see some possibilities.
posted by Sharon
Update for 2009: Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's)
Have you gone through our Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's) reading list and want more? (Click here to download the reading list that was created in 2008)
* * * * * * * * * *
Here is a new selection of mysteries set during the Christmas season (published in 2008 and 2009):
Winter of Secrets (2009)
Book # 3
Booklist Review: Constable Molly Smith would rather be skiing. It is Christmas Eve in Trafalgar, British Columbia, and she is stuck on duty during a big snow storm. . . . At midnight, the dispatcher sends her to an accident scene. A car has gone off the road and landed in the river. The two occupants are dead, and everyone thinks that it is a tragic accident. When the coroner takes a closer look, the case becomes a murder investigation. . . .
Delany effectively combines a cozy tone and a picturesque setting with plenty of action and procedural detail.
The Fleet Street Murders (2009)
Book # 3
Summary: Celebrating the 1866 holiday season at the side of his fiancée, amateur sleuth Charles Lenox is drawn into the double-homicide case of two reporters, an investigation that is complicated by a police ruling that the killings are unrelated.
It's beginning to look a lot like murder: a Cassie O'Malley mystery (2009)
Book # 3
Kirkus Reviews: . . . Cassie O'Malley's job with a New Jersey tabloid may be on its last legs. Her new boss, impatient with the non-producing Cassie, sends her to cover the Christmas shopping rush at the mall. Bored, Cassie spends most of her time in the food court watching children visit Santa Claus until loan shark Big Mack is found dead in the men's room. . . . .
On the evidence here, Markowitz's humorous murder series isn't exactly laugh-out-loud funny, but you'll meet a number of amusing characters en route to the surprise ending.
Plum Pudding Murder (2009)
Book # 12
Summary: Rumour has it that "Lunatic Larry" Jaeger is in the red--an idea that takes a sinister turn when Hannah discovers the man himself dead as a doornail in his own office. It seems quite a few people would have liked to fill Larry's stocking with coal and then bash him with it. With so many suspects to investigate and the twelve days of Christmas ticking away, Hannah's running out of time to nab a murderous Scrooge who doesn't want her to see the New Year.
Katherine Hall Page:
The Body in the Sleigh : a Faith Fairchild mystery(2009)
Book # 18
Summary: Faith Fairchild looks for a connection between the death of Norah, a teenage drug addict whose body was found in an antique sleigh, and the discovery of a newborn baby boy in the manger in spinster Mary Bethany's barn on Christmas Eve.
A Christmas promise (2009)
Book # 7 in Perry's Christmas series
Summary: When a younger fellow orphan is imperiled by her uncle's murder and the disappearance of a family donkey, Gracie, Charlotte Pitt's maid, aids the child's search for both the killer and the donkey.
Murder in the Dark : a Phryne Fisher mystery (2009; c2006)
Book # 15
Summary: Socialite Phyrne Fisher investigates after guests begin disappearing from a weekend party at the Werribee Manor House hosted by the Golden Twins, Isabella and Gerald Templar.
Merry, Merry Ghost (2009)
Book # 2 with ghost Bailey Ruth Raeburn
Summary: When a determined heir moves to block a wealthy woman's attempt to include her newly discovered grandson in her will, it is up to good-intentioned ghost Bailey Ruth Raeburn to protect a little boy, foil a murderer, and save Christmas.
Rumpole at Christmas (2009)
(a selection of Christmas short stories with Horace Rumpole, an elderly “junior” barrister, and Old Bailey hack, in London, England)
Mrs. Jeffries and the yuletide weddings (2009)
Book # 26 with the Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
Summary: Inspector Witherspoon and his staff find their preparations disrupted for the yuletide wedding of Betsy and Smythe when they discover the murder of a middle-aged spinster by someone hoping to make it look like a random crime.
Holiday Grind (2009)
Book # 8
Summary: Coffeehouse manager and head barista Clare Cosi and her NYPD detective boyfriend discover the snowy body of a man dressed up in a Santa suit, and become convinced the death was more than a mugging gone awry.
