Sunday, September 25, 2016

Brighton Belle

If you enjoyed Susan Elia MacNeal's series starting with Mr. Churchill's Secretary, you'll want to read Sara Sheridan's Brighton Belle. While the book was just released here in the U.S. this past spring, Sheridan published four additional Mirabelle Bevan books in Britain.

This cozy crime novel with its feisty heroine takes place in the 1950s. The austerities of postwar Britain created a variety of challenges for a population recovering from years of warfare. Mirabelle Bevan spent the war in Intelligence, rather than in the field. But since the death of her lover, all she wanted to do is flee her past life and forget. Belle finds a quiet, undemanding job in a debt collection office in Brighton, far away from London and all her old acquaintances.

For two years she lead an unexceptional life. But one day when her boss is absent, she is asked to collect a debt from Romano Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee who has moved to the coast to have her baby. Belle soon finds that the facts about; the woman don't add up, so she can't resist doiong a little detective work to discover the truth. She's joined in her investigations by a young insurance clerk from the office down the hall. Between them, they uncover a complex and deadly plot which involves the war, several corpses, a betting scam and a prostitution ring.

Brighton Belle is a light and pleasant read with plenty of color and action. The engaging Belle and the cast of characters kept me turning the pages. It is similar in tone to Mr. Churchill's Secretary with maybe a little more humor. I highly recommend it if you enjoy historical mysteries.

Author Sara Sheridan was born and lives in Edinburgh. She studied at Trinity College in Dublin and has received a Scottish Library Award and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September's New Releases


There's a great line-up of mysteries this month. Of particular note is The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. As you may remember, Mr. Moore's debut novel, The Sherlockian, was published in 2011 to many accolades. Then Moore went on to win an Oscar for his screenplay, The Imitation Game. His new novel, Last Days of Night, is part legal thriller and part historical fiction. It's a look at an exciting period of American history -- the battle to bring power to the country. Real-life trailblazers in science, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse take to the stage in a colossal duel of genius. EW has posted that Eddie Redmayne will star in the upcoming film adaptation of Last Days of Night.

Also of interest is a new offering by Sophie Hannah, Closed Casket. It's the second novel featuring Agatha Christie's beloved detective, Hercule Poirot.

