Category Archives: mystery

1920’s in NYC

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I have a love affair with historical fiction, and I am always changing my favorite time period….I am fickle that way.  Currently, I am in love with the 1920’s.  I love Libba Bray’s series The Diviners which mixes historical fiction with mystery and fantasy.   Very cool.   And now I am devouring Beatriz Williams books.  This one is called The Wicked City.    It centers around an apartment in Greenwich Village that links two wonderfully tragic yet flawed women.

In the 1920s, it is Geneva Kelly who has run away from a horrible home life and has worked to reinvent herself.  She is a snarky flapper who loves to enjoy all life is offering her in NYC….until she is forced to go back home to see her dying mother and confront her toxic stepfather….Duke Kelly.   She gets herself wrapped up with Prohibition agents, bootleggers, sexy college boys, and murder.  Who can she trust?  Why can’t she shake her past and start over?

In 1998, Ella Glbert has discovered that her husband of four years….has been cheating on her.   She caught him with the other woman in a compromised position….she leaves immediately and rents the same apartment that Ginger AKA Geneva lived in decades before.   The other tenants in the building are friendly and welcoming.   In fact, there is one in particular that Ella is drawn to….Hector.  Ella starts to notice strange things about the building….a woman’s voice screaming in the night behind a brick wall….jazz music playing in the basement….she begins to discover what happened there years ago…..

Such a good read!  I could not put it down and was sad when it was over.   But wait…there is good news!   This is the first in a trilogy!!!   Can’t wait!!

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A complex and dark cold case….

This is a cold case that takes place in a small town in England called Lilling.   In 1976, a 16 year-old girl went missing  and her body was found later in a shallow grave.   The girl’s name was Annalise Wood and she become an obsession for more than one person in this small town.  She was a beautiful and popular girl who seemed to have no enemies.  The murder and motive have never been discovered.

Fast forward a few decades, and with new DNA evidence…the pieces of the unsolved murder begin to fall in place, or so the police believe.  The cast of characters in this small town has changed… Annalise’s parents are both dead, but there does remain a few high school friends who know more than they first divulged in 1976. There are new faces that seem to know more about the murder as well.   Enter a troubled 24-year-old girl who is also called Annalise who starts to talk to Dr. Laurie Ambrose, psychiatrist.  Dr. Ambrose starts to suspect that something is not quite right.  She tries to piece together clues and recordings on her own when another patient starts discussing the case as well.

Cold case investigator Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann hope to take this new evidence and solve this case, but the new DNA only disturbs the community instead of healing it.  Another body is found…another possible murder?  Can the two be connected? And will there ever discover what happened to Annalise Wood back in 1976?

A good read for murder-mystery fans.

 

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Truly a page turner

I started this book on the car ride to Lake Lure, NC for a family trip to the mountains….one of my favorite places to be.  This book is 600 pages long….and I had it done on the second day of the trip.  What this means is that I used every free second between trail running and hiking and shopping and eating and card playing with my family….to read this book.   I stayed up very late at night reading while everyone else was snoozing away.

The book takes place in NYC and involves the disappearance of Amy.  Amy is about to graduate from college and seems like the a happy-go-lucky gal.  Yet the story does not center on her…it centers on her roommate Lily.  Lily is not about to graduate college despite being enrolled for 6 years and she seems to be stalled in her life at the age of 24.  She takes off to Maui to visit her sick mom when she is called back to help determine what happened to Amy.

The story takes twists and turns and encompasses so many tragic story lines….alcoholism, cancer, Nazi concentration camps, marital affairs, cults, murder, suicide, drugs, etc.  I sympathized with Lily and was rooting for her the whole story, but each time I would turn the page it would only get drearier.  I kept reading and hoping for Spencer and her to help each other in a world where they were drowning.   I am not going to tell you if I was rewarded at the end….that would be wrong.

The characters make this story…there were many that I hated (ahem…Anne), and those that I grew to understand even if I never found any love for them (ahem…Allison).  I kept reading for Lily and Spencer.  And I suggest you do the same.

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A classic mystery

Let me start by saying that I adore Agatha Christie….I have adored her books since I was in junior high school.  I started with And Then There Were None and devoured many of her mysteries soon after.   I became obsessed and would read the books and watch all the Agatha Christie movies….my favorites were with Peter Usinov  as Hercule Poirot.  So when I was offered to review Murder on the Orient Express, I quickly jumped at the chance.