Holly and Homicide (2009)
Book # 7 in the Domestic Bliss mysteries series
Fantistic Fiction: It's Christmastime in sleepy Snowcap, Colorado, and the town is up in arms. The venerable Goodwin Estate has been sold to enterprising out of towners and is getting a major makeover just in time for the holidays. Interior designers Erin Gilbert and Steve Sullivan walked smack into a storm of chaos. . . . (when) a local building inspector is found strangled with a strand of Christmas lights, Gilbert and Sullivan begin to suspect it might be time to leave this psychodrama of a project behind.
But after an incompetent sheriff accuses Erin of murder and there's another gruesome killing, the only way out is to turn detective. Her new job: solve a mystery with too many clues.and far too many guilty parties..
Hark! The herald angel screamed : an Augusta Goodnight mystery (with heavenly recipes) by Mignon F. Ballard (2008)
Book # 7
Summary: During the Christmas season, a mysterious stranger falling to his death from her grandmother's abandoned mansion revives Lucy Nan's memory of childhood stories of a ghost of a girl who fell from the same spot long ago. It's up to Augusta Goodnight, heavenly sleuth and guardian angel, to determine whether his demise was spectral or the result of human misdeeds.
Christmas is murder : a Rex Graves mystery (2008)
Book # 1
Booklist Review: /*Starred Review*/ . . . The amateur detective is Rex Graves, a Scottish barrister, fond of Sudoku puzzles and Latin quotations. In an old-fashioned conceit, Challinor begins with a cast of characters, along with hints of possible motives for each. Although set firmly in the present, with numerous references to the Iraq War, his tale reads like a classic country-house mystery. Rex and the others are snowed in at the Swanmere Manor hotel in East Sussex, England. Being the last to arrive . . . Rex immediately hears of the unexpected demise of one of the other guests. Even though they are in touch with the outside world, the authorities instruct the hotel staff to keep the body in a cool room with the windows open. By the time the police arrive days later, additional bodies have piled up and motives are rampant . . . A must for cozy fans.
Ringing in Murder (2008)
Book # 16
Summary: In the midst of her preparations for a festive holiday celebration at the Pennyfoot Hotel and her friend Madeline's upcoming wedding, Cecily Sinclair Baxter must turn sleuth when a mysterious fire breaks out in a upstairs room, killing two guests, and Cecily's only clue is a pair of missing Christmas crackers.
Livia J. Washburn:
The Christmas Cookie Killer .(2008)
Book # 3
Summary: Looking forward to the end of a very unlucky year, retired teacher and amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom enters the Christmas cookie bake-off contest for fun, but during the annual cookie exchange, she discovers the elderly Mrs. Simmons dead in a pile of lime sugar cookies.
Six Geese A-slaying (2008)
Book # 10
Summary: With their home being used as the marshalling point for the annual Caerphilly Christmas parade, Meg Langslow, her husband Michael, and Chief Burke find the festivities interrupted by murder when the local curmudgeon playing Santa turns up dead.
Fleece Navidad (2008)
Book # 6 in the Knitting Mysteries series
Summary: The knitters of Fort Connor, Colorado, including Juliet, the town librarian, are working feverishly on their Christmas projects, but when Juliet turns up dead, suspicion falls on a newcomer to the knitting group.
Dying in a winter wonderland : an anthology of winter holiday crime stories to benefit the Toys for Tots
compiled and edited by Tony Burton (2008)
.... thirteen crime stories of the holidays season, from robbery to supernatural vengeance to redemption to outright murder. The thirteen authors are: Marian Allen, Janice Alonso, Allan E. Ansorge, Gayle Bartos-Pool, Tony Burton, Austin S. Camacho, S. M. Harding, Peg Herring, Gary R. Hoffman. M. E. Kemp, Terrie Farley Moran, Radine Trees Nehring and Helen Schwartz.
some plot summaries from Novelist
some series descriptions from Stop, You're Killing Me!
posted by Sharon
Murder by the Book discussion group meeting: Chilly Bones: Winter and Winter Holiday Mysteries
From the MBTB archives, here are the titles which were reviewed at the December 2008 meeting of the Murder By the Book discussion group.
Our topic was Chilly Bones: Winter and Winter Holiday Mysteries.