Addictive, ferociously clever, and packed with clues, wit, and murder, Closed Casket is a triumph from the author whose work is "as tricky as anything written by Agatha Christie" (Alexander McCall Smith, The New York Times Book Review).
  • Victim Without a Face [Fabian Risk by Stefan Ahnhem 
  • Stripped Bare [Kate Fox] by Shannon Baker
  • Pushing Up Daisies [Agatha Raisin] by M.C. Beaton
  • Blue Madonna [Billy Boyle] by James R. Benn
  • Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d [Flavia de Luce] by Alan Bradley
  • This Is Not Over by Holly Brown
  • Body on the Bayou [Cajun Country] by Ellen Byron
  • Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • Home [Myron Bolitar] by Harlan Coben
  • Winter’s Child [Wind River Reservation] by Margaret Coel
  • Robert B. Parker’s Debt to Pay [Jessie Stone continuation] by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Insidious [FBI] by Catherine Coulter
  • Pirate [Sam & Remi Fargo] by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell
  • Wake the Devil [Jack Kale & Beth Sturgis] by Robert Daniels
  • The Dread Line [Liam Mulligan] by Bruce DeSilva
  • Because I’m Watching [Virtue Falls] by Christina Dodd
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • Against The Light by Marjorie Eccles
  • Playing with Fire [Daniel Jacobus] by Gerald Elias
  • Christmas Caramel Murder [Hannah Swensen] by Joanne Fluke
  • The Authentic William James [Sebastian Becker] by Stephen Gallagher
  • Final Act [John Lambert & Bert Hook] by J.M. Gregson
  • End Game [Kirk McGarvey] by David Hagberg
  • The Vanished [Konrad Simonsen] by Lotte & Søren Hammer
  • Closed Casket [Hercule Poirot continuation] by Sophie Hannah
  • The White Mirror [Li Du] by Elsa Hart
  • Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen
  • Red Right Hand [Michael Hendricks] by Chris Holm
  • Downfall [Joanna Brady] by J.A. Jance
  • An Obvious Fact [Walt Longmire] by Craig Johnson
  • The Dead Hand [Rachel Gold] by Michael A. Kahn
  • Reckless Creed [Ryder Creed] by Alex Kava
  • Dragon Fruit [Jaymie Zarlin] by Karen Keskinen
  • Manitou Canyon [Cork O’Connor] by William Kent Krueger 
  • Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaître
  • Presumption of Guilt [Joe Gunther] by Archer Mayor
  • British Manor Mystery [lucy Stone] by Leslie Meier
  • The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
  • Stalking Ground [Timber Creek K-9] by Margaret Mizushima
  • The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
  • Ghosts of Havana [Judd Ryker] by Todd Moss
  • Darktown by Thomas Mullen
  • Murder in Schwyz [Third-Culture Kid] by D-L Nelson
  • So Say the Fallen [Serena Flanagan] by Stuart Neville
  • Blind Sight [Kathleen Mallory] by Carol O’Connell
  • What Gold Buys [Silver Rush] by Ann Parker
  • Woman of God by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
  • Revenge in a Cold River [William Monk] by Anne Perry
  • Apprentice in Death [Eve Dallas] by J.D. Robb
  • Santorini Caesars [Andreas Kaldis] by Jeffrey Siger
  • The Kept Woman [Will Trent & Sara Linton] by Karin Slaughter
  • Lady Cop Makes Trouble [Kopp Sisters] by Amy Stewart
  • Infamy [Butch Karp & Marlene Ciampi] by Robert K. Tanenbaum
  • A Taste of Blood and Ashes [Jared McKean] by Jaden Terrell
  • A Fragile Spring [Francis Sadler & Connie Childs] by Sarah Ward
  • Foreign Bodies [Marcus Corvinus] by David Wishart

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pets on the Page

Well, today was National Dog Day, but let's give a shout-out to both our furry friends in the mystery
genre. I lost the second on my two feline companions this month and I'm still dealing with the loss (hence the limited posts). Here's a selection of authors with a bit of doggie and kitty puzzlers:


DOGS

Ellery Adams (J.B. Stanley) -- Captain Haviland, a black standard poodle, and human, Olivia Limoges

Barbara Allan (Barbara and Max Allan Collins) -- Sushi, a blind Shih Tzu, and human, Brandy Borne (Trash ’n’ Treasures mysteries)

Donna Ball -- golden retriever Cisco and human, Raine Stockton

Cynthia Baxter -- Veterinarian Jessica Popper and the Reigning Cats & Dogs mysteries

Carol Lea Benjamin -- pit bull Dashiell and human Rachel Alexander

Laurien Berenson -- Melanie Travis and her standard poodles

Michael Bond -- bloodhound Pommes Frites and gourmet restaurant guide inspector Aristide Pamplemousse

Todd Borg -- Harlequin Great Dane, Spot, and his human, Owen McKenna

Rita Mae Brown -- dachshund Baxter and human, Mags Rogers

Susan Conant -- dog trainer Holly Winter in the Dog Lovers mysteries

Sue Henry -- miniature dachshund, Stretch, and human, Maxie McNabb

 Spencer Quinn Chet, the dog, and private investigator Bernie Little in the Chet and Bernie series

David Rosenfelt –  defense attorney Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, followed by a variety of canine assistants

Dana Stabenow -- half-wolf, half-husky Mutt and human Kate Shugak

Peggy Webb -- Elvis Presley, reincarnated as a basset hound, with humans Callie Valentine Jones and Lovie, in the Southern Cousins mysteries



 CATS
Garrison Allen -- Mycroft (Big Mike) and his human companion, Penelope Warren


Marian Babson – variety of mysteries featuring cats

Lorna Barrett (L.L. Bartlett) -- Miss Marple and her human companion, Tricia Miles