The movie will be out this week (November 9, and I cannot wait to see this version directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Though I recommend everyone read the book first before seeing the film.)   The book is addicting!  The whole mystery takes place on the Orient Express which is stuck on the tracks in a snowdrift.   It is during this time that Samuel Ratchett is murdered.  He is found in a locked compartment stabbed 12 times….no murder weapon is found.   The murderer is among one of passengers or employees of the train.  Hercule Poirot is on the case before the murderer can strike again.  Trust me…this is one fantastic read for any mystery lover.  I love Hercule Poirot and the characters are so well developed, and I felt like I was on the train with them all watching everything unfold in front of me.  Go out and read this…now….and then see the movie!

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A new favorite mystery series!

 

This is my first encounter with  Stewart Hoag (Hoagy) and his sidekick….an anchovy-eating Bassett Hound named Lulu. And I loved it! This is number 9 in the series!   Number 9!   This means I have 8 more books that I need to read in order to complete the mysterious adventures Hoagy and Lulu.  Here is a rundown of who Hoagy is:

In the past, Hoagy wrote one best-seller and was the talk of the town…he had it all.  However, this was followed by an extreme case of writer’s block and a second novel has not come to be.   He lost his fancy home, the fancy life, and his marriage to movie star Merilee.   He now lives in small apartment in New York with Lulu and spends his time ghostwriting.  His new career has provided him not only with the opportunity to write fascinating and interesting stories, but to use another of his skills…amateur sleuthing.  He natural ability to deduce and reason helps him solve some fairly scary and dangerous cases…all that start with a new ghostwriting assignment.   Who knew writing could be so dangerous?

The Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes reunites Hoagy with Reggie….a beautiful, yet wounded poet who he spent three passionate and wild years with. Reggie’s father is a famous author who has become a recluse (think a bit J.D. Salinger).   No one has heard from him in years….not since his wife committed suicide.  That is no one has heard from him until now — twenty years later.   Reggie and her sister Monette (who have not spoken in 20 years) receive letters from their father….or someone pretending to be their father. He wants something from his daughters.   The public is intrigued.

Enter Stewart Hoagy.  He has been hired to author the story of the reunion of Richard Aintree (recluse author) and his two daughters. Hoagy flies out to Monette’s home in LA and discovers that Monette’s empire is crumbling away after a Hollywood scandal.  Hoagy gets thrown into the scandal when bodies begin to pileup in Monette’s LA mansion.  Hoagy immediately tunes into the detective part of himself and starts to uncover the truth.

Fun, witty, fast-paced….I recommend this for an rainy weekend read…make sure you have some coffee and pastries to keep you fueled through the read.

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History and Mystery coming soon!

This is Historical Fiction novel that reads as more of a mystery than history.  It is by Beatriz Williams, and apparently she has written previous novels about some of the characters in this story.  I have not read any of them which could be why I am confused by the epilogue.   It was recommended that I read A Certain Age by her before this one….well…I did not do that.

I will tell you that I did enjoy this book…the beginning was a bit slow, but it eventually picked up and I read the last 200 pages in one afternoon.  It is about a strong woman named Virginia who is an ambulance driver in WWI in France, and it is there that she meets mysterious and handsome Captain Simon Fitzwilliams.  The two fall in love and have a passionate affair.  Yet they both have secrets from their past….some serious secrets that create tragedy to their eventual marriage and birth of their daughter.

Five years later, and they are living in America.  Virginia and her daughter are in NYC while Simon is in Florida running several businesses.   The pair become estranged for 3 years when Simon is  suddenly killed in a fire.  Virginia travel south to deal with the details of the death and the businesses she will inherit.  Enter Samuel and Clara Fitzwilliams…Simon’s siblings.  They welcome her with open arms, and yet Virginia senses something is off….something is not quite right.  The more she questions, the more dangerous her situation becomes.

 

 

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Suspenseful

Hallie Ephron writes stories that command your attention until the end.  I picked this up and read until I had to put it down…I had to find out what happened to Janey.  Lis was a 7 year-old little girl when she was playing in the yard with her 4 year-old sister, Janey.  Lis sees a little dog and chases it into the woods, and her sister is left alone and ultimately disappears.   Lis is now in her 40s with her own daughter, and she has been living with her mother for quite a while.  Janey’s disappearances has effected them for decades.

Here is the creepy part, Miss Sorrel, Lis and Janey’s mother, is a doll maker.  She makes porcelain dolls in the likeness of a child who keeps the daughter….made with that child’s hair.  One day, a woman appears to Miss Sorrel with an old doll that looks just like Janey…..could this has been the doll that Janey had when she disappeared?  If it is the doll, where is Janey and what happened to her?

The story unfolds quickly, and Miss Sorrel and Lis realize they are in danger as they get closer to discovering what has happened to Janey.

Quick, easy read.   A few flaws with the characters, but nothing that gets in the way with the story.  Well-worth the read!

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