To see the full MBTB reading lists online,
click Winter Mysteries and Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's)
download the lists as Microsoft Word documents:
Winter Mysteries or Holiday Mysteries (Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's)
Following are the books reviewed at the Murder by the Book discussion group meeting on December 10, 2008:
Free Fire (2007) ****
The devious governor of Wyoming promises recently-fired game warden Joe Pickett his job back if he will investigate a multiple murder in Yellowstone National Park. The killer has already confessed to the crime, but was freed because of jurisdictional disputes between federal and state law.
Book # 7 in series.
Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown:
Santa Clawed (2008) ****
Former postmistress Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen and her animal companions, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter the cats and Tucker the Welsh Corgi, set out to track down the killer after someone starts murdering monks at the Brothers of Love Christmas Tree Farm.
Book # 17 in series.
The Chocolate Snowman Murders (2008)***
Suspicion falls on Michigan chocolatier Lee McKinney Woodyard and her husband when a visiting juror for the local Winterfest celebration dies suspiciously after showing up drunk and putting the moves on Lee.
Book # 8 in series.
Merchant of Menace(1998) ** ½
Widowed suburban sleuth Jane Jeffrey is in the midst of organizing a neighbourhood caroling party and cookie exchange when the sleazy local reporter who is trying to crash the party winds up dead.
Book # 10.
Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark:
Deck the Halls (2000) *** ½
Carol Higgins Clark's sleuth Regan Reilly meets Mary Higgins Clark's sleuth Alvirah Meehan at a New Jersey dentist's office and they join forces after they learn that Regan's father has been kidnapped.
Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark:
The Christmas Thief (2004) *** ½
Lottery winner-turned-amateur sleuth Alvirah Meehan joins with private detective Regan Reilly to track down the ninety-foot tree, destined for display in Rockefeller Center, that vanished en route to the city.
Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose (2005) ****
When a priceless ruby known as the Malabar Rose vanishes on Christmas Day while being guarded by Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson, the formidable Mrs. Hudson sets out to give a lesson in criminal deduction for her most famous and logical of tenants, the master sleuth himself.
Mrs. Hudson mysteries Book # 2
## Related post: MBTB full review of Mrs. Hudson and the Malabar Rose
Slay Ride (2006) ****
Complaining about a reckless limousine driver he encountered at the beginning of a Christmas season business trip, executive Scott Wilkinson finds himself targeted by the mentally unstable and vengeful driver.
Publishers Review: Not for the weak of stomach, this Christmas-season thriller involves raunchy strip shows and graphic KGB-style executions.
Holiday Thrillers series with FBI special agent Christopher Miller, Book # 1
## Related post: MBTB review of Slay Ride
Hell for the Holidays 2007) ****
FBI agent Chris Miller promised his wife he’d start to ease up on the dangerous parts of the job, but he gets personally involved when a young neighbour boy is kidnapped on Hallowe’en and later found unharmed. After several other unusual incidents leading up to the busy Christmas season, Chris is one of the few who realize that several apparently unconnected cases are indeed linked to some kind of terrorist plot.
Holiday Thrillers series with FBI special agent Christopher Miller, Book # 2
Smoke without Fire (1989) ****
Andrew Basnett, a retired professor of botany, finds his Christmas getting complicated when he is caught up in the eventful aftermath of the death of Sir Lucas Deardon, Queens Counsel, who is killed by a mysterious bomb.
A Long December (2003) ****
Iowa deputy sheriff Carl Houseman finds links to a terrorist cell based at the local meat-packing plant after a pair of elderly brothers accidentally witness an execution-style murder on the road outside their farm.
Book # 5, Carl Houseman series
Glossed And Found (2007) *** ½
When Venus Envy's new makeup artist, Lisa Tremont, vanishes on the night of the Thanksgiving Gala, and her car is found near Lookout Pier, the police believe that the woman drowned, but Persia Vanderbilt believes that the woman's disappearance could be tied to some missing inheritance money.
Bath and Body mysteries Book # 3
Winter's Child (2006) *** ½
Rendezvous Review: Judge Deborah Knott and her husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, have only been married for a month. Dwight's eight-year-old son, Cal, calls, pleading for his Dad to come to Virginia. Upon arrival Dwight finds that his ex-wife has not only left their son alone for twenty-four hours, but has disappeared, leaving almost no trace or reason for having left town.