Ali Brandon (Diane A.S. Stuckart) -- Hamlet and his human companion, Darla Pettistone

Lilian Jackson Braun -- Koko and Yum Yum and their human, Jim Qwilleran

Rita Mae Brown --  Mrs. Murphy and her human, Mary Minor Haristeen

Carole Nelson Douglas -- tomcat sleuth Midnight Louie and his human, Temple Barr

 Rebecca M. Hale -- Isabella and Rupert with their human, Rebecca

Miranda James (Dean James) -- Maine coon cat, Diesel, and human, Charlie Harris

Sofie Kelly -- Owen and Hercules, cats with special powers, and their human, Kathleen Paulson

Evan Marshall -- Winky and human, Jane Stuart

Alex Matthews -- Starshine and human, Cassidy McCabe

Shirley Rousseu Murphy -- Joe Grey, cat and private investigator

Fran Stewart -- Marmalade and human, Biscuit McKee

Leann Sweeney -- Cats in Trouble series

Enjoy and be sure to give your furry friend a big hug!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hot Titles for August

Can you believe that it's AUGUST already? You know what that means...the holidays aren't very far away! There's a nice mix in this month's offerings, but if I may admit to a slight bias, I am very excited to read the new Louise Penny book, A Great Reckoning.

Die Like an Eagle [Meg Langslow] by Donna Andrews

Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel
[Miss Dimple Kilpatrick] by Mignon F. Ballard

Damage Contro
l [Josie Kendall] by Michael Bowen

Crowned and Dangerous
[Royal Spyness] by Rhys Bowen

Sting by Sandra Brown

The Emerald Lie [Jack Taylor] by Ken Bruen

The Jealous Kind [Holland Family] by James Lee Burke

A Time of Torment [Charlie Parker] by John Connolly

I Shot the Buddha [Siri Paiboun] by Colin Cotterill

A Catered Tea Party [Murder with Recipes] by Isis Crawford

Survivors Will Be Shot Again [Dan Rhodes] by Bill Crider

The Commodore by P.T. Deutermann

Fatal Odds [Michael Knight] by John F. Dobbyn

Dust to Dust [Ingrid Langley & Patrick Gillard] by Margaret Duffy

Treason in the Secret City [Libby Clark] by Diane Fanning

Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth

Knit Your Own Murder [Needlecraft] by Monica Ferris

American Night
s [Moriah Dru & Richard Lake] by Gerrie Ferris Finger

Hell Fire [Konrad Sejer] by Karin Fossum

Hot Start
[Cordell Logan] by David Freed

Broken Trust [Badge of Honor] by W.E.B. Griffin & William E. Butterworth IV

The One Man by Andrew Gross

Frostline by Linda Howard & Linda Jones

Rebellion’s Message [Jack Blackjack] by Michael Jecks


Sorrow Road [Bell Elkin] by Julia Keller

Rise the Dark [Markus Novak] by Michael Koryta 

Death at the Boston Tea Party
[John Rawlings] by Deryn Lake

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels [Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Out of Sight, Tishomingo Blues] by Elmore Leonard