Series with Deborah Knott, district judge in North Carolina
Book # 12
## Related post: MBTB review of Rituals of the Season Book # 11
Cooked Goose (1998) *****
Determined to rid the world of a rapist who dons a Santa suit to attack women at a local shopping mall, food connoisseur and P.I. Savannah Reid is delighted to find that one of her self-defense pupils--Markie Bloss--fought off the attacker, and is hired to be Markie's bodyguard to find a killer amidst the holiday mayhem.
Book # 4 with Savannah Reid, a plus-sized private investigator in southern California
New Year's Eve Murder ** ½
Winning mother/daughter makeovers in Manhattan from "Jolie" magazine, Lucy Stone and her daughter Elizabeth witness a murder that casts a negative light on several high-style fashionistas and places Elizabeth's life in danger.
Book # 12 of the Lucy Stone mysteries
A Christmas Guest (2005) ***
Book # 3 in Perry's Christmas series. Includes Grandmama, Caroline, and Joshua Fielding from the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. During a holiday visit to the home of Charlotte Pitt's parents, Grandmama is called upon to play the role of amateur detective when a fellow guest--an outcast from her own family--is murdered.
Frost at Christmas (1984) *****
The irascible Detective Inspector Jack Frost spends the holiday season searching for a missing child with the help of a dubious psychic and a bumbling new partner.
Book # 1 with Detective Inspector Jack Frost in Denton, England.
The television series A Touch of Frost was based on this series of books. The episode Care and Protection (Episode 1, Season 1) was based on this book, Frost at Christmas.
* * * * * * * * * *
plot synopsis and series information mainly from Novelist and the Stop, You're Killing Me! databases
Murder by the Book discussion group meeting: Mystical Mysteries: "The Woo-Woo Factor"
These mysteries relate to the supernatural and the occult and various psychic powers. The books sometimes overlap with Fantasy or Horror genres since many of the detectives or their associates are just not human. They may be vampires, ghosts, witches, psychics or sentient computer programs, and the crimes themselves may also have an otherworldly quality about them. The guilty parties in these crimes are often beings which cannot be killed or brought to justice by the usual means, and it takes the arcane knowledge possessed only by the detective or his otherworldly helpers to destroy these fiends.
You will probably enjoy this group of mysteries more if you are able to suspend your disbelief and accept characters, settings and turns of plot that may or may not be true to the universe we normally live in. Many of the books in this category appear to be written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with liberal splashes of black humor, and the apocalyptic confrontations between good and evil they depict often have a metaphorical quality to them.
Click Mystical Mysteries: "The Woo-Woo Factor" to see the entire list online
Download Mystical Mysteries: "The Woo-Woo Factor" as a Word document.
Following are the books our members talked about and reviewed (star ratings are out of a possible five). (we've gone back into the MBTB discussion group archives and have updated the reading list....)
Madeline Alt: The Trouble with Magic (2006) ***
Book # 1 with Maggie O’Neill, an antique shop clerk, and her employer Felicity Dow, a self-proclaimed witch, in Stony Mill, Indiana; the Bewitching mysteries
Starting a new job at Enchantments antique shop, Maggie O'Neill is unexpectedly immersed in mystery when her boss, a self-proclaimed witch, is arrested for murdering her estranged sister, a crime in which it is up to Maggie to prove her innocence, with a little help from beyond.
Jim Butcher: Storm Front (2001) ****
Book # 1 with Harry Dresden, the only wizard listed in the yellow pages in Chicago, Illinois; The Dresden Files Mysteries
Publishers Weekly Review: Harry Dresden is a wizard, but he doesn't live in a fantasyland. He's a freelance consultant in a two-bit office in Chicago, and he's two months behind on his rent. When a woman hires him to track down her missing husband, it seems like easy money. But soon victims are being found murdered by sorcery, with their hearts magically removed from their chests. . . .
Shirley Damsgaard: Witch Way to Murder (2005) ***
Book # 1 with Ophelia Jensen, a reluctant witch who is a librarian, and her grandmother Abby, in a small town in Iowa.
Thirty-something librarian--and psychic--Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother Abby, a practicing witch, set out to uncover the truth about an enigmatic, handsome stranger whose recent arrival in their tranquil Iowa town has apparently triggered an onslaught of disaster, from the theft of bomb-making materials to murder.
P.N. Elrod: Cold Streets (2003) *** ½
Book # 10 with former reporter Jack Fleming, now a vampire; the Vampire Files
Vampire private detective and nightclub owner Jack Fleming takes on Hurley Dugan, a ruthless and vengeful blackmailer who knows all-too-much about Jack's unnatural secret and who is willing to do anything to help members of the New York mob take over the club. Set in 1938 Chicago.
First book: Bloodlist (1990)
Loren D. Estleman: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, or, The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count / by John H. Watson as edited by Loren D. Estleman (2003, c2000, originally published 1978) *** ½
Fantastic Fiction: A tale for Holmes and Dracula fans alike. It is 1890 and a crewless ship is found floating off the English coast, its cargo 50 boxes of earth. The murdered captain is lashed to the wheel and Holmes, aided as ever by Dr Watson, finds himself on the trail of none other than the arch-vampire himself.
The Weaver and the Factory Maid (2003) *** ½
Book # 1 with Ringan Lane, British folk musician. Ringan is able to contact the ghosts of people whose lives have been immortalized in folk ballads; The Haunted Ballads series.
Novelist: The owner of a restored eighteenth-century cottage, British folk musician Ringan Laine discovers that the property is haunted, and is assisted by his girlfriend Penny in researching the identities of his otherworldly tenants.
Michael Gruber: Tropic of Night (2003) *****
Book # 1 with Jimmy Paz, Afro-Cuban Miami homicide detective; Paz becomes involved in some eerie cases that involve African witchcraft, voodoo, Santeria , magic, Catholic saints, Shamanism
Novelist: When her sister is killed during a scientific study, an anthropologist fakes her own suicide and hides in Miami to prevent herself from becoming the latest victim in a string of ritualistic murders.
## Related post: MBTB review of Tropic of Night
Dean James: Posted to Death (2002) *** ½
Book # 1 with Simon Kirby-Jones, a gay American writer who became a vampire in Houston, now living in Snupperton Mumsley, a small village in England.
Novelist: American vampire sleuth Simon Kirby-Jones arrives in the cozy village of Snupperton Mumsley to start a new life, but when Abigail Winterton, the town's nasty postmistress, is murdered after a rather spirited meeting of SMADS (the Snupperton Mumsley Amateur Dramatic Society), Simon must dig through a wealth of suspects to expose a killer.
John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem:
The Radioactive Redhead (2005) ****
Book # 3 with Zachary Nixon Johnson, the last private detective on Earth
With danger dodging his heels at every turn, private investigator Zachary Nixon Johnson, while protecting Sexy Sprockets, a talentless redheaded teen media superstar, from terrorists, finds himself at the mercy of three psionic, superhuman dominatrices bent on world domination.
First book: The Plutonium Blonde (2001)
## Related post: MBTB review of The Blue-Haired Bombshell # 5
Janet Evanovich: Plum Spooky (2008) ***
Plum Spooky is the third of Evanovich's "between the numbers" Stephanie Plum titles.
I always enjoy the Stephanie Plum books, but I think the trick is to accept that they are total mind candy and not expect much substance or deep character development. This one is true to form in that the plot is almost non-existent, and what there is of a story line doesn't make a lot of sense if you examine it too closely. (It's also NOT spooky, and I really think that Stephanie should be forced to choose between Morelli and Ranger before she gets to canoodle around with anyone else (like Diesel, her third love interest, who appears only in the "between-the-numbers" books)!)
However, those mean-spirited criticisms aside, Plum Spooky supplies what we read Evanovich for --- it's fast, funny and entertaining. Ranger and Morelli make only token appearances, but Stephanie and Lula eat and bumble their way through a new set of whacky adventures: yet another vehicle of Stephanie's gets trashed in a novel way, a troop of monkeys are saved from life in a medical lab, and Stephanie gets to meet the Easter Bunny, a Sasquatch family and Elmer the Fire Farter.
Posted by Pat
:: Next Page >>