Any Minute Now by Eric Van Lustbader

Murder at Rough Point [Gilded Newport] by Alyssa Maxwell

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

The St. Lucia Island Club [John Le Brun] by Brent Monahan

Wedding Bell Blues
[Dixie Dew] by Ruth Moose

Liar’s Key [Emma Sharpe & Colin Donovan] by Carla Neggers

When Krishna Calls [Anita Ray] by Susan Oleksiw

The Women of the Souk [Mamur Zapt] by Michael Pearce

A Great Reckoning [Inspector Gamache] by Louise Penny

Rat Run [Colin Anderson & Freddie Costello] by Caro Ramsay

The Damascus Threat [Dominic Verrazzano] by Matt Rees

When the Music’s Over
[Alan Banks] by Peter Robinson

Damaged [Rosato & Associates] by Lisa Scottoline

Death in Disguise [Monika Paniatowski] by Sally Spencer

Nothing Short of Dying [Clyde Barr] by Erik Storey


Thrill Kill [Matt Sinclair] by Brian Thiem

Rob Thy Neighbor [Charlie Henry] by David Thurlo

The Shattered Tree [Bess Crawford] by Charles Todd

The Sixth Idea [Monkeewrench] by P.J. Tracy

Death in the Tuscan Hills
[Commissario Bordelli] by Marco Vichi

A Maiden Weeping
[Crispin Guest] by Jeri Westerson

The Night Bell [Hazel Micallef] by Inger Ash Wolfe

Smooth Operator [Teddy Fay] by Stuart Woods & Parnell Hall

Mississippi Noir
[SS] edited by Tom Franklin


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mysteries...Mysteries...Mysteries: Can we say Binge-watching?

I posted this list last year, but it bears repeating, especially if you've overdosed on news and politics, as I have. So instead of watching more of the same, I revisited the first seven seasons of Inspector Lewis in preparation for the upcoming final season. Throw in a little Inspector Morse for good measure and I'm all set for more Oxford crime.

Here's a list of some of my favorites. Check with your local library to see if they carry these titles on DVD.
  • Bletchley Circle (four former Bletchley code breakers put their wartime experience to work in solving a series of postwar murders)
  • The Brokenwood Mysteries (filmed on New Zealand's beautiful North Island)
  • Cadfael – adapted from Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mysteries
  • Case Histories – based on Kate Atkinson’s Scottish PI series
  • Christie’s Marple
  • Christie’s Poirot
  • DCI Banks – adapted from Peter Robinson’s crime novels
  • Death Comes to Pemberley--adapted from P.D. James' novel with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy solving a murder
  • Death in Paradise (British cop Richard Poole is a fish out of water when he’s sent to the tiny Caribbean island of Sainte Marie to solve a mysterious murder)
  • Dexter – adapted from Jeffry Lindsay’s novels
  • Dick Francis Mysteries – based on the novels of Dick Francis
  • Endeavour – based on Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse characters
  • Father Brown – adapted from G.K. Chesterton mysteries
  • Foyle’s War (Christopher Foyle solves murders during World War II (created by Anthony Horowitz)
  • Grantchester -- (a young clergymand and down-to-earth cop fight crime in 1953 England) adapted from James Runcie's Sidney Chambers books
  • Hamish MacBeth – based on M.C. Beaton’s Scottish policeman novels
  • Inspector Lewis – based on Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse characters
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries – based on Elizabeth George’s crime novels
  • Inspector Morse – adapted from Colin Dexter’s mysteries
  • Jack Irish – adapted from Australian author Peter Temple’s books
  • Jack Taylor – adapted from Ken Bruen’s books (set in Galway, Ireland)
  • The Last Detective (underdog London police detective)
  • Longmire – adapted from Craig Johnson’s novels
  • Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries -- adapted from the Dorothy L. Sayers’ novels
  • Lovejoy – adapted from Jonathan Gash’s novels
  • Maigret Collection – adapted from Georges Simenon ‘s novels
  • Midsomer Murders – adapted from Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby novels
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – adapted from Kerry Greenwood’s 1920s Australia novels
  • Murdoch Mysteries ( brilliant detective in 1890s Toronto solves crimes)
  • New Tricks
  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – adapted from Alexander McCall Smith’sdetective series set in Botswana, Africa  
  • Partners in Crime – adapted from Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence novels
  • Prime Suspect – adapted from Lydia La Plante’s  crime novels
  • Rebus – adapted from Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh detective novels
  • Rizzolli and Isles – based on Tess Gerritsen’s novels
  • Rosemary and Thyme (glorious gardens and classic whodunnits)
  • Ruth Rendell's Mysteries
  • Scott and Bailey
  • Sergeant Cribb – based on Peter Lovesey’s Victorian London police novels
  • Seven Dials Mystery – adapted from Agatha Christies’ novel
  • Single-handed (a lone cop fights crime in rural Ireland
  • Still Life – adapted from Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels
  • Thorne - gritty crime drama based on the bestselling series by Mark Billingham
  • Vera – adapted from Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series
  • Wallender – based on Henning Mankell’s crime novels
  • Sherlock – BBC's 21st century take on the Great Detective
  • Zen – based on the Michael Dibdin novels

Monday, July 25, 2016

New Cozies for August

What's new on the cozy shelf? Check these out! Wherever your interests lie, there is bound to be a cozy series to reflect it. So cool off this summer with a refreshing mystery!

Ellery Adams -- Murder in the Secret Garden [Book Retreat Mystery #3]
Donna Andrews -- Die Like an Eagle [Meg Lanslow Mystery #20]
Carol E. Ayer -- The Princess and the Poison [Storybook Park Mystery #1]
Mignon F. Ballard -- Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel [A Miss Dimple Mystery]
Rhys Bowen -- Crowned and Dangerous [Royal Spyness Mystery #10]
Laurie Cass -- Cat with a Clue [Bookmobile Cat Mystery #5]
Margaret Coel -- The Man Who Fell From the Sky [Wind River Mystery #19]
Bill Crider -- Survivors Will Be Shot Again [Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery #23]
 Laura DiSilverio -- The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala [Book Club Mystery #3]
Monica Ferris -- Knit Your Own Murder [Needlecraft Mystery #19]
Daryl Wood Gerber -- Grilling the Subject [Cookbook Nook Mystery #5]
Victoria Hamilton -- Much Ado About Muffin [Merry Muffin Mystery #4]
Nancy Herriman -- No Pity for the Dead [A Mystery of Old San Francisco]
Julianne Holmes -- Clock and Dagger [Clock Shop Mystery #2]
Jane Jensen -- In the Land of Milk and Honey [Elizabeth Harris Novel #2]
Gin Jones & Elizabeth Ashby -- Robbing Peter to Kill Paul: a Danger Cove Quilting Mystery  [Danger Cove Mystery #11]
 Diane Kelly -- Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter [Tara Holloway Novel #10]
Ruth Moose -- Wedding Bell Blues [Beth McKenzie Mystery #2]
 Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens -- Murder on the Aloha Express [Aloha Lagoon Mystery #2]
 Leann Sweeney -- The Cat, the Collector, and the Killer [Cats in Trouble Mystery #8]
Diane Vallere -- Silk Stalkings [Material Witness Mystery #3]

Auralee Wallace -- Pumpkin Picking Murder [Otter Lake Mystery #2]

Thursday, July 7, 2016

And Now for a Witty Caper

Now I know your first thought when you see that celebrity David McCallum just released a mystery novel. Who was the ghostwriter? Well, surprise! The 82-year-old  NCIS actor wrote every word of Once a Crooked Man -- and it's a delightful caper of mobsters, mistaken identity, and a pile of ill-gotten cash.

The Bruschetti brothers have been running profitable criminal activities for years, completely under the radar of law enforcement. But Max Bruschetti has decided it's time for the family to retire from the business. For his health's sake, he needs to reduce stress. The only obstacles are some loose ends that need to be eliminated.

Enter Harry Murphy, a 30-something actor who has enjoyed moderate success as a working actor, Harry makes a living doing commercials, voice-overs, and small roles on stage, screen, and television. Taking an inconspicuous bathroom break in the alley behind a Chinese restaurant, Through an open window, Harry overhears the Bruchettis planning an execution.

Since Harry was between jobs and had a couple of residual checks in the bank, he decides to take the next plane to London to warn the unfortunate loose end. After saving the man's life, Harry planned to enjoy himself in the City, then head over to Denmark for a good time before returning to NYC. What's it they say about the best-laid plans?

From the time Harry lands in London, he's embroiled in one mishap after another. By turns funny and riveting with taut action, Once a Crooked Man is a really enjoyable read. Yes, I've been a fan of David McCallum since The Man From Uncle back in the 1960s.  But I surely didn't expect to enjoy the book as much as I did.

This breezy, light comic caper gets Aunt Agatha's two thumbs up.